Hudson Happenings
H u d s o n  R i v e r  P r e s b y t e r y
In This Issue
April 6, 2017
Dear Friends,

When we refuse death, do we also refuse life together?  This poem invites us to wonder, what could it mean to practice resurrection without denying grief?

Let Lazarus lie.
Let him stay dead.
Let Mary's tears be his elegy;
Like the tears of people everywhere.   Read more.

The next issue of Hudson Happenings will be published on Thursday, April 27.  Please email your submissions to by Tuesday, April 25.
From Your Interim General Presbyter
You may be interested to know that the four officer training events I held over the past few months were well received. There were 194 officers who attended from 28 congregations; about one fourth of those officers were newly ordained and installed. I want to thank our gracious hosts who provided a nice space and scrumptious goodies: Holmes Camp and Conference Center and Goshen, Korean and Jeffersonville churches! Folks have asked if these training events will be repeated in the fall. That is a possibility if there's a need and desire.

One concern that was shared more than a few times concerned the training and orientation of church nominating committees, the committee tasked with presenting slates for deacons and/or ruling elders. In response to that, I will be presenting a Community Conversation at our next presbytery meeting, on May 23 at Goshen, on the work and discernment of a nominating committee for church officers.  Read more.
Presbytery News & Events
From Your Transition Team
At our recent presbytery meeting, your Transition Team provided a Community Conversation that presented and evaluated three of the more common models for presbytery leadership. In the 170 presbyteries throughout the PCUSA, there are many models for presbytery leader, that which we call in Hudson River Presbytery, our General Presbyter.  

The three most common models, which we presented, were a full-time General Presbyter (the model we've had in HRP), a full-time combined General Presbyter and Stated Clerk (one person in both roles with some additional ministry staff) and several part-time General Presbyter positions with either regions or responsibilities divided up among several persons.
The 36 persons who attended this Community Conversation heard a brief presentation of each model and completed, in small groups, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of each model.
Upon reviewing all the gathered information from each of the seven small groups, the Transition Team confirmed what was suspected all along... namely that those 36 who gathered... a good cross section of HPR... overwhelmingly prefer a full-time General Presbyter.

Your Transition Team:  Debbie Bronkema (chair), Laurie Ferguson, Gaye Hartwig, Paul Lent, Leslie Mardenborough, Jonah So, Peter Surgenor,  Rick Ufford-Chase, Stephen Valastro, Dorinda Violante and Gavin Meek (Interim General Presbyter)
Join HRP Green for a Lenten Journey, April 8 
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
Come on a Holy Week journey with us as we move liturgically from sites of environmental death and destruction to those that embody resurrection.  As we ride the Peekskill Trolley on HRP Green's  Healing Our Sacred Sites Tour on Saturday, April 8 from 10 am to noon, we'll worship together, learn from John Cronin, Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs, Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies; Drew Claxton, Environmentalist and Peekskill Deputy Mayor and others, and explore the Lenten journey in our own lives and in our world.  Children 3rd grade and up  are welcome to both participate in the tour and in scavenger hunts designed for them.

Space is limited so REGISTER NOW. Cost:  $5 for children, $10 for adults, $20 for families.  Scholarships are available.  For reservations and scholarship information contact Kathy Dean (
Help Theo Harris
Theo Harris, who formerly served as the Presbytery Prison Partnership Associate Coordinator is battling liver cancer.  He and his wife need our help to meet expenses.  Click here  to make a donation.
Theo Harris, BA, MA, MPS, author of Blessed and Highly Favored: Memoirs of A Multiple Felon, is a seven-time felon. He spent most of his life in and out of prison as the result of an ongoing battle with substance abuse. Theo was the subject of a segment on "60 Minutes" with Lesley Stahl, focusing on how he completely changed his life around, partly through his performance music. He devoted his life on the outside to working for prison reform with the Hudson River Presbytery as its Prison Partnership Associate Coordinator, representing its eighty-four Presbyterian churches in the Hudson Valley. Despite his successful efforts to constantly battle a lifetime of what would be, to most of us, insurmountable odds, Theo's life continues to present relentless challenges. Theo has been diagnosed with liver cancer, which has metastasized into his bones.  You can help by donating here.  
Habitat Walk, April 23
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh is sponsoring its annual walk to raise funds and awareness for safe, decent, and affordable housing for hard-working, local families in need.  Registration begins at 1pm; Walk steps off at 2pm.  

