Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley Assembly

Saturday April 20, 2013

United Presbyterian Church of Cortland, NY


Minutes in Seconds

Digest of Actions Taken at the Stated Meeting

of The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley

United Presbyterian Church of Cortland, Saturday April 20, 2013 

Presbytery Moderator Lisa Heckman opened the assembly with prayer at 9:00 a.m.  A quorum was present – 20 churches were represented by Ruling Elder Commissioners, 1 Commissioned Lay Pastor, 23 Teaching Elders,  5 Ruling Elders with vote due to office, and 3 visitors.  First time commissioners Rich Carle (Christ, Cortlandville), Doug Moore(Conklin), Joan Loeffler(Garrattsville) and Julia Smith (Oneonta First) were introduced.  Prayers for the family and friends of Griff Brooks, whose funeral is today at Stamford were also included.  The Revs.Edwin Kang(Cayuga-Syracuse) and Rev. Peter Kwon (Northern NY) were seated as corresponding members.  The total enrolled attendance was 54. 

Ruling Elder Janis Martin(Cortland United), gave a welcome and historical background on the church and its current ministry. Interim Pastor David Johnson gave directions including the elevator location.  The wifi ID was projected on the screen.  The Agenda, Consent Agenda and Minutes of February 23 and March 25, 2013 were approved. Presbytery continued with Worship on the theme “Wrestling With God” with a reflection on Genesis 32 given by Rev. David Johnson.  Stated Clerk James Martin read 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 and the names of Ruling and Teaching Elders deceased during 2012.  An offering of $379 was collected with half to the Pentecost Offering and half to the ministries of the Cortland County Council of Churches.


Amendments to the Constitution

Stated Clerk, James Martin presented Part I - a new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism – 2/3 of the Presbyteries will need to approve this in order for it to become part of the Constitution.  Presbytery approved the new translation of Heidelberg by voice vote.  

Ruling Elder Joan Wise-Hostetter  presented item 12-B  'Gifts and Qualifications'  which would amend G-2.0104a.  She had served on the GA committee for that item last summer.  After discussion and debate, presbytery took a ballot of 13-Yes,  36-No and none abstaining.

A motion was approved to vote on all items except 12-F with one vote.  The remaining items were approved.  Item 12-F (number of Presbyteries needed to bring Overtures to General Assembly) was also approved by show of hands after opportunity for discussion and debate. 

Garrett Schindler (Bovina UP) reviewed the progress of the Website Redesign Task Force and welcomed designer Brian Wolken who then spent time demonstrating features of the new website and answering many questions.   The website will be ready later this year.   Right now the office staff and website team have most of the editing abilities, but others will be added.  Brian demonstrated a small amount of this.  It remains an information and communication tool – and is not a substitute for reaching out – we need to go beyond it to do evangelism and mission.

Teaching Elder Emrys Tyler reported for the Ethiopian Partnership Team teaching us to say “good morning” in the Oromo language.  He highlighted the “Shout Out” published by the Team and asked for prayers for Ethiopia and the exchange of visitors happening this year.

Teaching Elder Patty Wolff reported for the Nurture Team on the Camperships which are available now, at more generous levels than previous years.  Deadline is July 1.  

The Sharing of Good News included:   Retirement celebration Dr. James Henery (Ithaca) in June,  68 homes repaired by Faith Partners in Flood Recovery, funding is needed, as well as warehouse space;  churches and groups concerned about gas drilling and ministering to those on all sides,  United Ministry of Delhi is a 'More Light' church,  Justice in Ministry received many responses from clerks of Session about what they are doing in ministries of justice and hope to hear from more, planning for the June 29 picnic at the Mission Center – contact Linda Riddell to help,  200th anniversary of Marathon church next year,  May 2 rummage sale at Northminster, April 25 Mexican style chicken and biscuit dinner at Oneonta First to support Jamaica ministry.

During the Committee on Ministry report, given by co-chair Mark Montfort Presbytery approved and welcomed the Rev. Peter Kwon, designating him an Evangelist in his work with a Korean Presbyterian ministry in Vestal (Hanmaum Presbyterian Church is still in development).   Presbytery also approved the Rev. Janet Adair Hansen as a temporary member of Presbytery during her continuing call to Christ Community Church (Cortlandville).   Janet's minister membership was transferred to the United Church of Christ, effective March 31, 2013. 

Sarah Hooker(Delhi First) and Mark Piedmonte(Gilbertsville) were invited to report on the Board of Pensions Eastern Regional Benefits Consultation they had just participated in at Philadelphia, along with COM co-chair Mark Montfort and Stated Clerk James Martin.  

The Board has been listening carefully as it prepares to make decisions on the medical dues structure in response to rising healthcare costs.   Three major options were presented at the consultations –  online at  and there are also places to leave feedback.   A decision by the board is scheduled for June. 


During the Council report these action items were approved by Presbytery:

* to increase the hours and compensation for the Office Adminstrator by 2 hours per week.

* to increase the hours and compensation for the Stated Clerk by 3 hours per week.

* to make these increases effective with the next pay period.

* to elect Lynn Shepard as chair of the Nominating Committee

Emrys Tyler (Nineveh) reported for the Building-less Office Task Force.   1. A new phone system that is portable to any work location and do everything and more than any previous system.  2.  The Resource Center will soon be under care of one of our churches.   3.  Scanning of documents and files to digital media is 70% done.    The answer to the question of who makes copies of documents for committee or team meetings when we no longer have the building and copier in place is look in the mirror and say “me”.  

The listing contract for the realtor seeking to sell the PMSC was extended six months. 

Lynn Shepard appealed for names to be forwarded to the Nominating Committee for a variety of service to the Presbytery.

Presbytery adjourned with prayer, at 1:38 pm, about 20 minutes early.   The next Stated Assembly is Saturday June 29, 2013.