On Saturday, March 4, 2023 five presbyteries collaborated together to sponsor an online congregational learning day which attracted some 250 participants. This is the first time ever that our Presbytery has been involved in such an ambitious event. It was the brainchild of Presbytery Leader Susan Orr. The five presbyteries were: Cayuga/Syracuse, Geneva, Lake Erie, Western New York, and Genesee Valley. Each workshop had its own Zoom link. This technology was managed by the superlative talents of Craig Kunkle, the director of Christian education at Pittsford First Presbyterian Church.


Workshops of 90 minutes each covered the following areas:


    • Benefits of Collaborative Youth Ministry led by Rev. Michelle Allen, pastor at East Avon and candidate Rebecca Fergusson-Lutz of Third Presbyterian.
    • The Church in the Digital Age 101 & 102 was led by Rev. Richard Hong, Pastor of the Englewood New Jersey Presbyterian Church.
    • Not Safe for Worship? Creating a Climate Where Politics, Religion and Current Events Can Be Discussed was led by Prof. Marvin Pritts, a horticulture professor at Cornell, and his spouse, Allison, a registered nurse.
    • Courage in the Face of Adversity was led by Rev. Dr. Roula Alkhouri, pastor at First Presbyterian in Batavia, and featured a discussion about her leadership in addressing the Christian Right in her community.
    • Elder and Deacon Training, our most popular course, was led by Reverends Aaron Neff and Erin Jacobson, from Pittsford First Presbyterian Church. One hundred of the 250 persons attending took this class.
    • Land Acknowledgments was led by Roberta Davis, a writer and author on Native American identity, and a descendant of both Pennsylvania Lenape and African American heritage.
    • Resources for Ministry from the Presbyterian Foundation was led by Rev. Dr. Rose Niles, a ministry relations officer with the Presbyterian Foundation.
    • Treasurers 101 was led by Rev. Dr. Ellie-Johns Kelly, also a ministry relations officer with the Presbyterian Foundation. This workshop focused on the basics of understanding budgets and reporting to the congregation.
    • Trustees Property Issues was led by Elder Jim Pochodylo, formerly the Property Manager at Third Presbyterian Church, and by Rev. Tedd Pullano, the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Presbytery.
    • Writing As a Spiritual Practice, was led by Rev. Dr. Pat Youngdahl, former pastor of Downtown Presbyterian Church and now honorably retired. In her retirement she is focusing on spiritual formation.


Most of these workshops were recorded and are being made available on the Presbytery website.