Summary of Session Meetings

Please note that unless noted otherwise, these are not the official minutes of the Session meetings.

Called Session Meeting of March 9, 2014: Session had a called (special) meeting on March 9th, to discuss the process by which a Clerk of Session transitions from that role, and a new Clerk begins. Edna Asknes, Clerk from 2009 to early 2014 stated that she thought that term limits were a good idea, and that 2-3 years was a good length of time to be Clerk, with up to five years if necessary. She stated that a period of transition would be helpful, as it takes a while to learn the job and to become effective at it. She also stated that the question of who should become the next Clerk should be brought up in Session and Session have input into the selection, in addition to voting to approve the selection. There was general agreement around the concept of term limits, and of bringing up the question of who would like to serve as Clerk to session, for elders to consider whether they felt called to that job. An interview process with the minister was discussed, but no formal process was put to a vote.
 
There is interest in putting together guidelines to deal with this.  
 
In the meantime, Session approved Marta Nelson as the next Clerk of Session. Marta noted that she will be off of Session in two years and that that made a natural stopping point for her time in the role. These are the approved minutes of this meeting. 
 

Session Meeting for March 2014: Session held its stated (regular) monthly business meeting on Monday, March 17. The New York City Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM) triennial visit was made by the Rev. Moira Ahearne, who engaged the Session in a wide-ranging conversation about the state of the congregation, the church’s relationship with the Presbytery, and the process for searching for and calling a pastor. A number of issues were raised and will be reported to the COM. The remainder of the meeting was taken up in hearing the reports of the various ministries and committees. As part of the Interim Pastor’s Report, the Session approved the wedding at First Presbyterian of member Larry Picard and Sam Gindin, to take place on Sunday, June 1. A very preliminary discussion was started regarding a continuation of the seminary internship. This will be continued with the appropriate committees prior to being presented to Session for final approval. The Interim Pastor also reported that work on the Spring children’s pageant is proceeding.

 
Adult Education reported a number of new initiatives, several of which have already been successful. In the planning stages is a reading list to be published online for congregants’ independent study; Buildings and Grounds is preparing for Spring, and will soon be installing a new chairlift to the second floor; Communications is conducting a recruiting drive to “Add Your Voice” to facilitate the transition of the e-newsletter and website management to a team of people; Finance reports that income and expenses are on track for the year, and that the outlook is good for the rest of the year, barring any unforeseen circumstances; Membership will be conducting new member classes in the next two weeks, with new members to be received on Sunday, April 6; Music and Worship is now planning for the spring and summer seasons; Pastoral Care has added Diana Lee as a co-chair with Keren Murumba, and they are tracking several members who have special needs; Social Action is emphasizing food and hunger ministries, in all their forms, and is partnering with another church on a workforce ministry for the under- and unemployed; Stewardship reported that people are keeping up with their pledges for the most part, but as is usual as the year progresses, some people start to fall behind. It was suggested in the course of the discussion that with all that is going on there should be a "mini Ministry Fair" at the conclusion of an upcoming worship service to encourage people to volunteer for the many opportunities for committee ministry that are available at FPC. This is already done on an annual basis on Homecoming Sunday in September, but with so many new people, and the expanding ministries, a second opportunity seems in order.
 
At the conclusion of the meeting the Session members bid goodbye to Linton Stables, who is resigning his position to move out of Brooklyn. The next meeting of Session will be on Monday, April 28, a week later than the usual meeting date because the regular Monday would be the day after Easter. Please note that this is not the official record of this meeting.

     

