News from the Presbytery of Western New York
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Presbytery of Western New York

The ripple effect of the Presbyterian Youth Triennium

Presbyterian News Service

Twenty-five year old Calvin Rogers divides his life into two categories, before Presbyterian Youth Triennium and after. “I plan to go to every Triennium until I die,” he says. 

As a 16 year old, before triennium, Rogers was in emotional despair. Raised by strict parents who instilled moral values in him, he was a student who stood out from the crowd in high school. He was respectful and obedient toward teachers. He sat alone at an empty table during lunch. He was constantly picked on—bullied verbally.

“Imagine walking into a gymnasium with a thousand people at a basketball game, all laughing at you,” say Rogers. “Just because you’re wearing a pair of shoes and jacket that were bought by your dad, that weren’t very popular at the time.”

The person leading the charge in making fun of Rogers was a member of the church he attended in Huntsville, Ala. “I was devastated,” he says. “I was doing what my parents said, going to church, the youth group, yet they were still treating me the same way. There was no place that I fit in.”

When Rogers went to his Cumberland Presbyterian Youth Conference in 2006, the 300 youth there treated him differently than the kids back home. They saved seats for him. They sat next to him during lunch. They gave him non-stop hugs. They weren’t as strict. They chose him to be on the planning team for the upcoming Presbyterian Youth Triennium in 2007.

“They began to show me that my God-box was small,” he says. “It was like the beginning of a 180 [degree] turnaround. Unfortunately when I got back home, the kids at home treated me the same way they had before.”

But something had started to shift for Rogers. He had made many friends and knew there was community outside the narrow, small-minds maligning him in Huntsville. Reminiscing of memories of the conference, and looking ahead to what he might experience at this bigger event, helped him survive the taunting. 

“That first Triennium took it to a whole new level,” he says. “Getting 700 hugs a day, the high fives, the music, the worship. The whole time I was like, ‘I can’t wait for eternity if this is what heaven is going to be like.’” 

When he got home, after Triennium, people noticed something different about him. His dad, Calvin Rogers, Sr. asked, “What happened to you?” The kids at high school noticed it too—he carried himself with a different mindset. “Triennium was like a confirmation to me,” says Rogers. “It got me excited about my relationship with God. It gave a passion to work for others, so they could have the same experience I had.” 

Toward the end of high school, Rogers got an unexpected gift from some of his peers. “They told me they were sorry for making fun of me,” he says, “That one guy in particular, who started it all, was in that crowd. It was his way of asking for my forgiveness.” 

Upon graduation, Rogers used the students’ gestures as motivation to start his own youth conference. He wanted to teach as many as kids as possible what he had learned at Triennium. 

“Matthew 5:16 says, ‘Let your light shine, so they will give glory to your father in heaven,’” he says. “That’s want happened, when that young man who had made fun of me approached me before graduation saying, ‘even though I did what I did, I appreciate you, I’d like to come to your Bible Study.’” 

A year later, in 2010, Rogers presided over the first Christians Assisting Responding Enabling and Serving (C.A.R.E.S.) Back to School Conference in Huntsville. Fourteen churches, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and ecumenical partners helped make it happen. That first year more than 700 kids came to the conference and they continued to come every year as Rogers got more comfortable telling them about his experiences of being bullied and in despair. “Kids would come up to me in tears afterwards,” says Rogers. “Thanking me for giving them the knowledge that they were not alone.” 

Rogers was president over the conference until 2014 when he passed the torch to others so he could move to Nashville, to pursue a music career. He’s now produced his first album “One God, One Cross, One Salvation.” 

“Through Triennium God showed me this bigger picture,” he says, “which led to incredible joy. It’s where I began to learn how to experience God in a way that is exciting and awesome, appealing to youth and all age groups. It’s kind of like living heaven on earth, when we are together worshiping God.”

Click here to learn more about attending Triennium in 2016.

Union Presbyterian Seminary 2016 Congregational Leadership Awards

Is your congregation or a congregation in your presbytery doing innovative ministry?

