A request from several members of the Albany Presbytery (letter dated August 3, 2016; snail mailed sent to the attention of The Rev. Nancy Talbot) was received by Synod office August 11, 2016. At the referral of the Synod Stated Clerk, The Synod of the Northeast Mission and Ministries Commission on September 16, 2016 considered the request and voted to establish a Special Administrative Review Committee (SARC) to review the operations and procedures at the Albany Presbytery. And thus, there was a SARC!
We the members of the Albany Presbytery SARC will listen, evaluate, and review policies and procedures related to the August letter and make recommendations to the Synod of the Northeast. Our purpose is not to dictate to you, but to be with you, as the Presbytery establishes its “best practices.” Our call is to read, hear, and assess; meet and interview folks in Albany Presbytery. Our hope is that our work is constructive in furthering the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in Albany Presbytery.
It is important to make the distinction between a SARC and an Administrative Commission. An Administrative Commission may take the reins and actually govern in the place of a council. We are not involved in a remedial complaint or a judicial matter. As a Committee, we come alongside the governing body to assist. A SARC listens, reviews, studies, and recommends. The request for a SARC was born out of the desire of some presbyters to find ways for Albany Presbytery to become healthier.
SARCs study and recommend action to the Council that established it. (See Book of Order G-3.0107) Our charge is to report back to the Synod of the Northeast Mission and Ministries Commission. We will do so with a written report. After the Commission reviews the SARC report, we will present you with our findings as well as any commission comments or recommendations at a presbytery meeting.
The SARC will give a report, complete with recommendations to the Synod as soon as possible. Such processes take as long as they take, perhaps up to a year.
In early December, we met with the presbyters who requested the SARC, as well as your transitional presbyter, associate executive, and stated clerk. We are in the process of setting up interviews to learn more from you.
You can help us in our work. An e-mail address email@example.com has been set up for you to communicate with the members of the SARC. This is a confidential e-mail. Only members of the SARC can read these messages. Your correspondence with us will not be shared with anyone or discussed with anyone except among the members of the SARC. We want to assure you of the confidential nature of all that you share with us via this e-mail address, in our meetings, or interviews.
The members of the Albany SARC are:
Ruling Elder Roland Butts has been a member of First Presbyterian Church in Poughkeepsie since childhood. The church sold its building and merged with Freedom Plains which was a major transition and spiritual journey. Roland has served as Clerk of Session of both churches. He is an active elder in Hudson River Presbytery and has served as a Trustee and moderated the Permanent Judicial Commission. As an attorney, he has helped the presbytery dissolve churches and sell their real property.
Teaching Elder Nancy J. Farrell recently retired after thirty two years of ordained ministry in the PC (U.S.A.). Originally a Chicago retailer, Nancy J. ministered on the west coast in Washington, California and Oregon. She served in urban and interim ministry, on Synod staff and as a pastor, most recently, at Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra. She has served as Moderator of Cascades Presbytery, Chair of Cascades Council and Budget Unit. Currently she is an organic gardener, a non-profit consultant and journal workshop leader.
Teaching Elder Gavin Meek serves as the Interim General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Hudson River consisting of 81 churches in eight counties above New York. He has served in ordained ministry in the PC (U.S.A.) for 28 years, eighteen of those in interim/transitional ministry in eight congregations of various sizes in seven states. Gavin has been a part of the interim ministry faculty of the PC (U.S.A.) for over eight years and has taught at Montreat, Princeton, Zephyr Point, Union Seminary in Richmond and Union Seminary in New York.
Teaching Elder Katie Rivera Torea studied at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and was ordained in 2004. She completed the Professional/Pastoral Coaching course at Auburn Seminary and currently serves as regional vice-chair on Commission on Ministry in Hudson River Presbytery. Katie’s continuing education emphasis is in cross- cultural / multi-cultural studies and church change / transformation. She also has experience in archival work and research.
Ruling Elder Jeremiah Rosario is a member of Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York, where he has served as Deacon, Ruling Elder, Clerk of Session, and Chair of the Christian Education Committee. In the New York City Presbytery he has served on the Committee on Standing Rules and Overtures and as Chair of the Committee on Nominations. Jeremiah currently serves as a member of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations. An Executive Assistant/Legal Secretary by trade, he has worked for in- house councils in the cosmetics, telecommunications, and real estate fields.
Ruling Elder Robert Trawick is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College. His Hudson River Presbytery service includes Moderator of the Presbytery and Chair of the Faith and Order Committee. Serving with PC (U.S.A.) Robert has been active as a member of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and is serving as the Communications Chair for the Israel/Palestine Mission Network.
Teaching Elder Laurena Will was raised in the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery. She is a Louisville Seminary Graduate who was ordained in 1991. She served 14 years of ministry in Wolcott and Huron Presbyterian Churches in the Geneva Presbytery before coming to the North Country where she did Spiritual Care for roughly 2 years with Hospice and Palliative of St. Lawrence Valley. She has been serving First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg, NY in Northern New York Presbytery since August 2007. Laurena has been very active in the Synod of the Northeast for many years.
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 council. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.