Assembly, Saturday, February 13, 2016  - Bainbridge

Minutes in Seconds

Digest of Actions Taken at the Stated Meeting

of The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley

First Presbyterian Church, Bainbridge NY Saturday February 13, 2016

The Assembly opened at 8:58 am with Worship led by Chris Burger, Kimberly Chastain, and George Budine with a sermon on Luke 10:1-20  titled  "Go" brought by Cabinet Chair Emrys Tyler.  An offering of $446 was divided between the One Great Hour of Sharing and the Bainbridge Food Pantry.

 Presbytery Moderator Patty Wolff (East Guilford and Central Delaware Trinity) called the business meeting  to order with prayer at 9:37 am.   A quorum was present – 19 churches were represented by Ruling Elder Commissioners,  21 Teaching Elders,  3 Commissioned Lay Pastors, 2 Ruling Elders with vote due to office and 7 visitors and office staff.

First time commissioners were introduced:  Nancy Wheatley (Christ Community) and Shirly Fiorvanti (Oneonta First).  The total enrolled attendance was 52.

Bainbridge Clerk of Session Evelyn Baker introduced the host pastor intern Tyler Callum, a member in discernment in the United Church of Christ and a graduate of Princeton seminary, who the gave a welcome and directions about the building, facilities, wifi password and mealtime.  Tyler thanked all who helped to prepare for the meeting and food.

The Agenda and Consent Agenda were approved with questions for clarification and a minor correction to the proposed minutes.

Committee on Nominations  --  Garrett Schindler(Bovina) gave the report and after opportunity for nominations from the floor, Presbytery elected:

  •             Bea Mooney (RE, Delhi First)    co-chair of the Committee on Ministry Class of 2016

Committee on Lay Preaching-- Patty Wolff (East Guilford and Central Delaware Trinity) reported on the educational program and other opportunities, including a plan to provide training for ruling elders to preside at communion when commissioned by Presbytery for a list of specific churches.

Committee on Ministry -- in the absence/illness of the co-chairs,  Sarah Hooker (Delhi First) gave the report.   David Robinson (Dryden) was presented to the assembly for a 'roasting' as Presbytery granted him Honorable Retirement, effective April 1, 2016.   Presbyery also approved the transfer of Teaching Elders Parrish Bridges(Owego)to San Diego effective December 27, 2015, and Jared Stephens(still serving in Ballymena Ireland) to Lake Michigan Presbytery effective December 15.

The COM will be having a training retreat in Delhi given by Albany Transitional Presbyter Shannon Vance-Ocampo on March 5.  Various other contracts and moderator and liaison appointments were reported by the committee.

Janet Adair Hansen (Christ Community) reported for the Ethiopian Partnership Ministry Team (EPMT), noting the letter which was sent out to the whole Presbytery and that $1500 had been received to provide mattresses for seminary students in Ethiopia.  This will be the 20th year of our partnership with Western Wollega Bethel Synod.

The Cabinet Report was given by Emrys Tyler who highlighted the list of sub-committee chairs for 2016. 

Personnel: Emrys Tyler (chair), Pat Raube

Finance: Dave Johnson (chair), Patty Wolff

Worship & Workshops: Kimberly Chastain (chair), George Budine

Church Development & Grants: vacant (thus applications will come to the whole Cabinet)

A motion to amend the 2016 Budget was presented:

Cabinet recommends to Presbytery that it amend the 2016 Budget by increasing expense line 700301 (COM Operating) from $4,750 to $6,000.

Rationale: Based on 2015 expenses, it is reasonable to expect that COM will require $6,000 in 2016. The increased expenses by COM are judged to arise from essential functions that formerly were performed by an Executive Presbyter, but now fall to COM.

Presbytery approved the motion with an amendment:  "Direct Cabinet that the additional funds ($1250) come from Presbytery Reserve funds rather than Pastoral Care"

A replacement set of the By-Laws of the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley, presented for a first reading at the last Assembly, were adopted after discussion and debate.  Chris Burger reported that the team is working on Standing Rules.

Stated Clerk Jim Martin reported on the annual statistical reports which are still being received and made a correction to the list of Continuing Members of Presbytery, moving Teaching Elder Cheryl Ann Elfond from 'Member at-Large' to 'Validated Ministry in Other Service.'  Cynthia Walton Leavitt (Oneonta First United) offered help to any clerk or church needing help with the Annual Statistical Reports.

Emrys Tyler noted that Presbytery can likely find funds to assist in having a representative attend the Partnership Conference with the Evangelical Czech Brethren in Prague April 19-26, 2016, if any are interested.  It is the 25th anniversary of the ECCB Partnership with the PCUSA.

Two Overtures to this summer's 222nd General Assembly of the PCUSA were presented for consideration.   The concurrence to Overture 52 by Peace River Presbytery, to add an ordination requirement of training in evangelism, failed.   An Overture, brought by Binghamton United, to develop a national child protection policy model and provide training resources and materials for presbyteries and congregations, passed.

Over a dozen announcements and Sharing of Good News items were given, and after singing 'Happy Birthday' to Recording Clerk, Lynn Shepard, Presbytery adjourned with prayer before the meal at 11:53 am.

The next Stated Assembly is at United Presbyterian Church, Walton on Saturday, May 21, 2016.