Session Meeting for February 2014:  The February meeting of Session was held on Monday, February 24, beginning with prayer led by Pastor Nadine. Because the January meeting was snowed out there was plenty of business to be done. Session welcomed new member Patty Watwood, who will be ordained as an Elder on Sunday, March 9. The Interim Pastor reported on the planning being done for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, and then well into early summer. She also mentioned planning for Police/Firefighter Appreciation Sunday and a Mother’s Day appeal for the work of Gethsemane Church. The Treasurer reported that income is ahead of budget and expenses are on budget. The Mission Review Committee presented its final report for Session approval prior to sending it to the New York City Presbytery Committee on Ministry for their review. Session voted to approve the Mission Review as presented.
Committee chair assignments were reviewed and several Session members volunteered to chair committees. The new list of chairs—and in many cases, co-chairs—will be published on the Church website and in the Sunday bulletin. The upcoming vacancy on Session was discussed and it was agreed that the Church-wide Nominating Committee will nominate candidates for the position to be voted upon at a special called meeting of the congregation. Linton Stables is leaving Session to move out of the city, thereby creating the vacancy. Session also discussed a special fundraising activity during Lent, in which the youth of the church will be collecting funds for the One Great Hour of Sharing, a Presbyterian support fund for several national and worldwide activities. Half of the funds raised will go to that, and the other half will be given to support the First Presbyterian Food Pantry.
The committees of the church had submitted written reports and a quick review of them was accomplished: Adult Education plans to continue the “Talking Back to the Bible” series through Lent, and it was suggested that the committee consider publishing a list of reading materials and other resources for the congregation; Women’s Ministry is planning a retreat in October; Children Youth and Families is planning for the spring and summer, including a family retreat in June and a children’s pageant on June 15; Communications is developing a plan to broaden the group that produces the weekly newsletter and maintains the church website.  They noted that more people are finding FPC through the Internet, so the quality and currency of the website are more important than ever.  It was suggested that the Interim Pastor make regular blog postings, to which she was amenable. A new banner for Lent and Easter is about to go up on the front fence of the church. The Membership Committee is preparing for a new Inquirers Class, to be presented in two parts on March 23 and March 30, with new members being welcomed on Sunday, April 6. The classes will be presented immediately following worship on those Sundays; Music and Worship reported that planning for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter has been done, and a baptism is planned for March 16; Pastoral Care noted that there is an increase in requests for prayers and they continue to offer their prayers and their service to those who request them; Social Action continues with its emphasis on hunger and food programs, particularly through the Food Pantry. To that end they are encouraging each Session member to come and spend at least one Thursday morning working with the Food Pantry volunteers. They are also hoping to increase their support of the work of Presbyterian Welcome, which advises and supports LGBTQ candidates for Presbyterian ministry. In addition they are working with St. Anselm Catholic Academy and Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow to give un- and under-employed people in Brooklyn some tools toward employment. Stewardship reported that people are paying their pledges in a very timely manner, and that additional pledges have been received since the start of the fiscal year.
Session members engaged in a lively discussion about communion and how it is served at First Presbyterian. Different styles of serving communion were discussed, with the social, religious, and practical implications of each being considered. It was generally agreed that communion has a communal aspect as well as a private one, and that the connection among congregants is an important part of the giving and receiving of the sacrament. Service of communion in the pews and service at the front of the church were two basic ideas that were discussed. There was unanimity on Session that we need to be more thoughtful about how communion is served and how it is received, with particular attention to the personal connection that communion should bring to worship. Toward being more thoughtful, those who have agreed to be communion servers will be asked to gather for prayer prior to the start of worship on Communion Sundays.
There will be a called meeting of Session at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 9, and the next stated meeting will be on Monday, March 17. There will be another called meeting on Sunday, April 6, to receive new members.

Session Meeting for November 2013: The Session had its regular meeting on Monday, November 18. Prior to the start of the official business, there was a discussion attended by several congregants and Session members in which the question, "What is the Cry of the Neighborhood?" was considered. While Pastor Nadine took notes, everyone chimed in with what they thought might be the needs that our neighbors have. Everything from companionship to the meaning of life was put on the table. The purpose of the discussion was not so much to work out the details of any new ministries, but to get a sense of all the needs that are out there, that First Presbyterian Church could address. Toward the end of the meeting there seemed to be an agreement that ministries around hunger, food, and feeding people might be a good place to start, especially since we have already started!

The business of Session was taken up at about 7:30 p.m. as Session heard reports and made plans. Session agreed to two preaching dates for Eric Thomas, Director of Christian Education, on December 29, 2013, and January 19, 2014. There will be a baptism on December 8, 2013. Session reviewed a list of dates for Session meetings and other major events in 2014. The date of the Congregational Meeting was set for Sunday, February 9, 2014.

