Come to the Table which is an event hosted at the end of October at Silver Bay YMCA by the Synod of the Northeast. Our Synod used to have annual Synod Assemblies where we would vote on business and deal with parliamentary matters. Last fall the Synod Assembly voted to meet as an Assembly every other year (the same years as General Assembly) and in the “off” years to host a Synod-wide gathering for the sharing of resources, the visioning of where God is leading us as a Synod community and to make connections to each other across our Presbytery boundaries in new ways. This event, Come to the Table is set up to do exactly that.
I want to personally invite you to consider attending this event and if possible bringing a team from your congregation or ministry. While some of us have thought, “What’s the point of a Synod,” or “What does the Synod do anyway?” I want to assure you that this is a new day in the life of our Synod and a time that is full of rich and vital gifts for exactly the ministry you are seeking. The Synod community is a fertile gathering place for the specific transitional conversations we are having in Albany Presbytery about where God’s Spirit is leading us. The Synod is ahead of us on this work and leading the way in conversations about porous boundaries of mid-councils, networked opportunities for ministry expansion, generous grant opportunities and a focus on engaging the tough questions of race and privilege in this important time. If you don’t believe me I invite you to ask some of our leaders in this Presbytery who are reaping the benefits of connections with the Synod: our campus ministers, our CrossFit New Worshiping Community, our newly formed Northern New York Committee on MInistry Network, and our under 35 leaders who are being supported by the Synod in many ways. Our commissioners to Synod Assembly are Michael Burkley and Susan Strang and our commissioners to the Ministry and Mission Commission that meets four times a year in between Assemblies are Paul Rich (First United Troy and RPI student) and Ted Amey (Charleton-Freehold).
As we begin the fall season of ministry there is much to do and much to discern in our transitional process. If we stay alone and only talk to ourselves in this process we will not see all that God intends for us to see. However, by joining with our sisters and brothers from around the Synod community we will see and hear new things, new opportunities for connection and shared ministries will emerge and I believe that we will continue to experience the moments of transformation and resurrection that are waiting for us. We will also experience the challenge that comes with spiritual growth. This is not a time of lessening of resources, but of expansion and re-channeling of resources into the new vistas that the Spirit is opening for us.
Please join us at Come to the Table, there will be some great people leading this event! And if you need scholarship assistance, partial scholarships are available, just give me a call or an email. (And finally, as we know, here in Albany Presbytery, there is no better place to be in fall than Silver Bay!)