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Happenings In & Around the Presbytery of NYC
T his newsletter is ordinary published on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. All items for potential inclusion must be submitted via email to newsletter@presbynyc.org by noon on the Wednesday before the newsletter in published. All items are subject to review and editing. Timely submission does not guarantee inclusion.

Information, articles and links in this newsletter are provided for information only to the congregations and members of the presbytery. Nothing in this message should be construed as the official position of the presbytery unless noted as such.
From the Executive Presbyter
Simple Honest Conversation
A ugust 24-29 I will be vacationing in Florida and attending a small family reunion celebrating my dad’s 96 th birthday. A larger one took place last summer. Not all our family members have lived so long. My mom died 30 years ago at age 66, the communicator always sending cards with beautiful and thoughtful hand-written notes. My oldest sister died 5 summers ago at age 63, a soulmate among my five siblings, with whom I shared common aspirations. My younger sister’s husband and my dad’s second wife died 2 summers ago. These lives missed are not lost on me but leave abiding memories and marks. I look forward to this time together; time for good conversation and deepening relationships while God gives us this time with each other.

I need that time, as perhaps you do also, for safe, loving, intimate conversations; and time to share the deeper hopes and aspirations operating within our lives, those God also hears in prayers silent, spoken, or written. We are flooded each day with words, tweets, Facebook posts, policy changes intent on making persons feel unsafe, hated, and told their lives don’t matter. Each day we see children and adults killed or dying as that hatred and lack of compassion is enacted. Deeper conversations, these “fear+less dialogues” as Gregory C. Ellison II calls them, are not widely taking place. We have forgotten that Biblical verse, “There is no fear in love,” (I John 4.18).

Margaret Wheatley writes “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, honest, human conversation. Not mediation, negotiation, problem-solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversation where we each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well.” She explains in  Turning to One Another. Simple conversations to Restore Hope to the Future:  “Human conversation is the most ancient and easiest way to cultivate the conditions for change—personal change, community and organizational change, planetary change…to talk about what’s important to us.” 

She knows, as you and I know, these simple, honest conversations require our time and trust, including being able to talk with those we name our “enemies.” She adds: “Fear of each other, also keeps us apart. Most of us have lists of people we fear. We can’t imagine talking with them…we can’t imagine what we would learn from them.” Her writings and personal experiences are her way to lead us into such honest and truthful conversations, deepening and preserving human and international relationships. 

Wherever you find yourselves, I hope God’s love for you and the world God made for all of us, might lead you into more simple, truthful conversation where you have a chance to speak, feel heard, and listen well with others.
Robert Foltz-Morrison
From the Presbytery Office - Staff Vacations
P resbytery staff need vacation and rest also! Please be patient with us as James Tse, Yzette Swavy-Lipton, Warren McNeill, and Bob Foltz-Morrison (and consultants Mark Koenig and Georgiette Morgan Thomas) will be taking time off during different weeks in the month of August. At least one staff member will be in the office each week. Shirley Fleming remains on medical leave.
The Presbytery Office Goes Virtual - On Fridays!
Friends, effective immediately, on Fridays during the summer months (June, July & August) the presbytery staff will work virtually. This means that the physical office will be closed. The staff will have virtual access their phones and email and will be able to respond to both your calls and your emails. Should you find the need to meet with a staff member on a Friday during this time you are asked to reach out to that staff member to make arrangements for them to come in to the office.

Yzette Swavy-Lipton
Executive Administrator/Office Manager
Orientation to Vital Congregations for Sessions - October 8th 10-1
This event is open to those sessions still wondering if they want to be participate!
Five of our pastors will serve as Facilitators to cohorts of congregational leaders in participating congregations from the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens: Phil Tom, Grace Bowen, Patrick O’Connor, Krystin Granberg, and Clive Neil. All have been through training this past week and will facilitate this Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI) over the next two years.
The Facilitators and I are inviting Ruling Elders of VCI congregations and those still interested in participatng to be oriented to the schedule, the tools, the Facilitators, the cohort groups, have lunch and fellowship together, and answer any other questions you may have about this two-year initiative that the Presbytery of New York City will launch in January 2020. Some preliminary meetings with Facilitators will take place this fall.

