We are delighted to welcome Rev. Dr. Amaury Tañón-Santos to the Albany Presbytery. Amaury is currently serving the Church as the Synod Networker for the Synod of the Northeast and is moving to the Capital Region. Being new to our area, we took a moment to connect with him.
Before we get started, can you tell us a little bit about where you grew up, any siblings, etc?
I was born and raised, and went to school and college in Puerto Rico. I am the oldest of three siblings (the third of five on my dad’s side). In the early summer, I’ll be joined in Albany by my soon-to-be wife, Jeannette Denisse, and her son!
I migrated to the United States 15 years ago this September to pursue graduate theological studies at Princeton Seminary as part of my pastoral vocation discernment. Little did I know then that I would end up spending ⅖ of my life (and counting) passionate about pastoral work in service to intercultural engagement in the country that holds my motherland as a colony. Nothing I had planned for or dreamed of would have prepared me for the fantastic, troublesome, encouraging and committed work and ministry I have had the chance to be a part of for Gospel and on behalf of the Church.
How did you connect with PC(USA)?
My connection with the PCUSA began at Princeton Seminary. Never before that had I had “contact” with Presbyterianism. It was in the Puerto Rican Baptist tradition that I was raised, and where my pastoral vocation was encouraged. The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey, particularly the good folks of the First Baptist Church of New Brunswick, New Jersey, guided me through my final process of discernment towards ordination.
After pastoring two parishes, one in White Plains, NY, and another in Elizabeth, NJ, I was invited to serve as Director of Programs at Princeton Seminary. While at Princeton, I got the chance to serve in leadership development for Nuevas Fronteras Presbyterian Church in Plainfield, NJ (Elizabeth Presbytery), and also as a seminary representative to the transitional team of the Synod of the Northeast.
It was serving at Nuevas Fronteras Church that my pastoral call would take a turn. The session had inquired as to why I could not preside over the sacraments. After explaining that I was ordained in another tradition, they motioned the presbytery that my orders be transferred to the PCUSA and received as a member of Elizabeth Presbytery. That call embodied by the people once again confirmed my call to pastoral leadership, and opened an new opportunity for service in the Presbyterian tradition – an opportunity that was preceded by countless conversations and prayers. Because I was raised in a tradition where the interdependence of congregations and leaders was key to understand the strength found in denominationalism. What Presbyterians call connectionalism was already essential in my understanding of pastoral leadership and joint mission, and that from my rearing as a Puerto Rican Baptist.
During the last General Assembly I half-jokingly shared with friends and colleagues that the 221st was my fourth General Assembly, the third I attended on site, and the first I participated as a Presbyterian. It was just a matter of time before the Reformed theology taught at my home church, the Primera Iglesia Bautista de Río Piedras, and the connectionalism that fed my vocation would catch up to me.
Share with us a little about your hobbies?
It think it goes without saying that I am an extrovert. If you don’t know, you will find out soon! As much as I like binge watching some show I happen to like on a streaming service, I am rekindling my love for reading, particularly Caribbean and Latin American fiction, non-fiction and history.
Is there anything new you have found yourself enjoying are looking forward to in Capital Region?
As one who has recently discovered the joys of bike riding, I’m looking forward to exploring some of the trails found along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers. I am also looking forward to discovering the visual and performing arts scene in Albany, hiking trails in the area, and farming and food culture of the region.
The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery council. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.