Albany Presbytery Staffing Process Advisory Team

Discerning the most appropriate staffing pattern to support this Presbytery’s mission has proven difficult.  Several recent Presbytery meetings demonstrated failure to reach consensus.  (Learn more on the Transitional Planning page of our website.) We need — and in God’s time we can afford — to consider our process, not just the outcome.  Can we improve our collective conversation about God’s preferred priorities, and the ways that staff can help us?

On June 27, Albany Presbytery charged its Coordinating Committee to

work with Synod of the Northeast Leader Harold Delhagen to develop a well-designed process and timeline for arriving at a final staffing plan.”

The Coordinating Committee therefore assembled an Advisory Team (named below) to consult with Rev. Delhagen and to report back.  The Coordinating Committee will consider and possibly revise what its Advisory Team recommends.  Eventually, the Coordinating Committee will invite all members of Presbytery into the staffing-determination process.

Presbytery voted to hold a Special Meeting on the evening of September 12 purely to focus on these matters.  That meeting is not expected to produce a staffing model — only to advance and improve the discernment process.  There may well be other various types of gatherings in order to expand participation.

On June 30, the Advisory Team met for the first time at Saratoga Springs.  It considered Presbytery’s past history of conversations, especially on why and how staffing talks get “stuck.”   Rev. Delhagen spoke about relevant issues in arriving at a staffing consensus.  The Advisory Team also assigned roles to its own members.

At this time those members include:

Samantha Brewer, Ruling Elder of First United Church, Hoosick Falls.  Samantha served as Young Adult Advisory Delegate for Albany Presbytery at GA in June 2016 and at Synod in October 2016.  She works as a Customer Care and Data Specialist for Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.  She was not available on June 30.

Lynn Brown, Transitional Pastor at United Presbyterian Church of Amsterdam.  Prior to her ordination as Minister of Word and Sacrament, Lynn was a member of St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Spencertown.  In Presbytery, she has served previously as Financial Manager.

Harold Delhagen, Leader of the Synod of the Northeast.  A member of Geneva Presbytery, Harold joined the Synod staff in 2011, having served as pastor and administrator in a variety of congregations and mid-councils in the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Terry Diggory, Ruling Elder at the Presbyterian—New England Congregational Church, Saratoga Springs.  Terry has served previously as Presbytery Moderator and currently serves on the Committee on Representation and Nominations.

Kate Kotfila, Pastor at United Presbyterian Church of Cambridge.  Kate currently serves on the Board of Trustees and is vice-moderator-elect of Presbytery.

Katy Stenta, Pastor at New Covenant Presbyterian Church. Albany.  As current co-chair of the Committee on Church Mission, Katy also serves on the Coordinating Committee.

Ted Wright, Honorably Retired.  Ted recently rejoined Albany Presbytery, having served previously as pastor at the Presbyterian United Church of Schaghticoke from 1978-1982.  Since then he has pastored congregations in Langhorne, PA, and Gaithersburg, MD, and worked for PC(USA) World Mission in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.

There are plans to recruit at least one more member to expand the representation of younger people.  The Advisory Team will meet again on July 21. Ted Wright has agreed to serve as moderator.

Questions or comments for the Advisory Team may be addressed through Ted at: [email protected]

This is the first in a series of updates.  Additional updates can be read found on the Albany Presbytery Transitional Planning page on our website.


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