A brief report from UNCO – June 22, 2017


On Thursday, June 22, 17 folks from 7 worshiping communities in our presbytery joined together for the Presbytery’s second UNCO event.


Everyone was given the opportunity to add discussion ideas to the “idea board,” then after dinner Steve Plank guided the group through a process of determining how many of the ideas connected and then which ones had the most energy for discussion.


For this night the topics for the smaller group discussions turned out to be:

  • New Worshiping Communities, the burden of buildings, and Vanderkamp ideas about how to be church.
  • What can/does the Presbytery offer our churches? What is the value of the Presbytery?

Recorders were chosen for each group and participants broke away from the large group to meet in whichever small group interested them most.


After time for small group discussion, everyone gathered together to share about the conversations.


Here are a very few gleanings:

  • Energized going to GA and Synod assemblies but then come home to Presbytery and where’s the energy?
  • Some churches have no connections with Presbytery; they feel like Presbytery doesn’t care
  • If Presbytery did larger more exciting events would that make a difference? May 20 Pagitt event was not well attended.
  • How do we get leaders in the churches interested and willing to take time for Presbytery?
  • Changing the culture of Presbytery will take time
  • We all are the Presbytery – not just staff or leaders. How do we get people to realize that Presbytery is them also?
  • How about getting 2 people from the presbytery to go to each of the national Presbyterian conferences and help subsidize the cost?
  • Connectionalism- need to build community.
  • World Café model for building community and having conversations
  • We need to communicate more about the great things that are going on within our churches: when people go to conferences, or do special projects, etc.
  • Maybe a blog on the website for sharing good news and reports about conferences, etc. that people attend – with a searchable index  
  • Need to stop only looking at ourselves and our survival as congregations.
  • When you get out of the presbytery and gather with Presbyterians from around the country you realize how connected we really are and when you come back you see your own congregation/presbytery with fresh eyes
  • We have Vanderkamp… which is both a curse and a blessing
  • The entire north shore of Oneida Lake has no Presbyterian presence outside of Vanderkamp. How can we be that presence in a new way?
  • New branding for Vanderkamp? What can we do to help support it?
  • How can we, perhaps, reimagine Vanderkamp so it becomes a new gospel community: “Church in the woods” perhaps?


What has “legs” from this gathering? In other words, what are we committed to following up on?

  • a big event (Becky and Linda)
  • new worshiping community within the Presbytery  (Dan)


Thanks to Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church for opening their doors and being incredibly gracious hosts for our UNCO event!