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
December 7, 2017
Dear Friends,

The author of the gospel of John offers these words of poetic hope during difficult days. 

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. 
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into being in him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.

As the night time lengthens toward winter's solstice, our daily lives have become shrouded in darkness.  In our very being we feel the darkness closing in.  John's imagery reminds us that darkness is pregnant; it is from within darkness that life comes into being.  But these words were not just about physical or spiritual darkness/light. 

In late first century Ephesus, where this gospel is thought to have been composed, the Roman Imperial cult dominated public spaces casting its shadow over daily life and imagination. A handful of local wealthy elites held the life or death of the majority of the populace of extremely poor and enslaved people within their grasp.  It is in this context --where vast numbers of ordinary people faced constant economic precarity and were considered, at the end of the day, disposable -- that the author of John composed these words.  As Congress reconciles the tax bill that holds within it the fate of millions of our people's health, food -- our very survival -- these ancient words and world echo as we make our way toward Christmas.

In 1865, a 30 year-old Episcopal priest Philip Brooks captured this darkness and uncertainty writing, the "hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."  But he didn't stop there. O Little Town of Bethlehem has a verse that is not in our Presbyterian hymnal.  It reads,

Where children pure and happy pray to the bless├Ęd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

Brooks, Rector of the Church of the Advent in Philadelphia, was a vigorous, public advocate for abolition of slavery and for giving slaves the vote.  The charity which he invokes is not a pallid substitute for justice but an expression of love's right relationship.  May the holy child "cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today."   

The next issue of Hudson Happenings will be published on Thursday, January 4. Please email your submissions to by Tuesday, January 2.  

From the General Presbyter Nominating Comte.
An Update from GPNC Chair, Laurie McNeill
The General Presbyter Nominating Committee set a brisk pace to complete the Mission Information Form required to proceed with our search.  We completed and submitted a Ministry Information Form to Presbytery Council.  After Council approves a final document at their meeting on December 12, we will upload the form onto the PC(USA) website and begin to receive Personal Information Forms.

The GPNC met three times in person and once by Zoom (a group meeting over the internet).   Our meetings were on October 3, 30; November 8/Zoom, November 15.  Aileen Ok was elected to serve as Secretary.  

We appreciated the tutorial provided by our Interim General Presbyter to introduce our committee to the tasks before us and the order in which they are to be accomplished.  We met with members of the Transition Team to hear the rationale behind the new vision and ministry goals of our presbytery.  Opinions were shared by them as to what skills and abilities would be needed to fulfill those goals.  We also met with the Stated Clerk and Interim General Presbyter to hear their insights about the qualities and characteristics they would value in the General Presbyter.

Future meetings are scheduled for January 10 & 31.   We appreciate Germonds Presbyterian Church hosting us for our meetings.

This update is the first submitted on behalf of the GPNC committee members Lynn Costa, Carol Dornbush, Jeff Farley, John Miller, Erin Moore, Aileen Ok, and Craig Thompson.  
Presbytery News & Events
Please Send Information for 2017 HRP Necrology Report
The 2017 necrology report will be presented at January presbytery meeting.  Please email in names of Ruling Elders who died in 2017 (along with congregation's location and date of death).   Send this information to Jean Kaiser ( ) between Jan. 2 and 23.
2017 Congregational Statistical Report Due on Feb. 7
Your congregation's 2017 statistical report  must be entered between now and Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at  .
Annual Clerk of Session Workshop and Minute Reading, Mar. 17
The annual Clerk of Session workshop and minute reading will take place as  a part of Hudson River University on Saturday March 17 at Stony Point Center.
PC(USA) Clerks' Annual Questionnaire
For clerks of session who would like to participate in the denomination's Clerks' Annual Questionnaire, please click the link below and complete the questions in one sitting.  It should take about 20-30 minutes.  All responses must be in by December 12, 2017.  Go to the Questionnaire.  Susan Barnett of PC(USA) will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the survey and can be reached at
Holmes Clergy & Church Leader Trip to Nicaragua, 
Feb. 17-25, 2018
Be introduced or reconnect with Bridges to Community as you learn about issues facing developing countries, the positive impact of service learning trips done in a way that supports the community, gain practical training in how to do your own service learning trip and much more!  For information contact Linda Burpee (914) 248-6055 or              Subsidies for clergy may be available.  Download the flyer.
Hudson River University
March 17, 2018
HRU's is back for a spring semester!  There are 5 majors:  Clerk of Session Day, Officer Training for Deacons and Elders, Christian Education, Social Justice Advocacy, and Planned Giving.  It's a great day with fabulous faculty and take-aways that will benefit your congregation and its leaders.  HRU will take place from 9:00am-3:00pm at Stony Point Center.  Download the flyer and share it with your church's members!