Talent Show, May 20 
We invite you to join the fun at the 11th annual PresbyBuild Talent Show, which will take place on Saturday, May 20th, at First Presbyterian Montgomery.  The offering will help us reach our sponsorship goal of $55,000 for House No. 8, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh.  This goal includes a $5,000 tithe for Habitat International's work in other countries.   Download the flyer with more information.
Christian Caregivers Circle, April 29
Hudson River Presbytery has approved a new validated ministry for family caregivers seeking fellowship and spiritual support.  The first gathering began at FPC of Ossining March 18, 2017 with a service of wholeness with Communion and blessing of those engaged in the ministry of caregiving. Through holy listening, we have written a group prayer to hold each other in God's healing love.  Read more.

Our follow up gathering is planned April 29, 2017 at Mariandale Retreat Center.  Are you SEEKING REFRESHMENT in the Lord? Are you CARING FOR YOURSELF while caring for others? Are you SUPPORTED BY FRIENDS who can truly relate? Come join Christian Caregiver circle for two Saturday afternoons, six weeks apart. There's always room for one more in a circle, but there's no circle of one. Email Rose Chan for meeting dates:
Peter Surgenor to Retire
Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center announces that Rev. Peter Surgenor, Executive Director will retire on August 31, 2017.  Peter has led and developed the camp ministry and activities at Holmes since January 2000.  During this time summer camper numbers and program quality have grown with added programs, facilities have seen improvements and Peter has been a resource person to all three of our supporting Presbyteries (Hudson River, Long Island and New York City) and has built relationships with many committed Presbyterians and others.  A recognition of Peter's ministry at Holmes is being planned by the Holmes Board for September 16th at Holmes.  In addition, New York City Presbytery will recognize this milestone at its Annual Meeting on May 16, 2017 and Hudson River will mark Peter's retirement at its meeting on Sept 19, 2017.  Read more.
Regional and National News

This is the last call for young adults who are interested in serving in the US and around the world in mission service.   Applications for the 2017-2018 year are due by June 1.  Do you know an excellent candidate?  Share this information with her or him.  Learn more about the YAV program.
Invite International Peacemakers to Visit
Invite a PC(USA) International Peacemaker to your Church!
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program brings international peacemakers who are experts in their country and specific fields to interact with churches across the nation.  For example, among the peacemakers is an expert from Sierra Leone on the Ebola crisis and recovery.  You can invite these sought-after leaders to your congregation Sept. 22 - Oct. 17, 2017. By sharing stories of their work and witness, they help us to understand peace and justice concerns around the world and they provide insights that can inspire us to greater faithfulness. Their visits broaden our sense of God's inclusive family and help equip us to build a culture of peace and nonviolence for all God's children.  The deadline to apply for a speaker to visit is July 1.  Learn more.
PC(USA) Helpline to Prevent Child Abuse
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has teamed with the Insurance Board and Praesidium to help PC(USA) church councils and members of churches prevent child sexual abuse. The partnership has launched a toll-free Abuse Prevention Helpline (866-607-SAFE) to provide assistance to church councils and church families in their efforts to keep predators away from children.  Learn more.  
Regional and National Events
Third Thursdays - Multifaith Conversations
Facebook Live, April 20
A new series, Third Thursdays-Multifaith Conversations on Concerns of Our  Time, take place 12 pm EST, on Facebook  Live. Colleagues from different religious traditions, hosted by Rick Ufford-Chase of the Office on Interfaith Relations, will reflect with one another. To watch, visit 
End Isolation for Individuals in
Immigration Detention, April 22
Reach Out to End Isolation for Individuals in Immigration Detention.   Come to a volunteer visitor training on April 22, 2017, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Denton Presbyterian Church to learn about providing visits to individuals held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Orange County Correctional Facility (Goshen, NY).  Please RSVP to Sarah Henkel at if you plan to attend.  Download the flyer.