Committees reported their various activities, and though they are many, most of them have been reported in previous Session reports in the newsletter and on the website. Many different ways to get involved or to participate in worship and community are happening in December and January!

The December 16 meeting of Session will be mostly a social event, a potluck dinner at the home of Marcia Smith and Ken Andrichik.

Session Meeting for October 2013: The Session held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, October 21. Prior to the meeting there was a church-wide discussion of expansive language, led by Eric Thomas, Samantha Gonzalez-Block, and Pastor Nadine. The Session meeting began at 7:30 p.m. with a prayer. The Session approved the transfer of membership for two members of the congregation. They also approved a research project to be carried out by Bethy Victorin, a doctoral student and member of the congregation. She will be using a survey and small groups to look into the issues faced by church-goers over the age of 70. Also reported was the start of Andrew Leonard and Elizabeth Nestlerode as Children's Choir Directors. The Clerk of Session appointed Diana Lee as chair of the Church-wide Nominating Committee.

The chairs of the committees then made their reports. Adult Education continues with the Wednesday evening series on the book "Practicing Our Faith," and will repeat the series on Sunday mornings, starting on November 3. During Advent the Wednesday evening series will study the texts, the music, and the contexts for the Christmas portion of G.F. Handel's Messiah. The Finance Committee is making a last plea for committee chairs and ministry leaders to submit their budget requests for 2014, in preparation for Budget Saturday, November 16, starting at 8:00 a.m. They also reported that $12,800 was raised at the All-Church Auction and Fundraiser on October 19, and the Committee and organizer Marcia Smith were applauded for all their hard work in making it happen.  Mission and Social Justice reports that the local CSA is a temporary tenant in the building, which is good for the church and for the Food Pantry. The Food Pantry is providing groceries for an average of 115 patrons each week, and recently was awarded a $1,000 grant from SweetPea. The Committee will be trying to raise awareness of hunger issues in the world by showing a documentary on that topic at the church. The Committee also wants to raise awareness in the congregation on the mission of the White Rose Ministry (WRM) and why First Presbyterian supports it. Pastoral Intern Samantha also reported that she has expressed interest in working with WRM in preparing for future trips by learning Spanish, working on dialogue with our Cuban friends, and learning more about their culture prior to traveling there. The Committee is also participating in the 50th Anniversary of The Grail retreat site, and the upcoming Presbyterian Welcome fundraising event.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee reports that the Narthex has a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling. The chair lift replacement is still in the works. The sidewalk outside the Manse will have to be replaced because of root damage. The Peace Garden is preparing for the Fall work, and for plantings for the Spring. The Pastoral Care Committee is preparing for the recognition Sunday for long-time members and attenders of the church, to be held on October 27. This is for those who have been a part of the community for 25 years or more. Membership reports that there are 5 prospective new members in the current class, and those who choose to join will do so on November 10, at a called meeting of Session prior to worship. Music and Worship reported that the Bible drive is complete, and successful, with $1,400 collected to purchase new pew Bibles. Those will be ordered soon. The choir had a very productive and fun Reunion weekend and recording session for a new CD, which should be out by Christmas. The denomination has sent a number of samples of the new hymnal for our consideration, and Session members were encouraged to review it and comment. The Communications Committee is working on a new general brochure about the church's many programs.The Stewardship Committee is working on the upcoming Pledge Campaign for the 2014 Fiscal Year. The campaign will begin on November 3 and will conclude on Pledge Sunday, November 24. Right now, some members are just a little behind in paying on their pledges, so everyone is encouraged to catch up and keep up their pledges through the end of the year so we can end the year in a good place, fiscally. The Children Youth and Families Committee met on Sunday, October 20, and had a enthusiastic group. Plans for Breakfast with Santa are well under way, and the Committee would like to tie this event in with activities by the Membership Committee since so many neighborhood families visit the church that day. The Breakfast this year will be on Saturday, December 14. The Children's Christmas Pageant will be on Sunday, December 22. Mission Brooklyn is starting again on November 1, providing an organized opportunity for youth to perform public service projects in the borough. Subsequent Mission Brooklyn events will be on the first Friday evening of each month.

