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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
"B ehold, I am about to do a new thing” (Isaiah 43.19)
The words this prophet has heard from God have brought encouragement to God’s people over many generations. Can we also believe them?

Many prayers, visits, and activity has occurred within this presbytery, by the members of this presbytery, and in conjunction with partners in and beyond the city.

Kori Robbins, our Young Adult Volunteer, reached out this past year to every congregation and fellowship to collect local and international mission stories in which you are engaged. Some of you went to Puerto Rico to help, others to Korea and Madagascar. Some offered Vacation Bible School to children, and others fed the hungry and sheltered those housing deprived in their buildings. At least three churches contributed to building affordable housing on their property. Others of you witnessed to your faith in public places and counseled those in crisis. Read your stories.

Diane Moffett, CEO of the Presbyterian Mission Agency visited us this summer to meet us and share with us a vision of Presbyteries and congregations exhibiting and talking about practices like those Jesus describes in Matthew 25.31ff.

Jimmy Hawkins, Director of our Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC, came last fall and returns this fall to help us to advocate for those practices God desires us to speak to in the public square, and not remain silent or complicit.

Teaching Elder Liz Theoharis has been working with William Barber II in the nationwide Poor Peoples Campaign uniting people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org. PNYC members participated in local actions in NYC and Albany--and national actions, at our Southern Border.

Toward one of these ends, addressing systemic racism, Denise Anderson (Co-Moderator of the 2016 General Assembly) returns to speak with us at our September 28 Presbytery meeting at our Presbyterian Conference Center in Holmes, NY as the now Coordinator for Racial and Intercultural Justice. Registration will begin soon, look for it, including bus transportation to the camp for those who prefer it.

The Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill visited us, invited us into a new initiative to revitalize congregations, and provided training for representatives and facilitators from 14 presbyteries. Twenty-nine congregations and two fellowships signed covenants to participate over the next two years (2020-2021) Here’s the list. I am hoping elders from all these congregations, and any congregations still interested in participating in this initiative will join us October 8 th at Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church in Manhattan 10:00 am – 1:00 pm for further orientation and preparation.

And if your congregational members would like more equipping, mark your calendars now for the Congregational Resource Day event on Saturday, October 26 th at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Rev. Samuel Son, a Brooklyn Native, liaison to PNYC for Vital Congregations Initiative, and PCUSA staff manager for Diversity and Reconciliation will be our preacher and a workshop leader. More information will follow.

Don’t remember only the former things--as wonderful as they may have been that God was doing among us. God asks us to perceive the new things God is doing among us, to join in these new things that fulfill God’s steadfast love for this world and our neighbors. The Spirit of God bless and be with you in doing so. 

Robert Foltz-Morrison
From the Justice Ministry Committee  (formally known as the Committee on Witness to Society and the World (CWSW) )  and the Advocate for Justice Ministries
The Justice Ministry Committee (formally known as the Committee on Witness to Society and the World (CWSW)), calls your attention to several upcoming events and activities.

  • A brief summary on the September 5th #CLOSERikers hearings held by the New York City Council and information on how to contact your City Councilmembers, (who are expected vote on this matter in October) to tell them how you feel about this important matter.
  • PCUSA's, Peace and Global Witness Offering
  • NYDIS Preparedness Training Events
  • House Our Future NY Overnight Vigil urging Mayor de Blasio to commit to creating 24,000 newly constructed apartments and preserving 6,000 more for homeless New Yorkers by 2026
  • New Sanctuary Coalition Fund Raising Event - Thursday, November 21, 2019
  • Becoming as Matthew 25 Church: Tools for Advocacy
  • The Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, Executive Director and President of the Presbyterian Mission Agency visited the Presbytery to tell us about the Matthew 25 Vision

For more information about any of these events or have your congregation’s justice-related events included in future email newsletters or on the  Presbytery of New York City’s Justice Ministries Facebook page, contact Mark Koenig
Free Youth Ministry Training Sessions
NYC Presbytery, CM&N, and  Ministry Architects  would like to invite you to three (3) FREE Youth Ministry Training Sessions for Fall 2019.


  • September 14th 12 Noon - 3 PM- Far Rockaway Presbyterian Church 896 Central Ave. Far Rockaway NY 11691
  • October 5th 12 Noon - 4 PM- TBD
  • November 23rd 9 AM - 3 PM- TBD

Each session will begin with lunch at 12 noon. Everyone is asked to bring lunch for themselves or for their whole church group. The trainings are based on youth ministry fundamentals and foundations for small and large congregations. It will be a great time to network and connect with other ministries in our Presbytery! Our time together will be fun, engaging, and interactive. No matter the size of your youth group (even if you don’t have any youth but need support in understanding how to reach them)…all are welcome!! This training is for adult youth leaders ages 18 and up. Youth leaders younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult over 18.

Each session will cover different topics. You and your group are invited to attend one, two or even better all three sessions! Topics covered at each session are:

Saturday, September 14th 12 Noon - 3 PM
Far Rockaway Presbyterian Church
896 Central Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691 
  • Thriving Ministry: What’s happening statistically, assets and challenges, achieving that precious critical mass, etc.
  • Volunteer Development: How to recruit, maintain, and fire volunteers 
  • Squaring the Corners: The systems EVERY ministry must have! 

