What follows is the second in a series of updates.  This Advisory Team gathered for the first time on June 30 – see our former blog post – and then for a second time for five hours on July 21.  Joining that second meeting was a newcomer, Samantha Brewer, a young adult from the Hoosick Falls church.

Staffing Process Advisory Team assignment, as delegated by presbytery’s Coordinating Committee: “To work with Synod of the Northeast leader Harold Delhagen to develop well-designed process and timeline to arrive at a final staffing plan.”

The Advisory Team has identified patterns which up to now have thwarted Albany Presbytery in reaching consensus.  We have agreed, therefore, that a healthy process going forward should bear the following characteristics:

  • Respectful of all involved
  • Inclusive (involving as many as possible, even people who don’t normally attend presbytery meetings)
  • Organic/collaborative (participants working together as organs in one body)
  • Individually and publicly owned (not permitting anonymous contributions)
  • Coordinated (rather than groups heading off in different directions, unaware of each other’s work)
  • Theologically grounded

At this point, we can only propose the start of such a process.  We cannot foresee the whole timetable, much less result.  Hence, we are submitting a recommendation to the Coordinating Committee with ideas for how to structure the special meeting of Presbytery which has been called for Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 pm in Ballston Spa.

Briefly, we propose that people who attend Sept. 12 will first hear updates from staff and committee chairs regarding their situations since July 1 (when the full-time executive position became vacant), and then together all present will identify questions which Presbytery should address in order to move forward.

We are not proposing any pre-determined options – whether about presbytery’s needs, priorities, and goals (which in our view must be clarified) nor about the staffing model which eventually supports those goals.  In our view, the major challenge now is to cultivate teamwork.

Along such lines, we expect that a report from the Synod Administrative Review Commission (SARC) will become available sometime during fall.  We anticipate that its findings will illuminate past problems with Albany Presbytery teamwork and processes.  Anxious conversations could develop in its wake.  If so, they needn’t derail our present efforts.  If anything, they could inform the kind of healthy process we seek.  Presbytery has a chance, going forward, to do better.

Our Team notes the benefit of congregational consultant Rev. Dr. James Fenimore’s 2016 report to (the former) Presbytery Council.  We recommend that this report be published to Presbytery.  It, too, illuminates past problems.

Rev. Harold Delhagen was busy conducting a funeral on July 21.  However, in advance he had conferred extensively with Team leader Ted Wright.  After our meeting, Kate Kotfila announced that she will resign from the Team so as to focus on duties as presbytery’s Vice-Moderator-elect.

Questions or comments for the Advisory Team may be addressed through Ted Wright (HR) at: staffingprocess@albanypresbytery.org  (Update 10/2018: This email address is no longer in use. Please direct any questions to the Albany Presbytery office at info@albanypresbytery.org.)

Other members are:

  • Lynn Brown (Amsterdam)
  • Samantha Brewer (Hoosick Falls)
  • Harold Delhagen (Synod of the Northeast)
  • Terry Diggory (Saratoga Springs)
  • Katy Stenta (Albany New Covenant)

As stated earlier, this is the second in a series of updates. Additional updates can be read found on the Albany Presbytery Transitional Planning page on our website. Below is a link to the first update.

Update #1: Albany Presbytery Staffing Process Advisory Team


Ted Wright, Honorably Retired.  Ted recently 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.

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.

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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.