The Interim Pastor noted that in the coming months we will hear Samantha Gonzalez-Block and Eric Thomas preach at worship. There is also a baptism scheduled along with a welcoming ritual for the grandchild of Diana and Chester Lee. Plans are already being made for an All-Church Retreat on MLK weekend (January 2014) and Marcia Smith and Linton Stables will be working with Nadine on the plans. Pastor Nadine closed the meeting with prayer.

The next stated Session meeting will be on Monday, November 18. It will be preceded by an all-church discussion on the topic of "What is the cry of the neighborhood?" when the church will attempt to discern what our Brooklyn community outside of church might be needing from First Presbyterian Church.

 
Session Meeting for September 2013: Pastor Nadine opened the meeting on September 16 with prayer. It was agreed that the next two meetings of Session (October and November) will begin with a time of study and discussion, the first on inclusive language, and the second on listening for the cry of the neighborhood. Members and friends of the congregation who are not Session members will also be invited to participate in these sessions. Most of the meeting of Session was hearing the reports of the committees and ministries of the church. Before that, however, the members of Session voted unanimously to approve the recommendation of the Personnel Committee to hire Eric Thomas as the new Director of Christian Education.
   
Most committee chairs had submitted their reports in writing prior to the meeting, but updates were made and certain items were emphasized. The Clerk reported on an extremely successful Homecoming Sunday and Minstry Fair. The Finance Committee reminded committee chairs and ministry leaders to have their budget requests for fiscal year 2014 in to the Chair of Finance by October 15. This is in preparation for Budget Saturday, which will be on November 16. The Committee reported that the church has experienced an increase in attendance of over 6 percent since last year, and an increase in offerings of over 11 percent in the same time period. The Membership Committee announced that they will be conducting Inquirers/New Members classes on Sundays, October 20 and 27 after worship, receiving those who want to become members on Sunday, November 10. Long-time members are going to honored on October 27. The Music and Worship Committee announced that at the conclusion of the New Bible Drive it had collected funds for about 70 Bibles, out of the 170 that are needed. Further donations will, of course, be accepted. The Stewardship Committee will be initiating the annual pledge drive on November 3 and concluding it on November 24. Pastor Nadine noted that a new edition of the membership directory has been printed and is available in the church office to members of the congregation. The meeting concluded in prayer. The next stated meeting of Session will be on Monday, October 21. Please note that this is not the official record of this meeting.
 

Session Meeting for June 2013: Session met on Monday, June 17, to conduct the business of the church. Much of the time of the meeting was taken in hearing reports from the committees and ministries of the church. Adult Education and Spiritual Life is sponsoring the Inspirare series and is planning for continuing Bible studies in the Fall, probably to be offered on both Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings; Buildings and Grounds was given authorization to proceed with replacing the chairlift to the second floor; Care and Visitation is planning an event to honor long-term members and attendees sometime this Fall; Children Youth and Families celebrated the recent children's pageant and family retreat, and is already laying plans for Breakfast with Santa and the Christmas Pageant; Fellowship is arranging for this summer's Garden Parties and will be planning Homecoming Sunday for September 15; Finance reports that the church is in good shape, with expenses and income hewing close to the budget, and that the big fundraising event in October is well into the planning stage.

Membership would like to take a more active role in letting visitors and attendees know that membership is an option and that Inquirers Classes will be offered when there is enough interest shown; Music and Worship is working on worship for the rest of the summer and will meet soon to plan for this Fall, including a fundraising drive to buy new Bibles for the pews; Social Action and Mission continues its good work in the Food Pantry, especially now that the CSA fresh foods are being delivered, and they are working with Presbyterian Welcome at the upcoming LGBTQ Pride Parade; and Stewardship is planning the campaign for fiscal year 2014, and will be reminding pledgers to keep up their pledges during the summer months. The Mission Review Committee reported that it is laying the groundwork for the next steps that the congregation might take toward calling a pastor.

The Interim Pastor reported on the classes that she has been teaching, as well as the Second Saturday sessions she has led. The Session agreed to meet for an extended time on September 16 to have a discussion on inclusive language, one of the topics of the last Second Saturday, and one that deserves further discussion and leadership. The Interim Pastor also reported on her summer schedule. The next meeting of Session will be on Sunday, July 28, at 9:00 a.m.

