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The 320th Stated Meeting of the Albany Presbytery was held on November 13, 2018 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Albany. 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 November 13th meeting listed below include the following reports. See below for more details.

  • Open Space
  • Installation of new Moderator and Vice Moderator
  • Speak Out
  • Associate for Congregations Report – Tim Coombs
  • Personnel Committee – Scott DeBlock
  • Budget and Finance – Tom Gregg
  • COMAC – Holly Cameron
  • Committee on Representation and Nominations – Jerry McKinney
  • Coordination Committee – Michael Burkely
  • Peacemaking Task Force

Kate Kotfila, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
Meeting Overview

“After worship, instead of remaining in the sanctuary, the presbytery gathered around tables in the Fellowship Hall to continue its work. Moderator Kate Kotfila explained that this format fosters relationship building and permits people to engage in smaller groups when complicated or contentious matters come to the presbytery. The agenda for this meeting included both Personnel and Budget decisions. Once each committee gave its report a period of time was given for people to talk around tables. This made it possible for folks who were not as familiar with the issues to learn more and for questions to be addressed. Members of the committee whose motion is on the floor moved around the room to address concerns. The Moderator then called the presbytery to debate, asking that everyone who wished to speak come to the microphone.”


Open SpaceProposed Amendments to PC(USA) “Book of Order” – Michael Burkely

“At the November 13th Presbytery meeting a group of about twelve people gathered in an Open Space meeting to look over and discuss the proposed amendments to our Book of Order that will come before the Presbytery early next year. Reading them by yourself might be a tiresome task, but reading them and talking about them with a dozen people is really interesting. You learn things that you didn’t see when reading them by yourself. We shared our understandings and all agreed that we learned more than if we only debated them from the floor of Presbytery. These proposed changes come with significance. Maybe we should have another Open Space on the same topic so you can come! If we do, I encourage you to participate!”  Click here for more information on this Open Space Session

Open Space: Staffing Proposal – Scott DeBlock

“There was good conversation in our open space time on moving forward on a staffing model task force. Having a specific time frame for their work was well received.”  Click here for complete details on the approved Staffing Proposal


Worship & Installation of Moderator and Vice Moderator

Thank you to the Rev. Dr. Fairfax Fair who led worship for us and to RE Arthur Fullerton as he has completed his 2017-2018 Moderator term.

The Rev. Kate Kotfila was installed as Moderator and the Rev. Michael Burkley as Vice-Moderator of Albany Presbytery. We give thanks for all those who have been willing, and those in the future who will be willing, to accept the call to serve in leadership in Albany Presbytery.

Speak Out

Katy StentaNWC TrailPraisers inclusive worship invites all levels, faiths and abilities to experience worship together December 1st at 3pm led by RE David Haase from First Presbyterian Church, Albany. For more information email

Christy D’Ambrosio, Albany Presbytery Triennium Registrar
THE PRESBYTERIAN YOUTH TRIENNIUM is next summer (July 16-20, 2019) at Purdue University.
“Calling all Youth (rising high school freshmen through graduating college seniors):  It’s time to think about Triennium, Summer 2019. Please feel free to contact Christy D’Ambrosio, Albany Presbytery Registrar, 518-423-4763 or with questions. Click here for more information.”

Kathi Jones“I want to thank everyone who participated in the gift card collection for the National Gathering of Presbyterian Women held August 1-5 in Louisville, KY. As the only person from our presbytery to attend, I took with me the whole presbytery’s support in the form of 115 gift cards worth $1,150. Over $32,000 worth of cards were donated in total for the cause to help new parents with particular needs. We certainly did our share. Again, thank you.”

Kim Deal, Communications Manager, Albany Presbytery“We are in the final stages of launching the next revisions to our website. We value your input as we make these necessary updates.  Click here for more information: 4 Reasons to Help with Our New Website”

