From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Group helps presbytery staff learn the ropes

Date 21 Jun 2002 08:01:11 -0400

Note #7304 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


Group helps presbytery staff learn the ropes

Institute founders realized 'resources were needed that didn't exist'

by Jerry Van Marter

COLUMBUS, OH - A fledgling group dedicated solely to providing continuing education for presbytery staff members in the Presbyterian Church (USA) attracted a crowd of about 50 to its first-ever General Assembly-related event on June 19.

"In 2000, some of us realized that resources were needed that didn't exist - continuing education for presbytery staff members," said the Rev. Gerry Tyer, executive presbyter for Tampa Bay Presbytery and co-founder of the Presbytery Leadership Institute.

Sixteen presbytery executives from coast to coast now serve on the Institute's steering committee. A number of continuing-education events have been sponsored by the Institute, and more are coming up next winter.

Those who have participated in Institute programs had praise for them. 

"For the first two and a half years, I couldn't find anything to help me make the transition from the pastorate to executive service," said the Rev. Clark Cowden of San Joaquin Presbytery. "The Presbytery Leadership Institute is the place."

The Rev. Sam Roberson of Cincinnati Presbytery said the Institute has given him a much broader view of ministry. "I have a good relationship with the folk in my area, but that doesn't necessarily correlate with the rest of the country," he said. "To find out about what's going on in other places, in presbyteries of different sizes and shapes, is incredibly helpful."

The Rev. Ed Albright of Greater Atlanta Presbytery said the Institute has been instrumental in building teamwork among his presbytery's staff. "We take our whole staff to events (some of which are held at Eckerd College in Florida) and not only do we participate in the events together, we have that time in the car back and forth to really cement what we have learned and our relationships with each other."

Tyer praised the "peer learning" that is integral to the Institute's programs. "The events are great, not just because we have the gurus of organizational management and leadership development present, but because we learn so much from each other as peers. We're kind of like the beggar telling the other beggars where to find food."

Presbytery Leadership Institute events are planned for Jan. 26-30, 2003 in Los Angeles and February 23-27, 2003 in St. Petersburg, FL. For more information about the Presbytery Leadership Institute, contact Tyer by mail at 720 North Shore Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; by phone at 727-821-0666; or by email at
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