Why be engaged?  This is a crucial time to awakening to what the Spirit is saying to God’s people. God is calling the church to give witness to what God is doing in our lives and our neighborhoods today. Many churches are in decline and younger generations see no relation between what we say and what we do and choose not to be part. Yet, among us people are showing up where justice and mercy is called for, building bridges of love and welcome instead of hatred and rejection. Congregations are acting upon what they hear the Spirit saying in Scripture for such a time as these in which we live. Vital Congregations is an  initiative,  not a program or guaranteed outcome. It calls us to re-turn attention to God, follow the example of Jesus Christ, and receive the courage and counsel of the Holy Spirit. We do it not alone; congregational leaders will meet monthly in cohort groups for fellowship, prayer, conversation, and discernment t ogether .

You will meet our Facilitators at the Presbytery meeting September 28 at Holmes. But plan to participate October 8 th .
Orientation to Vital Congregations for Sessions (Elders, Moderators/Pastors)
Tuesday, October 8, 10-1
Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church (152 West 66 th  Street, Manhattan)
Vital Congregations launches in January, sessions should be ready to lead
Cohort Groups of Congregational Leaders are Being Formed Now First Cohort Groups meet once this year, then monthly beginning in January
Lead by
Five Facilitators (listed below) and the Executive Presbyter (All have received training by national PCUSA staff to facilitate VCI). We may have a visit by one of national team members
Facilitator for Bronx Congregations Cohort
Krystin Granberg
Facilitator for Brooklyn Congregations Cohort:
Clive Neil
Facilitator for Queens Congregations Cohort
Patrick O’Connor
Facilitators for Manhattan Congregations Cohort
Grace Bowen
Phil Tom

Your Cohort Facilitator will be contacting your congregational leaders. Expect this contact.
This event is also open to those sessions still wondering if they want to be part.
An orientation packet will be provided with time for questions and answers.
A link to the calendar of our work together is below
Questions: Direct to your Facilitator or the Executive Presbyter ep@presbynyc.org
From the Justice Ministry Committee (formally known as the Committee on Witness to Society and the World (CWSW) ) and the Advocate for Justice Ministries
B ecoming a Matthew 25 Church
The Presbytery of New York City recently hosted the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, President and Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. She shared the vision for a Matthew 25 church with us. Matthew 25 provides a vision, rooted in Scripture and General Assembly policy that will:
  • Connect and unite the PC(USA), creating a spark that energizes and joins us in our common mission together
  • Celebrate and call forth churches that actively engage the world
  • Clarify our understanding as Presbyterian Christians that we are “saved to serve”

Congregations become Matthew 25 congregations by committing to follow Jesus in discipleship that embraces one or more of these three focuses:
  • Building Congregational Vitality
  • Dismantling Structural Racism
  • Eradicating Systemic Poverty

“We already do that,” you may say. Many congregations in the Presbytery of New York City have embraced such ministry. Thirty-one of our congregations are part of the Vital Congregation Initiatives. Others work daily to address the causes and effects of structural racism and systemic poverty. The Matthew 25 vision then serves to strengthen our witness to Christ as we make connections in the presbytery and the larger church, clarify our understanding of who we are and what we are called to do, and challenge ourselves to grow in discipleship.

Contact Mark Koenig if you have questions at mkoenig@presbynyc.org .
Everyone is Welcome at God's Feast!
Parents Say They’re Grateful for Camp Q
It’s been a month since Holmes Camp & Retreat Center in Holmes, New York, made history. Now the camp’s executive director, the Rev. Bryan Breault, is hearing lovely things from the parents of campers from across the country.

Parents are thanking him — and the facility of the presbyteries of  Hudson River, Long Island and New York City — for hosting what is believed to be the first-ever week-long camp for LGBTQ+ high school youth at a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) conference center.

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria: The Past and the Future
D ear Friends of Puerto Rico’s Recovery:

The two-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s devastation of Puerto Rico is a month away. Many of you have partnered with Puerto Rican Presbyterian sisters and brothers to rebuild what had been destroyed and repair what had been damaged. You know, then, very well that much more work needs to be accomplished.

PDA’s commitment to partnering with you and our Puerto Rican church community remains undeterred. It has been said generally of Presbyterian volunteers that they are the last to leave. Let it be so for Puerto Rico.

