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The 319th Stated Meeting of the Albany Presbytery was held on September 15, 2018 at the Brunswick Church. 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 September 15th meeting listed below include the following reports. See below for more details.

  • Open Space
  • Recognition of Honorable Retirement
  • Speak Out
  • SPAT Presentation and Staffing Discussion
  • Budget and Finance
  • Committee on Representation and Nominations
  • Committee on Church Mission
  • Trustees Report


Open SpaceCookies & Chaplains – Rev. Katy Stenta

“All three of our chaplain partners were available for a panel discussion Sandy Damhof from SUNY Albany (15 years), Darren Gundrum (2nd year) from Russell Sage, and Heather Kirk-Davidoff from Union College (interim). The chaplains are all funded by outside sources, and are somewhat disconnected from the administrations and faculty. They each have to fundraise for their salaries & activities and continually experience cutbacks. Chaplains all agreed that chaplaincy provides community and relief from stress of overwork, job searching, and debt on campus. It also provides an alternative to party culture. SUNY Cornerstone has recently lost its building, the Russell Sage ministry is just starting to get the rhythm of things, and the Chaplaincy at Union used to be a combined job with the college equaling more than full-time–thus the interim period for the new part-time chaplaincy begins. All Chaplains were happy to answer questions and build community as a Protestant presence on campus.”

Open SpaceChild Abuse Presentation – RE Judy Hartley

“Albany Presbytery, Prevent Child Abuse New York and Westminster Presbyterian Church joined in an effort to better equip church leadership. A free training will be offered Saturday, October 6 from 9:00am to 12:00 noon at Ballston Spa Presbyterian Church to provide a multimedia presentation on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Who benefits? Pastors, Elders, Trustees, Deacons, church school teachers, youth leaders, families, parents, grandparents,children, youth and involved church leadership. Designed to equip, inform and offer skills and tips for effective work with children, youth and families, the training provides the companion education piece to the Albany Presbytery child abuse policy requirement.”


Recognition of Honorable Retirement

Rev. Stewart Pattison was recognized, thanked for his service, and is now considered Honorably Retired.

Speak Out/Open Microphone

  • Christy D’Ambrosio, Albany Presbytery Triennium Registrar
    THE PRESBYTERIAN YOUTH TRIENNIUM is next summer (July 16-20, 2019) at Purdue University.
    Pastors, youth directors, youth and parents should start gathering info for this event SOON.  Please contact Christy D’Ambrosio, Youth Director at First Pres in Albany, and Presbytery Registrar ( or 518-423-4763) for more information. Learn more on Sunday, 9/30 at 7pm during an online webinar. Click here for more information.
  • Debbie Waggener – Free Charity Concert – Lost Radio Rounders – Hamilton Union’s Sanctuary: Friday, October 19th – 7:00 pm
    Lost Radio Rounders is an acoustic duo, that  performs classic songs, ballads and singalongs from the Civil War to the Civil Rights era. Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck keep the legacy of American folk music alive. A freewill offering will be collected for Family Promise. This is a community organization that uses church facilities to provide temporary shelter to homeless families and their children. For more information:
  • Kathy Gorman-Coombs came home from Guatemala with some lovely items to sell, made by graduates from the Mam Sewing School.  They will be available at Presbytery meetings, and at several fairs and events throughout the Presbytery.
  • Katy Stenta – Farmer’s Market continues Tues 3-6pm at New Covenant Presbyterian Church til Oct 2nd.
  • Katy StentaNWC TrailPraisers inclusive worship invites all levels, faiths and abilities to experience worship together Sept 29th 3pm. For more information email
  • Charlotte Hasselbarth – PW Night in Liberia, October 3rd, Mayfield, NY at 6:00 pm. Click here for more information.
  • Amaury Tañón-Santos – Giving thanks for the birth and baptism of his son, Sebastián Mikel.
  • Kate Kotfila – Please be praying for farm workers, especially in Washington County.

Rev. Ted Wright, HR – SPAT Moderator
SPAT Presentation and Staffing Discussion

“The Staffing Process Advisory Team presented its final report, covering 15 months of activity. Bottom line: Presbytery has made sufficient progress to warrant proceeding toward decisions on staffing models. Since disagreements and disappointments remain in some quarters, SPAT recommended – and Presbytery endorsed – the formation of an annual Koinonia Team (sort of like a Moderator’s cabinet) to continue bringing people together for conversation, connection, discernment, and spiritual growth. SPAT is now discharged. Meanwhile, the Personnel Committee has proposed a staffing model for debate and vote in November. Please note: Future staff will be working remotely. Presbytery’s lease on the office in Troy terminates Dec. 31.”

