Merry Christmas from your Regional Synod of Albany

Wishing you and yours, a very Merry Christmas. The 2020 season looks so different for many of us as we adapt our traditions and make new ones. Christ still comes, Christ still abides. May this be a time of comfort and joy!



What future is God calling your church to?
Churches Learning Change can help you discern.
The Albany Synod Fellowship Program can help you dream.

All of you are invited to consider whether either of these programs might be right for your church!

The Albany Synod Fellowship Program (ASFP) is a two-year, transition-into-ministry program for new ministers. Albany Synod recruits and hires these fellows and places them at ministry sites that apply for the program. Other churches who have a first-call minister may also join this program so their clergy will have access to all the programming, coaching and support that the ASFP offers. Read the information included here to learn more about it!

The application deadline for the ASFP is March 15, 2021. If you’re thinking about submitting an application, get in touch with Abby Norton Levering so she can support you through the application process. 

The Churches Learning Change (CLC) Process is beginning a new round and now is the time to sign up! CLC Coordinator Sherri Meyer-Veen writes: “As we continue to navigate a pandemic, many are saying that their Faithwalking and Churches Learning Change work are invaluable resources that have immensely assisted them during these difficult times.” While you might be tempted to delay signing up for CLC because your church is struggling to adapt to all the changes coming at you, think about this differently: CLC can help you and your congregation function more effectively during these very challenging times.  

The application deadline for the CLC Process is
February 1, 2021.

Curious about the Fellowship Program or CLC but not sure which is right for your church? You’re invited to bring your questions to one of two zoom info sessions: Wednesday, January 13 at either 12pm or 6:30pm. RSVP to Abby Norton Levering so that she can send you the Zoom link.


What is Faithwalking? 
In the video below, Linda from Scotia shares some of her journey while answering that question. 

Faithwalking is helping bring deep change to church members and pastors all around our region! 

Registration is now open for four different Faithwalking Foundations options beginning in January. Each module is 10 weeks of weekly online video conference calls for 75 – 90 minutes. Foundations is a new format of engaging Faithwalking process and is encouraged for everyone, including those with previous experience with Faithwalking. If this is your first Faithwalking experience, module 1 is recommended. 

Module 1: Self Awareness will meet Tuesday nights beginning at 7 p.m., starting Tuesday, January 12. 
Module 2: Authenticity & Shame will meet Mondays beginning at 2 p.m., starting Monday, January 11.
Module 3: Anxiety will meet Wednesdays beginning at 2 p.m., starting Wednesday, January 13

Register by December 29 for any of these great opportunities. 
More information and registration at nyfaithwalking.com under engage and foundations.


Albany Synod School of Ministry

This winter the School of Ministry will be offering Systematic Theology taught by Dr. Matthew van Maastricht. This class is open to all and is a required for those seeking to become commissioned preaching elders.

Course description: Christians are called to love God with their hearts and their minds. These go together, and we cannot neglect either one or the other. This course helps us to grow in our ability to love God with our minds. Beginning with Creation to the Final Consummation and everything in between, this course surveys the major doctrines in Christian theology. In doing so, we learn from the long history of Christian theology, with a particular emphasis on the Reformed tradition, to connect the faith of the church to the lived experience of the church today. 

Instructor: Matthew van Maastricht is the pastor at Altamont, New York. He is a Fellow of the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary and an adjunct in Reformed Church Studies at New Brunswick, teaching the Reformed confessions and church polity. Matthew is pursuing a PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and regularly presents on the Reformed confessions, Reformed Church history, and church polity. 

Registration: The Systematic Theology course begins January 12, 2021 and concludes March 9 from 7 PM to 10 PM via Zoom videoconferencing. Registration and payment ($300) are requested by December 31.

 For full registration information contact: Sandy Cornwell, School of Ministry Administrator at crccsandy@gmail.com.

How ARE You? A Survey

We know that your ministry may look very different right now than it did a year ago. The Regional Synod of Albany Executive Committee and the Synod Ministries Board invite you to participate in this brief survey to let us know how you're doing. We long to celebrate with you, grieve with you, pray specifically for you, and offer our support. The answers that you provide in this survey will help us do just that. Thank you for taking a few moments to respond.

Capital District Faith Leaders Day
with the Unified Court System’s Third Judicial District Office

The Unified Court System’s Third Judicial District Office is hosting Faith Leaders Day on January 14, 2021 from 10am-12pm. This is an event full of information and an opportunity for Judges and Court Staff to provide Faith Leaders with a basic understanding of the functions of various courts and the matters they handle. Topics include: COVID- Opportunities, Challenges and Creating a New Normal, a Virtual Tour of a Court House, Innovative Ways the Religious Community and Court System Can Work Together, and Hot Topics - Ask a Judge Panel Discussion.
 
To register for this event, please go to: https://abcdweds.questionpro.com/t/AOtELZkDvr
 
This will be a virtual event and you will receive a Zoom link several days prior to the event. Please mark your calendars and share this flyer with your colleagues.
 
Thank you very much and hope to “see” you there. 
 
Anna Wilkinson, LMSW
Coordinator, 3rd and 4th Judicial Districts
New York State Child Welfare Court Improvement Project

Giving Thanks

The Albany Synod gives thanks to all the congregations and individuals who have supported our ministries so faithfully and generously during this year. It has been a difficult year for everyone as we’ve all had to adjust and adapt our worship and ministry services. Thanks to your ongoing support we’ve been able to make those adjustments successfully.
As in past years, contributions for Albany Synod for 2020 will continue to be accepted through January 15, 2021.


SMB Grants Can Help

As the church considers when, how, and if regathering in person for worship is safe, you may need things to do so. The Synod Ministries Board offers grants for up to $1000 for new endeavors in Revitalization, Discipleship, and Mission. As the practical and physical considerations of ministry change, you are invited to apply for grant support.

The process is easy.
  1. Check out the application. It's on the website in two forms.
  2. Work with your committee or consistory to answer all the questions.
  3. Get approval for this grant from your consistory and your classis. If you don't know what the process of approval is for your classis, check with your clerk. This double endorsement for the grant request is in keeping with our polity in how churches communicate with the Regional Synod.
  4. Send the completed grant requisition to rsa.comscoordinator@gmail.com. This happens when you hit "submit" on the Google Doc and no further action is necessary. If you're using the downloaded form from the website, simply scan (or photograph) the completed pages and email them as at attachment.
  5. Your grant will then be considered by a small committee of SMB members. They read every grant, discuss, ask questions, get clarification, and ultimately approve the request. We want to disperse grant money.
  6. The approved grant gets emailed to Bob Hoffman, Administrator for the Regional Synod. He writes a check and the Ali Stone, our Bookkeeper and Office Manager extraordinaire puts that check in the mail to you. Once a grant is submitted, the approval process ideally takes about two weeks.

Already have an idea that just needs a little funding boost?