Healthier Congregations

Healthier Congregations

The Healthier Congregations Team (HCT) includes the Healthier Congregations Coordinating Council and four distinct Working Groups: Grants Working Group, Relationships Working Group, Tools and Training Working Group, and Youth and Young Adult Working Group. Each group of the HCT is focused on identified goals and objectives that support congregations and neighborhoods.


The vision of the HCT is to “equip and empower congregations and neighborhoods to support one another for the risky work of discerning how to share God’s love more fully in our community, build healthier relationships, explore new ways of being church together, and live as a sign of hope for the world.”

Healthier Congregations Coordinating Council (HCCC)

Healthier Congregations Coordinating Council (HCCC) provides oversight and support to the Working Groups; equips Working Groups for their ministries; and provides communication between Working Groups and the Big Picture Team.

7 members. Term of 1 year, renewable. Elected in July for August 1 start.

2nd Monday @ 3:30 p.m.

Rev. Jim Renfrew, convener

Council Listing

Grants Working Group (GWG)

The Grants Working Group (GWG) of the Healthier Congregations Team offers three (3) types of grants to congregations and community agencies. Funds for the grants are available through the generosity and commitment of our PGV congregations. The GWG updates the application process and criteria for grants at the beginning of each calendar year. The group then carefully reviews all applications received by the posted deadline and determines how grant funds will be distributed. Celebration of the ministry work achieved through the grant process is also a focus of the group.

The Congregational Vitality Grant is focused on congregations that are trying to live into something that is very new to them, and seeks to engage their church with a place, people, or ministry that they have never engaged before. God meets new needs with new ways of living through us, and we want to support this. New for 2022 the Congregational Vitality Grant may also be used for intentional coaching support for a Session. Up to three (3) church Sessions may be eligible to receive 12 coaching meetings with two certified coaches from our Synod’s Coaching Network.

The Collaborative Ministry Grant is intended to support any two-or-more groups that are partnering for ministry. More than a basic connection between organizations, these grants are intended to support true partnerships between those working together on a common ministry for God. The connections can be between Churches, Neighborhoods, a congregation and one or more community agencies, or any other relationship God has brought together, so long as they are in mutual, partnered engagement with the ministry and each other. God works through community, especially in challenging times.

The Peacemaking Grant is awarded to congregations, organizations, or individuals who are, in some way, working toward restorative justice and addressing oppression. Peacemaking Grant applications are accepted at any time and are reviewed and awarded quarterly.

*Applications for 2022 Collaborative Ministry and Congregational Vitality Grants are due June 24, 2022

Membership of GWG is open to all and is not elected or term limited. New members are welcome.

GWG meets about four (4) times per year.

Rev. Judy Lee Hay


Relationships Working Group (RWG)

The primary task of the RWG is to encourage relationships among and within our Presbytery. Our Presbytery design, building up from six Neighborhoods, is all about moving forward in ministry and mission, yet healthy relationships are essential if we intend to move at all! The front line of ministry in this presbytery is in neighborhoods and congregations, thus relationships among our people and congregations are critical as we move ahead.

The RWG has a liaison assigned to each Neighborhood. We listen carefully for each Neighborhood’s opportunities and challenges aiming to amplify what is working and offering support in ways that promote health, vitality, and sustainability. We consider what tools and training might be shared or what and how bridges might be built. The RWG is always seeking ideas for future “connecting events” for fun, mission, learning, or elements of all three.

Relationship-enhancing projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Social gatherings of the presbytery that offer opportunity for connection. All are invited, especially Pastors and Elder Commissioners who used to gather in person for presbytery meetings. These Presbytery gatherings were prompted by the pandemic, but we think they are a good idea just the same. After all, our
  • Presbytery is most effective in what it does due to stronger relationships among congregations and people!
  • Neighborhood Liaisons and Congregational visitation: Liaisons are encouraged to visit Sunday worship, special events and Neighborhood gatherings. Churches are encouraged to send newsletters to RWG liaisons.
  • Prayer Profiles feature individual congregations. They appear on Presbytery’s Facebook page, website and E-news.
  • Sharing prayer requests and prayers “via Chat” during Presbytery meetings on Zoom, and following up as appropriate.

Membership of RWG is open to all and is not elected or term limited.

2nd Monday of each month at 12 Noon, via Zoom

Rev. Jim Renfrew

Resources and Events


Tools and Training Working Group (TTWG)

Tools and Training Working Group works toward the PGV vision of healthy, vital, sustainable congregations by promoting and overseeing training events and development opportunities for congregations and their leaders. The activities and events of the team include:

  • Congregational Learning Courses (online and in-person)
  • Promoting training opportunities offered by PGV churches or neighborhoods
  • Sponsoring the work of Measuring Mission, a one-year, 9 workshop-based missional assessment tool for congregations.
  • Promoting Ecumenical Advocacy Days
  • Scholarships (up to $500) for continuing education of clergy and lay leaders

Membership of T&TWG is open to all and is not elected or term limited. New members are welcome.

Mindy Shaffer,  convener


Healthier Congregations Trainings

Congregational Learning Day


Saturday March 2, 2024 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. There will be two sessions for courses with a worship time in between, all done via Zoom videoconferencing. All are welcome […]


Youth and Young Adult Ministries Working Group (YYAMWG)

Youth and Young Adult Ministries Working Group (YYAMWG) aims to nurture youth from sixth through twelfth grade, and young adults in their late teens and twenties so that they have a firm sense of God’s abiding love for them exactly as they are. We accomplish this by providing a safe, welcoming, and affirming place for them to worship, study scripture and serve the community with love, share in fellowship, break bread, and pray together.


YYAMWG creates and sponsors events in collaboration with other youth-focused ministries including Camp Whitman and Lagom Landing. We also coordinate and oversee our presbytery’s cohort in attendance at national PC(USA) conferences including Montreat and Triennium.


Membership of YYAMWG is open to all and is not elected or term limited. New members are welcome

As Needed

Rev. Michelle Allen

Rebekah Ferguson-Lutz

Camp Whitman on Seneca Lake
Lagom Landing – respite & restoration retreats
Presbyterian Youth Triennium