Rev. Tom Gregg
Coordinator, Budget and Finance Committee

“Budget & Finance committee understands that it is difficult to address the reality of the presbytery’s finances, especially when we are always facing the desire to live into our calling with less revenue. We appreciate the concerns raised at the presbytery meeting’s first reading of the 2019 budget. Having previously asked ourselves many of these concerns, we hope you felt we addressed them with diligence and care.

The August 2018 financials show the total spending by the Committees for the eight months has only been $12,575 compared to the eight month budget of $41,844. That means our committees are only spending 30% of their allotted budgets and every Committee is underspent.

As we prepare for the second reading please take note of the upcoming opportunities to continue to discuss in greater depth balancing future staffing needs while continuing to support our committees and missional needs: Presbytery-wide Convocation – New Personnel Structure Discussion October 10, 2018 in Malta. Click here for details.

We offer the following questions for consideration to committee members and the general presbytery as we prepare for our next gatherings:

  1. What line items are mandated by the Book of Order?
  2. What line items implement Best Practices for the folks you serve?
  3. What line items bear witness of the Presbytery as distinct from the Session and/or Synod/GA?
  4. Or What are congregations doing that the Presbytery doesn’t need to do but rather support?”

Rev. Rebecca Lawson Putman

“COMAC recommended to presbytery and the presbytery acted to raise the minimum terms of call by 3% for 2019 because of the rising cost of living.  We also recommended to presbytery, which is turn recommended to the churches, to raise the all pastors’ salary by 3% as a cost of living increase.  This raise is for the effective salary (salary plus housing) but not for other benefits like continuing education or professional expenses. We also remind churches of the New York State Family Leave Act, which applies to churches and their employees.  More information can be found at

Rev. Jerry McKinney
Chair, Committee on Representation and Nominations

“The Committee on Representation & Nominations was pleased to be able to nominate four ruling elders and four teaching elders to serve as commissioners to the Synod of the Northeast. The four ruling elders were Samantha Brewer, Ted Eighmie, Judy Hartley, and Bill Henderson. Samantha Brewer and Bill Henderson were elected to serve. The four teaching elders were Larry Greenwold, Rebecca Lawson Putman, Katie Stenta, and Susan Strang. Rebecca Lawson Putman and Katie Stenta were elected to serve.

The Committee nominated and the Presbytery elected the Rev. Donna Elia to serve as Presbytery treasurer.

The Committee nominated and the Presbytery elected the Rev. Annie Reilly to serve on the Personnel Committee in the Class of 2018.

The Committee is seeking folks to serve on our Presbytery committees. We will be presenting a slate of nominations at the November Presbytery meeting. If you are interested in serving, please contact Jerry McKinney at Thank you!”

Rev. Stewart Pattison, HR
Committee of Leadership Development

“The Committee on Leadership Development requested the Presbytery to remove Nazish Naseem from the roll of candidates to be ordained as Minister of Word and Sacrament. In doing so the committee celebrated her ordination by the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan earlier this year. In addition the committee reported the good news that it has agreed to support Tom Carter, a Ruling Elder from Ballston Spa as he undertakes meeting the requirements of a Commissioned Ruling Elder.”

Rev. Katy Stenta
Outgoing Chair, Church Mission Committee

“Mission is pleased to say that Ted Wright will be taking over the committee with Katy Stenta staying on the committee to serve. Mission had a very successful Open Space with the Chaplains (see the report earlier in this blog post) and is going to start grappling with the budget suggestions from Finance.”

RE Don Drew
Board of Trustees

Rev. Donna Elia was elected to the Treasurer position on the Board of Trustees following Rev. Bill Levering’s resignation. The committee on Representation and Nominations will look to fill Donna’s vacation VP of Trustees spot. The Carlisle Presbyterian Church is looking to dissolution in 2018 and the Trustees are working with them to help make this happen. Click here for the complete report.

Thank you all for your service.  Official minutes will be offered at the next Presbytery meeting. See you at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tuesday, November 13, 2018 beginning at 6:30 pm.

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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.