Reflections from the June 1st Presbytery Meeting at Hebron United Presbyterian Church

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The 323rd Stated Meeting of the Albany Presbytery was held on June 1, 2019 at the Hebron United Presbyterian Church. Below are a few snippets/reflections offered from some of the shared business. Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting.

Major agenda items from the June 1st meeting listed below include the following reports. See below for more details. You can review reports not listed below on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website.

  • Meeting Overview – Kate Kotfila
  • Open Space
    • Rev. Nadeem’s Trip to Pakistan – Blog Post
  • Staffing Task Force – Michael Burkley
  • Koinonia Team Report – Michael Burkley
  • Peacemaking Task Force – Paul Randall
  • Staffing Model Task Force – Michael Burkley
  • Mission Committee – Ted Wright
  • COMAC – Ken Applegate
  • Budget and Finance Committee Report – Bill Hasselbarth
  • Committee on Representation and Nominations Report
  • Open Mic:
    • Michael B – Old Computers
    • Charlotte – Horizons Magazine
    • Nancy Pienta – MoonCatchers Events –

June 1, 2019 Presbytery Meeting

Kate Kotfila, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
Meeting Overview

The June 1st meeting addressed two long-standing issues for Presbytery. The staffing model task force brought a report encouraging the Presbytery to lay claim to the strengths of being smaller in a society that is convinced bigger is better. Small communities depend on each other, make decisions, and initiate change more dexterously and see the direct consequences of their action -or inaction. Staffing for a smaller presbytery depends on hands on investment of its members. Those staff members must focus on communication, administration, and record keeping. Their role is not to be the resident expert as much as the people that keep lines open, identifying issues before they require remedial action, and keeping track of our shared decisions and actions. Click here for the Staffing Task Force recommendation.

The Mission Team’s report is an example of the kind of work of which our Presbytery is capable. Through careful listening opportunities and creative discernment, the Team has provided us with a way forward during the next several years so that we have more mutual accountability with mission partners and expand the mission pool by introducing them to congregations. The resources that the team are making available to every congregation are significant. I hope every church will take them up on their offers.

The highpoint for me was the examination of Kukjin An. Listening to this man speak of his faith and call was an opportunity to see the future, and to be reminded of our own ordinations. It was a renewing act.

As is true with any endeavor, as we address one issue, ten more show up on the horizon.

  • The Staffing Model Task force report doesn’t provide for visionary leadership from staff. Where will it come from?
  • And the SMTF handed an enormous workload to the Personnel Committee with a very short timeline for its completion. Is it too much? (with the resignation of Kim Deal as Communications Manager the critical path needs to be reconsidered.)
  • Our hosts at Hebron Church were amazing, providing for every need, offering welcome and space to do our needed work. Yet this presbytery meeting was poorly attended. We don’t know whether the cause was distance, or calendar, or a kind of malaise – but we know we need to look carefully at that.
  • Lots of resources and activities were presented through the meeting. Will anyone take advantage of them or find them helpful?

I believe this meeting could set the tone for our ongoing transition. That will depend on whether we have the will to continue working together leaning into the Holy Spirit’s guidance and power.

Open Space
Rev. Nadeem Sadiq’s Trip to Pakistan

To review Nadeem’s presentation and learn more about this ministry, read: Rev. Nadeem Sadiq & the Pakistani-American Fellowship Ministry

Rev. Michael Burkley
Koinonia Team Report

“The Koinonia Team had planned a retreat for the day before the Presbytery meeting.  Since we had heard so many positive comments about our “bread ministry” at Presbytery meetings we thought it would be a good idea to share that wealth by having a retreat focusing on the spirituality of bread making. Unfortunately, we didn’t get enough registrations to move forward with the retreat, so it was cancelled for now. At the Presbytery meeting we received many surveys giving reasons both why or why not the respondents registered or not (Thanks!). We also sent out many cards signed by you and addressed to presbytery members who are experiencing troubles or joys (Thanks!). Finally, we had prepared home-made sour-dough starter mixes that everyone was invited to take home and use to make their own bread—and perhaps bring some of it back next time to share.  There were a lot left over, so they were left at Hebron Church as our thank-you to its members for hosting our presbytery meeting.”

Rev. Paul Randall, HR
Peacemaking Task Force

“I announced the “Peace for the Earth” conference at Stony Point, NY August 6-10. Flyers were distributed. The Peacemaking Task Force will offer $300 per attendee up to the first 10 people who apply. Interested folks should check out the conference details on the Peacemaking Task Force page on the Albany Presbytery website. Interested parties may contact me at or 518-269-4382 before July 1. (early bird price until July 9)

I invited Presbyters to fill out a card that reports on efforts their congregations are making to care for the environment. They were asked to place the cards in a birdhouse on the registration table and help themselves to a package of bird seed. We received 15 responses, and will likely repeat this request at the Sept. 28 Presbytery meeting.”

Rev. Michael Burkley
Staffing Model Task Force

“At our June 1st presbytery meeting the Staffing Model Task Force presented its considered recommendations on how Albany Presbytery should move ahead in developing both paid and volunteer staff.  If you don’t know what those recommendations were you can find them in a blog post right on this website, and I hope you’ll check them out. After listening to many insightful comments, both for and against its approval, the Presbytery voted to approve the recommendations of the Staffing Model Task Force and to pass them on to the Personnel Committee for its implementation.

