By Cass L. Shaw, General Presbyter

This year the Presbytery Council has initiated three distinct programs, each of which is a great expression of our desire to become the most fruitful, missional learning community we can be.

1) Company of Elders Dinners

There will be three dinners this spring, and three more in the fall, all catered, and all opportunities for teams of elders to share needs, hopes, best practices. The dinners will be held in particular churches and paid for by the presbytery. All nearby church leaders of any denomination will be invited to join us.
Ruling elders representing 2-3 congregations in that area will be invited to present a best practice, new ini-tiative, or question for conversation. 1-2 ruling elders will lead the dinner group in evening prayer (using the Book of Common Worship) either at the beginning or end of the meal.

Wednesday, April 24, 5:30 PM at First Pres., Hudson FallsWednesday, Falls
Tuesday, April 30, 6:00 PM at First Pres., Ballston SpaTuesday, Spa
Tuesday, May 7, 6 PM at Westminster, AlbanyTuesday, Albany

All ruling elders and lay leaders of non-PCUSA congregations are welcome to attend any of the dinners…Please RSVP to the hosting church.

2) Building Assessment Pilot Program

Eight congregations (Amsterdam, Cambridge, Delmar, Hamilton Union, State Street, Trinity Scotia, First United Troy, and Whitehall) have been selected to receive a building assessment, paid for out of our “flipping” budget. As our congregations seek to be good stewards of our buildings, to find cost effective ways to manage them and equip them for various ministries, it is important to have a long range plan for how to use well, convert for new uses, or in some cases sell or dispose of the properties we own.

A thorough assessment of the buildings is important, and a useful tool for the presbytery and each Session which applies for the new grants now available from COM and Trustees through the sale of properties.

It is also vitally important for COM and the Trustees to have a clear under-standing of the unrealized potential of our buildings as well as the chal-lenges and liabilities they pose. When a congregation seeks new ways to thrive, grow, and reach out to the wider community a key ingredient to success is how well they are able to use their buildings to support their vi-sion and ministry. When a congregation is in decline and will probably close, COM and the Trustees need to be aware of what the costs of closing and caring for the buildings will be and how much money the congregation should have reserves so that the costs associated are not borne by the rest of the congregations in the Presbytery.

Peter Moore is the Property Support Consultant for the Presbytery of the Palisades, Presbytery of NYC and has worked for the Presbyteries in New England and the Northeast. His specialty is creative and cost-efficient solutions to facilities problems. Mr. Moore will be in our presbytery from April 17-20, visiting each church for half a day. Then he will provide a report and recommendations to the eight Sessions, COM, and Trustees regarding plans for addressing capital needs, converting for multiple uses or shedding certain properties so that all our buildings can be effective tools for current and future ministries.

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