Please share this information with all those interested in the work and opportunities happening in the Albany Presbytery. You may use the following URL to embed directly into your communications: https://albanypresbytery.org/reflections-nov-15-presbytery-meeting/

The 315th Stated Meeting of the Albany Presbytery was held on November 15, 2017 at the Presbyterian-New England Congregational Church (PNECC).  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 15th meeting listed below include the following reports.  See below for more details.

  • Meeting OverviewCara Molyneaux, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
  • YAV Report – Olivia Orth, 2016-2017 YAV to Zambia
  • Report on UN Youth Leadership Seminar – Christy D’Ambrosio, Coordinator
  • Synod Administrative Review Committee (SARC) Report – Thia Reggio, Synod of the NE
  • 2018 Budget – Tom Gregg
  • Speak Out
    • New Worship Service Opportunity – Katy Stenta
    • Presbyterian Rainbow – Terry Diggory
    • Old Bibles Available – Joyce Brewer
    • 2018 Mentor Program – Elizabeth Shen O’Connor
    • Aiding those Affected by Natural Disasters in Guatemala & Elsewhere: Guatemala Partnership Task Force – Kathy Gorman-Coombs
    • How do I participate in the Staffing Conversation? – Kim Deal
    • Recycled Computers – Michael Burkley
    • Peacemaking Task Force: Gun Violence – Elizabeth Meehan & Paul Randall
    • Trustees Report Overview – Bill Levering
    • Committee on Representation and Nominations – Terry Diggory
    • COMAC – Sam Jackling
    • Committee Reports:
      • Mission
      • SPAT proposal and actions taken
      • Congregational Development and Vitality
      • Personnel

Cara Molyneaux, Moderator, Albany Presbytery
Meeting Overview

“Presbytery met on Wednesday, November 15 at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church in Saratoga Springs in the late afternoon and evening. This business meeting included the report from the Synod Administrative Review Committee (SARC) after a months-long investigation as well as the adopting of a budget for 2018.  RE Darren Gundrum was Commissioned as a CRE and incoming Moderator RE Arthur Fullerton and Vice Moderator TE Kate Kotfila were Installed as Officers for 2018.”

Bonnie Orth on behalf of her daughter, Olivia Orth
2016-2017 YAV Experience in Zambia

Olivia was sick and not able to attend the meeting in person. Her mom, Bonnie Orth, shared her report with us.  Olivia’s report is available our blog site at: Telling My Story: A YAV Experience to Zambia by Olivia Orth.

Christy D’Ambrosio
Coordinator, UN Youth Seminar

PRESBYTERY ANNOUNCEMENT:

The New York State Council of Churches is sponsoring the UN Youth Leadership Forum in NYC, Tuesday-Thursday, during the school winter break, February 20-22, 2018.  A delegation from the Presbytery will join youth from other faiths throughout NYS, traveling by bus and staying at the Hilton East on 42nd Street, touring the UN, and attending a full day seminar at the Church of the Covenant down the street from the UN.

This year’s facilitator is Edgardo Acevedo, highly acclaimed theologian and activist.  Edgardo is also known as Solomon Starr, artist & performer.  Solomon has provided this Seminar description for youthful consumption: The Revolution of Hip Hop: A Low-Key Party For World Peace

From Revolution to Hip Hop is a full-day learning experience connecting the dots between radical music, art,  dance and fashion in major cities across the world.  Here participants will study how actors, musicians and others in the creative industries of today can influence lawmakers and community activists to fight for justice. Participants will bring their own flair to activities that will reveal what we can do using social media and smartphone technology to become advocates for healthy communities worldwide.

The cost is $400, which includes transportation, lodging for 2 nights, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, seminar & UN tour.  Scholarship assistance is available. An optional event for Wednesday evening is a Broadway show and dinner in Times Square.  We will be seeing Dear Evan Hansen, which addresses issues of adolescent interaction on social media.

For more information and trip details go to the Youth page on the presbytery website: https://albanypresbytery.org/committees-and-groups/youth/

The application deadline is December 1.  Contact Christy D’Ambrosio, coordinator (christy@firstpresalbany.org or 518-423-4763) for more information.  Please encourage your youth to attend.

Thia Reggio, Moderator of the Synod’s Mission & Ministries Commission, Synod of the NE
SARC Report

Representatives from the Synod of the Northeast and the Special Administrative Review Committee (SARC) presented a final report to the presbytery at the November 15 meeting. The report was formally received by the presbytery after a period of questions and answers with the committee, and the SARC was dismissed with gratitude. A follow up meeting to determine how to implement recommendations from the report will be led by the presbytery and its Staffing Process Advisory Team (SPAT). The Synod will be available as needed to participate in implementation at the presbytery’s request.”

Tom Gregg
Committee on Budget and Finance

“We want to thank the body for approving the 2018 budget, as well as, the concerns and questions raised at the Presbytery Meeting. As specific requests from SPAT for retreat/s in 2018 are received we will consult with Committee Chairs to see where the funds can come from without increasing the budget. The Committee on Budget and Finance will be working on a calendar to help guide us as to the specific dates information will be needed to begin to prepare the 2019 budget. We will also be requesting from the Coordination Committee an opportunity in the coming year to discuss future budgetary concerns.”

