Blessings to You This Holy Week

We pray that the love of Christ be near to you and the power of the resurrection renew your hope in this time of uncertainty. Just as the tomb could not contain our Lord, so too will four walls never hold the church. We remain one family, gathered in our many places and united by the Spirit.


Announcement Concerning
the Regional Synod Meeting

On April 1, the Albany Synod Executive Committee met to discuss the matter of the May 2 assembly. With the ongoing coronavirus required need for social distancing, they unanimously voted to postpone the scheduled assembly, as allowed in the Albany Synod By Laws: “The time and place of any annual or special meeting may be changed by the Executive Committee if found necessary and desirable. The committee shall notify delegates at least twenty-one days in advance.” (Article 2 section 5)


Still Together:
Albany Synod Virtual Gathering
for Education and Fellowship

Registration will be available soon for Still Together. This virtual gathering will give participants the opportunity to check in with their colleagues from across the Synod, engage in workshops, and partake in worship.

Saturday, May 2 9am-12pm on Zoom Conferencing

9-9:30am: Coffee Hour
9:30-9:45am: Welcome and Introductions
9:45-10:15am: Worship
10:15-10:45am: Breakout Workshops 1
10:45-11am: Break
11-11:30am: Breakout Workshops 2
11:30-11:45am: Closing Remarks and Prayer

Upon registering, you will be given a full list and descriptions of the workshops available and be asked to commit to two of them.

This Virtual Gathering is open to all.

What Churches Need to Know About the CARES Act

Perhaps you've been hearing about the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which makes  forgivable loans  available to small businesses and not-for-profits who are experiencing a drop in income as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.   Churches are eligible to apply for these loans.  There is limited funding available, so it's best to submit applications as soon as possible. Loans are administered by local lenders such as banks and credit unions, so contact your local lenders to ask for assistance.  

Here is a short guide  which explains the PPP. Pay special attention to the third page, which explains the conditions under which these loans can be forgiven. Click "Watch the recording" on  this page  to watch a webinar explaining the steps of preparing an application to the PPP. 

More helpful resources about the PPP and many other coronavirus-related topics can be found on the RCA's Faithward site, on their  Coronavirus Church Resource Center. 

Faithwalking Foundations Online Courses
All are welcome. No prerequisites required.

 
You're invited to take part in one of two online modules to further your learning and the Spirit's transformation within you. Each Module meets weekly, at the times specified below, for ten weeks.  

Module 1: Awareness through Self-Discovery 
Mondays, 2:00-3:15pm, starting April 20
In this module we invite you to see yourself in the context of your experience of spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is the process of transforming the inmost dimension of the human being in such a way that its natural expression comes from the individual’s truest and best self. Spiritual formation is an ongoing, long-term process that is not a religious activity. Spiritual formation is a human activity. You don’t get to decide if your spirit will be formed. You only get to have some measure of say over who or what forms your spirit.
 

Module 3: Managing Anxiety
Tuesdays, 1:30-2:45pm, starting April 21
In this module we invite you to consider the role of anxiety in your life. Have you ever thought about how much energy you spend being reactive rather than being proactive and intentional in life? We all have things that trigger us. We react without thinking when we get stirred up. The cause of our reactivity is anxiety. In this module you will learn what anxiety really is and how it impacts you and how to deal with anxiety in life-giving ways. You will be provided with tools for responding based on your best thinking. You will learn how to take responsibility for self, more consistently. You will learn some practices for slowing the pace of your life. You will learn how to become less anxious..

 
ANYONE is invited to participate in EITHER of the above modules. Please forward this to others in your congregation, classis, or circle of friends/family!

The cost is only $50! 
This has been considerably subsidized by the NY FWC (from $175) in order to allow more participation in our present context.


Calling All Christian Educators

Sign up to be a part of a conversation about doing Christian Education while social distancing. Check in, brainstorm, and get support from other Christian Educators in the Regional Synod.

A Zoom Conference Conversation facilitated by Rev. Marcy Rudins
Thursday, April 16 from 12-1pm

Meeting information will be sent to you upon registration.

Register HERE

Professional Financial Planning Help

BOBS has teamed up with an organization called  Everence  to offer certified financial planners to our pastors. These are top tier financial planners who specialize in clergy finance. They know the ins and outs of clergy taxes, housing allowances, and the details of RCA clergy compensation more than most advisers you’ll meet.  
 
Everence  has their planners set up to work with you completely online. From a secure web form to transfer sensitive documents, to video conferencing, you’ll be paired with a planner who will do this work with you right from your own home. There is no better time to begin this process.  
 
Cost: This year-long process costs $1,500. BOBS has secured a grant from the Lilly Endowment to cover half of the cost, meaning that no RCA pastor will have to pay more than $750 for the experience. Rochester, Schenectady, and Schoharie classes have committed to supplement the cost further by covering half. The Synod Ministries Board is also offering scholarships to make this financial planning accessible to anyone who wants it.
 
  • What’s Included: Cash Flow Planning - Set a smart budget and tell your money what to do, not the other way around.
  • Protection Planning - Have the right insurance at the best price, to know that you aren’t paying too much, and that your family is protected.
  • Investment Planning - Create an investment strategy that aligns with your values, goals, and risk tolerance.
  • Tax Planning - Clergy taxes are a headache! Have confidence you are doing it right.
  • Retirement Planning - Wouldn’t it be nice to know that your plan will provide you with the type of retirement you want to experience?
  • Estate Planning - Having an estate plan in place helps you to care for those you leave behind, and it also allows you to be generous in bigger ways than you thought possible.
  • Charitable Giving - This unique “seventh pillar” of the Everence planning process takes into account that being generous stewards of our finances is at the heart of our faith, and allows you to be as generous as possible with what God has entrusted you. 

If you’d like to have a meeting with an  Everence planner to see if this is right for you, email Billy Norden, Retirement and Financial Education Coordinator, to get started:  bnorden@rca.org .