The May 2013 meeting of Session was held on Tuesday, May 22. In addition to the reports from all the committees and ministries, the Session voted to bring on a seminarian who will start in the the fall. She will work with the Social Action Committee, the Adult Education Committee, and she may work with some of the youth activities. A special thanks was offered to the Fellowship Committee for a great BBQ despite the rain. The Mission Review Committee will meet during June. Session voted unanimously in favor of having Elder Linton Stables preach on June 30. The special offering sponsored by the Social Action Committee raised $288 for the Church of Gethsemane.

The Called Congregational Meeting of May 5, 2013, amended Article IV, Section 1 of the Bylaws.

The Section as previously adopted reads as follows:  Section 1.  Executive Committee:  The Session shall from time to time by a majority vote of the entire Session, may designate an Executive Committee which shall consist of the Pastor, the Clerk as chair, and such number of elders in active service that serve as chairs of the other committees but not fewer than three (3).

Amendment approved by Session and the Congregation now reads:   Section 1.  Executive Committee:  The Session shall from time to time by a majority vote of the entire Session, may designate an Executive Committee which shall consist of the Pastor, the Clerk as chair, and such number of elders in active service that serve as chairs of the other committees but not more than 5 and no fewer than three (3).

The amendment reduces the size of the Executive/Personnel Committee making it easier for the committee to meet and conduct business as needed.

Session Meeting for April 2013:  The Session met on Monday, April 22, for its monthly business meeting. The meeting was devoted mostly to the reports of the committees. Prior to that, the Session heard a proposal for a new adult education program on faith and visual art. Session approved the idea and referred the proposal to the Adult Education Committee for further planning and for the creation of a budget to bring back to Session.

The committee reports included the Adult Education and Spiritual Life Committee, which is starting a new Wednesday evening series, as well as continuing its Second Saturdays; Buildings and Grounds is preparing for Spring, with work planned in the garden and in cooperation with the YAI program; the Care and Visitation Committee will be meeting soon to discuss the details of what they will be doing; Children, Youth, and Families is busy planning the confirmation day activities and the upcoming retreat; Communications will be meeting soon and will be working on more seasonal banners and notices for the front of the church; Fellowship Committee is looking for sponsors for Fellowship Hour after church in the months of June, July, and August; they are also looking for sponsors for the Friday evening Garden Parties; Finance Committee has reviewed the first quarter finances and reports that things are going quite well, both financially and attendance-wise, with significant increases in both giving and attendance over the same period last year; Finance also reported that a date has been set and a committee formed to produce this year’s fundraising event; Membership will be bringing six people to Session for consideration as new members; Music and Worship will finalize the details on a drive to buy new Bibles for the pews and is looking into the purchase of the new Presbyterian Hymnal; Social Action and Mission reported several activities, both on-going and annual, and they had several action items for Session, reported below; Stewardship reported that, as a whole, the congregation is slightly ahead of schedule in paying their pledges.

The Interim Pastor reported on the church staff and the many activities that are happening or are planned. The Personnel Committee will be meeting soon and will review the Interim Pastor’s report on her first six months, a proposal to sponsor a field education seminarian, and possible changes to the position of Children’s Choir Director. The following items of new business were entertained: a grant to Church of Gethsemane was made in the amount of $250; a grant to Presbyterian Welcome was made in the amount of $500; a letter in support of keeping Long Island College Hospital in operation was endorsed; the traditional special offering was authorized in support of Church of Gethsemane, to be taken on Mother’s Day; a special book signing event for Reverend Dr. Cari Jackson’s new book was approved; and a called meeting of the Congregation will be held on Sunday, May 5, immediately following worship to consider a by-law revision. The next stated meeting of Session will be on Tuesday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Thurman Room.

