Preparations for Weekend of Theology, Advocacy and Worship Ignite Presbytery

Group talking at a tableScarborough – September 27-­‐28th, Hudson River Presbytery will be hosting a weekend of theology, advocacy and worship called “Changing the Conversation: Claiming Our Voice.” Presbyterians throughout the Synod of the Northeast (and even beyond) are warmly welcome to attend.

The weekend is built around three events, a conference on Saturday at Stony Point Center from 9:00 to 3:30, a fundraising reception for the Office of Public Witness and Presbyterian Ministry at the UN that evening from 4:00 to 6:00, and a worship at Pleasantville Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning at 10:00am that will be simulcast to congregations throughout the presbytery. Learn more and register.

With the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II Director of the Office of Public Witness, and the Rev. Mark Koenig, Director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN on deck as leaders and workshops planned for youth and adults, the energy is high as volunteers create space for intentional reflection.

“This presbytery has a long and strong history of standing up for justice and supporting the essential work of the Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the UN,” explains the Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews, General Presbyter. “With the guidance of J. Herbert and Mark, we will explore how and why we are called to employ our unique Christian voice to bring about change in the world.” 

“The Office of Public Witness and the UN office are partners who amplify the voice of the General Assembly and help individuals and congregations across the nation take action together,” adds the Rev. Dr. William Crawford, Senior Pastor at Larchmont Avenue Presbyterian Church. “Through this weekend we are raising funds to sustain these offices even as they help the PC(USA) sustain its witness in the world.” In addition to the evening fundraiser, many Hudson River Presbytery congregations   are taking a special offering for these ministries.

Across the presbytery, youth and adults are preparing to attend the conference and worship, with the expectation that their presence and thinking will reverberate within their congregational ministries. “This isn’t a one-­‐off thing,” explains the Rev.Margery Rossi, “our planning team is preparing resources to help those who attend and their whole congregation go deeper.”

The “Go Deeper” resources will be available on the conference website. In addition to useful tried and true curricula with a leader’s and participant’s guide, the resources will also include videographies that recount the stories of people who are experiencing the primary impact of injustice around imprisonment, food, and immigration laws, and are working to change these circumstances.

The video from the Sunday September 28th worship where Nelson and Koenig are sharing the pulpit will be posted on the site immediately following the worship’s conclusion. While some congregations will worship through and with the simulcast, others are planning to watch it as part of adult-­‐education and immediately begin using the resources.

“We’re planning to use the video as soon as it posts during our 11:30am adult education class,” explains Barbara Horan, a retired educator and ruling elder at White Plains Presbyterian Church in White Plains.

“It’s the first time we’re trying this and it’s exciting to see how technology is helping us build community and commitment,” explains the Rev. Rhonda Kruse, Connections and Change Presbyter for Hudson River Presbytery. “A number of congregations are joining together for worship on that day to view the simulcast and explore ways   they might work as partners for justice.”

Bryan Bardin, Director of Christian Education and Youth Ministries at Pleasantville Presbyterian Church and a seasoned videographer, has been busy purchasing equipment, coordinating the necessary technology and will be overseeing the preparations. “It’s costing about two hundred dollars to get extra long cables and the special adapter, but it’s something that the presbytery can use over and over.”

And that’s just the point, notes Kruse, “With this weekend we’re making an investment not only in our trusted national offices, but in the members of this presbytery. By inspiring and equipping our members and connecting them for powerful work, we know this weekend will have a lasting impact.”

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