PDA’s engagement has not only been with volunteers but with continuing support in grants, host sites, and work partners. Last April’s “In the Loop” highlighted (in English and Spanish) some of these efforts.

Look for the next edition of “In the Loop” coming this fall to highlight additional engagements conducted since last spring.

As we turn our efforts toward the third year, we’d love to know what you’ve been doing over the course of the last year. We’d also like to know how we might continue to partner with you if you are seeking additional engagements.

Please write to us, let us know what you’ve been up to, and let us know how we can help in the coming months. You can email me and we’ll be ready to move forward with you as we are able.

In Service,


David L. Myers
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Senior Advisor 2017 Hurricane Recovery
Regarding Ruling Elders
Congregational Nominating Committees
The PC(USA) Book of Order calls for ruling elders to “exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church ...” (G-2.0301). As ruling elders are called to ordered ministry for life, it is important to approach the work of nominations to this role with humility, open hearts, and open minds. The congregational nominating committee has the responsibility to provide for the leadership of both the local congregation and the larger church through its councils.

The August issue of Regarding Ruling Elders has been posted online. Read the article, "Congregational Nominating Committees," in English Korean , and  Spanish .
News from the Board of Pensions - Grants for College Freshmen
Transition-to-College Assistance Grants Available for Parents of College Freshmen
I f you’re sending a child off to college this fall, assistance from the Board of Pensions may help reduce the cost of one-time, transitional expenses.

Even with student loans and scholarships to help pay for college, the list of additional expenses can be long — especially for parents of freshmen, who must purchase items like computers and dorm room furnishings. That’s why the Board of Pensions is pleased to offer Transition-to-College Assistance Grants to eligible members who have a child entering their freshman year at an accredited college or university.
Stewardship Kaleidoscope
S tewardship Kaleidoscope is an annual conference offering excellent plenary speakers, informative workshop leaders, provocative worship experiences, and incredible networking opportunities for all who are passionate about stewardship and generosity. Drawing leaders from across the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and beyond, Stewardship Kaleidoscope is designed to help participants explore stewardship, in its many colorful dimensions!
Our mission is to create an annual event that:
  • Ignites generosity among Lutherans and Presbyterians
  • Gives practical tools for cultivating generosity in congregations
  • Expands the leadership capacity of those who lead stewardship initiatives
  • Cultivates adaptive approaches for funding Christ’s mission
Come to The Table Synod Gathering, November 8-9
T he Synod gathers every year to encourage the connection, fellowship, worship, and discernment of the leaders that make up our Synod. In the even years we gather in Synod Assembly — to affirm our connectional identity, to set goals and to handle necessary governance. In the odd years we gather at Come to the Table — to learn together about and be encouraged by the missional and ministry innovation being led by Presbyterians and other partners of our regional community.

The event will Include time with Cindy Kohlman, Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly and Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Register today! Visit the Synod's website for more information on the workshops and the gathering?

The Synod invites all to Come to the Table 2019!
Say No to Gun Violence Workshop 
G un violence in the Bronx is increasing rather than decreasing in surrounding communities. It is noted the 70% of gun violence in the community involves a young adult. Ignoring the problem will only lead to our youth spending more time behind bars. All are invited to a seminar focused on speaking out and SAYING NO TO GUN VIOLENCE! the seminar will be held at Eastchester Presbyterian Church on, Saturday, September 14th, beginning at 10:30 AM.
Five Ways to Ruin Your Meetings
by Brian Boyles
There is nothing quite like sitting through a horrible meeting. Like me, you’ve likely wasted hours sitting around a conference table when you could easily could have been doing something much more productive.

Serving in ministry usually requires time spent in meetings. If you’re the one expected to lead the meeting, the pressure is on you to make it productive and efficient. While there are a number of ways to make a meeting productive and efficient, there are also a number of ways to ensure that you actually ruin a meeting.

It doesn’t matter if you’re leading a meeting filled with paid staff members, or one filled with volunteers. A meeting can be ruined no matter who is in it, because a bad meeting is the fault of the one who leads it.

Avoid these five failures, and you give yourself a better chance of success as you lead your team to greater productivity and efficiency. Learn more
C hurch leaders have always looked to scripture for wisdom on how to fulfill their callings. This six-session video-based study curriculum lifts up key themes in Nehemiah's witness that can inspire and guide faith leaders today. 

