Thirty teaching elders and twenty ruling elders gathered in Ballston Spa to receive the first report from the Staffing Process Advisory Team (SPAT): convened last June by the vice-moderator-elect in response to a presbytery action.

SPAT gave its rationale and proceeded to initiate a series of “patient, worshipful, and collaborative conversations” aimed toward clarifying goals and priorities, thus to promote better discernment of a staffing model.

The assembly first heard updates from current staff and committee chairs.  Those who spoke felt stretched to varying degrees, in the absence of a full-time executive. Most expressed concern about expectations going unmet. I appreciated their obvious commitment to the work. I also worried about frustration and exhaustion.

Commissioners then broke into small groups and discussed: “What are the most important questions for Albany Presbytery to pursue and/or resolve in order to move forward?”  Results of those discussions are now posted on the presbytery website.  Go to the Google Groups forum located on the “Transitional Planning” page beneath the “Resources” tab on the home page.  (To participate, you must use or create a Google account.)  By all means, join the conversation!  Improve it.  Invite others.

As moderator of SPAT, chosen despite (or perhaps because of) little recent history, I sensed spiritual unity during the acts of worship, positive energy during the small groups, and fresh anxiety over topics ranging from finance to workloads to factions.

Where do we go from here?  This process depends on prayer and participation.  I encourage all stakeholders to engage with due haste.  Yes, it will take us to difficult places.  Where else can we expect to find the Holy Spirit at work?

SPAT thinks there is advantage – at least for now – in having these conversations apart from regular business.  Let us utilize the forum, and then take stock at our November 15 meeting in Saratoga.  If sufficient consensus has not emerged by then, interim measures regarding staff may be required. Probably, some of the deepest questions will take longer.  Even so, this conversation can itself become part of God’s gift.

I find it helpful to bear in mind that we are on the same team, and that the Head of the Church has always loved the Bride.  Our team is at his service… and yours.

Faithfully, Ted Wright (HR) Valley Falls


Listed on our Transitional Planning page is:

About Rev. Ted Wright, HR

Ted rejoined Albany Presbytery, having served previously as pastor at the Presbyterian United Church of Schaghticoke from 1978-1982. Since then he has pastored congregations in Langhorne, PA, and Gaithersburg, MD, and worked for PC(USA) World Mission in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. Ted was the Moderator of the SPAT in 2018 and is now the chairperson of the Albany Presbytery Church Mission Committee.

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