Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley Assembly

June 29, 2013   9:00 am to Noon

At the Masonville, Federated Church   Rte. 206 & Rte. 8      Masonville, NY 13804

Digest of Actions Taken at the Stated Meeting

of The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley

Masonville Federated Church, Saturday June 29, 2013

Presbytery Moderator Lisa Heckman opened the assembly with prayer.   A quorum was present – 25 churches were represented by Ruling Elder Commissioners, 27 Teaching Elders,  4 Commissioned Lay Pastors, 4 Ruling Elders with vote due to office, and 5 visitors.  First time commissioners were introduced.  The total enrolled attendance was 81.

Ruling Elder Kathy Carvin(Masonville) gave a welcome, directions and historical background on the church and its current ministry.  The Agenda and Consent Agenda were approved.

Worship using the  theme "Responding to God" with scriptures from Psalm 127, 1 Peter 2:4-10 and Matthew 4:3  was led by Kathy Carvin, Charles Mays, Garrett Schindler, Doug Horne, Bonnie Wheeler and Elva Martin.  $700 was collected with half to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and half to the local food pantry housed at the Masonville church.

The Rev. Cynthia Walton-Leavitt reported for the Committee on Lay Preaching.   Presbytery approved  the  document "Authorized Lay Preachers:  Steps to Commissioning." She gave thanks to those involved this last year and distributed certificates to those who have completed courses and previewed the upcoming polity class on July 20. Christopher Hooker gave a demonstration of how distance learning as part of the upcoming Old Testament course Sept 28- Dec. 7.

The Committee on Ministry report was given by co-chair Mark Montfort.  He introduced Kimberly Chastain (Binghamton United),and reintroduced to Chris Hooker (At Large),and  Pat Raube (Endicott Union) who has been installed as Pastor, having served as Designated Pastor.  A Free Methodist pastor, Mike Jansen, will be serving Deposit as part-time Temporary Supply.  Jared Stephens (Stamford) has just gotten married and there will be a reception for him and his new bride.   The Board of Pensions is now making decisions on the dues changes for 2014 and 2015, based on much feedback from churches and pastors everywhere - details at  

Mark reported that the Pastoral Relationship between Unadilla and Patty Wolff is now dissolved and that she will continue as pastor for part-time service at East Guilford.  He also gave a narrative of the discernment process, including failure of the hired consultant to attend the scheduled meetings.  The consultant fees have been refunded along with an apology.     

The Church Leadership Connection system is changing to redesigned forms for both churches and ministers this summer, with August 1 as the changeover date. 

A 'first reading' of the proposed policy change regarding eligibility of Interims to become the next installed Pastor was given (after a recess during which the missing language was located).

Replace  Policy 10, Item D-10,   "Interims will not (under any circumstances) become the next installed pastor, associate pastor, stated supply, or on-going minister of the church."

with the following:

"Interims will not ordinarily become the next installed pastor, associate pastor, stated supply, or on-going minister of the church.The presbytery may permit an exception to this rule provided the mission strategy of the presbytery as well as that of the congregation is served by so doing. The presbytery shall permit this eligibility only by a three-fourths vote of the members of presbytery present and voting."

Rationale: The amendment of Policy 10-D-10 preserves the standard that the Interim shall not ordinarily be eligible to become the next permanent pastor (etc), but comes into alignment with the new Form of Government by permitting an exception if the mission strategy of the presbytery is served by so doing. (G-2.0504C)

Presbytery was also informed that this arose in consultation with the Cortland United church Session which is requesting that current interim pastor Dave Johnson be considered for call as installed pastor.  A letter explaining the rationale was presented as well as possible options for Presbytery action (in September) in the Stated Clerk report.   COM continues to consult with the Session and Interim on this matter and is seeking to establish a clear, well-defined process.  There were several questions and contributions to the discussion from the floor.

Council Moderator Linda Riddell (Oneonta First) gave the Council Report.  Council now has moved out of 12 Whitney Way and holds its meetings at the Masonville Church.  

 Action items approved by Presbytery:

     *  Granted permission to the Charlotte Valley Presbyterian Church to transfer ownership of its North Kortright Church building and grounds (address, tax parcel and deed description) to the Upper Room Ministries of Richmondville NY when all necessary details and legal work, including presentation to the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley through its Trustees, are completed.  It is further understood that all closing costs will be paid by the Upper Room Ministries. 

     *  Electing to the Nominating Committee in the class of 2015:   Paul Kindig(Northminster); Mary Jane Schaeffer (Gilbertsville)

Emrys Tyler (Nineveh) reported for the Building-less Office Task Force. 12 Whitney Way will no longer be used as an office beginning July 8.   Today is vulture day - Christine will be present at 12 Whitney Way following this meeting to distribute items to be taken home to any church.  Postcards with the new contact information have been sent out and were available.   Phone 607-323-4477.

Garrett Schindler (Bovina UP)  reviewed the progress of the Website Redesign Task Force.  Most of the design and materials have been transferred to the new site and the old site links to those new places.  Old passwords still work on the new site, and response forms and e-mails that link to committee chairs are working.   Please use the feedback form with your questions or suggestions. 

Presbytery acted on the report of the Nominating Committee given by Lynn Shepard electing

            Ordination Exam Readers:  Jane Park (Endicott Union)  Lisa Heckman (Northminster) 

            David Johnson (Cortland UP), Joan Wise Hostetter(Owego); alternate - Jim Martin (Andes).

            Committee on Lay Preaching member -  Chris Hooker (at large)

Len Bjorkman (Honorably Retired) reported on the survey of ministries in congregations that serve justice and mission. Members of Presbytery verbally added to the list - which included ministries of  East Guilford, Endicott Union, Endicott First, Gilbertsville, Oneonta First and Northminster.  

What God is Doing around the Presbytery continued the flow of this sharing with news about Camnperships, New Beginnings, the future merger of Athens, Sayre and Waverly, Smithville Flats restoring a pew that passed through the fire and growth in church school, Sarah Hooker's maternity leave support, upcoming VBS  in several locations and other events.

Stated Clerk Jim Martin (Andes) gave his report reviewing items regarding Christian Marriage and same-sex unions including study guides provided by the General Assembly. He reported Synod review of Presbytery Minutes and in New York State, clergy are not mandated reporters of suspected abuse.

Youth Triennium  -  Patty Wolff (East Guilford) and Diarmuid O'Hara (Bainbridge) presented a dozen of the youth going to Triennium and led the Presbytery in a Commissioning Service for Parrish Bridges, Allen Cameron, Jennifer Amend, Brandon Bell, Garrett Bonadies, Sydney Brauer, Sean Cona, Nolan Erckert, Meredith Hammerslag, Shawn Landon, Courtney Lewis, Talia Lewis, Jazmine Meade, Dakota Smith, Morgan Talley, Randy Way, Kerri White and Chaperones Alicia Dixon-Garrard, Becky Kindig, and Emrys Tyler.

The minutes of  April 20, 2013 had been removed from the consent agenda and were approved with language clarifying that the call of Binghamton United to Kimberly Chastain is to installed pastor.

Presbytery adjourned with prayer, at 11:59 a.m., one minute early.     Next Meeting 9/21/13 at Laurens.