Session Meeting for March 2013: The monthly meeting of Session was held on Monday, March 18. Two new members of Session were welcomed: Susan Schultz and Erik Brogger. The major portion of the meeting was taken up in the regular reports of the committee chairs. The highlights of those reports include the Care and Visitation Team’s meeting in which their organization and preparedness for ministry were discussed; Children, Youth, and Families is proceeding with the planning for a June retreat, and the Sunday School children are preparing a presentation in music and theater of the story of Elijah in June; Adult Education is planning a series on the Second Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon during which there will be instruction, discussion, and other activities around a theme, the theme for April being “Why We Worship the Way We Do”; Adult Education is also planning a new series on Wednesday evenings led by Pastor Nadine titled “Meeting Jesus for the First Time”; Communications reported on improvements to the website, introduction of the new logo to the congregation, a new worship bulletin design; and temporary banners on the Henry Street fence notifying passers-by of upcoming events; Finance is planning a review of the church’s investments; Membership reported a new Inquirers Class series in April; Music and Worship has a meeting planned for April 7; Stewardship reported that pledge payments are still running ahead of what would be expected at this time of year; a special Easter offering appeal will be sent out this week.

The meeting also included reports from the Clerk and the Interim Pastor. Members of Session expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the wonderful job the Interim Pastor is doing. Among things happening or planned are the Women’s Ministry, training and ordination of elders, and upcoming Holy Week and Easter services. The next stated meeting of Session will be on Monday, April 15.

2013 Annual Meeting of the Congregation was held on Sunday, February 24. At the meeting the congregation heard reports, received the annual budget, and elected new elders and new members of the Church-wide Nominating Committee. The Annual Meeting of the Religious Corporation was also held.

February 2013 Session Meeting:  The monthly meeting of Session was on Monday, February 11, a week earlier than normal to avoid the President’s Day holiday. The main items of business were receiving an interim report from the Mission Review Committee and discussing the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Congregation on February 24. Dr. Sam Murumba, a member of the Mission Review Committee (MRC) reviewed a three-page interim report on the findings of the small-group meetings and the surveys. The MRC interim report will be presented at the Annual Meeting. Also at that meeting the congregation will be presented with the budget for fiscal year 2013 and with other financial reports. Members will vote on new elders to serve on Session and new members of the Church-wide Nominating Committee. A revision of the By-Laws is being proposed by Session to reconstitute the Personnel Committee with a smaller number of members to make it more functional. A by-law change requires the affirmation of two-thirds of those present.

The committees presented reports in writing, with these highlights: Adult Education and Spiritual Life is planning a series on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to noon, which will be in-depth considerations of topics in large- and small-group settings, and childcare will be provided; Children, Youth, and Families is taking a hard look at how its retreats are planned and organized and will be reporting to Session on their ideas; the Communications Committee is meeting on Tuesday, February 26; the Membership Committee is planning a New Members/Inquirers’ Class, probably in April; Music and Worship will have a new Chair, Joanna Curtis; Stewardship reports that pledge payments are ahead of schedule for the year so far. The Interim Pastor presented her report in writing, with these highlights: A special time is being set aside on Sunday, March 3, immediately following worship, for people to process their thoughts and feelings about the events in the life of the congregation over the last year and a half, to be moderated by Pastor Nadine; and a series of classes will be held (some as part of the second Saturdays series) to discuss and learn about several aspects of our life as a Presbyterian congregation. The next meeting of Session will be on Monday, March 18.

