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For the latter half of 2021, Steve Vance, Naomi Kelly and Ed Townsend have been serving the 1st Presbyterian Church of Holland Patent as a “transitional team.” That experiment has worked well, and after consideration the Sessions in Old Forge and Lowville contracted with the team to expand its efforts to include their respective churches. We are planning now. Our work formally begins 1/2/22.
The work will center on helping the congregation to prepare for new, long-term pastoral leadership, which, in addition to facilitating both large group and a small group discernment processes. We will also provide typical interim services: worship leadership, emergency visitation, moderating Session, weddings, funerals, administering the sacraments, limited/occasional office hours and coordination with other staff and committees.
Ed will lead the visioning process with The Session as well as 3 congregational visioning discussions. Steve as the Parish Coordinator will moderate The Session, assume administrative tasks and coordinate special events and pastoral care. Naomi as Transitional Associate will support all aspects of our work, develop opportunities for the three churches to find common interests and meet with The Session as requested. Each team member will lead worship one week a month. Other Sundays Supply Pastors will lead worship.
Our visioning work will start in earnest with the Congregational meeting on 1/16/22. We will begin to identify the kind of ministry we want going forward. The team will remain flexible with plans as we uncover the desires of our congregation.
One concept we will explore is that given the difficulty of finding, as well as paying, full time clergy here in rural Northern New York, we will be looking for creative ways to take advantage of our certified Ruling Elders, retired pastors and other church leaders interested in part time positions.
The hope is that as the months go by we will understand what our goals are and how we can practically meet them in our current environment.
A secondary hope for our work is to build relationships between the north country congregations. We hope that sharing preachers might lead to sharing other programs and projects.
One outcome of this model might be that certain pastors connect with certain churches and may become a more primary presence with that congregation. When (if?) that happens, the “team” will be able to shift its efforts to other congregations.
This experiment is simply that: an experiment. Its success depends in large part on congregations becoming less “pastor dependent” and finding energy and leadership from within.
Another possibility is that this team approach will provide a learning opportunity for others within and around our Presbytery to explore their call to ministry - sort of a hands on Lay Academy.
We are hopeful. We shall see.
A note from Sarah:
Hello everyone! I am happy to now be your new Office Administrator at the First Presbyterian Church of Lowville. I plan to be in the office Wednesday 12pm-3pm and will also be working from home.
Here is a little about myself. I am originally from St. Lawrence County. I met my husband while in college at SUNY Canton. I have an Associate's Degree in Accounting and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. I have lived in Lowville ten years now and have been married to my husband Matt, for nine years. I have a seven year old named Cora, and a three year old named Gabriel. I enjoy time with family and friends, and am an active member of the Lowville Lions Club. I am excited for this new opportunity and hope to meet many of you soon!
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Our home Presbytery is located in Utica, NY
Beginning April 11, 2021, we are having in person worship in our sanctuary, also we will have a short prerecorded worship service on Facebook at 10:00 a.m. for those that wish to remain at home during our time of worship.
Also, we will record our live in person worship service and post it on YouTube and here on our web page (look for recordings of all our services by clicking the purple "VIDEOS" button above).
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Currently we are not offering any in person activities such as Nursery Care or Fellowship Time due to safety concerns.