THE PRESBYTERY OF ALBANY
Telephone 273-4991 FAX 273-9938
Stated Meeting – February 2, 2008
Delmar Presbyterian Church, Delmar Church Telephone 439-9252
Worship Theme: The Light in the Basket – Sabbath Keeping
9:15 a.m. Hospitality
9:45 a.m. We Gather in God’s Name
Call to Order, Sharing of Joys and Concerns, Prayer Harry Heintz
Greetings from Host Church
We Present our Offerings of Mission and Ministry
Compiling Roll & Welcoming First Timers Rick Otty
. Presentation and Approval of Minutes of November 13, 2007 Stated Meeting
Approval of Docket
Adoption of the Consent Agenda (page 2)
Report of the Stated Clerk (page 1) Rick Otty
10:10 a.m. Committee on Preparation Report Don Campbell
Recommendation of Two Inquirers becoming Candidates
10:25 a.m. General Presbyter Report Cass Shaw
10:35 a.m. Committee on Ministry Report (page 3) Joe Shook
Examination of Kathryn Shaffer
10:55 a.m. Council Report #1 (pages 6-12) Carolyn Snyder Lemmon
Discussion of Overtures to General Assembly
11:55 a.m. Stewardship and Mission Support Task Force David Bennett
Higher Education Sunday Proposal
12:05 p.m. Council Report #2 Carolyn Snyder Lemmon
Clint McCoy, Synod of the Northeast
12:15 p.m. We Share God’s Good Gifts – Lunch
1:05 p.m. We Continue our Offerings of Mission and Ministry
Speak Out (Opportunity to express your views in 1 minute or less)
1:15 p.m. We Worship God Together
A Service of Sabbath Keeping
2:00 p.m. We Continue our Offerings of Mission and Ministry
Council Report #3 Carolyn Snyder Lemmon
Debate and Vote of Overtures to General Assembly
3:00 p.m. Nominating Committee Report (page 13) Alexandra Lusak
3:15 p.m. Necrology Report – Celebration of Elders Who Died in 2007 Harry Heintz
3:30 p.m. Unfinished Business / New Business / Miscellaneous Business
3:40 p.m. We Go Out in God’s Name & Adjourn as the Church Sent Into the World
Closing Hymn, Prayer and Commissioning to Go Forth and Serve
Light from the Christ Candle Is Taken into the World
*New Business must be introduced in writing to Moderator prior to the meal.
Standing Rules & Basic Parliamentary Procedures are available at the Clerk’s desk
THE PRESBYTERY OF ALBANY
Telephone 518-273-4991 FAX 518-273-9938
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.albanypresbytery.org
Moderator ..................................................................................................................... Rev. Harry Heintz
Vice Moderator...................................................................................... Elder Carolyn Snyder Lemmon
General Presbyter...................................................................................................... Rev. Cass L. Shaw
Stated Clerk........................................................................................................................Rev. Rick Otty
Treasurer ................................................................................................................. Elder Shirley Simon
Administrative Assistant to the General Presbyter ........................................................Lynn Migliore
Administrative Assistant to the Stated Clerk/Journal Clerk (Temporary) .................. Heather Hewitt
Contract Staff for Congregational Transformation .................................... Rev. Dr. Timothy Coombs
Dean, Commissioned Lay Pastor Program.......................................................Elder Norma C. Brown
Financial Manager ...................................................................................................... Elder Lynn Brown
Hebron Center Director ..........................................................................................Rev. Jerry McKinney
Stated Meetings in 2008
February 2 (Saturday) at 9:45 a.m. at Delmar Presbyterian Church
April 8 (Tuesday) at 4:30 p.m. at ___________________________
June 10 (Tuesday) at 9:30 a.m. at First United Presbyterian Church, Troy
September 23 (Tuesday) at 4:30 p.m. at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Albany
November 18 (Tuesday) at 9:30 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Glens Falls
Committees and Task Forces Chairpersons
Commissioned Lay Pastor Program Task Force ............................................. Elder Peter McKinney
Committee on Ministry .............................................................................................Rev. Joseph Shook
Committee Preparation for Ministry .................................................................Elder Donald Campbell
Committee on Nominations .................................................................................Rev. Alexandra Lusak
Committee on Representation................................................................................. Elder Chandlee Gill
Committee on Self Development of People .......................................................... Rev. James Mosher
Congregational Health and Transformation Task Force .......................................................................
Council Staff Personnel Committee ................................................................Rev. Charles Woodman
Council Budget and Finance Committee ..................................................................Rev. David Moore
Council Worship Task Force ...................................................................................... Rev. Harry Heintz
Guatemala Partnership .............................................................................................. Elder Irving Smith
Ministry for Peace and Justice Task Force....................................................... Rev. Jason Santalucia
Stewardship and Mission Support Task Force...................................................... Rev. David Bennett
Theology and Leadership Task Force ........................................................................ Rev. Kate Kotfila
Water Education and Empowerment Project.............................................................. Rev. Cass Shaw
Regional Youth Events Coordinating Task Force..................................... Rev. Laurence Greenwold
Corporations and Organizations
Board of Trustees .............................................................................................Rev. Kenneth Applegate
Presbyterian Women ........................................................................................Elder Gloria Ghirarduzzi
Hebron Center Board ...............................................................................................Elder Laura Rogers
Albany Presbytery Goals 2008-2012
The following goals will govern the ministry and mission of Albany Presbytery for the next five
Goal #1 – Developing Vital Congregations
Goal #2 – Strengthening Our Relationships
Goal #3 – Increasing Participation in Mission
As the coordinating and visioning body of the Presbytery, the Council will be responsible to ensure
that the work of our committees, task forces, boards and staff as well as the budgets which finance
our ministries will focus on meeting these goals. The Council will regularly report to the Presbytery
on new initiatives and strategies being developed and their effectiveness in reaching these goals.
STATED CLERK REPORT – PRESBYTERY OF ALBANY 2 February 2008
1. REPORT ON IMBALANCE. In accord with Book of Order G-11.0101b, I hereby report to the
Presbytery that as of January 1, 2008, active, resident ministers of Albany Presbytery numbered 102.