HRP is looking for Budget, Finance and Property Committee members
If you are looking for ways to serve the realm of God and the larger church and have the needed  financial, investment, accounting, budgeting, legal and/or real estate knowledge, skills and/or experience , then consider this opportunity!  Read more.
Congregational News & Events
Setting the Bar for Mission Giving
Pastor Jonah So shares this encouraging story.

As the Korean Presbyterian Church of Westchester was preparing for a Mission Sunday in September, it was decided the specific mission project would be a scholarship to support a female in transition out of the Peace & Hope Shelter in Huanuaco, Peru for one year by covering practical education/training and housing. When it came to a vote at Session in August, Hurricane Harvey had made landfall. The Peru Scholarship was put on hold (we plan to do it in the future) in favor of raising funds for Hurricane Harvey Relief. The Session agreed to take a collection and then, if needed, bring it up to $10,000 even. 

As the final preparations for Mission Sunday were being made, Hurricane Irma made landfall. The Peru Scholarship mission project which was changed to Hurricane Harvey Relief was again changed, this time to to Hurricane Relief. Our community ended up raising $11,388. Our Session, while very encouraged, found itself a bit embarrassed at the "lack of faith" in our congregation by setting the bar "too low at only $10,000!" We are so blessed to be part of such a community. We humbly submit these funds and will continue to pray for those who suffer.
Regional and National News
Stated Clerk Issues Statement Criticizing President Trump's Decision to Officially Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel
PC(USA) Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, J. Herbert Nelson, II issued a statement on Wednesday, December 6, from Israel - where he is traveling with a delegation of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders, criticizing President Trump's decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to instruct the U.S. State Department to begin planning to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a grievous mistake. For Christians concerned with peace and justice, Jerusalem must be a city shared by three faiths and two peoples. As long as Israel occupies East Jerusalem and restricts Palestinian human rights, to designate Jerusalem as Israel's capital is to endorse the violation of international law. We pray for "the peace of Jerusalem" as Christmas approaches, but peace is not achieved by unilateral claims or annexation. Read the statement in full.
Co-Moderator of PC(USA) GA Endorses Poor People's Campaign
The Rev. T. Denise Anderson, Co-Moderator of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) added her voice to the chorus of faith leaders present for the launch of The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in Washington, D.C. on December 4th.  Owing its name to the Poor People's Campaign instituted 50 years ago that day by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the call seeks to unite "tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation's distorted morality."  Read more.
#MeToo, Silence and the Church
Leslie Scanlon of Presbyterian Outlook writes, "I'm listening to the silence.  The rest of the country seems to be on fire with revelations involving sexual misconduct, violence and harassment. #MeToo echoes everywhere, like a round being sung with new voices constantly joining in, more every day.

The church, however, isn't saying much. In a church that draws on the prophetic tradition and claims to stand for justice, that silence is loud.  Read more.
Lifting Up Westchester is sponsoring an essay contest for students grades 7-12 who live in Westchester on homelessness.  Essays are due on January 31, 2018 at 5pm and cash prizes will be given for the best essays.

Topic - Homelessness: What does it mean to you? How has it touched your life? What are your ideas about how to assist our homeless neighbors here in Westchester County? 

On any given night in Westchester County, one of the wealthiest areas in the country, approximately 1,750 people are homeless - 655 of them children.  If we add those students whose families are "doubled up" living with relatives or living in other temporary accommodations - the number of homeless children in our County is closer to 2,800 according to data collected by Southern Westchester BOCES.