It’s a big job before them and the Personnel Committee is understaffed at the moment. Some of the members of the Staffing Model Task Force will temporarily be helping out the Personnel Committee in this calling, and we are hoping that other committees will also supply help. Perhaps some at-large members of presbytery will want to help, too <hint>”

Rev. Ted Wright, HR
Church Mission Committee

“Presbytery adopted 8 recommendations regarding mission funding. In sum, they provide for a process – to begin in 2020, affecting fiscal 2021 and beyond – whereby all would-be Mission Partners must submit applications and be evaluated by the Mission Committee on an annual basis. Meanwhile, the committee will step up efforts to help Mission Partners tell their stories to our congregations. Furthermore, the Mission Committee itself will undertake to visit Sessions/congregations and help in various ways: 

  • Plan mission strategies
  • Evaluate strategies, partners, and/or programs
  • Network with similarly-minded congregations
  • Access denominational programs and resources
  • Learn about presbytery’s Mission Partners, and possibly engage more fully
  • Learn about G.A.-level programs: Hunger, Peacemaking, Youth, Self-Development, Disaster Assistance, Young Adult Volunteers, PCUSA World Mission, etc
  • Understand what happens with money sent to presbytery, synod, &/or G.A.
  • Consider their buildings as tools for mission

Also, the Committee announced that 40% of the day’s Pentecost Offering (during worship) will become available to congregations, upon request, who offer community-oriented Vacation Bible Schools.” For more information, click here.

RE Bill Hasselbarth
Member, Budget and Finance Committee

“Bill Hasselbarth reviewed the year end 2018 Financial Compilation. The Presbytery ended the year 2018 with Net Assets of $3,430,000 including Cash and Investments of $2,737,000, Church Property of $457,000 and Notes Receivable of $236,000

This was a reduction in Net Assets from the prior year of ($285,000) or (8%). The reduction in New Assets was due to Loss on disposal of Church Property ($109,000), Loss on Investments ($99,000), Net Present Value Adjustment of Notes Receivable ($43,000), and Operating Deficit ($34,000). The operating deficit is due to the reduction in revenue associated with the reduction in Church membership, in addition to Trustee expenses for Church property without sufficient revenue.

Church membership statistics were reviewed for the past 5 years showing a drop in membership from 6,471 in 2013 to 4,781 in 2018, a reduction of 26%, an average annual drop of over 5% per year.

2020 Budget packages will be sent out to Presbytery Committees and leadership this week with responses due by June 30, 2019,  It is expected that the Budget and Finance Committee will need to recommend further expense reduction in 2020 and an increase in Per Capita Basic Witness Support to offset the Church membership reduction and balance the Budget. The Staffing Task Force has requested a Staffing Budget for 2020 of $162,000 consistent with 2019.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Hasselbarth”

Rev. Ken Applegate

“COMAC presented two pieces of business for the presbytery’s consideration. The first was to examine Kukjin An for ordination to the ministry of word and sacrament, in order to take up a call to serve on the staff of the Korean Church. After answering a question from COMAC about what most excited and most scared him about ministry (which he answered wonderfully well), the examination continued for about fifteen minutes, with excellent questions about his background, his hopes and his place in the Korean church and its culture. He was unanimously approved and was ordained this past Sunday, June 9th.

The second piece concerned the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Poultney, Vermont. The congregation is experiencing extreme financial issues and is in danger of falling into unsurmountable debt. An Administrative Commission was formed by the presbytery to assist the church in discerning its future. The members of the commission are Kate Kotfila, Laura Mitchell, Don Drew, Michael Barron and Ken Applegate. They will report to the presbytery at its September meeting.”

Committee on Representation and Nominations

Ruling Elder Kevin Dwyer (New Scotland Church) was elected to serve in the Class of 2020 on the Personnel Committee. That was it for the NominationsCommittee Report at the June 1 meeting! There is no nominee for Vice-Moderator Elect yet.

Speak Out

Recycling Old Computers: Michael Burkley“In my home we recycle so many things – paper, metal, glass, plastic, old jokes and computers.  Yes, computers. I collect all of them that I can (Windows Vista or newer and Macs), securely erase their hard drives, refurbish them and give them away to people who might not otherwise be able to afford a computer.  I haven’t kept a record, but I’ve passed out a least a dozen of them, and taken many more to be safely disposed of at our local electronics recycling center. If you have a computer (or a flat-screened monitor, keyboard, mouse or printer) that you don’t use anymore, I can use it.  Even if it’s broken, I can likely still use it (just attach a monitor and keyboard to a broken-screened laptop and you have a working laptop). If you can help, give me a call at 518-696-6062 or email me at”

Charlotte Hasselbarth: Horizons Magazine – Are you interested in the Presbyterian Women’s Horizon Magazine? If you would like to take advantage of the free 6 months offer please click here. You can also sign-up for a free 3-month subscription with this flyer. Just click here to download.

Nancy Pienta – Upcoming MoonCatchers Events –

Thank you all for your service. Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting. See you at Rockwell Falls Presbyterian Church, Lake Luzerne beginning at 9:00 am with Open Space.

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