Speak Out: Announcement & Events

New Worship Service Opportunity: Katy StentaTrailPraisers: Making Paths to God, a New Worshipping Community working on accessibility for abled and differently-abled people together as a learning community about faith. Celebrating Christmas Together with Renowned Storyteller Tim Coombs telling the Christmas Story and group prayers and activities. All abilities and faiths welcome to experience this worship together Tuesday, Dec 12th at 6pm at New Covenant Presbyterian Church 916 Western Ave. Handicapped parking is available on the grass directly in front of the church. Come participate in the nativity story with us!”

Presbyterian Rainbow: Terry Diggory – Presbyterian Rainbow, the advocacy group for justice and inclusion for LGBTQ persons in Albany Presbytery and the wider society, is changing its mode of operation from a centralized organization to a network of concerned individuals and congregations.  We will no longer conduct a regular schedule of business meetings or annual fundraising.  Funds remaining in the Presbyterian Rainbow treasury have been disbursed in equal amounts to More Light Presbyterians and Parity.  We will continue to maintain our website and email list and provide opportunity for participation in events such as the Capital Region Pride Parade.  Members of Albany Presbytery are invited to share in a time of reflection and celebration of this evolving fellowship on January 6, 2018, 11:00 AM, at First Presbyterian Church, Albany.”

Collectors: Very Old Bibles Available: Joyce Brewer – The museum where Joyce works has copies of very old bibles.  If you are someone you know would be interested in them, please contact her at: tjbrewer4942@gmail.com

2018 Mentor Program: Elizabeth Shen O’Connor – For those interested transitional ministry training for the 21st century, Keli Rugenstein will lead a modified version of the Strategic Transitional Education Program (S.T.E.P.) over the course of the 2018 calendar year. More information to come in the next couple of weeks. If you are interested, please contact Elizabeth Shen O’Connor at elizabeth@brunswickchurch.org. Only 8 spots available.

Aiding those Affected by Natural Disasters in Guatemala & Elsewhere: Guatemala Partnership Task Force, Kathy Gorman-CoombsWe are asking for each congregation to designate $100—from your regular Mission giving, or through a special fund drive, or in whatever way you might do so—for this project. For more details, please read this article: Guatemala Partnership Invites You to Join Us in Aiding those Affected by Natural Disasters in Guatemala & Elsewhere

Participating in Albany Presbytery Transitional Work: Kim Deal – “During the meeting I was asked to show where people can learn more about how to participate online in the work that SPAT is doing.  If you go to the Transitional Planning page of the Albany Presbytery website, you will find a button/link which will bring you to the Google Forum and a instructional video showing you how to join.

If you are interesting in sharing your thoughts offline, please send your comments to Kim or anyone or to anyone on the SPAT and they will make sure that we post your comments to the Google Forum for Staffing and Conversation.

If you need more assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to for help.  Email Kim at: communications@albanypresbytery.org

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 pastorburkley@gmail.com.”

Peacemaking Task Force: Gun Violence: A Call to Prayer and Action: Paul Randall and Elizabeth Meehan – Elizabeth and Paul asked Presbyters to pray and take action against gun violence. They shared information on the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Gun Violence Awareness Day on Dec.14th as well as a Gun Violence Toolkit.  They passed out the following 2 documents:

Bill Levering
Board of Trustees

Hebron Center: The Board will be developing a proposal to present to Presbytery on how the net proceeds from the sale of the Hebron properties of $50,000 (or so) might be used that is consistent with the Presbytery’s action on June 8, 2010, to approve sale of the Hebron property which included the provision that Presbytery shall determine the use of available funds resulting from the sale in a manner consistent with the mission of Hebron Center no later than one year from the closing date.

* Bill added to the above that the proposal will likely be to create a separate account with the interest to be used for camperships.

Given the lack of a key to access some of the properties for which the Board is now responsible, the consensus of the Board is for the Presbytery to create a Lockbox in the office that will contain an access key to every church in the Presbytery because there may be times when someone from the Presbytery needs to access the buildings in an emergency. As a first step, church representatives will be asked at the November stated meeting to bring a church key to the February 2018 stated meeting when they will be collected. The Stated Clerk will add a request related to this on the next Annual Report Form sent to churches asking them to provide a key if they haven’t already done so.

* Bill gave a couple examples of times when the Presbytery might be sought out as the source of a key when the only local person who has a key might be away.

The following was presented to Presbytery for a First Reading.

The Board approved the following position description and recommends that it be received by the Presbytery for a first reading in accordance with Standing Rule VI.A. for action to incorporate it into Standing Rule III.A.5 at the February 10, 2018, stated meeting:

Albany Presbytery Treasurer

Position Description:
The Treasurer of the Presbytery of Albany is a volunteer position generally responsible to the Presbytery for the fiduciary obligations of the Presbytery in reporting, ensuring financial health, and legal conformity. The Treasurer shall be an officer of both the Presbytery and the Trustees and a signatory of the organization and its accounts.

