January 2016 Mission and Ministry Commission Report

The Synod Mission and Ministry Commission met the last weekend in January. It was a spirit-filled gathering in which we accomplished so much work in 24 hours—all with a combination of seriousness, joy, laughter and fellowship. We began and ended with worship focusing on the words and ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is remarkable how much his words still resonate with the ministry of the Synod today. Here is a window into what the commission accomplished:

The Commission is committed to making sure that the diversity of this Synod is represented at Commission table as well as the Synod Assembly. To this end it determined to bring forward to General Assembly an Overture related to G-2.0301 -- “Ruling Elder Defined” and a request for an Authoritative Interpretation. The Overture would amend the Book of Order to allow Sessions to individually commission Ruling Elders just as it now allows Sessions to individually commission Deacons. Such Ruling Elders could then serve on the Synod Commission or be elected by a presbytery to serve as a Synod Assembly Commissioner. The Authoritative Interpretation deals with the structural tension in the Book of Order between F-1.0403 “Unity in Diversity and F-1.0404 “Openness” on the one hand and F-3.0202 – “Governed by Presbyters” on the other. Please read these two important documents.

In addition, our consultants at Wingo, NYC had conversations with many grant recipients and through those conversations came to us with significant recommendations to streamline and simplify our application process. More information soon!

The Commission approved the following Grants, Networks and Human Development Funds:

Campus Ministry

Genesee Valley Presbytery: Eastman Campus Ministry -- $5,000 and University of Rochester -- $10,000

Long Island Presbytery: Protestant Campus Ministry at Stony Brook University -- $8,000

Susquehanna Valley Presbytery: Cornell Protestant Community -- $2,500; Ithaca College Protestant Community -- $2,500; Protestant & Interfaith Ministry at SUNY Cortland -- $2,500; SUNY Delhi Campus Ministry -- $2,500

Western New York Presbytery: Campus Church ConneXion (Campus Church Coalition) -- $8,000


Ecumenical Cabinet

Vermont -- $500; Maine -- $500; Massachusetts -- $2,000; New Hampshire -- $500; New Jersey -- $10,000; New York -- $10,000; and New York State Council of Churches position for Director of Social Witness -- $5,000


Innovation Applications

Nyack Project of Hudson River Presbytery -- $8,000

Genesis Center Monmouth -- $20,000 in 2016 and $20,000 in 2017.

PC Shekinah Fellowship of Northern New England Presbytery -- $20,000

Adirondack Church Without Walls of Albany Presbytery -- $20,000

Albany Presbytery sought funds to use with a larger grant for an opportunity for strategic adaptive change in congregational leadership within the Presbytery -- $8,000

Not So Churchy of New York City Presbytery -- $10,000

Boston Food Justice YAV Program of Boston Presbytery -- $5,000


Presbytery Support

 New Beginnings Program for MLK Church in Southern New England Presbytery -- $6,000.

Samaritan Counseling Center – Albany Presbytery -- $1,500


Synod Partners

Bloomfield College, Newark Presbytery -- $40,000

Mission at the Eastward, Northern New England Presbytery -- $20,000

Parity, New York City Presbytery -- $20,000



Up to 12 Peacemaking scholarships were approved for $500 a piece for people to attend Ecumenical Advocacy Days.



Gun Violence Prevention and Response Network -- $5,000

Committee on Ministry Network -- $10,000


Human Development Funds

Youth Triennium -- $75,000 to fund $100 per participant and chaperone

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center Mediation Skills Training Institute at Stony Point -- $20,700

Leadership Fund -- $25,000 seed money to establish this fund. More soon!

Loan to Northern New England Presbytery -- $30,000 to support a racial ethnic ministry within their bounds