Session Meeting in January 2013: The Session met Wednesday, January 23, to conduct the business of the church. The main item of business was the adoption of a budget for fiscal year 2013. This will be presented to the congregation at the Annual Meeting, which will be held on Sunday, February 24, immediately following worship. At the Annual Meeting the congregation will be voting on new elders and also on members of the Church-Wide Nominating Committee. Other business at this month’s Session meeting included hearing reports from all the committees. Adult Education and Spiritual Life reported on the recent retreat and three upcoming series to be presented by Pastor Nadine, one of which will be in conjunction with the Music and Worship Committee; Mission Review Committee reported two additional focus group meetings, and that they will be reviewing and finalizing their report in the near future; Music and Worship Committee reported that planning has been done for worship services through Easter; Social Action and Mission Committee reported an increase in patronage of the Food Pantry, which has mostly been met with increased donations from neighborhood groups and additional volunteers, and; Stewardship Committee reported on the annual Pledge Campaign for fiscal year 2013, with an increase in the total pledged amount over 2012. Pastor Nadine led Session in a study of 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth in which he explains that the church needs all of its people with all of their talents and strengths to succeed, much like the human body needs all of its parts to function. The next meeting of Session will be on Monday, February 11, a week earlier than usual to avoid the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Session Meeting in November 2012: The monthly meeting of Session was held on Monday, November 19, and was the first moderated by Rev. Nadine Hundertmark, our new Interim Pastor. The committee chairs all reported the work of their committees: Adult Education has several ideas in the works, and the first is an Advent series to be taught by Pastor Nadine; Buildings and Grounds reported that Pastor Nadine and family will be moving into the manse in the next few days; Children, Youth, and Families is busily preparing for Breakfast with Santa on December 15, while Mission Brooklyn and the Confirmation Classes are continuing; Communications noted that the worship services are now being streamed over the Internet, and there was some discussion on Session about publicity around the new Interim Pastor and around Christmas activites; Fellowship would like to start doing the Fellowship Hours after worship with themes that coincide with the church and secular calendars; Finance reported that, with the frugality of the staff and some increased contributions, the fiscal year may actually end with a surplus; Membership is in the midst of a new class of potential members who will be received into membership on December 16; Mission Review continues with their focus groups and with the survey, which to date have involved more than 40 people in the congregation; Music and Worship has made plans for Advent and Christmas and would like to start a discussion about the use of gender-specific language about God in worship; Social Action and Mission plan to provide more information to the congregation about the numbers of people who benefit from the Food Pantry and other activities; Stewardship reported that 70 families and individuals had made pledges totaling $213,440 for fiscal year 2013, and thank-you notes have been written to each pledge-maker. Session voted to especially recognize Jim Cummings for his Pledge Campaign talk in church on November 18, and to guest preacher Rev. Elmer Lavastida-Alfonso for making real the work that our contributions help support.

Pastor Nadine reported on her first few days as Interim Pastor, noting she was quite impressed that on her first Sunday the congregation collected money for storm relief efforts in New York. She is meeting with the staff and with others on upcoming programs and activities in the church. She will be leading the planned Advent series on the Christmas story, and looks forward to leading the discussion on language that the Music and Worship Committee would like to initiate.

Elder Uda Bradford was the Alternate Commissioner of FPC to the NYC Presbytery meeting held in Queens. She reported that the all-day conference discussed some very important issues, including the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and a proposal to re-organize the Presbytery by creating four borough-based Mission-field Alliances. After much thoughtful discussion the proposal was defeated by a vote of 34 for and 64 against. The reasons for not accepting the proposal included a need to study a possible restructring around affinities (rather than geography), and the possibility that the Presbytery, having been brought together to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, was reconsidering the idea that working together might accomplish more than working separately.

There will be a called Session meeting on December 16 to receive new members; the next regular Session meeting will be on Monday, December 17, at 6:30 p.m.  Members who would like to attend should contact Clerk of Session Edna Asknes.

Session Meeting in October 2012: The Session met on October 15 and dealt with a wide range of church business. A new Sunday School Coordinator has been hired, and the search for an interim pastor is in the final stages. The Finance Committee is gearing up for the annual Budget Saturday, to be held on November 10. In the meantime, the Membership Committee is proceeding with an Inquirers Class, scheduled for October 28 and to be led by Kate Salisbury and the Committee Co-Chairs. Session approved the live-streaming of our worship services over the Internet, beginning November 4. The Mission Review Committee is continuing its work, with planned surveys and focus groups. The Music and Worship Committee is planning for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. The Social Action Committee was notified that a grant has been renewed for the work of the Food Pantry. They are also working on reviving the ministry to the Tillary Street Women's Shelter. The Stewardship Committee has been planning for the Annual Pledge Campaign, starting on October 28 and concluding on Pledge Sunday, November 18. The next meeting of Session is Monday, November 19.

Session Meeting in September 2012: The Session met on Monday, September 16. It was reported that Homecoming Sunday and the Ministry Fair were a huge success, with very high attendance, and many people signing up to volunteer. The Mission Review Committee is working on revising the mission statement of the congregation and is interested in the involvement of the congregation. Committee chairs were appointed and are posted on the website. A search committee for an Interim Pastor is reviewing candidates and hopes to present one to Session in the near future. The Annual Pledge Campaign is set for October 28 to November 18. Budget Saturday is set for November 10. Attendance and offerings continue to recover in the post-dissolution period.

 

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