Do you have questions about the Synod of the Northeast? Perhaps we answer them here! If not, please drop us a line and we will look forward to hearing from you!
WHAT IS THE NEW WAY FORWARD?
The New Way Forward is a foundational document that redefined the role and purpose of the Synod of the Northeast. It was adopted in 2013 after a two-year process that identified shared beliefs in the importance of creating diverse, connective communities and leadership, engaging and empowering youth, younger members and emerging leaders, and focusing more on mission than governance.
WHAT ARE YOUR MISSIONAL PRIORITIES?
A key focus is to identify, train and support young and diverse new leaders to move the Church forward and better reflect everyone in our communities. Creating more inclusive leadership and congregations and re-engaging people marginalized by the Church is paramount to our work to redefine who we are as a denomination and what we mean by “church.”
WHAT ARE THE NETWORKS YOU ARE CREATING?
We are creating meaningful and productive networks across presbyteries working together on shared issues of passion, such as prison ministry, mediation, coaching, Northern New York COMs, and emerging ministries. These networks gather for support, education, and leadership development. To date we have six networks, with many new ones currently forming.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESOURCES AND HOW DO YOU EMPLOY THEM?
We give away nearly a million dollars a year to over 40 gospel communities to support mission and ministry. The focus of these gifts includes innovation grants, campus ministries, new missions/new worshipping communities, networks, leadership development, emerging leaders and special one-time projects.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR GRANTS ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE?
We evaluate and review all of our grants through both written reports from and interviews with grantees. Our grantees are our eyes and ears on the ground, bringing their experience and expertise into our conversation about the way forward.
WHAT ARE THE SYNOD’S FUNDING PRIORITIES?
We have made a conscious decision to focus our work and funds on future-forward ministry. We exist to help presbyteries blaze a new trail in supporting new and current ministries with the potential to transform the Church.
HOW MANY PRESBYTERIES AND CONGREGATIONS ARE THERE IN THE SYNOD OF THE NORTHEAST?
We work with 22 Presbyteries and over 1,100 diverse rural, suburban, and urban congregations throughout New England, New York and New Jersey.
HOW DOES THE SYNOD OF THE NORTHEAST GOVERN ITSELF?
As a result of the New Way Forward, we reconstructed our governance structure to focus less on governance and more on mission and relationships. Each presbytery chooses a representative to serve on our Mission and Ministries Commission, which is our governing council that meets several times a year. On this Commission are also seats for members of our caucuses and for youth delegates. In between Commission meetings our Leadership Team gathers regularly for decision-making. Once every other year the entire Synod Assembly meets. As our governing values are based on building community, we make decisions through consensus, rather than through the rigidity of voting. We’re trying to create a community of people unfettered by the traditional governance, all the while remaining a critical resource for both corporate and communal life.
WHY ARE SYNODS RELEVANT?
Synods are uniquely positioned in three key areas to serve the Church. First, at the synod level, the diversity of the church is on full display, pointing to God's kingdom. Individual churches reflect the cultures of the particular communities in which they gather, presbyteries are defined by geographic, economic and cultural distinctions, and the General Assembly reflects a still dominant majority. Synods bring together representatives that reflect the richness of diversity available through each church within all of its presbyteries. Second, having gathered this diverse group, we are able to foster connections that might not otherwise have been possible. Third, as synods can be more nimble and regionally relevant, we can facilitate work, mission and ministry that a single presbytery can't sustain on its own. Synods are particularly relevant at this moment in the Church's story when its identity is shifting to respond to a changing world. It is the synod that can provide a window into the fullness of that identity, the resources to draw it out, and the flexibility to implement its mission in service to Christ.
WHAT CAN A SYNOD DO THAT A PRESBYTERY CAN’T?
Synods can connect presbyteries and members of presbyteries together for mutual support and unite them on common issues. Synods can also provide outside, objective counsel and resources for presbyteries in transition. Very importantly, we are able to provide open, expansive, blue-sky space for innovative and strategic thinking, especially as presbyteries are overwhelmed by decreasing finances and increasing pressures coming from all angles.
WHY DO YOU NEED MY MONEY?
We need your support to help ministries and communities find new life, a new way forward. The resources we need to do this long-term, transformative, multi-cultural work are far greater than our current financial capacity and human capital. We are working on many fronts, across many issues and in many communities because we know that our future will look different than our past. We need your support to nurture new ideas and new leaders.