Albany Pres Reflections Square 307

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The 307th States meeting of the Albany Presbytery was held on April 6, 2016 at the State Street Presbyterian Church in Schenectady, NY.  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 April 6th meeting listed below include the following reports.  See below for more details.

  • Meeting Overview – Jerry McKinney, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
  • Interfaith Presentations – Donna Elia
  • Transitional Presbyter’s Report – Shannan Vance-Ocampo
  • Highlights from the COM Report – David Bennett
  • Speak Out – General Announcements
  • Council Report – Cara Molyneaux

Jerry McKinney, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
“The Presbytery met in regular session on April 6, 2016, at the State Street Presbyterian Church.  Our meeting was very full.  We gave thanks to God for the life and ministry of Rev. Don Stake.  We were challenged to stand with our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers as they face acts of vengeance.  We heard a recommendation from COM concerning the end of a judicial process.  We continued discussing important transitional issues in small groups.  We debated two overtures to the General Assembly.  We received trees to plant for Arbor Day.  And we were  treated to a delicious dinner prepared by the folks of the State Street congregation.  Some of our decisions were difficult, and some of our discussion was challenging.  Through it all, we were blessed by a spirit of cooperation and compassion.  I hope you will take time to read the reflections which follow.  Grace & Peace, Jerry McKinney, Moderator”

Donna Elia
Interfaith Presentations
“It was a profound experience to have Imam Djafer Sebkhaoui and Rabbi Robert Kasman with us, and to pass a resolution decrying violence against Muslims and Jews or people of any religion or ethnicity. Imam Sebkhaoui reminded us Muslims have been part of the fabric of this nation for a very long time. He poignantly shared how he went to his home country Algeria after 911. He relieved the fears of his family when he told them about the outreach of open-minded people embracing Muslims and being in solidarity with them when there was a rising tide of hate.  Rabbi Kasman told of being in Jerusalem on the Sabbath and of Israelis and Palestinians exchanging gifts of bread and other food. He reminded us we’re all human beings. I won’t forget how he gently said, ‘We shouldn’t need to be reminded of that.’ We passed a resolution against violence and retaliation. We promised to speak out. We remembered peace is our common goal.”  You can read the entire resolution that was approved here: Resolution Against Violence and Vengeance

Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbyter
Transitional Presbyter’s Report
“During the April meeting we held small groups as part of our transitional work to reflect on a draft mission statement and feedback on our local, synod and denominational mission partners.  These were rich conversations and times of sharing and I am grateful to those who led and those who participated.  Thank you!

The documents that guided these conversations and the feedback from them can be found at Albany Presbytery > Resources > Transitional Planning.”

Laura Rogers & David Bennett – Co-Chairs, Committee on Ministry
COM Reflections from David Bennet
“Laura and I would like to thank the presbytery for working with COM through the complexity of the restoration process for Rev. Chris Garrison, especially as we had to incorporate last minute changes!   The body’s questions were thoughtful the discussion was respectful and you gave great care as we walked through this difficult process! Please look for a communication from the officers related to the restoration process as it relates to the need for ongoing sensitivity, particularly as it relates to the pain that affected parties continue to experience.”

“We were delighted to present Rev. Kate Forer as the new pastor for the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church as the COM worked closely with them through their transitional period.  Special thanks to RE Sam Jackling who walked with their PNC through each step of the process and to Rev. Coqui Conkey for her service as their interim.  We hope you will join us in giving thanks for this new pastoral relationship and for the congregation as together they seek God’s preferred future for them!”

Speak Out

Noa Baum – Bonnie Orth
Mayfield Presbyterian Church hosted Internationally known storyteller, Noa Baum at worship on Sunday, April 10. They also collaborated with the Berith Shalom Synagogue in Troy and the Knesseth Israel Synagogue in Gloverville for two additional storytelling opportunities. At the Mayfield church, Noa told the story of the sacrifice of Isaac from Sarah’s perspective. Her performance was made possible through a grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship with funding through Lily Endowment.

Liberia Trip: Reception for Friends and Supporters – Frances Wattman Rosenau
A delegation is leaving for Liberia next week and this Thursday there is a Reception for Friends and Supporters.  Please join them on Thursday. 

Do you have any 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

Cara Molyneaux, Vice-Moderator
Reflections on April 6th Presbytery Meeting from the Council Report
“Current and former members of the Disaster Response Task Force were recognized and thanked for their service to the Presbytery. They are Helen King, Martha Reisner, Jean Sparks, Andy MacPherson, and Susan Strang.   The Council report also dealt with a couple of overtures that were being passed on to Presbytery for a vote to concur.”

If you would like to provide feedback on the April meeting please do so.  Thank you all for your service.  Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting.  See you at Silver Bay, Lake George, for which registration is now available!

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