An educated community is essential to dispel misconceptions about poverty and homelessness and to cultivate empathy and respect for those in our community who are experiencing homelessness.  We hope that by sponsoring a contest for 7th through 12th graders more youth-their parents - will learn more about this important issue and start thinking about what we all can do to start reducing the problem.  Learn more details.
Regional and National Events
Princeton Seminary Disability and Youth Ministry Conference, 
Feb 1-2, 2018
In theology and ministry with young people, disability is often treated as a problem to be solved. Christian leaders approach people with disabilities as a target audience in need of integration into traditional church programming, rather than as full-fledged members of Christian community. 

What would happen if the Church were to invest in and affirm young people with disabilities as active members of the body of Christ? How might the Church be reformed and reshaped by God's work in young people with disabilities?
This 2-day event which will be held Feb 1-2 at Princeton Theological Seminary, will engage scholars and practitioners around these questions, striving to create an interdisciplinary conversation that makes a difference in a world of difference.
Learn more and register. 
Got Sermon? Union Theo. Seminary, Feb. 9
Got Sermon?, Union's lectionary study series, brings the talents of our faculty to alumni/ae, students, and neighbors who primarily pastor congregations.   This semester, please join us for Preparing for Lent-Easter with Dr. Lisa Thompson, Assistant Professor of Homiletics, Dr. Aliou Niang, Associate Professor of New Testament, Dr. Andrea C. White, Associate Professor of Theology & Culture, and  Dr. Alan Cooper, Elaine Ravich Professor of Jewish Studies and Provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Visiting Professor of Jewish Interpretation, Union Theological. Got Sermon? will be held on Feb. 9 at Union Theological Seminary in NYC from 8:30am - 5:00pm.  Cost is $50 and advance registration is required.  Learn more.
Nat'l Assoc. of Presbyterian Clergywomen Triennial, April 23-26, 2018
The National Association of Presbyterian Clergywomen will be hosting its Triennial in April 2018 at Montreat Retreat Center. Registration is now open.  (N.B. NAPC's website has three pages on the Triennial, two with information and one with the registration form.  Look on the upper right side of the menu for Triennial Conference to access these pages).

We invite you to share this information with all clergy as well as lay leadership within your Presbytery.
Holy Land Travel Study, 2018
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is offering individuals an opportunity to visit the Holy Land through its Mosaic of Peace Conference in Israel/Palestine,  April 29 - May 12, 2018.  Learn more.
Pastoral Sabbath @Stony Point
Led by Rev. Leslie Mott, the Pastoral Sabbath Retreat is a time for clergy "to come away by yourselves and rest for a while," so that we may return renewed to those we serve. Dec. 13-14. Learn more.
Take Action
Give to PDA to Assist with Emergency Relief During So. California Wildfires
Wildfires are raging again in parts of California leaving more than 45,000 acres burned, destroying homes and forcing major evacuations. Apartment complexes, homes and a hospital are among the structures in the path of the fast-moving flames.  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is reaching out to help.

Emergency officials say at least 1,000 firefighters are on the scene battling the flames, made worse by strong winds. The fire is believed to have started around California State Highway 150 on Monday evening, spreading quickly to Santa Paula and Ventura within the Presbytery of Santa Barbara.

"Right now, we want to make sure that everyone is safe, including our pastors and members, people in the community," said Katie Wiebe who is on the national response team for PDA. "The initial assessment of damage is still going on and churches and community partners are trying to reach out to members to make sure everyone is evacuated."  Give to help PDA assist southern California communities and congregations during this wildfire emergency.  Read the full story.
Resources for Education, Liturgy & More!
Following the Star Online Advent Devotional
Following the Star Online Advent Devotional is a wonderful way to journey through the season.  

A part of the year-round online devotional, t he series features scripture, prayer, and meditative thoughts accompanied by gentle music focusing on the Advent journey toward Christmas.
Christmas Joy Offering Stories and Resources
Every Christmas, we express our gratitude for the birth of our savior by supporting the   Christmas Joy Offering (CJO), which equally supports the    Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions   and Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges.

Jaiesel Hernandez, a senior at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, said his high school years at the Presbyterian Pan American School (Pan Am), a racial-ethnic school in Kingsville, Texas, helped him hear the call to ministry.   While he gives high praise to Pan Am's academic preparation, chapel services and extracurricular activities, Hernandez also commended its student-organized Bible studies and prayer groups. He led a weekly dormitory Bible study during his final year at Pan Am.  Read more about Jaisel's story and those of others. Support the preparation of racial-ethnic leaders by giving generously to the Christmas Joy Offering.  Learn more about the Joy Offering.
Next Church's Cultivated Ministry Field Guide Now Available
In a time when traditional metrics seem out of touch with the realities of ministry in contemporary post-Christendom North America, Cultivated Ministry gives us a way to undertake ministry with a clear and purposeful understanding of how our activities contribute to God's mission in the world. Cultivated Ministry is a culture and process of ministry that does not rest on traditional metrics nor does it abdicate accountability altogether.  