As of the same date, the total number of elders with voting privileges is 88, as follows:
a. the number of elders our churches are entitled to send as commissioners to Presbytery
meetings is 75:
i. Albany Presbytery now has 73 churches. Each church shall be represented by an
elder commissioned by the session.
ii. Churches with memberships over 500 shall be represented as follows:
500 - 1000 -- 2 elders
1001 - 1500 -- 3 elders
Membership of Glens Falls First Church = 642 (1 additional elder)
Membership of Brunswick First Church = 600 (1 additional elder)
b. The Presbytery Standing Rules also give vote at presbytery meetings to 13 additional
i. One (1) Commissioned Lay Pastor (a hospital chaplain)
ii. 12 who are members of Council or chair a committee or task force
This means there is an imbalance of resident ministers over elder commissioners of 14. This
imbalance is to be redressed by the Presbytery.
RECOMMENDATION: That, as required annually, the imbalance minister-elder imbalance be
redressed by inviting churches of the Presbytery to send one additional elder commissioner, with
the churches to be determined on a random rotation basis, beginning with the April 8, 2008
Stated Meeting, continuing through the first stated meeting of 2009. The next fourteen churches
in the random rotation that began in 1986 are:
Greenwich West Galway Watervliet Jermain
Saratoga Springs Johnstown First Warrensburg
Schenectady Westminster Northville Albany First
Stephentown Schenectady Christ's/Hills Menands Bethany
Troy Oakwood Avenue Scotia Trinity
2. The Stated Clerk is still seeking an invitation to host the April 8, 2008 meeting, and is
receiving invitations to host meetings in 2009.
3. The Stated Clerk recommends Presbytery approve the request of Presbyterian
Women to celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during its Spring gathering.
4. The Stated Clerk recommends Presbytery authorize the Stated Clerk to inform the
Office of the General Assembly and the Synod of the Northeast that our 2008 General
Assembly per capita apportionment of $52,248.96 and Synod apportionment of $32,554.08
will be paid as follows: one quarter of the annual amount will be paid within 30 days after
the close of each calendar quarter.
5. The Stated Clerk recommends approval of the request of the First Presbyterian
Church of West Galway for a waiver of the rotation requirement for elders because of limited
membership, to allow elders Cindy Colby and Robert Eaton to serve an additional three year
6. The Stated Clerk reports receipt of an overture from the Sessions of the Middle
Granville and Peniel Presbyterian Churches “On Prayerful Discernment in Examinations.”
Council serves as the Bills and Overtures committee; however, since the overture was
received after Council’s January meeting, the clerk communicated to the Sessions’ moderator
that copies of the overture would be available for information at the February 2 meeting and
that Council will consider the overture at its February 12 meeting, with discussion and debate
at the April 8 meeting (which, since the overture does not seek amendment to the Book of
Order, is within the May 7 deadline for submission to General Assembly.)
Committee on Ministry Consent Agenda
From its meetings on November 14, 2007, December 12, 2007, and January 9, 2008, the
Committee on Ministry submits the following items for action:
1. The committee recommends extension of the Stated Supply relationship between the session
of Hoosick Falls and the Rev. Donna Elia through December 31, 2008. The extension of
Rev. Elia’s contract meets the Presbytery minimum compensation requirements.
2. The committee recommends concurrence with the request of the Pastor and Session of the
Hamilton-Union Presbyterian Church that the Rev. Mary Jo Pattison be named Parish
Associate of the Hamilton-Union Church. Duties and responsibilities are clear and
appropriate, and there is no remuneration involved (beyond normal pulpit supply honoraria as
3. Regarding the Cornerstone, Lansingburgh Manse Fund, the Committee recommends that the
presbytery remove the restriction on its manse fund, to enable the church to fund a building
improvement project at the church. The committee recommends with concurrence of the
Trustees of Presbytery, that up to $72,000 be authorized, and that the money not needed for
that project be set aside for future repairs of the manse.
Rationale: All of the assets of the former congregations will be the assets of the new
corporation. At one time, there were two church buildings and two manses. Before the
union, the Presbyterians sold their manse, but with restrictions from the presbytery on use of
the money. Until the new corporation can be formed, the money still is in the name of the
Presbyterians. After the union, the Methodist corporation began the process of selling their
church building. After General Assembly approval of the union and the new religious
corporation is formed, the capital from the sale of the Presbyterian manse and the UMC
church building will be assets of Cornerstone. In a dissolution, the assets will be divided
The congregation has housing available for a minister should he or she need it. Therefore,
the governing board is seeking to have the presbytery remove the restriction on use of the
Presbyterian Manse Fund.
4. The committee recommends the presbytery rescind the motion approved at the November 13,
2007 presbytery meeting that read: "the presbytery approved a 6 month extension, through
May 31, 2007, of the stated supply contract between the Rev. Richard Hoffman and the
Session of the Cambridge United Presbyterian Church at the current terms." (because the
motion contained an incorrect date and position title) and approve the following (corrected)
motion: " the presbytery approve a 6 month extension, through May 31, 2008, of the
temporary supply contract between the Rev. Richard Hoffman and the Session of the
Cambridge United Presbyterian Church at the current terms.”
5. The committee recommends that Presbytery extend permission for Elder Robert Kendall to
administer the Lord’s Supper at Breakabeen-N. Blenheim through June 30, 2008.
6. The committee recommends that the Presbytery approve the Administrative Commission to
install the Rev. Susan Strang as pastor of Christ of the Hills, March 9, 2008, 2007 as follows:
the Rev. Harry Heintz, moderator; Elders: Carol Plue, Chandlee Gill and Norma Brown;
Ministers: Ruth Kuo, Pam Woodman, Frank Amalfitano and Rich Patterson.
Committee on Ministry Report
1. The committee will recommend, if the way be clear, the approval of an interim
relationship with a minister from another Presbytery for the Korean Church of
Schenectady. The terms of call, faith statement, and biography will be available on the
Albany Presbytery website at www.albanypresbytery.org after January 30, 2008."
2. The committee will recommend, if the way be clear, that a candidate be examined for
ordination to a validated ministry. The terms of call, faith statement and biography will
be available on the Albany Presbytery website at www.albanypresbytery.org after
January 30, 2008."
3. REPORTS FOR INFORMATION that beginning January 1, 2008, the standard mileage rates
for the use of a car (including vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
• 50.5 cents per mile for business miles driven;
• 19 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes; and
• 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations can be claimed for tax
purposes. The Presbytery will continue to pay 22 cents per mile for all volunteer service
to the presbytery.