Saturday, October 5th, 12 Noon - 4 PM, Location to be determined
  • Creating a Christian Formation Path: Ages & Stages, Milestones, Core Competencies
  • Making it R.E.A.L.: Teaching Tips and Classroom Management, 

Saturday, November 23rd, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, Location to be determined
  • The Vision: mission statements, core values, target audience, 3-year goals, 1-year benchmarks, next steps, YM org chart, 
  • Healthy/Unhealthy Boundaries  

 Hope to see you there!

Please contact Rev. Aqueelah Ligonde at  asligonde@gmail.com  or 917-225-5191 if you have any questions and to RSVP .
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 participating 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
Vacation Bible School at St. Lukes Presbyterian Church
T his summer, from July 8th through July 12th, with the financial assistance from the Presbytery's Committee on Ministry and Nurture,approximately thirty (30) volunteers and staff members from St. Luke's United Presbyterian Church, hosted thirty-one (31) children for a ROARing good time filled with fellowship and friendship at their Vacation Bible School Summer Camp.

The children attending St. Luke's Vacation Bible School learned Bible Points, they worked on various crafts and team building, they sang Bible songs, they watched movies and they played games.

Because St. Lukes' Vacation Bible School was so successful this past summer, this year, for the first time, St. Luk's will offer an Autum Bible School, in the afternoon once children are out of school for the day. The Autum Bible School will run from October 28th through October 30th.
Your Financial Donations Help Recovery Efforts for Hurricane Dorian
P resbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA)  stands ready to respond and already is responding to the devastation the storm left behind in the Bahamas. 

The hurricane, which lurked in the Atlantic Ocean for nearly two weeks, has put both PDA’s national and international response teams to work. The Rev. Jim Kirk, Associate for National Disaster Response, says that is not unusual for Atlantic hurricanes, which can often hit countries such as Mexico, Cuba and Caribbean islands as well as the U.S. Mainland and Puerto Rico.  

The Rev. Edwin González-Castillo, Associate for Disaster Response and Refugee Ministry–Latin America and the Caribbean, says he began making contacts in the Bahamas before the storm struck the island nation over the Labor Day holiday. 

González-Castillo says PDA is working with the Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat, as well as  ACT Alliance   and  Church World Service  to respond to Dorian, which left parts of the country with devastation that reminded Kirk of tornado damage. 
PCUSA's Churchwide Mailing Offers Congregations Resources to Respond to Gun Violence
Presbyterian Mission Agency President and PC(USA) Stated Clerk have faith that resources will help denomination ‘overcome evil with good
A ll Presbyterian congregations have or will receive a packet of print resources, as wellas access to online resources, that enables a faithful response in their communities to gun violence.
In the wake of recent shootings in Gilroy, Calif., in the Texas communities of El Paso and Odessa and in Dayton, Ohio, and with the advent of the  Season of Peace , the  Compassion, Peace & Justice Ministry programs of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) are providing congregations and mid-councils a robust package of resources to help congregations put thoughts and prayers about gun violence into obedient action.
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!
Women, Leadership and the B-word!
by Rebekah Simon-Peter
W hen a male leader is direct, confident,or decisive, he’s often known by a C-word: Confident. Competent. Charismatic. He’s prized as a strong leader, a natural leader. A woman, however, is often stuck with a less desirable word. With less desirable connotations.

I told my husband about the title of this blog and asked him what he thought the B-word was. He answered tongue in cheek. “Bright? Balanced? Bold?” I laughed. The truth is, we both know she’s more likely to be known as bossy. Or worse, a b#tch.

Strangely enough, it’s not just men that make these pronouncements. Other women do too.

Learning Opportunities at Union Theological Seminary
T his course teaches queer and non-binary theology of sacred sites. It will show what we need the sacred sites for, how endangered they are and how to save them. Establishing an incarnational approach to buildings that neither elevates nor demeans them, it will offer ways to steward them. The course highlight multi-use of sacred spaces as a way to be green, to be neighborly and to establish less distinction between sacralized and desacralized spaces. It argues for hyper-use of open, public spaces in worlds where the privatization of space is rapidly increasing. Students learn how self-governing small institutions are foundational to larger democratic institutions.
J oin Rev. Susan Sparks '03 for  Joyful Preaching: Laugh Your Way to Grace  on Friday, October 25, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. This entertaining and instructive event will show you how humor can transform preaching, strengthen pastoral care, and inspire hope and reconciliation.

Rev. Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit. She is Senior Minister of Madison Ave. Baptist Church. Joyful Preaching: Laugh Your Way to Gracewill also feature Dr. David Carr, Professor of Old Testament, and Shola Adegbite, Ph.D. Student in New Testament. 
The Presbytery extends its joy and praises to:
  • A little birdie has informed the office the Presbytery's Administrative Assistant, Shirley Fleming will be returning to the office on Monday, September 16, 2019.

The Presbytery extends its prayers to:

  • 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 continues to recover 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
COM Meeting Dates
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Tuesday, January 7, 2019
COM Material Due Dates
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
*FRIDAY, December 20, 2019 (early)
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).