22 May 2020

Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value. - Desmond Tutu

Greetings to all of you in the name of the Shepherd:

Spring is in the air and all of God’s creatures seem to be moving freely about – except for us. We continue along in the Mid-Hudson Region of New York State, perhaps walking a bit, perhaps grocery shopping (only one person) or maybe taking a drive. While we are still basically indoors, the world outside spins and creation…creates.

How are you? Or, as the governor recently asked, #howareyoureally? To hold one’s own suffering and challenges is difficult; to absorb that of others in addition to your own can be overwhelming. It is not a new burden for pastors; it is intensified during these times.

I am imagining, though, that leaders have stepped up in congregations. I am imagining that someone has offered to help with technology, that someone has offered to bring food to a food pantry, or that someone has offered to preach when you are tired, to lead a meeting without you there. We are, after all, both Teaching and Ruling Elders, each charged with the care of the congregation. There has never been a more profoundly necessary time when we all need to step into the roles to which we have been called. It is, indeed in every way, Our Time .

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

N ews for you:
·        The hackers are bored, so many of us around the Presbytery have had emails sent out using very realistic, yet totally fake, email addresses. This is a gentle reminder that the only address you should open from Presbytery staff incorporates NAME@hudrivpres.org . Additionally, note a pastor’s official email address and ignore any others that might look similar. We do appreciate you letting us know when such an event does occur.
·        A reminder that the document “ Making a Return to Public Worship Possible ” is available on the HRP website and is updated by Susan DeGeorge as soon as any new information becomes available.  www.hudrivpres.org
·        We are so excited to be hosting our first Hudson River Presbytery virtual gathering on Tuesday June 9 th  from 10-12 . Specific information will be coming to you, but please note the following:

o     You will be sent a ZOOM invitation which will require registration . The ZOOM meeting room will be open at 9:00 for sign-in , technology assistance and on-boarding. The meeting will begin PROMPTLY at 10:00 AND THE MEETING WILL NOT BE ACCESSIBLE AFTER THAT . Please plan accordingly – sign in first and then go get your coffee and snacks !
  Registration for the meeting will be closed on Sunday June 7 at 6pm , therefore Commissioners from your congregations must be assigned soon.
o     Guests are welcome and will be designated as such upon their entrance into the meeting. This is a great time for anyone in your congregations to participate in a presbytery meeting!
o     A gain – detailed instructions will be forthcoming
·       The Grants Team, like most HRP Committees, has been meeting regularly. They are happy to announce that the semi-annual grant writing workshop will be held virtually on June 6 th . This workshop is a requirement for an HRP Legacy Grant. More information can be found here , but registration numbers are limited so act soon!
·       I hope you were able to participate in the amazing preaching at the Festival of Homiletics and appreciated a week off of HRP ZOOMs. We are excited to come back together on Wednesday May 27 th at 10 for our Clergy Connection ZOOM for pastors who are in pulpits. In addition, on Thursday May 28 th , Rev. Casey Carbone will lead a learning ZOOM on the analytics of livestreaming, open to all. What does it mean to have “views” or “visitors”? How can attendance be interpreted? Casey will demonstrate how to find and interpret the analytics of your worship services and events!
·       Holmes Camp has made an exciting announcement that all pastors should appreciate! For three Sundays in the summer (June 28, July 26 and August 30 – the last Sundays of each summer month) Holmes will be offering a virtual camp worship. “Bring” your congregation to this beautiful place in the context of a worship service led by camp leaders and others. Think of this as a “pastor’s Sunday off”, a different outdoor experience for your members, and support of the beloved Holmes Camp that is located within the bounds of our presbytery. Holmes had to make the difficult decision to cancel their summer camps and most visiting groups have cancelled their reservations. Now is the time to step up and support Holmes by worshipping with them on these days!
·       Rev. Bruce Baker (HR) is moving from his home in Pennsylvania to Frederick, Maryland to be with family. Bruce has been integral as a “Dean” for our HRP Commissioned Ruling Elder program. We wish him well and envy the Presbytery of Baltimore as they receive him.
·        Rev. Deke Spierling (HR) and Wendy are moving upstate to be closer to family. Deke has been a leader in the Calvary Newburgh church as well as in Habitat Newburgh. Wendy served as the Journal Clerk in Hudson River. We wish them Godspeed as they embark upon this new journey.
We are all leaders in our congregations. We now have this unique opportunity to re-imagine what church looks like, what church feels like, what church means. We will continue to walk this journey together toward the light that is the Church that God has in store for us. It’s ok. God’s got this. The Shepherd will guide us.

Peace and continued blessings-
Deb Milcarek

General Presbytery

I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.
 – Philip Yancey