Confronting Chaos, Forging Community: April 21-24 
Join us April 21 for Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC.  Gather with your fellow Presbyterians as we look at how our church and our partners are confronting racism, materialism, and militarism in our country and abroad.  In plenaries and workshops we will analyze our current context and offer concrete tools for members and their congregations to address these urgent issues.  We will learn how we can "forge community" amidst the current chaos in our country.

After Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day join the ecumenical community for Ecumenical Advocacy Days April 21-24.  Almost one thousand Christian advocates join us every year for a weekend of workshops, lectures, and concrete actions addressing the ills of our nation.   The weekend culminates in a lobby day on Monday, April 24th when we raise our voices in the halls of power for a more just society. Learn more.
Princeton Youth Ministry Forum, April 25-28
April 25th-28th, 2017- The Forum is an uncommon blend of theological and practical exploration of youth ministry. The theme for this year's Forum is "Declare!" We will explore the prophetic voice vital to the church's work with young people. Hear from speakers like Andrew Root, Amanda Drury, and Gregory C. Ellison II. Renew your energy for ministry as you create vocational friendships, stretch your imagination, and give Sabbath to your soul.
Learn more and register.

Professional Development Workshop, April 28
At "Working Beneath the Surface to Create A Better World," you'll learn essential-yet often overlooked-theories and exercises that can be used in the workplace to garner insights into complex and confusing situations and help practitioners better withstand sustained pressures. In this workshop, you will: Identify the prevailing cultural and attitudinal trends that are impacting your work. Examine the frameworks that lead to informed leadership decisions. Participate in an interactive case study as a basis for purposeful and practical action. The program will be held Friday, April 28 from 10:00am - 4:30pm at Union Theological Seminary.   Register by April 7. Questions? Please contact Frances Unsell at 203-366-1973. Download the flyer .
Synod NE Immigration Action Network Event, May 13
The Synod of the Northeast Immigration Action Network Invites you to First Presbyterian Church of Ossining on Saturday May 13, to j oin for Immigrant Solidarity Networking and Strategy Session to share local initiatives and learn from grassroots organizations from 5-7pm and then to enjoy "Undocumented Hands," an original Biblical Cantata, performed by New Song Choir from 7-9pm.   Please RSVP by May 6, 2017 for the Networking Session as dinner will be provided.  RSVP to or (914)941-0540.   Download the flyer and spread the word!
Sowing Seeds of Justice Dinner, May 20
Please join Rural and Migrant Ministry in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its Youth Empowerment Program at our Annual Sowing Seeds of Justice Reception & Dinner at  St. Bartholomew's in White Plains! Learn more
Developing and Using Your Pastoral Authority, May 2017
A Small Learning Group for Clergywomen
Do you wish that you could? Be taken seriously when you speak?  Feel respected and effective in your ministry?  Garner the resources needed for a project or program?  Not be exhausted from saying yes to everything?  This learning group is for clergywomen who want to develop and use their Pastoral Authority.  Limited to ten clergywomen. It will meet for seven half days over six months beginning in May 2017.   Download the flyer.
Save the date: July 6-8 for PC(USA)'s Church-Wide Gathering
Learn more.