Five Risks Presbyterians Must Take for Peace
Don't miss HRP member and the PC(USA)'s Coordinator of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, Christian Iosso's new book:  Five Risks Presbyterians Must Take for PeaceAll proceeds from the book's sale go to support the PC(USA).

Believing peacemaking to be an inherent part of discipleship, Presbyterians have taken many valiant stands for peace throughout our history. However, changing global realities, political and military actions, and new weapons of war have made the world less safe than ever. The church must reconsider how to be faithful peacemakers in this changing reality.  

Chris holds a PhD in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York and previously served as a pastor and on the national staff of Mission Responsibility Through Investment.
Coaching Network: Scholarships for 5 Professional Sessions
Are you a leader (or team of leaders) involved in transformational ministry, developing an emerging ministry, or moving forward after being recognized as a network? A coaching relationship can provide time and space for Holy Spirit to be heard and lead you forward in a thoughtful, creative way.  As your coach listens deeply and asks powerful questions, you can become aware of and commit to new possibilities for action and become more aware of obstacles that may be holding you back. For more information on the coaching scholarships and to apply, go to .
Employment Opportunities
HRP Seeks Part-Time Administrative Assistant
HRP is seeking a part-time administrative assistant to work Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 hours each day in the HRP Office in Scarborough.  Read the full position description.  Do you know someone who would be a good fit?  Contact Jean Kaiser,
Hudson River Presbytery Seeks Treasurer
The Treasurer is a volunteer position to provide oversight for the financial activities, procedures, policies, reports and statements for the Presbytery of Hudson River (HRP) and its corporation in consultation with the Budget Finance and Property Committee/Trustees (BFP) and the Council. The position requires knowledge of General accounting procedures; QuickBooks and computer skills; follow through; and confidentiality.   Read the full position description .
The Larchmont Ave. Church seeks Dir. of Christian Education
The Larchmont Avenue Church (a Presbyterian congregation), located in Southern Westchester County (NY), is seeking a Director of Christian Education. This position entails direction of our Sunday School (110 youth, preschool through 8 th  grade); assistance with associate pastor with middle school ministry, and development of education ministries with pastors and members. LAC is a vibrant congregation of 700 members - wide-ranging in all groups, younger-older, with an energetic pastoral and musical program staff.  The LAC DCE position is 20 hours per week, competitive salary.  To apply, please send cover letter and resume to Rev. Elizabeth Smith-Bartlett  at .
Brick Presbyterian Church Seeks Transitional Pastor
The Brick Presbyterian Church in the City of New York, New York; 250-year-old Brick Church is seeking a Transitional Pastor to lead our 1,800 members on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Our engaged, open-minded and multi-generational congregation prioritizes worship, education, fellowship and mission, with a particular emphasis on families with children. With compelling and intellectually challenging preaching, the Transitional Pastor will inspire our worship on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our Transitional Pastor will provide guidance, unity and stability as we continue our mission and prepare for our next Pastor. Please see our MIF #05618.AF0 on or or email
Union Theological Seminary Seeks "RISE Together" Assistant and Program Director
The Rev. Dr. Lisa Rhodes, Executive Director of RISE Together, a soon-to-be-launched national mentorship network for women of color in ministry that will be based at Union, is seeking to hire a part-time assistant and a Program Director for the RISE Together initiative.  Read more here.
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
Snow what?  It's easy to invite your friends to subscribe to Hudson Happenings. With links to local, regional and national news as well as information on fabulous educational and advocacy events, it's your "one stop" for the latest and greatest news and events in Hudson River Presbytery, Synod of the NE and PC(USA). And with this link, your friends can also subscribe to other e-updates from the Presbytery Prison Partnership, the Food Justice Network and more! Again, just invite them to go to or send along this snazzy, snowy shot of me. (the link is embedded).