• Honorarium for moderating a session or congregational meeting is $60
• Honorarium for pulpit supply is $125 plus mileage
4. REPORTS FOR INFORMATION that Triennial Visits were performed at the following
churches in 2007:
Breakabeen-N. Blenheim New Scotland Presbyterian Church
Broadalbin First Presbyterian Church Northville United Presbyterian Church
Cambridge United Presbyterian Church Schoharie United Presbyterian Church
Carlisle Presbyterian Church Scotia, Trinity Presbyterian Church
Cohoes, United Church of Shushan United Presbyterian Church
Corinth, First Presbyterian Church Spencertown, St. Peter’s Presbyterian
Delmar Presbyterian Church Stillwater United Church
Gloversville, First Presbyterian Church Tribes Hill Presbyterian Church
Guilderland, Hamilton Union Warrensburg, First Presbyterian Church
Hudson Falls, First Presbyterian Church West Hebron United Presbyterian Church
Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church
Council Report to Presbytery – February 2, 2008
The Presbytery Council met on Tuesday, December 4, 2007, at 3:00 p.m. at the Presbytery office.
Carolyn Snyder Lemmon, Council Moderator, opened the meeting with prayer and Bible study in
REPORTS FOR INFORMATION that 10 voting members, 5 staff, and one guest were present. One
member was excused.
Council ACTED TO APPROVE the minutes of October 31, 2007.
Council agreed to continue Bible Study (20 min.) as a part of the Council meetings and Barbara
Cervenka and Donna Phillips agreed to lead the discussion for the next meeting and bring a plan for
the rest of the Council year. Council also agreed to include a block of time (30-45 min.) in each
agenda called “ Issues for Reflection“ and referred selection of issues to the Moderator, Vice
Moderator, General Presbyter and Stated Clerk.
Council ACTED TO APPROVE the following dates and times for 2008 Council meetings.
Tuesday, January 8, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, February 12, 3 p.m.
Monday, March 10 6 p.m.
Monday, April 21, 6 p.m.
Monday, May 19, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 17, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, August 19, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, September 9, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, October 14, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, December 9, 3 p.m.
Council ACTED TO INVITE individuals from the former Theology and Leadership Development
committee, who have indicated that they would be willing to be called on for particular tasks (John
McAuley, Laura Rogers, Kate Kotfila, Bill Dodge and Earl Johnson), to propose a plan for
consideration of the overtures at the February 2, 2008, Presbytery meeting. The group should report
to the Officer group who will report to the January 8, 2008, Council meeting. The Council wishes to
docket one hour in the morning for presentation and up to one hour for debate at the end of the
Council ACTED TO APPROVE a New Initiative grant application for a radio ministry from the
Pakistani American Fellowship and the PAF task, for $3,340 for six months, with review at 4 months
(April) for a possible 6 months continuance.,
Reported for Information that Council is responsible for nominations for the 3 open slots, and Donna
Phillips agreed to call people whose names were suggested.
Council ACTED TO APPROVE a proposal for electronic distribution of presbytery documents as
Reported for information that Council agreed that the presbytery meeting questionnaire responses
should go only to the Council and the names of people volunteering for tasks should be deleted from
the compilation and given to the Worship Committee.
Council ACTED TO APPROVE the request for $750 from the pool of training funds from
Committee on Preparation, to be used for a PSTS event "Tools for the Task: A Training Event for
Committees on Preparation for Ministry" on Monday, January 14.
Reported for information that Council agreed that groups will be asked to add the liaison to the email
communication loop for the committee or task force. A chart with the group, the liaison and the
moderator of the group will be added to the Council meeting announcement that goes both Council
members and moderators of groups.
Council ACTED TO EXTEND AN INVITATION to Clint McCoy, Synod Co-executive for
Presbytery Partnerships, for the February 2, 2008, Presbytery meeting, at Delmar Presbyterian
The Council adjourned with prayer at 5:00 p.m.
The Presbytery Council met on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, at 3:00 p.m. at the Presbytery office.
Carolyn Snyder Lemmon, Council Moderator, called the meeting to order, and David Moore opened
the meeting with prayer. Barbara Cervenka led the Bible Study, inviting members to share in leading
a study on a Scripture of meaning to them. She led a study based on Matthew 6 and Jesus’ words on
REPORTS FOR INFORMATION that 9 voting members, and 4 staff were present. One member was
Council ACTED TO APPROVE the minutes of December 4, 2007.
Council ACTED TO APPROVE a recommendation brought by Rick Hill from the Stewardship and
Mission Strategy Task force to designate Sunday, October 19 as Higher Education Sunday. The
SMSTF will develop resources in cooperation with our campus ministers to help congregations better
understand where college students are on their faith journey, the value of doing ministry with college
students, and ways that local congregations can be involved in these ministries and students with
Council ACTED TO AUTHORIZE the officers of Council to work with the now ad hoc Theology
and Leadership Development Committee to finalize the outline for discussing, debating and voting
on the overtures from First, Albany; First United, Troy; Saratoga; and Spencertown, to remove G-
6.0106b. Consensus was to have the first education session in the morning, and the debate and vote
near the end of the agenda, and a suggestion was made to send the rationale for framing the agenda
as we do. The other suggestion was to have persons from the churches proposing the overtures speak
to the question of “why now?”
Reports for information that appreciation was expressed for the work Jeannie Hertzog has done
during her time with the presbytery.
Reports for information that Carolyn invited Cass to lead discussion of how we will be a Council this
year, and how the current structure can guide the presbytery in fulfilling its goals. The first goal of
Developing Vital Congregations was highlighted as key. Reports were given from liaisons with the
Hebron Board, Commission Lay Pastor program, and Peacemaking Task Force as basis for
considering how Council can initiate and encourage ministry.
It was agreed to include the Pakistani Fellowship as a liaison relationship and Joe Shook is willing to
serve in that role.
Reports for information that Rick Otty presented the requests for time for the presbytery docket
totaling just over 6 hours (to date.) Suggestions were made to look at whether lunch could be less
than an hour and if we might begin the meeting earlier than 10.
The Council adjourned with prayer by Harry Heintz at 4:50 p.m.