1001 Worshipping Communities National Gathering, Aug. 7-10 
"Living, Dying, Rising," the 1001 New Worshiping Communities 2017 nationalgathering, outlines the story of the life of Christ and also the life of the church. The conference will be held at TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla., August 7-10. Presenters will include Juan Sarmiento, Aisha Brooks-Lytle, and Jeya and Daniel So.  Registration is now open.
Take Action
Stop the Execution of a Domestic Worker in United Arab Emirates
From PC(USA) Stated Clerk, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson:  As members of the largest Reformed body in the United States, whose global family includes the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), I call your attention to the plight of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and their struggles to seek safety and justice while working overseas. Jennifer Dalquez is an OFW imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates and awaiting appeal from her death sentence at the Al Ain Judicial Court on March 27, 2017. She is claiming self-defense when her former employer attempted to rape her in December 2014. Dalquez fatally wounded her employer during the ensuing struggle to protect her life from harm.  Pray and sign the petition to stop Jennifer's execution.
Help PDA Respond to Peru Flood
Heavy rains, mudslides and flooding continue to wreak havoc on parts of Peru, leaving nearly a hundred people dead and hundreds of thousands without homes. Give now.  The South American country was caught off guard by the rains that began in mid-January but grew worse in the past few weeks causing severe flooding and subsequent mudslides in the region.  Read more.    
Resources for Education, Justice, Liturgy and More!
Fabulous Children's Resource!!
So... the Mennonites have done it again!  Check out this fabulous set of resources called "Hello" for children that introduce them to children around the world and invite them to imagine themselves into life in that country.  

Children can learn a greeting, read about a child's family, chores or schooling, or explore a featured activity.  Perfect as a bulletin insert.  Useful in all sorts of ways educationally.  Have fun!

Conozca la nueva campaña de Enfrentamos el Racismo de la
Estamos compartiendo una gran cantidad de recursos para promocionar la nueva política antirracista a nivel de toda iglesia. Podrá encontrar desde libros, hasta estudios y entrenamientos especiales, al esforzarnos por llegar a ser la comunidad amorosa que Dios nos llama a ser. De   clic aqui  .

New Book on Origins of Protestants
On the eve of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's Reformation-launching writings and disputations, scholar and author Alec Ryrie has released a book he hopes will explain the origins and impact of the Protestant movement. Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World (Viking, April 2017) provides a comprehensive overview of major, and many minor, events throughout the history of Protestantism, and how it shaped and impacted the modern era.  Read more.  
Seeking & Finding
Church Items from Former UPC of Amenia are Available
These items are free to anyone who wants them:   1 table size brass cross,  2 brass candlesticks,  2 silver goblets,  1 silver pitcher [about 1 qt.],  4 silver round trays [communion],  3 metal trays,  1 brass collection plate,  2 brass [deep] collection bowls,  3 brass  communion trays with glass cups,  3 wooden communion trays,  2 boxes of glass communion cups,  1 large church bible [1989 New Revised Standard Version].   Contact Catherine Janus at .
Employment Opportunities
Synod of the Northeast Seeks Mission Communicator/Coordinator
In this full-time position, 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. Application deadline, May 15, 2017.  Read more .
Rural and Migrant Ministry Seeks Development Coordinator
Working with a determined Development team that includes: the Executive Director, Managing Director, Board members, other staff members and volunteers, the Development Coordinator will be responsible for the coordination and enhancement of donor development within the organization, and will coordinate the development and implementation of the yearly Strategic Plan.  Learn more.
White Plains Presbyterian Seeks Director of Music Ministry
White Plains Presbyterian Church, a 156-member congregation, seeks part-time Director of Music Ministry. Experience in playing pipe organ, piano, and in choral conducting. Wide knowledge of sacred music of diverse styles and cultures. Experience in recruiting, training, and directing choirs of all ages. Will interact with pastor, church staff, and commissions in planning and presenting music for worship, as well as other congregational needs. Read more.  Position open now. Send cover letter and resume to:
Reformed Church of Bronxville Seeks 
Senior Minister / Head of Staff
The congregation welcomes resumes/PIFs from any pastor within the 5 denominations in the Formula of Agreement: RCA, PC-USA, UCC, DoC, and ELCA, and has a long history of hiring Presbyterian pastors.  Read the summary job description and link to the full position posted on the RCA employment site.  
Share Hudson Happenings
HRP's future is so bright, I've just gotta wear shades!  Let your friends and congregants soak up all the great news and events by inviting them to subscribe to Hudson Happenings. They can also subscribe to other e-updates from the Presbytery Prison Partnership, the Food Justice Network and more!  Just invite them to go to or send them this awesome photo of me. (the link is embedded).