Notes from the TTF


Paul Grier and Ellie Johns-Kelly from the Presbyterian Foundation led us in the 4th conversation about congregational sustainability. There were x congregations represented in the conversation. The themes of this fourth meeting were engaging young adults and knowing our financial reality.

Here are two notes from Beth Scibienski’s notes:

“Young adults are compelled by the gospel – not by programs or buildings or institutions – but by churches who are living the gospel.” 

“For every member lost who is in their 70s, we must replace them with 3-4 members in their 30’s or 40’s and 7 members in their 20’s to regain the same financial donations.” 

Let’s keep the conversation going. Ask someone from one of the churches who attended: Dutch Neck, West Trenton, Somerset, Kingston, Witherspoon, New Brunswick/ Livingston Ave, Christ, Grace/ South Brunswick, Covenant and Ewing.

The next meeting will be in May; when we know the details, we’ll pass them on.

Update on finding a new Executive Director – the job description will be live starting Monday, February 8 and can be found on the Presbytery website.

Upcoming events: 

  • Equipping the Saints – February 13 –Register here
  • Exploring Adult Faith Formation – Register here 
  • Transition Task Force retreat at Princeton seminary – February 13 – say a prayer as we continue to work on our goals.

We are happy to share good news and/or opportunities for us to connect with one another. Let us know what you know by emailing Beth Scibienski, 







One Comment Add yours

  1. peter gregory says:

    in the general discussion of congregational life cycles or arcs over time. The local impact of demography, population or macro-economic trends are many times beyond the local congregation means to control of manage. The cards are dealt you in the form they are. Any congregation in those changing dynamics have a clear choice, seek a refreshed or different base for mission and being, or not, and continue on a certain trajectory. As institutional life life many times is a conscious choice, so is death.

    As applies to New Brunswick, my guess-tamation is that out of the 43 or so churches, close to a quarter to a third are marginally functional across a number of congregational life signs, and likely will either merge, close or seek other means to survival through yoking or other mechanisms. Some churches will choose, if given a clear choice, to conclude their corporate lives within the next 5-7 years. Not all churches even desire to be saved, nor can Presbytery invest the time ,efforts or energy to attempt to save all. In that sense New Brunswick needs to transition to a triage type of congregational care. Identify those churches who choose to do the hard, hard work of redevelopment, and close those or extend what I call, “hospice” care to bring those churches to a close with dignity, respect, and compassion they deserve. Clergy, elders who can do that are a very low skill set by my observation. We all train and assume growth and success in all things churchy. Few is any individuals or committees really are ready to make that next step to assist in the death process if needed. And many times, assisting a person or a congregation in the death process is the most loving thing we can ever do.


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