PROCESS FOR DISCUSSING, DEBATING AND VOTING ON
THE PROPOSED OVERTURE ON ORDINATION STANDARDS
AT THE FEBRUARY 2, 1008 MEETING OF ALBANY PRESBYTERY
Upon receipt of an overture on amending the ordination standards now found in the Book of
Order from what is now four Sessions of the Presbytery, the Council requested that members of
the former Task Force on Theology and Leadership Development develop a proposal for
discussing and debating the overture. The Council authorized the Moderator, Vice-Moderator,
General Presbyter and Stated Clerk to work with the TLD task force to design the process for
discussion and voting and the following is the plan for two one-hour sessions:
Morning Session opening prayer
Brief discussion of the history of ordination debates and overview of overturning
A presentation by a member of one of the overturing congregations on why the
overture is being presented now
A time of prayerful reflection and discussion in small groups of the questions:
o How might the body of Christ be strengthened if this overture passes?
o How might the body of Christ be weakened if this overture passes?
Responses to the same questions by several persons chosen to reflect the diversity of
Morning session closing prayer
Afternoon session opening prayer
Discussion and debate of the overture and vote on it
Afternoon session closing prayer
The following materials are being provided on the following pages for presbytery preparation:
1. background material on the history of the debate on ordination standards – we are
grateful for the work of Earl Johnson in allowing reproduction of material he has written,
as well as recommendation 5 of the Peace, Unity and Purity Report (2006);
2. a statement prepared by the Stated Clerk regarding amendments to the Constitution of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
3. the current ordination standards in G-6.0106 from the Book of Order
4. the overture submitted by the four Sessions
Recommendation 5 of the Peace, Unity and Purity Report
1050 5. The Task Force on Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church recommends that the
1051 217th General Assembly (2006) approve the following authoritative interpretation of
1052 section G-6.0108 of the Book of Order:
1053 a. The Book of Confessions and the Form of Government of the Book of Order
1054 set forth the scriptural and constitutional standards for ordination and installation.
1055 b. These standards are determined by the whole church, after the careful
1056 study of Scripture and theology, solely by the constitutional process of approval by the
1057 General Assembly with the approval of the presbyteries. These standards may be
1058 interpreted by the General Assembly and its Permanent Judicial Commission.
1059 c. Ordaining and installing bodies, acting as corporate expressions of the
1060 church, have the responsibility to determine their membership by applying these
1061 standards to those elected to office. These determinations include:
1062 (1) Whether a candidate being examined for ordination and/or installation
1063 as elder, deacon, or minister of Word and Sacrament has departed from scriptural and
1064 constitutional standards for fitness for office,
1065 (2) Whether any departure constitutes a failure to adhere to the essentials
1066 of Reformed faith and polity under G-6.0108 of the Book of Order, thus barring the
1067 candidate from ordination and/or installation.
1068 d. Whether the examination and ordination and installation decision comply
1069 with the Constitution of the PC(USA), and whether the ordaining/installing body has
1070 conducted its examination reasonably, responsibly, prayerfully, and deliberately in
1071 deciding to ordain a candidate for church office is subject to review by higher governing
1073 e. All parties should endeavor to outdo one another in honoring one another’s
1074 decisions, according the presumption of wisdom to ordaining/installing bodies in
1075 examining candidates and to the General Assembly, with presbyteries’ approval, in
1076 setting standards.
1078 The most intractable conflicts in the Presbyterian church often result in disputes over
1079 ordination. Therefore, the task force recommends this authoritative interpretation, which
1080 clarifies ordination procedures by emphasizing principles that are, we believe, closer to
1081 Presbyterian tradition than some of our current practices.
1082 If adopted, this authoritative interpretation would restore a greater degree of both rigor
1083 and flexibility in ordination decisions. The authoritative interpretation would accomplish this
1084 by clarifying provisions of G-6.0108 that stem from long-established principles of
1085 Presbyterian polity:
1086 1. Standards for ordination are determined by the whole church by constitutional
1087 process. Acting on their own, local governing bodies cannot set their own standards or set
1088 aside the church’s standards.
1089 Ordaining and installing bodies are empowered and duty-b 1089 ound to apply the church’s
1090 standards and to determine the fitness for office of those elected to office. This responsibility
1091 includes determining, on a case-by-case basis, whether officers-elect adhere to essential and
1092 necessary articles of doctrine, discipline, and government.
1093 3. Ordaining/installing bodies and higher governing bodies are partners in the
1094 ordination process. Higher governing bodies oversee the decisions of lower ones. Ordaining
1095 and installing bodies determine fitness for office. Partnership requires mutual respect of each
1096 other’s decisions.
1097 Why is an authoritative interpretation needed?
1098 The function of an authoritative interpretation is to clarify potentially ambiguous words
1099 or phrases in the Book of Order. (See line 1243.)
1100 Section G-6.0108 was added to the Book of Order in 1983. It requires that all candidates
1101 for office adhere to the essentials of Reformed faith and polity (G-6.0108a, sentence one) as
1102 expressed in The Book of Confessions and the Form of Government. Ordaining bodies may
1103 not dispense with the church’s standards or promulgate their own. Section G-6.0108 also
1104 requires the application of the standards with integrity. It ensures freedom of conscience in
1105 interpretation of Scripture within certain bounds, requires ordaining/installing bodies to
1106 determine whether there is a “serious departure” from standards (G-6.0108a, sentence two),
1107 and makes an important distinction between “standards” and “essentials.”
1108 Standards are aspirational in character. No one lives up to them perfectly (for this reason,
1109 G-6.0108 permits “departures” from standards that are not deemed essential). Essentials, by
1110 the terms of G-6.0108b (third sentence), are those matters of faith and polity that the officer
1111 elect’s governing body discerns are indispensable for ordained service. Essential doctrines are
1112 those that are required for a person’s beliefs to fall within the bounds of Reformed
1113 understandings of Christian faith. Essentials of polity are those that are required for a person’s
1114 ordained service to fall within the bounds of Reformed understandings of church governance.
1115 Essential practices are those that are required for a person’s life to fall within the bounds of
1116 Reformed understandings of Christian discipleship.
1117 In recent years, the relationship between G-6.0108 and other Book of Order sections on
1118 ordination has become unclear. Some ordaining/installing bodies have maintained that the
1119 Constitution gives them the right to overlook or dispense with certain churchwide standards.
1120 Others have considered adopting their own version or distillation of essential standards, to be
1121 applied to all officers-elect. Some interpreters have insisted that some provisions of the
1122 Constitution, such as those that govern sexual behavior, supersede the right of ordaining and
1123 installing bodies to determine fitness for ordination in all cases.
