By Nancy Talbot
The 2019 January 25-26 Synod Mission & Ministries Commission meeting began the next two-year term for presbytery representatives. As we said farewell to some representatives at the November 2018 meeting, we welcomed at this meeting people elected for the first time to represent their presbyteries. You can see that the new members bring a wealth of experience, gifts, and talents to the Commission that will enhance the Synod’s work over the next two years.
Samantha Brewer — Albany Presbytery
Samantha is a Ruling Elder worshipping at First United Church Presbyterian in Hoosick Falls, NY. She has been blessed to serve Albany Presbytery as a YAAD at the 222nd General Assembly in 2016 as well as a YAAD advisor at the Synod Assembly later that year. More recently, she was a member of the Staffing Process Advisory Team (SPAT) from 2017-2018 in Albany Presbytery and also served as one of their Ruling Elder Commissioners at Synod Assembly 2018. Some of Samantha’s strengths are her ability to problem solve, her attention to detail, and her time management skills. She also takes great pride in being able to connect with people, whether it be through a helping hand, an exchange of a joke, or just a simple smile.
Victor Jenkins — Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery
Vic is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Baldwinsville where he has served as an Elder for nine years and chaired the Special Gifts Committee for twelve years. On Session, Vic has chaired Stewardship and Christian Education. He also has been a Deacon for twelve years, six of those as Moderator or Co-Moderator as well as serving as a Church School teacher. Vic was co-moderator of the Pastor Transition Team and Mission Study which was just completed. He now serves as Co-Moderator of the PNC. Vic was an active member of the presbytery’s COM where he worked on several projects.
Luci Duckson-Bramble — Long Island Presbytery
Luci is a Ruling Elder at Christ’s Presbyterian Church and has been Clerk of Session for many years. She chairs the Long Island Self Development of People and is a member of the Salt and Light Committee that funds mission projects in the presbytery. She is Moderator of the presbytery and Synod Committee on Representation (COR) and serves on the Synod personnel task group as well as the presbytery’s Shepherding Council. Luci was Moderator of the Peacemaking, Immigration, & International Issues Committee at the 223rd General Assembly. She was selected in the second class of the Synod’s Robert Washington Scholars where she will continue her studies in leadership development. Luci is the Chief Fund Development Officer for the Girl Scouts of Nassau County.
Steve Huston — Palisades Presbytery
Steve is the Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Ramsey, NJ. He presently serves as Chair of the Palisades Presbytery Council. Prior to serving in NJ, he served congregations in Davenport, IA and Port Jervis, NY. As a trained executive coach and Humans Relations facilitator, Steve’s interest in ministry is to help congregations discover their unique calling and to help them organize themselves for mission and ministry. When he needs a break, he likes to explore new places and get involved in DIY projects.
Lisa Baker — Southern New England Presbytery
Lisa is a Ruling Elder at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church. She has served in musical ministry since 1996 and has been on Session since 2000 with minimal time off. She chaired Christian Education, Nominations, Personnel Committee, and Worship. Most of her time on Session she served as Clerk of Session. Lisa was a Commissioner to the General Assembly in 2008, a member of the PDA National Response Team since 2011, the Convener of the Synod ‘s Working Group on Race 2013, Moderator and Vice Moderator of the Presbytery of Southern New England in 2016-2018, and chair of the presbytery’s Committee on Representation and Social Justice Committee. She is currently a member of the presbytery’s Roundtable, Sexual Misconduct Response Team, and Vision and Mission Team.
Steve Vance — Utica Presbytery
Steve is a lifelong resident of Lowville, NY. He is a Ruling Elder and member of First Presbyterian Church in Lowville. Currently, Steve is completing a career in Sales and Marketing and is attending the Lay Academy of the Utica Presbytery. His skills include good communications: both verbal and written, public speaking, and excellent interpersonal skills. He is creative, driven and not afraid of much but failure. Steve is also a gentle spirit with a good sense of humor who appreciates humility in himself and others. He believes deeply that church organizations should be different from any other organizations. All should be safe while being themselves and being honest.