16 October 2020

“Spiritual tradition is comfortable with paradox, whereas many political movements are not. But all truth is paradox. What it is to live in a space of transformative change is to engender greater and greater comfort with paradox.” - Rev. angel Kyodo williams –

There are surprises. When I asked a friend what the date was today, he replied, “March 172nd, I think.” During a time when days and weeks seem to run unchanging into each other, I have been pondering surprises. Occurrences that we do not expect.

Last week it was announced that Stony Point Center, as we know it, is closing. This is a place that resides deeply in the hearts of many in Hudson River Presbytery. They were on their way to a bright future that included becoming the leadership development and training center for PC(USA)’s Matthew 25 initiative. Once Stony Point had to shut down and could not accept groups during the pandemic, there were no funds to continue to make it viable. The remaining staff will be laid off and most buildings will be closed. Please visit the Stony Point website for a more detailed explanation. https://stonypointcenter.org/

We hold all of our friends and colleagues at Stony Point in our prayers. Could you reach out to them with fond memories and thanks?

That was a surprise.

I recently read an article by Diana Butler Bass entitled “Nothing is as it was”. Recent statistics from both Pew and PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) show that membership in mainline protestant churches is ticking up, while evangelical Christian membership is ticking down. Now that was a surprise! Don’t jump to any major conclusions, and DO read the entire article linked here, which has much to say about our privileged church:

Dwell with her concluding words:

“Finally, the upshot of this is that nothing in American religion is as it was. If you are a white person hankering for the religious nostalgia of your youth, you are out of luck. While the United States has long been a nation marked by its white steeples, new religious and non-religious architectures now arise in our communities, and that is transforming our politics and our future. The new needn’t take down the old, because what has been can exist — and potentially thrive — in the new environment. But the future of white Christianity in America depends on its capacity to change, to redress its long history of privilege, to welcome the new, and to be comfortable as one guest among many at the nation’s expanded table. We need a new story of American faith — what it means to be a citizen, to love the land we inhabit together, and to treat one another with grace and dignity.”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 
Isaiah 55: 8-9

Hudson River News:

I do hope that you have enjoyed the first three editions of PresbyNews. We strive to put together a concise weekly communication that would interest or resource congregations. Send all notices to Jean@hudrivpres.org. Also, send Jean any names of folks who you think would benefit from receiving this!

  • Advent and Christmas is coming and planning for some is under way. This can be  challenging in these uncertain times. Please join us for a conversation around creativity and best practices that are happening in our presbytery. Share what you are doing and learn from each other. We’ve divided into two ZOOMs, one for large to medium size congregations and the other for medium to smaller. Anyone can join one or both!

Mon. Oct. 26 @ 1 PM (Large/Medium Congregations)

Thurs. Oct. 29 @ 10 AM (Small/Medium Congregations)

  • Music directors, choir leaders, pastors are invited to a ZOOM on Monday November 2nd at 10 AM. Join with others who are considering creative musical options for Advent and Christmas. We have a very limited contact list for these folks, so pastors please pass this along! Here’s the zoom link

  • We are planning ZOOMs for Christian Educators and people who work with Youth soon. See upcoming PresbyNews for more information.
  • Remember that this is the season of Nominations for participation in the work of Hudson River Presbytery. Be part of this exciting time in the Presbytery! It is particularly challenging to find Ruling Elders to serve, so please self-nominate or send your recommendations. You can find the form here      
  • The gathering of Hudson River Presbytery is scheduled for Tuesday November 17 at 10 AM via ZOOM. Stay tuned for registration information.
May God continue to bless all of you-
Deborah Milcarek
General Presbyter