1124 This authoritative interpretation addresses all these points of 1124 confusion, by reaffirming
1125 the wisdom in G-6.0108, as it holds together key historical and theological principles—the
1126 need for the establishment of standards by the whole church and the duty of ordaining and
1127 installing bodies to apply those standards in determining fitness for office and compliance
1128 with essentials. If the authoritative interpretation clarifies current confusions about ordination
1129 and installation, it will, we believe, contribute to the peace, unity, and purity of the church.
History of the Debate
Concerning Ordination Standards
Earl S. Johnson, Jr., Witness Without Parallel,
Eight Biblical Texts That Make Us Presbyterian
(Geneva Press, 2003), Chapter 3, pp. 97-99
Since Presbyterians have been debating issues around the ordination of gays and lesbians as church
officers at length during four different decades and because the church’s position is well known, it is
unnecessary to do more than provide a brief review of General Assembly actions here.
The controversy began among Presbyterians, contrary to what is often assumed, not in 1978 when the
General Assembly took definitive action, but some five years earlier with the publication of an issue of a
magazine published by the Program Agency of the United Presbyterian Church U.S.A. called Trends. In
the July-August 1973 issue entitled “Homosexuality: Neither Sin nor Sickness,” articles by eight different
authors urged the church to consider a new perspective on homosexuality, a position that surprised and
shocked many church members. As the editors wrote in an introductory article, “Is homosexuality a
manifestation of sin? Is it a sickness? No, on both counts, say the authors in this issue. In so doing, they
depart markedly from the traditional responses to these questions. Radical thinking? Perhaps so.
Nonetheless, we have chosen to emphasize this perspective because we believe it is most in keeping with
the Biblical doctrine of grace for all persons. “For many readers, the positions that not all Scripture
passages have the same authority, that homosexual acts might fall in the same categories of personal
choice as cutting or not cutting your hair, and that the church has to deal with its own oppression of
homosexuals awakened angry thoughts of denial in most Presbyterians, and in a few, a vision of forgotten
Responding to concerns about the questions raised in Trends and other publications, the UPCUSA
General Assembly issued a statement that declared that Presbyterians could only continue in the
Reformed tradition by approaching the subject of homosexuality with “love, compassion, prayer, and
honesty.” Knowing that it is always possible for “more light” to break forth from the Bible through the
action of the Holy Spirit, the 188th Assembly (1976) nevertheless reaffirmed that the practice of
homosexuality is sin. At the same time, it directed that a task force be established to study Christian
approaches to homosexuality and the ordination of avowed practicing homosexuals. In 1978 the 190th
Assembly rejected the report of that task force, which called for a radically new view of homosexuality.
Concluding that homosexuality is not God’s wish for humanity, the church established what was later
called “definitive guidance,” a directive which said that avowed, practicing homosexuals could not be
ordained as pastors, elders, or deacons. In 1979 the PCUS Assembly took a similar position.
In 1985, after years of continuing controversy at nearly every subsequent meeting of the General
Assembly, the Permanent Judicial Commission ruled that “definitive guidance” was the law of the church,
and that individual presbyteries and churches could not obey it or disobey it at will. Although another
task force in 1991 reexamined biblical passages traditionally used to support the church’s position and
found them to be misinterpreted, irrelevant, or misunderstood, their recommendations were not adopted.
During the next year, the attempted installation of a self-affirming lesbian as co pastor at the Downtown
Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York, attracted national attention. In spited of the fact that the
Rev. Jane Adams Spahr’s installation was approved by the Presbytery of Genesee Valley and the Synod
of the Northeast, the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly rejected their arguments in
a ruling in November 1992, and the congregation (along with other organizations) hired her as an
evangelist rather than a pastor.
In 1993 when several presbyteries adopted overtures calling for the overturning of “definitive guidance,”
the Assembly again reaffirmed the current constitutional law that self-affirming, practicing homosexuals
could not be ordained. At the same time, it ordered a three-year study of the central issues throughout the
whole church. At the end of the period of dialogue, which was a time of painful debate and division in
many congregations and presbyteries, the 208th General Assembly (1996) voted to change the constitution
so that it clearly and explicitly stated the church’s position. The so-called Amendment B, the fidelity and
chastity amendment (now G-6.0106b), states,
Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in
conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among those standards is the
requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman
(W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self acknowledged
practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or
ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
An attempt to change those standards (proposed Amendment A) and take out the reference to homosexual
practices was rejected by the Assembly in 1998. Despite the fact that several overtures were presented
again by presbyteries wishing to delete G-6.0106b from the Book of Order, the 211th Assembly (1999)
rejected them and voted to recommend that the church take a two-year moratorium on votes on issues
concerning homosexuality. In 2000, by vote of 268-251. the Assembly sent a proposed amendment to the
presbyteries for their vote that called for the banning of church officials from participating in services that
pronounced blessings or approvals of same-sex unions. The amendment did not receive the requisite
number of presbyteries voting in the affirmative, and it failed in the spring of 2001.
Later in the same year, however, the 213th General Assembly approved an overture that was a surprising
departure from the actions of previous assemblies. By a vote of 317-208, a proposed constitutional
amendment was sent to the presbyteries to take an entirely new tack and strike G-6.0106b altogether. By
the same action, it was recommended to provide an addition to G-60106a that would leave the question of
the ordination of gays and lesbians entirely up to presbyteries and local sessions; “Suitability to hold
office is determined by the governing body where the examination of ordination or installation takes
place, guided by scriptural and constitutional standards, under the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
“The Assembly also voted to recommend the repeal of the “authoritative interpretation” approved in 1978
and reaffirmed in 1993 (“definitive guidance”), and declare it of “no further force or effect.” These
proposed changes were overwhelmingly rejected by a large majority of presbyteries inn the next few
months in 2001 and 2002, and G-6.0106b remains in force.
Overtures to the General Assembly to Amend the Constitution
The democratic nature of our Presbyterian polity allows for presbyteries to submit overtures to
the General Assembly to amend current constitutional law and practice. The theological basis for
amending the constitution is stated as follows in the Book of Order:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) would be faithful to the Lordship of Christ and to its historic
tradition of the Church reformed always reforming, by the Spirit of God. In this faith,
amendment procedures are understood as a means to faithfulness as God breaks forth yet more
light from God's Word. (G-18.0101)
The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has two parts. The first part is the Book of
Confessions now containing eleven historic and contemporary creeds, confessions, statements and
catechisms of the church. Amending the Book of Confessions is a distinct process requiring more steps
than that of amending the Book of Order, including approval of a super-majority of presbyteries and two
general assemblies, and calls for a committee to be formed to review any proposed changes to the
The second part of the Constitution is the Book of Order, comprised of three sections: the Form
of Government, the Directory for Worship, the Rules of Discipline. Amending the Book of Order
requires the approval of one general assembly and the majority of presbyteries. The proposed overture is
a proposed amendment to the Book of Order.