Union Presbyterian Seminary offers eight Congregational Leadership Awards annually.   Since 1991, 117 churches in 29 states have received these awards. Each of the eight awards carries a $1,000 prize to support the congregation in its ministry. For more information and to apply for one of the 2016 Union Presbyterian Seminary Congregational Leadership Awards, you may download the brochure and application by clicking here or request an application by sending an e-mail to April Swofford at or calling 1-800-229-2990, ext 231. The application and instructions are only available electronically. The deadline for the 2016 awards is FEBRUARY 15, 2016.
Operation Christmas Child at First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston

First Presbyterian Church (505 Cayuga St.) in Lewiston is excited to announce it is a drop off location again this year for Operation Christmas Child November 16th – 23rd .   (M-W 10am –Noon, Thursday, 3pm -6:30pm, Friday, 10am – 1pm Saturday 10am – 1pm Sunday, 1pm -3pm, Monday11/23 – 10am -1pm
This worldwide outreach of Operation Christmas Child-a project of Samaritan’s Purse – ministers to children in war-torn and famine-stricken countries.  In just two decades it has inspired everyday people to provide more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in 130 countries.  To find out much more about this program you can go to Operation Christmas Child on your computer. 
If you would like to help a needy child in another part of the world all you have to do is take a shoe box, decide on male or female and age (2-4, 5-9, 10-14) and fill it with items appropriate for the age you chose.  If you like, wrap the shoe box with Christmas paper (top and bottom separately) put a rubber band around it and bring it to the church. There are labels for your boxes you can get on-line that marks age level and boy or girl (I have some here at the church if you need them).  Samaritan’s Purse does request if possible for you to put a donation of $7 in the box for help with the cost of getting these boxes around the world. If you would like to do this on-line you can track where your box goes!
You can call the church Monday – Friday 9am -3pm with any questions you might have 754-4945.  All boxes need to be to the church by 1pm Monday morning, November 23rd.  
Fall Junior/Senior High Youth Retreat Update
October 23-24-25 is the upcoming Fall Jr./Sr. High Youth Retreat, being held at Duffield Camp and Retreat Center in Delevan NY. Space is limited to the first 115 paid reservations- $80 per participant. Registration opening soon.
PLEASE DON'T WAIT for the last "I want to go" before you send in your registration form.  As of today, we are at about 47, and 1 cabin has been completely claimed by a Church Group.
It would be much better(and sooooo much easier on us)if you'd get your registration in sooner, rather than later.  You can always add/subtract 1 or 2 as your late comers make their decisions- deposits will be applied to the total amount you owe.
Presbytery's Discipleship and Nurture Ministry Team is meeting on Oct 14, and has a request for funds for this Retreat.  While we have no idea on the amount (if any) that we may receive, any amount will be shared among those who attend.
2015 Leadership Development Event
Jazz, Improvisation, & the Church
Presented by the Discipleship & Nurture Ministry Team of the Presbytery of Western New York
Friday, October 16
Registration 5:30 p.m., Dinner 6:00 p.m.
7:30 p.m. Concert by Bill Carter & the Presbybop Quartet (Bill Carter and the Presbybop Quartet are the best known musicians playing sacred jazz in the United States.)
Saturday, October 17
Registration 10:00 a.m.
Breakfast Keynote by Bill Carter
Followed by:"Improvisation for Church Leaders"
  • Learn and practice the tools of improvisational comedy to create an environment of acceptance, change and growth. Discover just how much they have in common with the way of Jesus. Facilitated by Drew Ludwig
"Getting the Band Together"
  • Recruiting volunteers and calling forth gifts. Facilitated by members of the Discipleship & Nurture Ministry Team
Event ends at 12:45 p.m.
Westminster Presbyterian Church-724 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14209
Friday, Dinner & Concert ~ $20.00           
Saturday Breakfast & Program ~ $10.00
Both Events~ $25.00

Group Discounts              
$60 - Total for 3 - 5 people from the same church - both days
$125 - Total for 6 - 10 people from the same church - both days
Childcare will be available-please RSVP name and age of child(ren).
Alexander and Galpin Grant Application
For SUNY at Buffalo (UB) students only
Scholarship Information:
  • Only full-time students at the University of Buffalo are eligible to apply.
  • First preference is given to undergraduate students.  Second preference is given to graduate students.
  • Scholarships are generally in the $500-$1500 range.  The committee reserves the right to adjust the amount based on how much money is available each year.
  • Students must reapply annually and are not guaranteed an award simply because they received one in the past.  The maximum number of years a student may receive a scholarship is four.
  • First preference is given to students who are members of the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Second preference is given to students who are members of the United Methodist Church, the American Baptist Church, the United Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ or Episcopal churches.  Third preference is given to all other denominations.  Fourth preference is given to students with no religious affiliation.
  • Applicants do not need to be permanent residents of Western New York.
  • If you have any questions, you may e-mail Mary-Diana Pouli at
  • Applications must be received by October 31, 2015.

