September Synod Commission and Ministries Report

by Nancy Talbot, Stated Clerk

The September 2016 Synod Mission and Ministries Commission was full of our regular work as well as approving items to pass onto the Synod Assembly for consideration and approval.  The full Commission serves as the Synod Board of Trustees.  In this capacity they voted to: have funds from the Wurffel-Sills Fund support the Robert L. Washington Scholars and Fellows Program; have the unused balance of the Black Theology and Leadership Institute Fund of $1,390 be transferred to the Robert L. Washington Program; approve the funding of $36,000 for the CrossRoads Racial Awareness program for 2017 from the Walker Fund; and authorize the Treasurer to take appropriate steps to receive distribution from the Eichelberger Trust, of which the Synod is a named beneficiary, with an expected payout of $125,000.

Among other recommendations of the Administrative Working Group, the Commission voted to do the following: 

Forward the 2017-2018 budget for approval by the Synod Assembly;
Revise the Synod By-Laws and Standing Rules by a writing group of stated clerks and a presbytery leader for presentation to Synod Assembly for approval;
Have all Synod employees participate in the Board of Pensions “menu” plan;
Approve the revised Sexual Harassment/Misconduct Policy; and to
Expand the Staffing Task Force to include representation from the current Personnel Committee and that this group recommend how the personnel processes will be embodied in the Administrative Working Group.

The Commission approved the following grants. 

Campus Ministries for 2017:
Albany Presbytery:

  • Campus Protestant Ministry at Union College - $3,000
  • Protestant Campus Ministry at the University of Albany - $3,000

Genessee Valley Presbytery:

  • Nazareth Protestant Christian Community - $2,500
  • Genesee Area Campus Ministries (GACM) Protestant Chapel Community at the University of Rochester - $15,000
  • Long Island Presbytery:
  • Hofstra Protestant Community of Hofstra University - $3,000
  • Protestant Campus Ministry at Long Island University Post- $3,000

New Brunswick Presbytery:

  • Rutgers Protestant Campus Ministries of Rutgers University - $10,000
  • Princeton Presbyterians of Princeton University - $10,000

Northern New England Presbytery:

  • Wilson Center/Maine Christian Association (MCA) at the University of Maine - $1,000
  • United Campus Ministry at Plymouth State University - $1,000
  • United Campus Ministry to the University of New Hampshire - $1,000

Susquehanna Valley Presbytery:

  • Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell University - $3,000
  • Protestant and Interfaith Campus Ministry at SUNY Cortland - $3,000
  • Delhi Campus Community at SUNY Delhi - $3,000
  • Ithaca College Protestant Community at Ithaca College - $3,000

Western New York Presbytery:

  • Campus Church Coalition (dba Campus Church ConneXion) at SUNY Buffalo and Buffalo State - $10,000
  • In addition, Bloomfield College - $44,000

Innovation Grants:
Boston Presbytery:

  • Covenant’s Campus Ministry - $20,000 (for 2017, to be paid from 2016 funds)

Southern New England Presbytery

  • Presbyterian Immigrant Ministry of Southern New England Presbytery - $12,500 (for 2017, to be paid from 2016 funds)

Ecumenical Support for 2017:

  • Vermont Ecumenical Council - $500
  • Maine Council of Churches - $500
  • Massachusetts Council of Churches - $2,000
  • New Hampshire Council of Churches - $500
  • New Jersey Council of Churches - $5,000
  • New York State Council of Churches - $5,000

Participant travel and related expenses - $2,000


Working Group on Networks

The Working Group recommended that the following new networks be established:

Presence: Immigration Action Network

The primary purpose of this network is to gather leaders, congregations and presbyteries who are active or interested in action around immigration advocacy and justice at the local and state level in order to move together from passive awareness to active witness.

New Beginnings Network

The main purpose of this network is to provide space for and support to congregations (with its presbyteries) for consideration, discernment and decision making for change that supports congregational vitality and mission in the particular time and for the particular contexts in which these faith communities are located.

With these additions the Synod now sponsors eight networks.