Once passed by a presbytery, its stated clerk submits the overture to the General Assembly. At
the General Assembly meeting, all overtures are assigned to an assembly committee for review and
recommendation. Such committees may recommend (or not recommend) the overture to the assembly in
its original or an amended form. Similar overtures may be combined and reported out together to the
assembly. If approved by the General Assembly, the overture becomes a proposed amendment, is sent
back to the presbyteries for discussion and vote, and becomes “law” if approved by at least half of the
Current Book of Order Provisions Regarding Church Officers and Ordination Standards
G-6.0106 [Offices of Ministry] Gifts and Requirements
To those called to exercise special functions in the church--deacons, elders, and ministers of the Word
and Sacrament--God gives suitable gifts for their various duties. In addition to possessing the necessary gifts
and abilities, natural and acquired, those who undertake particular ministries should be persons of strong faith,
dedicated discipleship, and love of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Their manner of life should be a
demonstration of the Christian gospel in the church and in the world. They must have the approval of God's
people and the concurring judgment of a governing body of the church.
Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in
conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to
live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in
singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall
not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
Overture from the Sessions of the Presbyterian—New England Congregational Church,
Saratoga Springs; First United Presbyterian Church, Troy; First Presbyterian Church,
Albany; St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Spencertown, to the Presbytery of Albany to send
the following overture to the 218th General Assembly (2008):
The Presbytery of Albany respectfully overtures the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the
Presbyterian Church USA to do the following:
1. Provide the following authoritative interpretation:
Interpretative statements concerning ordained service of homosexual church
members by the 190th General Assembly (1978) of the United Presbyterian
Church in the United States of America and the 119th General Assembly
(1979) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, and all subsequent
affirmations thereof, have no further force or effect.
2. Direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the
presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes:
Shall G-6.0106b be stricken?”
1. The present categorical exclusion of certain church members from service in ordained office is unjust
to the excluded individuals and spiritually damaging to the body of the church. It creates a category of
“second-class membership” and fosters the heretical attitude that those assigned to this category are not
really deserving of membership at all, i.e., are not Christians. Profession of faith in Jesus Christ is and
must be the only requirement for church membership (Book of Order G-5.0103). Any policy that
promotes erosion of this principle does damage to the Body of Christ.
2. According to the Book of Order, “a faithful member accepts Christ’s call to be involved in the ministry
of his Church” (G-5.0102), including “participating in the governing responsibilities of the church” (G-
5.0102e). G-6.0106b, which bars an entire class of persons from participating in some of the most
important areas of church governance, violates the conditions of membership and sets the Book of Order
in contradiction with itself.
3. Ordination is an important qualification for participation in the discernment process that sustains the
spiritual life of the church at all judicatory levels. Our goal is not to “make” decisions, but to seek to
discern God’s intention for us. It has been a long-standing article of faith in our tradition that discernment
requires a democratic inclusion of many voices. To rule out certain voices in advance as ineligible is both
undemocratic and unjust. True reconciliation that seeks to restore peace, unity, and purity to the church is
possible only between equals who mutually share access to power and who acknowledge that all power,
ultimately, comes from God.
4. When Christians fall into two sides through disagreement, all involved are obliged to think charitably
of those on the opposite side. If G-6.0106b is removed from the Book of Order, the “losers” will not have
lost their status as full members of the church, eligible to participate in all decisions, including future
decisions about ordination on an individual basis. On the other hand, if G-6.0106b remains in the Book
of Order, the “losers” will continue to feel that their very humanity has been cast in doubt by a church that
condemns what they understand to be their God-given nature. Deletion of G-6.0106b will honor
everyone as a child of God and will permit the assignment of particular duties on the basis of the
particular gifts that God has granted.
5. Injustice that exists now demands to be remedied now. Many a prophet would have preferred to
exercise the call to prophecy at a more opportune time, but God has always made clear that the prophetic
call is immediate. To appeal now for relief from the injustice fostered by G-6.0106b is simply to obey
God’s command with humility and love for all those who now serve and for those who earnestly desire to
serve God in the future.
Report of the Nominating Committee
to winter meeting of Albany Presbytery
February 2, 2008
1. Nominees to serve the Presbytery as commissioners to the 218th General Assembly June
21 – 28, 2008, in San Jose, California
Albany Presbytery is eligible to elect two elder commissioners, two minister
commissioners, and one Youth Advisory Delegate. Further to Presbytery’s standing
rules, the Nominating Committee is charged with preparing a slate of nominees to
contain twice the number of commissioners to be elected so that in order of number of
votes received those not elected principals will become alternates.
a. Elder nominees:
Chandlee Gill First United, Troy
Dan Rogers First United, Troy
Carolyn Snyder Lemmon First Pres, Albany
Sal Scecchitano Brunswick
b. Minister nominees:
Sung Hee Lee Bay Road
Miriam Leupold First Pres., Albany
Kirianne Weaver Northville United
c. Youth Advisory Delegate nominees:
Keith Coombs Trinity, Scotia
Charis Kotfila Brunswick
2. Nominees for alternate Synod commissioners.
for minister alternate: Tim Coombs Trinity, Scotia
for elder alternate: Alice Schrade First Pres, Albany
3. Nominee for the Budget and Finance Committee, Class of 2010.
Andy Little, minister Westminster, Schenectady
Alexandra Lusak, Chair
Nominee for Youth Advisory Delegate to 218th General Assembly
My name is Keith Coombs and I hope to be Albany Presbytery’s Youth Advisory
Delegate to the 2008 meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA.
Currently, I am a sophomore SUNY Fredonia, studying early childhood education with a
concentration in History and Social Studies. I am also a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church
in Scotia where my parents serve as co-pastors.
The Letter from James says, “Faith without works is dead”, meaning that it isn’t enough
to say you have faith, one must work with and through your faith to help others lest faith is
lifeless. I have grown up in the Presbyterian Church, USA and have spent the the last few years
attempting to live out this teaching through my service to and with the denomination. I believe
that I can further this work by representing Albany Presbytery at the upcoming General
Assembly meeting in June, 2008.
