Minutes in Seconds

Digest of Actions Taken at the Stated Meeting

of The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley

First Presbyterian Church, Unadilla NY Saturday May 30, 2015

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Presbytery Moderator Emrys Tyler (Nineveh) opened the assembly with prayer at 9:02 am.   A quorum was present – 30 churches were represented by Ruling Elder Commissioners,  30 Teaching Elders,  3 Commissioned Lay Pastors, 1 Corresponding Member and 22 visitors and office staff.  First time commissioners were introduced.  The total enrolled attendance was 86.

Host Pastor, the Rev. Paul Hamilton gave a welcome and directions about the building, facilities including elevator and mealtime. 

The Agenda and Consent Agenda were approved, following removal of items related to Per Capita.

The Moderator called on Cabinet Chair Judi Gage (Laurens) to moderate in his place and present the Cabinet Report.  By common consent, the resolution on the request for gracious dismissal of First Presbyterian Church, Endicott was placed on the floor as the main motion, replacing the motion from Cabinet.  The resolution was amended by replacing the paragraph on page 7, item 1 with "1.  If the way is clear, Presbytery will dismiss co-pastors Jan and Tim Devine to the ECO at the same time as the congregation, at the conclusion of the final worship Service of Commissioning in provision 4 below."

Following further discussion, the amended resolution to dismiss First Presbyterian Church of Endicott to A Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) was approved by a ballot vote with 59 in favor, 4 opposed and 1 marked as abstaining.  A note on one ballot "with grace and great sadness for the Church" was included in the written record.  Following announcement of the vote, members of Presbytery expressed their gratitude for the work of the Discernment Team, Session and church leaders, the co-Pastors, and the many people from the congregation who have served the Presbytery over the years, as well as all involved in the discernment and decision process this last year.  Jennifer Hunt (First, Endicott) read a letter of thanks to the Discernment Team and the Presbytery.  The final worship service date has not been set yet, but will be planned and announced by the Session and Presbytery Cabinet.

Allison Seed (Board of Pensions) gave highlights and good news from the Board using a brief powerpoint presentation, and was available throughout the meeting for consultation and questions.

Worship included the Lord's Supper, served by intinction and administered by Cynthia Walton-Leavitt (Oneonta, First United)and Paul Hamilton (Unadilla), other participants included Bob Heinle, JoAnn Aymar and Patty Wolff.  An offering of $674 was divided between Presbyterian Disaster Assistance(PDA) and the Unadilla Food Pantry.

Moderator Emrys Tyler resumed the chair and a report was received from the Ethiopian Partnership Ministry Team (EPMT), giving thanks for the events connected with the visit of Pastor Woreti.  A video about this, posted on YouTube, was shown.

Len Bjorkman (Honorably Retired) reporting for the Justice in Mission Ministry Team (JIMMT), gave an update on the Orissa project and invited Sandy Dumond to give a report on the upcoming "Hope and Healing:  Perspectives on Mental Health" at East Guilford on Saturday June 6, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Chris Hooker co-chair of the Committee on Lay Preaching (CoLP) recognized those lay preachers who have completed the Certificate in Theology Program through Princeton Seminary:  Pam Allen, JoAnn Aymar, Karen Marshfield, and Mary Ellen Whitmore .  Marsha Muller is currently working on this certificate as well. 

Christian Nurture Team  --  Becky Kindig (Binghamton United) gave thanks for support for the events they have been sponsoring, and introduced some of those going on the summer mission trip to Baltimore - they have 26 registered and 4 open spots(paid) remaining - these represent 9 churches of the Presbytery.   8 youth and 5 sponsors stood and were commissioned to this ministry, after being given a dispensation from speaking.

Committee on Nominations  --  Garrett Schindler (Bovina) gave the report and after opportunity for nominations from the floor, Presbytery elected:

  • Rev. Lynn J Shepard as the Recording Clerk, Class of 2018

Readers for Standard Ordination Exams:

  • Revs. Kimberly Chastain and Becky Kindig (Binghamton United)
  • Elders Jane Park(Union, Endicott) and Joan Wise-Hostetter(Owego)
  • Rev. Mark Piedmonte(Gilbertsville/Garrattsville) as an alternate

Commissioners and YAAD to the 222nd General Assembly (Portland, Oregon - June 18-25, 2016) will have to be elected prior to December 21, 2015.

Committee on Ministry --  Pat Raube (Union, Endicott)  Attendees at the Board of Pensions Regional Benefits Consultation this year were Judi Gage, Sarah Hooker and Mark Montfort.   Sarah Hooker (First, Delhi) gave a report highlighting the differences from prior years, and Judi Gage reported on her first time attending.   Both spoke of wanting to help churches in crafting terms of call that better serve both church and pastor.  Sarah will be acting as the COM member to consult with on medical dues and revising terms of call.   The remainder of the COM report came after lunch.

CLPastor Judi Gage was authorized to administer the Lords Supper at Stamford June 7, and added to the list of previously approved Lay Pastors available to administer the Lords Supper at a specific list of churches.  Stamford was added to that list as well.  COM will be reviewing the readyness of other lay pastors and elders to be added to these lists.

Diarmuid O'Hara (Bainbridge) was presented to the assembly for an enthronement and gracious words as Presbytery granted him Honorable Retirement, effective June 30, 2015

After Lunch 8 or 9 announcements and Sharing of Good News items were given.

Peace Discernment Affirmations from General Assembly

Len Bjorkman led the Assembly in a time of reading aloud the summary of the affirmations, collecting comments (displayed on the screen) and taking an advisory vote on each one.

GA Num

Description  or excerpt





"Peacemaking is essential ..."





"Confess complicity in the world's violence ..."





Amended by PSV to read  "We Proclaim . . .Jesus"





"Seek to understand ... pray .... support"





". . . practice the things that make for peace."




Other Business After questions and concerns on the items removed from the Consent Agenda on Finance and Per Capita, those reports were received. 

The Moderator was empowered to appoint a team of 3 people to review and approve the minutes of this meeting so that they can be forwarded to fulfill legal requirements of dismissal of Endicott First.

There was a prayer of commissioning offered for those attending the churchwide gathering of Presbyterian Women.

Presbytery adjourned with prayer at 2:57 pm

The next Stated Assembly is at United Presbyterian Church, Binghamton on Saturday Sept 19.