May 21st Presbytery Meeting Highlights


The Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia of the Presbytery of New York City, the Vice Moderator of the General Assembly, spoke to the Presbytery on the state of the Church.

Stated Clerk & Correspondance

Sessional Review Commendations and Exceptions 2015 

Following the Vice Moderator’s address, the Presbytery divided into six workshop groups on subjects related to financial stewardship, with each topic repeated immediately afterwards for a second round. The workshops and their leaders were as follows:

Stronger Stewards make Stronger Churches, led by the Rev. Myrlene Hamilton Hess
Discerning God’s Vision, led by the Rev. Christina Hindley
How to Tell Your Story, led by the Rev. Wendy Bailey
Effective Stewardship Campaigns, the Rev. led by Lisa Day
“Zero-based” Budgeting, led by the Rev. George Betz
Accessing Abundance, led by the Rev. Cynthia Ritter Parker

From the Mission Council

It was moved and carried that the Presbytery adopt the Safe Child Policy.

It was moved and carried to amend the Presbytery’s Administrative Manual by adding the following two sections:

“Quorum for Presbytery Meetings – The quorum for a meeting of the Presbytery shall be three teaching elders who are members of the presbytery and three ruling elder commissioners from three separate congregations.”

“Call for Special Presbytery Meetings – Special meetings of the Presbytery may be called by vote of the Mission Council, or by the written request of three teaching elders who are members of the presbytery and three ruling elder commissioners from three separate congregations. The call shall be issued by email and other available means at least ten days prior to the special meeting.”

Ruling Elder and Presbytery Treasurer Nancy Tindall provided an update on Presbytery finances. Revenues are coming in slower than anticipated. Presbytery leadership is looking for areas of the budget where expenses can be reduced. In order to manage cash flow, the Presbytery will be slowing its rate of remittances to the Synod and the General Assembly, leaving the way open to possibly amending the budgeted amount for such remittances.

General Presbyter

The Rev. Wendy Bailey reported on the availability of the Presbyterian Foundation’s Mission Exchange web resource, not only for receiving gifts to the Presbytery, but also for congregations. Four funds are available for contributions to the Presbytery: the General Fund, the Genesis Center, the Presbytery Mission Fund and the Presbytery Endowment Fund

Ms. Bailey also spoke of plans that are under way for the formation of three new working groups:

Faithful Endings – pastoral issues related to end of life for congregations

New Communities – will explore forming new faith communities, some in coordination with the General Assembly’s “1001 New Worshiping Communities” initiative

Congregational Renewal

Giving online, now available on the website.

From the Committee on Ministry

Mr. Livingston reported that the Rev. Christina Hindley attended the Board of Pensions Regional Benefits Consultation in Philadelphia, and directed the Presbytery’s attention to a document detailing changes in the Plan for 2017.

Mr. Livingston reported that, at its meeting of May 3, 2016, the committee approved the following policy: “The Committee on Ministry encourages all teaching elders to be a part of the Board of Pensions Pastors Participation Plan. If insurance is obtained for contracted teaching elders, congregations will pay 100% of the costs.” (Contracted teaching elders are those serving congregations who are not installed.)

Reminding the Presbytery that G-2.0504 defines two broad categories of Pastoral Relationships — Installed Pastoral Relationships (pastor, co-pastor and associate pastor), and Temporary Pastoral Relationships (to be defined by the presbytery) — Mr. Livingston informed the Presbytery than, on March 1, 2016, the committee agreed to use the following position titles: Pastor (Installed), Associate Pastor (Installed), Pastor (Contracted), Associate Pastor (Contracted), Interim (Contracted), CRE (Commissioned Ruling Elder), Parish Associate and Specialized Ministry.

Advocacy Commission for Long Term Recovery

On behalf of the Advocacy Commission for Long Term Recovery, the Rev. Merideth Mueller reminded the Presbytery of the history of the Presbytery’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Housing has been a major area of work, and this has led to current discussions about establishing a Micro Housing Group to explore the construction of new affordable housing. The Presbytery’s Sandy funds have all been dispersed.

Leadership Development Working Group

Joyce Davies and others from the Group advised the Presbytery of the 9/17 “What Does It Mean to Be Presbyterian?” educational event.  See flyer

Installation of Moderator & Vice Moderator

The Moderator led the Presbytery in a brief service of installation of the Rev. Gary Filson as Moderator and Sue Smith as Vice Moderator.

Commissioning of Presbytery Commissioners to General Assembly

The Presbytery commissioned with prayer the following individuals as commissioners to the 222nd General Assembly:

The Rev. John Monroe
The Rev. Merideth Mueller
Ruling Elder Julissa Alvarez-Garcia, Principe de Paz, Cliffwood Beach
Ruling Elder Walter Vincent, Hightstown
YAAD Crystal Garcia, Principe de Paz, Cliffwood Beach



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