An accompanying Study and Discussion Guide provides scriptures, introductory information, discussion questions, and prayers to structure group conversations on the subject of each video. An e-book is also included with the study or may be purchased separately.

Leading Like Nehemiah: Rebuilding Together   is designed for use in adult classes or small group settings and is ecumenical.

Video Presentations:
  • Why Look to Nehemiah for Lessons on Leadership?
  • Leadership and God's Call
  • Seeking God's Vision
  • Discerning a Vision
  • Building a Team
  • Staying the Course
What Do Americans Really Think of Pastors
Most Americans believe pastors are good for the country, but fewer believe they have the positive impact of teachers or doctors.

A recent AP poll found 55% of Americans believe clergy members and religious leaders have at least a somewhat positive impact on society, with 19% saying they have a very positive effect.
Fewer than a quarter say they have neither a positive nor negative impact (23%). Around 1 in 5 (21%) believe religious leaders have at least a somewhat negative impact, including 6% who say their effect on society is very negative.

Americans are more likely to see teachers (84%), medical doctors (83%), scientists (80%), or members of the military (75%) as positively contributing to society. Pastors did rank higher than lawyers (42%) or business executives (40%).

Half (50%) say “caring” describes clergy members extremely or very well. Around a third (34%) say it describes them moderately well, while 14% say not very or not well at all.

Fewer see pastors clearly exhibiting intelligence (40%), honesty (39%), and trustworthiness (34%).

Even fewer believe pastors are narrow-minded (31%), selfish (19%), or lazy (11%).
Belonging to a religion and attending services impacts the way people view religious leaders. Full story
Interim Ministry Training Opportunities
T he Interim Ministry Network’s (IMN) core curriculum is Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry (FTM), consisting of two onsite workshops and a small group Fieldwork experience. The first workshop is Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: The Work of the Leader (FTML). The second workshop, Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry: The Work of the Congregation (FTMC) builds on the information and experiences of FTML. The curriculum is designed for experiential learning throughout. Participants read content prior to class so that they are able to use the information to understand specific transition situations as found in sacred stories or in congregational case studies. Connections and conversation are a vital part of the IMN FTM training.
Embrace Fundraising as a Spiritual Journey
H enri Nouwen, a renowned spiritual writer and scholar, innovated the way church and nonprofit leaders view fundraising in his original book, A Spirituality of Fundraising. Reorienting the view of fundraising from a fear- and scarcity-driven task to seeing it as a fruitful spiritual journey, Nouwen says, “Fundraising is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission.”

Many pastors and fundraisers remain hesitant to ask for money, saying, “I don’t have the personality to raise money” or “Asking for money still feels too complicated and makes me fearful.” Knowing that leaders needed practical steps to follow, Nathan Ball, a close colleague and friend of Nouwen, tackles these trepidations head-on with his workbook, providing a 4-week how-to guide for putting Nouwen’s culture-shifting vision into practice.
  • The complete original text of A Spirituality of Fundraising
  • Extensive commentary on Nouwen’s themes
  • Questions for reflection and journaling
  • Prompts for listening and meditation
  • Instructions for using the book as an individual or with a group
7 Steps to Fundraising from Millennials: Getting Them to Give
What drives Generation Y when it comes to charitable giving? Members of the demographic group born between 1980 and 2000, also known as millennials, are motivated by the goal of making the world a better place.
At about 80 million strong, millennials represent a big part of the future of fundraising. That's music to the ears of many nonprofit development professionals, because studies indicate that this generation tends to be much more cause-driven than previous generations.

In fact, studies such as the Millennial Impact Report indicate that many members of Generation Y believe that they can make a personal difference. Millennials' approach to nonprofit giving presents a few dilemmas for fundraisers, though, namely that this generation isn't as likely to simply write a big check for a cause they care about. Let's take a closer look at giving patterns as we explore seven steps to fundraising from millennials.
PMA Leaders to Speak at Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network National Conference - Scholarships are Still Available!
T here’s still time to register for and receive scholarships for the  Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network national conference , set for Oct. 15-18 in Louisville, Ky.
Set for the  Laws Lodge Conference Center  at  Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary , the conference features two keynote speakers from the Presbyterian Mission Agency. On Wednesday, Oct. 16 , PMA President and Executive Director the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett will share the  Matthew 25  vision and invitation for PC(USA) churches to focus on three priorities: building congregation vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.

