Process for Navigating the Conversation of Reopening Church Buildings During Covid-19

The Albany Synod Mediation Team offers this process to be used as a tool to help leaders in churches navigate conversations about gathering in person for worship and other meetings, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. 
This is a new conversation. We have never before walked these paths in our lifetimes! 

We recognize that no tool is one size fits all. Every context has different factors at play. This process is designed to help set the stage for a thoughtful, respectful conversation where all voices can be heard and all values are included. It doesn’t provide easy answers; rather, it is intended to support values-driven, collaborative decision-making.

Click on the big orange button

Still Time to Register

The New York State Council of Churches, Pace University Land Use Law Center and Goldstein Hall Attorneys at Law is pleased to announce we are moving the Who is My Neighbor Seminars online for the summer. From the comfort of your home (or the beach) this will be a great opportunity for you to:

1.  Explore how your house of worship can reach out to your community
2.  Take necessary steps to position your house of worship to use its property for mission
3.  Understand your neighborhood and land use laws and how to advocate for change
4.  Counter Not in My Backyard to create inclusive neighborhoods for all
5.  Meet with organizations offering pre-development and development dollars and learn how to apply for those dollars
6.  New case examples of small and larger projects.

Put the above dates in your calendar and plan to attend even if you went to one of the in-person sessions and want a refresher and new information.

Seminars Held: June 30, July 7, 14, and 21 9:00 – 11:00 AM

These are free to attend, with registration. Find all the details and a link to register, at the NYSCOC website.
Reflections and Tools from the RCA
"Responding to Racism and Listening to the Black and African-American Community"

Eddy Alemán, General Secretary and Earl James, Coordinator for the African American Black Council and Advocacy share their thoughts and action items for faith leaders and communities.

Christian Educators Discuss Planning for the Fall

All Albany Synod Christian Educators are invited to a Zoom Gathering on
Thursday July 9 from 11:30 AM to 1 PM
Feel free to eat your lunch while we're meeting!

Topics for discussion will include: 
  • planning for Christian Education in the fall, whether or not gatherings are happening in person, including brainstorming about how to implement social distancing in the classroom
  • holding space for education, reflection and advocacy about racism in the church, the synod, and America

If you've not attended an Albany Synod Christian Educators' gathering in the past and you'd like to be added to the email list, contact  Miranda Rand  or  Marcy Rudins , to let them know you're interested in participating and to get the zoom link.

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. Perhaps you a new projector so you can do hands free singing. Perhaps you need new signage to communicate seating arrangements. Perhaps you want a hand dryer to replace the paper towels in the bathroom. 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 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?