Albany Presbytery is engaged in a multi-year process of seeking God’s preferred future together. Our transitional planning page on the Albany Presbytery website has many updates and a chronological timeline for you of the work we have been engaged in. I encourage you to visit this page where you can find all documents related to our work as we seek transparency in what we are about as a Presbytery.
Over the last year we have engaged in a Landscape Study that many of you participated in and which produced important results for you. You can read the Executive Summary of Landscape at this link. After Landscape was completed Dr. Keli Rugenstein of Samaritan Counseling Center held three interpretation sessions around the Presbytery in Albany, Broadalbin and Glens Falls that were attended by over 70 members of Presbytery. We are planning to follow up with additional conversations around the Presbytery related to these results.
The Vision Team engaged the Presbytery in conversation at our April meeting about a draft mission statement and feedback on the various mission projects that the Presbytery supports. These were also important times of conversation, feedback and idea-sharing, and we want to continue this conversation on our webinar next week.
In addition, we have had various transitional working groups that have been hard at work considering various aspects of our future ministry together. These teams were put in motion at the May 2015 Council Meeting and you can access the plan at this link. I also reported on these team at the Silver Bay Retreat last year.
Environmental Scan and Overview/Preliminary Financials
These were presented at the September 2015 Presbytery meeting. We heard about who we are and the demographics of our communities. We also heard some ideas about alternative ways of considering basic witness support and some early thoughts on our financials.
This has been at the heart of conversations at Council and beyond. Much of the input we received from Landscape, from the Vision Team and at our last few Presbytery meetings (November 2015 and April 2016) is being integrated into a mission statement and design for the Presbytery. We’ll be looking for more feedback from you at next week’s webinar and also at Silver Bay in June of this year.
Congregational Renewal and Pastoral Support
Tim Coombs has been leading these two teams along with a number of folks from around the Presbytery (a mix of long-time members and newer members of Presbytery). Tim offered a great update on this in our last e-news and this group will be seeking more input in their webinar in May and also at Silver Bay in June of this year.
These two groups have been hard at work. They met together in late winter after gathering information from similarly-sized Presbyteries around the PC(USA) of how they are staffed up and structured. This group has also pulled together some additional financial information and will be presenting where they are at their May webinar and looking for your input at the Silver Bay Retreat. Much of these decisions are guided by both a mission plan and budget implications.
We are continuing to work on the financial impact issues around the Presbytery. The Trustees have a task force in place currently to do assessments of all buildings held in trust by congregations and to assess congregational financial well-being. A new grants and loans process is underway for this year. Additional financial review information will be wrapping around as we proceed through 2016 and into the budgeting process for 2017.
In all things our primary focus is on our mission and purpose that is given to us through Jesus Christ, to be a community of congregations that makes disciples, offers mission and resources for connectional ministry. I invite you to be an ongoing part of our decisions and work–to join in our three webinars that we have scheduled before Silver Bay and to join us at the Silver Bay retreat as we hear reports of these teams based on your input and continue the holy conversations and discernment we are having.