Amy Fowler, Presbytery Leader: What’s on my mind…on my heart… and in my prayers
–Summer vs. The Tyranny of the Urgent
We often say that we want summertime to be an opportunity to relax, re-create, reflect and restore before we head back into the activity of fall, winter, and spring. With our virtually constant communications stream, and the 24/7/365 news cycle, I think it has become more difficult to do so. To take the time to gain perspective, to let our minds wander, to play, and to read something that inspires a new thought or feeling, is imperative to all kinds of health – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Can we consciously carve out space and time to do this?
For me, this is a challenge, when so much seems so urgent!
While I was on vacation attempting to carve out this kind of time, but looking at Facebook (I know, I know!), I did see some of my Friends post that they are going to “fast” from Facebook, at least until the November election passes. I have not made the pledge nor taken action to do this yet, but I am “fasting” from commenting on many posts, and choosing not to read others. I still do look at the pet posts and keep up with our far-flung family. To choose to have some time and space in which we are not stimulated by frenzied rhetoric– charges and counter-charges — may be a worthy spiritual discipline we will choose. Not to close out what’s happening in the world, but also not to be consumed by tyranny of the urgent.
I am tempted to start a conversation on Facebook about this, but I haven’t done it yet. In the meantime I am in prayer for all of the persons this Presbytery touches.
God loves you!
Rev. Amy Fowler, Presbytery Leader
Presbytery Meeting Report
May 23, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church of Byron
In her report, Amy Fowler (Presbytery Leader) stated that the focus of the meeting was to be pastors in transition.
She said each presbytery chooses its own members and that new pastors in the Genesee Valley Presbytery are
examined from the floor at a presbytery meeting. Some presbyteries have a commission that does the examination. In
light of this, Rev. Nicholas Dorland was examined and took questions from the floor. He was asked about the sacraments
and reconciliation, how his ministry will be affected by his own spiritual journey, and whether community mission
and social justice would be part of his ministry since it wasn’t mentioned in his faith statement. Rev. Dorland was approved
as a corresponding member of the presbytery. Also approved was his call from the First Presbyterian Church
of Brockport. Inquirer Erin A. S. Jacobson was examined and approved for Candidate for Ministry status. She also
answered questions from the floor. The pastors who are members of the presbytery ask very good questions and don’t
make it any too easy for the candidates.
The Webster Presbyterian Church will now have full time co-pastors after a call to Rev. Dr. Eileen Borduin
Vanderzwan was approved and the dissolution of the current call and the new call as co-pastor to Sr. Pastor Rev. Dr. Lawrence
DeVuyst was also approved. Rev. Bruce Boak of the Pittsford Presbyterian Church was granted Honorable Retirement
effective September 1, 2017. His pastoral relationship with that church was dissolved effective August 31, 2017.
In other business, work continues on the reorganization of the presbytery to a more bottom up than a top down system.
More work has been done on the “Big Picture Team” and at this point the team will be responsible for strategizing and
making recommendations to presbytery, long range planning, supporting New Worshipping Communities, and communicating
with Neighborhoods (groups of churches within the presbytery), presbytery members and the wider community.
Questions and comments about the “Big Picture Team” are being received by the presbytery. The goal is to have the “Big
Picture Team” fully organized, meeting in place of the Presbytery Council and beginning its work in January 2018.
The Child and Youth Safety Policy of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley was approved with changes made after
the last presbytery meeting.
There was a report by five women from the presbytery who attended Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global
Peace With Justice in Washington D.C. in April. They spoke to congress men and women about supporting access to
good nutrition, childcare, healthcare, increasing commitment to Americans of color and supporting refugees both at
home and abroad. They challenged all of us to bring faith out of privacy and into the public square.
There were presentations about Lagom Landing (www.lagomlanding.com), an organization that works with 18-
25-year-olds who need some direction in their lives, and Vision for Camasca. Vision for Camasca is a mission of the
First Presbyterian Church of Chili, a mission they are doing in Honduras. They are working with Hondurans to provide
eye exams and glasses, especially for children, so they can be more successful in school. They will team with the
nonprofit Shoulder to Shoulder whose mission is to work with Honduran communities to “create, implement, and operate
equitably accessible, sustainable health, nutrition, and education services.” They aim not to simply bring temporary
assistance on mission trips, but to teach the Hondurans to build their own systems in all these areas.
The three things to take away from the meeting were: (1) to let congregations know that they are considered at
all presbytery meetings and that the meetings are heartfelt. (2) Lagom Landing makes elixir! The program is supported
by making maple syrup, “God from a tree.” (3) Ecumenical Advocacy Days participants came home inspired, and
they will spread that inspiration to others.
The meeting ended with a beautiful worship service that focused on wonders and signs. Music included organ,
piano and bassoon. During the service, Ruling Elder Hezekiah Simmons was installed as Moderator and Teaching
Elder. Sue Thaine was installed as Moderator –Elect.
Martha Kumler, Elder Commissioner