The Alexander and Galpin grants are administered by Campus Church ConneXion (the mainline Protestant ministry at UB) on behalf of the Presbytery of Western New York.  For more info on C/CC, visit us on Facebook or contact Rev. Stuart Buisch at 
October 14
Clergy Celebrations
Happy Birthday!
Howard Boswell - 10/14
Lee Clark - 10/17
David Kim - 10/19

Happy Anniversary!
John & Teresa Long - 10/16/2009

Ordination Anniversary
James Henkel - 10/14/1973
Howard Boswell - 10/14/1984
Steven Jelensperger - 10/14/1984
David Kim - 10/17/1999
Bronwen Boswell - 10/18/1987
Lee Clark - 10/19/1997
Today in the
Mission Yearbook:
Around the Presbytery

October 17
Annual Women's Bazaar at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown

October 17
Quilt Raffle at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown

October 17
"Opera on Broadway" presented by Opera Lytes at Clarence Presbyterian Church

October 17
Buffalo Silver Band at First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown

October 24
Spaghetti Dinner at Maryvale Drive Presbyterian Church

October 25
Free Showing of Documentary "Merchants of Doubt" at North Presbyterian Church of Williamsville

October 31
Halloween 5K Run at First Presbyterian Church of Westfield

November 7
Spaghetti Dinner at Faith United Presbyterian Church

November 16-23
Drop Off for Operation Christmas Child at First Presbyterian Church of Lewiston

January 23
Robert Burns Dinner at Riverside Presbyterian Church of Niagara Falls

Submit your church events to be listed at
Share Group Invitation:
If you are a church educator, a Sunday School teacher, a Christian Education Committee member, youth advisor or coordinator or are an advocate for CE at your church, you are cordially invited to the Share Group at 6:30PM on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at the Resource Center.  Come with questions and share in the discussion of Children’s Stewardship.  We share what works.  We are also good listeners.  Come and join us.
Job Postings
Coordinator of Pre-Teen Christian Fellowship - North Church, Williamsville

North Church seeks an enthusiastic Coordinator of Pre-Teen Christian Fellowship possessing good sense, tireless energy, and great organization to lead our youth in grades 3 through 6 in Christian fellowship.
The successful candidate will plan and supervise fellowship activities with educational and fun programs that reflect our mission statement, plan and conduct the “Children’s Message” as requested by the pastor during the 10:45 a.m. Sunday service, and supervise Sunday school teachers.
Compensation will be $500 per month for a full calendar year based upon an estimated need to dedicate 8 to 16 hours, with an average of 12 hours, per month to fulfill the requirements of the position. Please contact Lee Broad at (716) 839-0767 or at for more information and/or position description.

Organist / Pianist - Choir Director, Amherst Presbyterian Church:
One Sunday morning service with choir rehearsal following; one weekly evening choir rehearsal; 4-6 hr other worship services. Rodgers Scarborough 110E organ. Four weeks paid vacation. Salary: $7324. Send resume to

Director of Youth Ministries, Hamburg
The primary goal of Hamburg New York Presbyterian Church's Children's and Youth ministry is to bring youth from grades PreK-12 into significant relationship with Jesus Christ, and to guide them as Christ's disciples in every aspect of life-to learn and know of God's deep love for them, to love and be a significant part of church, and to have Christian community with one another. The Director of Youth Ministries will demonstrate a quality of life that commends the Gospel to all people.
Skills Required:
  • Active Christian with an understanding and support of the Presbyterian Reformed Tradition.
  • Possess (or working full time towards completion) Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree (minimum).
  • Possess a valid NYS driver's license.
  • Experience teaching of children and youth. (Degree in Christian Education or Youth Ministry can be substituted.)
If you possess the necessary credentials as stated above and are interested, please email your contact information and resume.

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