I have been an active part of the church long before becoming a member by taking part
and raising money in the Crop walk to battle hunger around the World. As a member of the
church’s youth group I have also taken part in various fundraisers, community dinners held by
my congregation, feeding and working with the homeless in New York City with the Youth
Opportunities Services Program. Later as an older member of Trinity’s Youth Group I helped
lead small parts of our retreats and meetings. Also, I spent a week each summer with other
members of Trinity on an intergenerational work camp helping to serve inner city children on a
farm outside of Baltimore.
My service to the wider denomination has been an important part of my later teen years. I
have attended the Silver Bay Youth Conference for the last six years, including being a member
of the Design Team in 2006 and as a Young Adult Staff member in 2007. In 2004 I attended
Youth Triennium at Purdue University. In 2003 I attended Youth Connection as a youth delegate
from Albany Presbytery to work on issues in the Church with other youth members of the
Presbyterian Church from across the nation. This conference was especially meaningful because
it helped shaped my interest in politics. The past two years I have worked as a camp counselor at
the Hebron Center. My work at the Hebron Center also influenced my sense of call to become an
elementary school teacher.
When I am not taking classes or studying at school I am an active member of the Fencing
club and serve as its treasurer. I also play guitar and bass guitar and have appeared in many
drama productions in High School. I believe that at the General Assembly meeting in California
as a Youth Advisory Delegate I could learn even more about how to become a leader, about
politics, and how to continue to work through my faith to continue to help the Church.
Nominee for Youth Advisory Delegate to 218th General Assembly
As a child and into my youth, I was very active in church life. I attended Sunday school
and youth group, and went to Christian summer camps, and Christian conferences every year
through high school. I danced, read scripture, sang, stuffed bulletins, made buttons, and did
various random tasks. I worked on the youth board at Camp Pinnacle (a Christian camp in NY)
which involved meeting with other youth to discuss shaping the activities and spiritual life of
campers. As the daughter of a pastor, I regularly overheard critiques about sermons and
discussions of how to address the day to day needs of the church and face the issues that
members have. In high school I also learned what it meant to receive from the church and not
just give to it. I dealt with a lot of sickness and in that, received many prayers, meals prepared
for my family, cards, and visits from members of my own congregation as well as many
churches outside of it.
As I entered into college, my childlike emotional enthusiasm waned as I craved a more
intellectual component to my faith. This was quickly given in several Theology and Religion
courses. My faith life exploded as I learned to view the Bible from intellectual, artistic,
historical, and cultural frames of reference. I learned what it meant to imitate God. I believe we
must do this by creating, sustaining, and renewing relationships, our planet, new initiatives and
traditions. My college (Messiah College) is pacifist and I have learned much about the art of
waging peace. The Church is and should be diverse. As we embrace this, we will run into many
problems. This does not mean that we should split apart from each other. Rather it is an
opportunity to use conflict to grow, change, and gain deeper relationships.
I feel that it would be unjust to only recount the good that I have done. I am a sinful
person who is broken and honestly could use some more breaking. In college I made some
unwise decisions that alienated me from God, from my friends, and from myself. In the midst of
my high minded and lofty visions of God and faith, it was a painful reminder that I am still
deeply and terrifyingly in need of and dependent on God. It is possible to get lost in policies,
compromises, and frustrations at assemblies. However, we must never loose sight of both our
own humility and also that we are ministering to humans - proud, sinful, broken, argumentative,
and yet totally loved and forgiven humans.
My plans for the future are to be a bit of a pilgrim. I was raised at Brunswick Church and
thus I feel it is my duty to work with and stay committed to that church. However, I am using
college as a time to visit other communities and denominations to learn from them. Last
semester I joined a club confronting racism and went to a conference in which we celebrated
worship styles from many cultures and brainstormed ways to reconcile peoples. I am currently
spending my spring semester in France and am attending churches as well as a Bible study here.
I also plan on spending a week at the religious community of Taize just three weeks before the
Why do I want to be a youth representative to the general assembly? I have a true and
deep passion for facilitating discussion and helping people to recognize similarities and make
compromises. I am pained by the way in which denominations are quick to reject each other
rather than encouraging and learning from each other. I want people to see that when there are
arguments and some people loose, all people loose. We are part of communities and thus all of
our joys and losses are shared. I want to transcend arguments in which people win and loose and
rather think creatively so that, as much as possible, all sides come out as winners. I also am a
reflective and discerning person. People frequently have ideas that they circle around but cannot
quite define. I want to help people to recognize the motivations that are driving them and
through discussion help them to express their ideas. As a youth, I come from a different
As more diverse viewpoints are brought to the table, we are able to challenge each other and
think more critically and creatively, coming up with solutions that otherwise would have been
unthinkable. I would love to enter my voice into the General Assembly. However, I also want
to submit to whatever God’s will is, and thus trust you to prayerfully and humbly consider my
Nominee for Elder Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
I am a life long Presbyterian, member of 6 different congregations ranging in size
from 75 to 1100 members, rural, suburban and urban. For the past twenty years I have
been a member of First United, Troy, serving several terms on the session. My various
responsibilities there have been clerk, treasurer, stewardship chair, membership chair,
finance chair, Sunday School teacher; you name it, I may have done it. On the
presbytery level I have served on the Committee on Preparation and Committee
on Ministry. I am newly retired as stated clerk after serving for 13 1/2 years. I was a
Commissioner to the General Assembly in 1990 and have just finished a 3 year term as
commissioner to the Synod of the Northeast. I would like to attend General Assembly
because I believe I am conversant with many of the issues that are coming to this
assembly, but particularly the report from the Task Force to Revise the Form of
Government (the G section of the Book of Order).
Carolyn Snyder Lemmon
Nominee for Elder Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
I have been a Presbyterian for over 25 years, all as a member of First Presbyterian, Albany. I
am an Elder, and in addition to work on Session, I have served on Stewardship and other committees.
I served breakfast for several winters at the FOCUS program; enjoyed my daughter’s three summer
work camps; and was elected Vice Moderator last year. I have also provided legal services to several
local churches in real estate matters. These experiences have given me insight into the life of a local
church and I am beginning to understand more about the presbytery.