The Presbytery extends its joy and praises to:
  • Rev. Adam Gorman on the birth (Jan) of first child.
  • Rev. Bertram Johnson on his recent (May) marriage.
  • Rev. Emily Brewer on her recent (June) marriage.
  • Rev. Jordan Tarwater who is engaged and scheduled (October) to be married.

The Presbytery extends its prayers to:

  • The Presbytery's Administrative Assistant, Shirley Fleming as she continues to recover from knee replacement surgery.
  • Rev. Carlton Knight whose wife, Merline Rose Knight passed away on Saturday, August 3, 2019. Celebration of her life will be held on, Saturday, August 24, 2019. Viewing will be 9:00 am to 10:00 am., followed by the funeral service at Eastchester Presbyterian Church. Rev. Knight also tragically lost his 2-1/2 year-old grandson Ryan this past May.
  • Rev. Dr. Victor Aloyo Jr., whose mother, Esperanza Aloyo (92), passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Wednesday, August 21st.
  • Continued prayers for both Rev. Alice Hermanus-Rampengan (Indonesian Presbyterian Church) and Elder Marvela G. Hermanus as Marvela continues to provide care for her mother.
  • Rev. C. Herbert Oliver - health concerns
  • Rev. Mark Koenig's wife Tricia as she recovers from surgery
  • Rev. Ted Voelker - health concerns
  • Luis Rodriguez - health concerns
  • Jang Tessalee, Thai Fellowship (health concern)
2019 Presbytery Meeting Dates and Material Deadlines
Stated Meeting
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Material Due (by 5:00 PM)
Friday, September 13, 2019
Friday, November 15, 2019
2019 Commission on Ministry Dates and Material Deadlines
All material for COM's consideration must be emailed to the commission at com@presbynyc.org
On Calling a Pastor
On Calling a Pastor , is a resource for pastor nominating committees and mid councils is now available. Each section of the manual builds upon the next to walk users through the call process highlighting the partners in the call process, polity, using the CLC system, and emphasizing the need for spiritual discernment. The resource is in PDF format. It may be read online or downloaded and printed. "On Calling a Pastor" includes videos, links to online resources, case studies, and "teach the teacher" Power Points for those training pastor nominating committees. Download the full handbook or individual chapters. You may also watch supplemental videos. To access the video links from within the PDFs, click on the icons found in the various chapters.

The Church Leadership Connection staff is here to serve you. If you need any assistance or have questions, contact them by phone at 888-728-7228, ext. 8550, or by email at clcstaff@pcusa.org .
Employment Opportunities Within and Around the Presbytery of NYC
Congregational Searches
The following congregations in our presbytery are currently engaged in active searches:

  • First Presbyterian Church of Forest Hills - Interim Pastor, Full-time
  • First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York - Pastor, Full-time
  • Fort Washington Heights Presbyterian Church - Solo Pastor, Part-time 
  • St. Augustine Presbyterian Church - Solo Pastor, Part-time

More information on these positions can be found on the PC (USA)'s Church Leadership Connections (CLC) website.  Click here for CLC's website .

Congregational Searches
Stay Connected to the Presbytery of NYC
Help your congregation's members stay connected with the latest news and opportunities in and around the presbytery by subscribing to Happenings In & Around the Presbytery, the Presbytery's electronic newsletter. Keep members updated and apprised of Presbyterian events, resources, grants, and opportunities.  Have members fill out the contact information form so that their email addresses can be added to our subscribers list.  Click here  for the Contact Information Form. Once completed return the form to the presbytery office or email it to Yzette Swavy-Lipton .
Need an address or phone number for a church or a member of the NYC Presbytery? No need to call the office to get that information. You only need to log into the Presbytery ACS Database System and viola, the information is right at your fingertips.

If we have your contact information in our database you only need to create an account within the ACS System. If we do not have your contact information  click here  for the Contact Information Form. Once completed return the form to the presbytery office or email it to Yzette Swavy-Lipton so that you can be added to the database.

The ACS Member login Instructions will walk you through the process of creating an account. Once you have setup an account there is an option to download ACS's Church Life App for your mobile phone (iPhone and Android).