Privileged: Reflections from the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Northeast’s Annual Business Meeting and Leadership Enhancement Retreat

I was inspired by the intelligence, experience, knowledge and spiritual insight of our Presbyterian Women leadership. The meeting improved my understanding, affirmed my worth and purpose, focused my attention on mission and service objectives, and provided opportunities for all to share their challenges and accomplishments.

How Do We Extend and Receive Welcome in Prison Ministry?

For me, the joy is seeing how even seemingly insignificant offers of hospitality are deeply significant for people who simply want to be welcomed home, who have done their time and who deserve to be reintegrated into the community in a loving and respectful way. A little goes a long way. Think of a person who’s just getting out of prison. Think of what they need: that first set of clothes, first set of clean underwear, a birth certificate, a government-issued ID, a safe place to live, trauma resources, job interview training.

Prison Ministry Network sets out to answer a growing crisis: Ministry places emphasis on listening and learning together

“The Prison Ministry Network is our challenge to the faith communities to live out the gospel in very specific ways and to stand in the gap,” says Shaw, who believes that hope relies on the volunteer power of communities coming together. “More than ever, our churches are needed.” 

Early Ministry Institute Looking Forward to 2017

How many pastors find there’s something major they encounter in their first call that no one in seminary had prepared them for?  Just about everyone.  The first few years of a pastor’s ministry can be extremely stressful as they negotiate new terms of call, copy machines, pastoral care issues, boundaries in friendships and relationships, and the list goes on.  The Early Ministry Institute (EMI) of the Synod of the Northeast is designed to help alleviate that stress and support a pastor during their first few years of ministry.  

Synod of the Northeast- Temporary Job Opening

Beginning late summer or the beginning of September, the Synod of the Northeast will be looking for someone to work full-time, on a temporary basis (during a maternity leave), in the office in Syracuse. The position is Administrative Assistant to the Stated Clerk/Communications Manager. An updated position description is being prepared, as well as a salary range. More information will be forthcoming, but if you, or someone you know, might be interested in exploring this further, please get in touch with the Synod: (315)446-5990 or steve.plank@synodne.org.

 

Despair is not an Option: A Pastoral Letter

Our emotions fill a wide range, from weeping and deep grief to strident anger. We continue to search for meaningful ways to respond to what we know to be a deep and devastating dysfunction throughout our nation and within our local communities. Calls come looking for ways to mobilize the witness of our regional Presbyterian community to respond to what has clearly become an epidemic of racial violence. Our Synod community has been engaged in the hard work of addressing the racial brokenness of our larger communities and the lust for weapons that seems to only be escalating.

From Seed to Plant: Young Adult Volunteers Working for Food Justice

Since the beginning of the YAV program, there have been 10 YAVs who have built partnerships in Boston. The YAVs have gone on to live their faith in a variety of ways, from attending seminary to working for Americorps, to being a children's advocate at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, to enrolling in nursing school, to working at the Women's Lunch Place in Boston, to name a few. 

News from the June 2016 Commission on Mission and Ministries

After using the April Synod Mission and Ministries meeting for a retreat in which we reflected upon the synod’s foundational text Isaiah 43:19, the Commission went back to business the last weekend in June. We began with the unveiling of our new synod video, which in many ways is an expression of the Isaiah text. If you haven’t had the chance yet to see our new website or the video, go take a look and see the new things we are doing.  

Synod Overtures at General Assembly

For a first discussion and vote at General Assembly our overtures did very well.  The overture proposing to amend the Book of Order so that Sessions can ordain Ruling Elders for service beyond their congregation such as in a presbytery or a synod received much discussion both in committee and on the GA floor. This overture which opens up who is welcome at the governing tables or higher councils clearly resonated with YADs, clergy spouses who currently cannot serve on many sessions and therefore cannot serve on any mid-council, and those engaging with immigrant fellowships and new worshipping communities. The overture lost by a slim margin and then was referred by an Assembly voice vote to the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA). 

The Top 10 Things that Happened at the General Assembly

1) And now, the number-one thing this Assembly did was to complete the process of adding the Belhar Confession as the twelfth confessional document contained in the Book of Confessions. While this was pretty much a foregone conclusion — since more than three-fourths of the presbyteries have already given their required assent — still, it is of great historic significance. After the positive vote, theologian Allan Boesak of South Africa, one of the authors of the Belhar Confession during the apartheid era, addressed the Assembly. He ended his remarks by saying, “We may not know what tomorrow may bring, but I know this: tonight, we have overcome. I know this: because of Jesus, we shall overcome. I know this: whatever may come in our world, we shall overcome.” In a moving moment, the Assembly responded by spontaneously breaking into song, singing — what else? —“We Shall Overcome.”