Above the local and presbytery levels, however, I have little understanding about the
structures and functions of our church. If elected as a Commissioner to the General Assembly, I
would be curious about the responsibilities assigned to that body in the Book of Order and how its
work affects the life of a local church and the goals of this presbytery. What are the priorities of the
General Assembly and how are they determined? What are the objectives for mission and what
strategies are employed? How are ministries established and administered? What are the doctrinal
concerns of the General Assembly?
If my experience with this church offers any insight, I expect that my questions about the
purpose and role of the General Assembly will expand faster than my answers. I would welcome the
opportunity to serve as a Commissioner this year, particularly in preparation for serving as Moderator
Nominee for Elder Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
Dan was baptized, raised, and confirmed in a Congregational (now UCC) church in the small village of
Meriden, NH. He attended church school and worship there regularly with his parents while growing up.
His first adult choir and church school teaching experiences were in that church while he was in high
Dan earned a BS degree in Physics/Engineering from Washington and Lee University in 1969 and a
master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971. Professionally Dan is
a licensed structural engineer in New York State. After working 11 years as a bridge designer for the New
York State Department of Transportation, he joined Ryan-Biggs Associates, a consulting engineering firm
in Troy, in 1982. He became a Principal in the firm in 1987 and retired at the end of 2004.
Dan and Laura were in the first group of persons to join (transfer their letters to) the newly merged First
United Presbyterian Church (FUPC) in Troy over 35 years ago shortly after he finished graduate studies
at RPI. Dan was ordained an Elder in 1974 and has been on the Session more years than not since then.
When on Session, Dan served as Clerk of Session much of the time, including during three transitions in
pastoral leadership. His committee activities at FUPC have been primarily related to Worship,
Nominating, Youth, Stewardship, Member Care and Evangelism, and Facilities, and he has chaired the
last five committees at one time or another.
Dan was ordained a Deacon in 2005 at FUPC and currently serves on the Board of Deacons and chairs
its Finance Committee. He has sung in the choir pretty much continuously since joining. He has also
taught youth and adult faith education classes at various times and chaired the Pastor Nominating
Committee that successfully completed its work in June 2000 with the calling of the Rev. Alexandra Lusak
Dan served as Vice Moderator and then Moderator of Albany Presbytery in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
He is currently in his fifth year as a member of the Presbytery Committee on Ministry having served as
chairperson of that committee for the last 3 years. Previously he completed a 6-year term on the
Permanent Judicial Commission of Presbytery, where he served as Moderator for a couple years. He was
a member of the Presbytery Nominating Committee for 6 years during which he served as chairperson for
several years. And when serving in leadership positions on various Presbytery committees, he has been
a member of Council, which he chaired as Vice Moderator in 2001.
Dan served as one of Albany Presbytery’s elder commissioners to the Synod of the Northeast when it met
at SUNY Oswego in the early 1990s. In the year that he was Vice Moderator of Presbytery, he attended
portions of the General Assembly meeting in Louisville as an observer, but has never attended a General
Assembly meeting as a commissioner. “After being an active member and leader at FUPC and in Albany
Presbytery for a number of years, I now look forward with much enthusiasm to the possible opportunity to
participate in the discussions, deliberations, and decision making on the mission and ministry of the
national church as an elder commissioner from Albany Presbytery to the 218 General Assembly of the
PC(USA) in San Jose, CA in June 2008.
Nominee for Elder Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
I have been on staff at Brunswick for just over 13 years, currently as Chief Musician and
Director of Audio-Visual and served as an Elder on Session for 6 years. I've been in church
music for 39 years and received all my training as an organist and conductor at The Juilliard
School. My involvement with Albany Presbytery has spanned about a decade, serving as a
regular elder delegate from Brunswick and working for several years with the Worship
Committee and most recently with the Personnel Committee. I've also functioned as an itinerant
musician and AV Tech for presbytery meetings over a number of years. Other areas
of involvement include being a founding member of the Bialy Group and serving as Music
Director for the Northeast Wee Kirk Conferences since they started at Jiminy Peak. The last
two years I was an alternate delegate to Synod and have also had some connection with
transformation retreats of the "Fab 5" presbyteries. It would be a great privilege to represent
Albany at the 2008 General Assembly and I would look forward to the careful study, prayer, and
discernment it would require.
The Reverend Sung Hee Lee
Nominee for Minister Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
Born and raised in Korea with Christian parents, church was the central part of my life. After coming
to America, I grew up in the Korean-American church until my first call as an ordained pastor at Bay
Road Presbyterian Church. Although Christian faith (more specifically Presbyterian tradition) is an
integral part of who I am, I have to confess that my understanding of the Reformed tradition had
been under heavy influence of Korean culture. However, since I came to Bay Road Church, God
has broadened my experience in the Reformed tradition of the Presbyterian Church beyond my
cultural boundaries. For the past four years, the session of Bay Road Church has been my mentor,
my support and my faithful companion in ministry. Moreover, I have been blessed by the Albany
Presbytery. Not to mention how the Albany Presbytery has offered caring support for Bay Road
Church, and attending meetings and making friends at the presbytery have been nurturing and
teaching experiences for me as a new pastor. I am very excited for the ministry that we as the body
of Christ do both in local congregation and at the presbytery level, and if I am chosen to represent
our presbytery at the General Assembly, I hope in excitement to even broaden my horizon and yet
again grow even more as I serve the wonderful body of our Lord.
The Reverend Miriam Lawrence Leupold
Nominee for Minister Commissioner to the 218th General Assembly
I’m a Co-Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Albany where I’ve been serving with my husband
Glenn since August 2006. We have two daughters, Margaret (7th grade) and Elizabeth (5th grade). I
grew up in Winchester, Virginia, where I was baptized, confirmed, married and ordained in First
Presbyterian Church. After graduating from William and Mary with a degree in anthropology
(historical archaeology), I attended Princeton Seminary where I met Glenn who is from Minnesota.
After a bit of effort on our parts to understand one another’s accents, we got married! Edinburgh,
Scotland, was our home for a year after seminary. Glenn and I feel called to doing ministry together
and are currently in our third call doing just that. We served as Associate Pastors in Jamestown,
New York, for over 4 years and then in Dayton, Ohio, for 12 years. In May 2006 I finished my Doctor
of Ministry degree in Christian Spirituality from Columbia Seminary which allowed me to grow in
many ways. I enjoy biking, birding, gardening, reading, watching movies (when I can stay awake),
and playing with my daughters. I am currently on the Committee on Ministry, serving on its Pastoral
Care Sub-Committee where I’m working with a group to plan the Pastors’ Sabbath to be held this