Nancy's News: April 2017 Mission and Ministries Commission Meeting

Commission Moderator Thia Reggio led a fish bowl discussion with the Synod Mission Team – Synod Leader Harold Delhagen, Stated Clerk Nancy Talbot and Synod Networker Amaury Tanon-Santos in which she asked four questions:  1-What is the mission team and how does it work? 2-What three things have been your foci since the last commission meeting? 3-What do you see as the most pressing matter for the Synod between now and the next meeting? 4-What do you see as the challenges and the positives of the New Way Forward?  As each mission team member answered, it wove together a tapestry of the individual and collective daily work that helps to move the Synod forward.  As always, we broke for meals and enjoyed fellowship and worship.  Everyone left knowing that we had done good work on behalf of the Synod. 

Synod of the Northeast Innovation Grant Recipients – January 2017

The Mission Working Group of the Synod Mission and Ministries Commission reviews grant applications and then joyfully gathers to discern which innovative ministries to help fund across the Synod of the Northeast.  Those that catch our attention reflect thoughtfulness in research, have support from their presbytery, create new energy for the gospel in relationships, and demonstrate promise for sustainability in ministry. As a result of the Commission decisions at its January 2017 meeting, we are pleased to commend to you the work of each of the following Innovation Grant Recipients:

Seeking Mission Communicator/Coordinator

The Synod Mission Coordinator will work to provide effective communication throughout the Synod Community through a variety of communications tools, as well as provide support and guidance to those seeking and receiving mission and ministry support from Synod programs and resources, and to promote Synod funds development.

Synod Mission and Ministries Commission Updates and Actions

The Synod Mission and Ministry Commission met on January 27-28, 2017, at Stony Point Conference Center.  As is often the case, we had lively discussions as a full commission and when we broke out into the Mission Working Group, Networks Working Group and Administrative Working Group.  This is a summary of updates and actions taken. 

Clean Climate Network Launched!

This Network was birthed at the 2016 Synod Assembly during the discussion of the commissioner's resolution to divest from fossil fuels. The discussion took us beyond divestment to how to be the church in the face of climate change and environmental degradation. The discussion led to an overwhelming vote for divestment. The Holy Spirit was alive and moving among us at that assembly. 

Introducing the Inaugural Robert L. Washington Scholars!

In mid-January, the Synod’s highly energized Committee on Representation met to review fourteen Robert Washington Scholar applications and to select the first Scholars.  This was an extremely competitive process. Getting to three Scholars was not easy.  The Scholars program will cultivate executive leadership training by providing resources for robust discernment regarding the Scholar’s vocation, call and abilities for service to the Church.  The first Scholars will attend the Executive Leadership Certificate Program at McCormick Theological Seminary as well as retreats with Synod staff.  We present to you our inaugural Robert L. Washington Scholars!

Sanctuary Training and Network Developing

We also investigated the important role that our own complicity in systems of oppression present, and the need for majority-white communities in mainline congregations to engage in significant pre-discernment and power analysis before beginning Sanctuary in all its forms.  Communities who are directly affected by policing, anti-immigrant, religious and racial bias need to be given primary voice in all conversations and actions we engage as people of faith.

#IgniteInnovation and Bring Light to the Darkness

It might not sound like such a revelation to offer a movie night, but Ogdensburg has no movie theater. The small city used to be a thriving port, but the economy tanked nearly a decade ago. Now there is poverty, isolation, and a constant flow of drugs over the Canadian border putting the town at risk of addiction and opening it to the destructive forces that loneliness and anger and a sense of abandonment can unleash.

Breaking Bread in Brokenness to Immigrants

PIM, one of the 1,001 Worshiping Communities and partially funded by the Synod’s Innovation Fund is a ministry of many love stories like this one. The stories of people who come and go, caught up in a system that ignores their humanity. PIM calls them into community with Christ, so that even as they move from detention centers to holding cells to prisons, they know that they are not alone.