Tim Coombs
Associate for Congregations Report

“Tim Coombs gave his last address to the presbytery as the Associate for Congregations. His talk reflected back on his first address when he spoke about the relationships in the Doctrine of the Trinity as a metaphor for keeping a balance in our churches. Just as the persons of the Trinity focus on different functions, the doctrine reminds us they are intimately woven together as a unit. Ministry aspects of justice, salvation, and spiritual gifts need to be held in balance in each church. These reflect the parts of the holy Trinity as it is lived out in congregations. There is, however, an unholy Trinity, which makes its presence known in our churches, particularly during pledge campaign season, that is, our concern over members, money, and maintenance; as in we need more members to get more money so we can maintain what we have. Whereas such thoughts are understandable during the stress of a stewardship campaign, it cannot be the basis of everything the church does. Tim shared about the trend in which charismatic, energy filled churches are on the rise, while attractional churches, that is, churches that focus on spectacle may have peaked. The good news is the charisma doesn’t necessarily have to cost much. A church that is excited about its mission focus and conveys that energy can make an impression on people. Churches that also focus on helping people experience the transcendent are what people are ultimately seeking. Tim concluded that over his ten years of ministry, he has been basically asking churches what they are passionate about and helping them name it. Last he referenced Brian McLaren’s book “The Great Spiritual Migration” as a significant read for churches today as it encourages us to always be on the move and not be content to simply maintain ourselves.”

Scott DeBlock
Chair, Personnel Committee

“There was good conversation in our open space time on moving forward on a staffing model task force. Having a specific time frame for their work was well received. And it was a good thing that the recommendations to form the task force and the seeking of a part-time temporary chaplain were passed unanimously! The Personnel Committee will work with COMAC to create a position description and commence a search.

Finally, please come to the December 5 event at Wolf Hollow Brewing celebrating Tim Coombs vital and wonderful ministry here in Presbytery! Hope to see you there!” Click here for event details.

Tom Gregg
Coordinator, Budget and Finance Committee

“We thank each committee and the body for your support in approving the 2019 Presbytery budget plan. The concerns and questions raised during the open space forum, as well as during the Presbytery meeting, will help if revisions are needed during 2019 and in preparations for 2020. The next step is for each committee to prepare a written plan of their objectives and future goals in relation to their ministry & mission. Please submit this plan to the B & F committee no later than March 1, 2019.”

Holly Cameron

  1. A luncheon for our retired pastors was held October 20 at the Van Patten Golf Club in Clifton Park. 32 pastors and staff attended.  
  2. The Rev. James Cortelyou was introduced as a new member of Albany Presbytery. Jim retired some years ago and is active with the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church in Saratoga.  
  3. The Presbytery acted to dissolve the Carlisle congregation, to honor the vote that congregation took in June to close the church.  The Rev. Andrea Holroyd has been working with both the Carlisle and Schoharie congregations and reported that the members are coming together for worship, fellowship, and other mission activities.

Rev. Jerry McKinney
Chair, Committee on Representation and Nominations

“The Committee on Representation & Nominations recognized the folks who were completing service on Presbytery Committees: Kevin Dwyer (Representation & Nominations); Paul Randall (Personnel); Holly Cameron, Kathi Jones, & Laura Rogers (Ministers & Congregations); Bonnie Donnan (Leadership Development); Michael Barron (Church Mission). The Presbytery expressed its thanks for their faithful service. The Committee presented the slate of nominees for service on Presbytery Committees. All nominees were elected by the Presbytery. The Coordinating Committee nominated and the Presbytery elected Kathi Jones to serve on the Committee on Representation & Nominations. Thanks to all of the people who were elected to serve on the committees of the Presbytery.”

Michael Burkley
Coordination Committee

“I am excited about being your Vice-Moderator and excited about being a part of the Koinonia Team that has just been created. What’s the Koinonia Team? It’s a group of your peers who has the charge to strengthen the Christ-like culture of our presbytery, to improve our communication and to conduct events that foster those goals. You can see how that can be exciting!  Judy Hartley, Beth Illingworth, Jerry McKinney, Lois Wolff and Laura Rogers all thought so, too. That’s why they’re your new Koinonia Team. Lift them up in your prayers and support!

Kate Kotfila and I are coming to your worship service! Beginning the second Sunday in January and in the following months, we, as your Moderator and Vice-Moderator, will be preaching in your churches and your pastors will preach in the churches we serve. We think it’s a great idea to build up the unity we have. We won’t be able to visit everyone in the first year or even the second (we hope this tradition will continue), but eventually, that will happen.  Where will we go first? We’ll be in touch, but you’re to welcome to invite us, and if you invite us, we will come. Our congregations will be glad to welcome your pastors, too!” Click here for more information.

Peacemaking Task Force

Click here for the Water Bottle Resolution. A first reading was briefly discussed.

Thank you all for your service. Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting. See you at First Presbyterian Church in Ballston Spa, Saturday, January 26, 2019 beginning at 9:00 am.

About Albany Presbytery Communications

Albany Presbytery strives to provide relevant information using a variety of communication channels including our website, email, paper mailings, social media, and in-person meetings. Please let us know of any erroneous information you may find. If you have information to share, we would be happy to connect with you. You can contact us via email here.

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. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.