It is the duty of the Treasurer to be informed of:

  1. The accounts and financial processes of the Presbytery.
  2. Relevant governmental regulations.
  3. The current status of budgets and budget processes.

The Treasurer works with the Presbytery Trustees, the staff, and any finance or budgeting agency of the Presbytery in ensuring the production of:

  1. Financial reviews or audits as required by the Book of Order.
  2. Financial reporting as required by the State of New York.
  3. Financial statements on a regular basis.
  4. Responsible operating and capital budgets.
  5. Orderly investment policies that conform to PC(USA) guidelines.

The Treasurer shall also:

  1. Assure the accuracy, safety and preservation of financial records
  2. Act as authorized liaison with financial institutions or individuals acting as depository, trustee, or manager of endowment or other funds.
  3. Act as authorized liaison with insurance underwriters to assure adequate insurance coverage and process of claims.

* Bill noted that he currently serves as the treasurer for both the Presbytery and the Board of Trustees.

Terry Diggory
Representation and Nominations Committee

Acting on the slate presented by the Committee, Presbytery elected the following members for the 2018 General Assembly: Larry Greenwold, Teaching Elder Commissioner (Kathi Jones, alternate); Charlotte Hasselbarth, Ruling Elder Commissioner (Arthur Fullerton, alternate); Anni-Maxine Quaye, Young Adult Advisory Delegate (Mara Bureau, alternate).  In a separate action, Presbytery elected 19 nominees to serve on 8 committees.  Some vacancies remain, particularly on the Committee on Church Development and Vitality and the Committee on Church Mission.  All members of Presbytery are strongly encouraged to send further nominations (including self-nominations) to any member of the Committee on Representation and Nominations.”

Sam Jackling, outgoing Co-Chair
Committee on Ministers and Congregations (COMAC)

  1. “We said goodbye to Rev. Brandan Eddy of the Schoharie United Presbyterian Church. He has accepted a call with the Monticello First Presbyterian Church in Indiana.
  2. We celebrate that Andrea Holroyd, who has been a candidate under the care of the Albany Presbytery has accepted a 3 month temporary position as Parish leader for the Schoharie UPC.
  3. With sadness but also profound gratitude Presbytery accepted the resolution for the dissolution of the First Presbyterian Church of West Galway. It is our understanding that the West Galway congregation has worshipped together for over two hundred years and has never had a called, installed pastor.  What an amazing commitment to worship the Lord.
  4. Presbytery celebrated and commissioned Ruling Elder Darren Gundrum (Trinity, Scotia) to serve as Protestant Chaplain and Spiritual Advisor at Russell Sage College.
  5. Rev. Donna Jackson has entered into a part time pastoral relationship with the Salem First United Presbyterian Church. Part of her role is to assist in creating a vision for ministry in parts of rural Washington County and identifying new worshipping community opportunities and/or ways of worship.
  6. And last but certainly not least, Rev. Scott DeBlock transferred his pastoral membership from the Reformed Church in America to the PC(USA).”

Special Process Advisory Team (SPAT) – SPAT offers 2 blog articles for review in reference to their continuing work:

Committee on Congregational Development and Vitality – Larry Greenwold, Chair

“The CCDV committee has continued work with the following churches as they explore and launch new shared ministry efforts.

  • Christ Church of the Hills / Schenectady State Street Presbyterian
  • Schoharie Presbyterian Church / Carlisle Presbyterian
  • Washington County Rural Ministries (explore possible shared ministries with Salem Presb. and several smaller congregations in the area.  Also explore the use of video technology in linking churches for morning worship.  Rev. Donna Jackson (refer to COMAC report) will be working with this project.

The committee is also working with the Trustees and COMAC on a Joint Task Force to determine the vitality and viability of smaller congregations and how their physical plants (buildings) affect their long term fiscal health.  

We continue to pursue our “Ministry Snapshot” program where we meet with pastors and sessions to develop a Ministry Plan for the future.  The goal is to realistically identify the church’s near term mission and then set out concrete steps to meet their mission goals.

As CCDV moves forward we set out two criteria to guide the work of our committee.  

  • Identify the future revitalization needs of our congregations and potential interventions to address these needs.
  • Identify and resource potential “new worshiping communities” in the Presbytery.

We recognize that much of this work has already begun through the work of our predecessor, the Committee on Ministry, and the Presbytery Trustees, but we are aware that much work is still needed to maintain vital ministries in the future.”

Personnel – Viki Brooks

In reference to action taken at the November 1, 2017 Special Presbytery Meeting, the Personnel Committee has posted a job description for the Temporary Part-Time Resource Presbyter.  This can be found on the Employment Opportunities page of the website.

Noting that Dan Rogers and Tim Coombs worked well beyond the hours and expectations of their respective positions, Personnel moved that each be given a $1,000 bonus for 2017.  The Presbytery acted unanimously to accept the motion.

Installation of Officers

A worship service was led by The Rev. Kathy Gorman-Coombs.  Ruling Elder Arthur Fullerton was installed as Moderator and The Rev. Kate Kotfila was installed as Vice Moderator.

Thank you all for your service.  Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting.  See you at Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, Saturday, February 10, 2018 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

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.