Summer sermons address evil of retribution

RENSSELAERVILLE — Each summer, guest preachers from different faith traditions are invited to deliver sermons on a common theme at the historic Rensselaerville Presbyterian Church on Main Street in the hamlet.

The 2016 theme is “An Eye For An Eye Leaves Everyone Blind.” Here is the schedule for the 11 a.m. services, open to the public:

— June 26: “Spirit of Peace,” Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbytery, Albany Presbytery;

— July 3: “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize — Hold On, Hold On,” Rev. Shaun Whitehead, associate chaplain, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York;

— July 10: “Hindsight, Foresight and Insight: If We Are Blind, What Makes Sense?” Rabbi Norman Mendel, rabbi emeritus, Congregation Beth David, San Luis Obispo, California;

— July 17: “Praying at Ground Zero,” Rev. Jan Carlsson-Bull, Universalist Unitarian Church;

— July 24: “Three Blind Dogs,” Rev. Dr. Jon Walton, senior pastor, First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York;

— July 31: “Friendship As Social Witness,” Rev. James Calvin Davis, professor of Religion, Middlebury College, Vermont;

— Aug. 7: “Evil for Evil: A Nineteenth Century Presbyterian Worship Service,” Barbara Wheeler, formerly president, Auburn Theological Seminary, New York, New York;

— Aug. 14: “Open My Eyes That I May See,” Rev. Eric Jackson, Smith Memorial Congregational Church, Hillsborough, New Hampshire;

— Aug. 21: “How Often Must I Forgive?” Rev. Richard Spalding, Chaplain, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts;

— Aug. 28: “Vision Quest,” Rev. Alexandra Lusak, moderator, Rensselaerville Presbyterian Church;

— Sept. 4: “Collectors: Collecting Beauty Instead of Injuries,” Rev. Donna Schaper, senior minister, Judson Memorial Church, New York, New York;

— Sept. 11:  A Celebration of the 220th Anniversary of the Rensselaerville Presbyterian Church.

The tradition of summer-only services at the Presbyterian Church in Rensselaerville goes back more than 100 years.  For a short period in the second half of the 19th Century, the village was a lively industrial town as the first site of the Huyck Woolen Mills.

When founder and Presbyterian Church member F. C. Huyck Sr. moved his mill to Albany, he did not sever ties with the village or the church.  But as jobs left with the mill so did many of the village residents, leaving the church without enough members to maintain a year-round pastor.

However, the Huyck family returned each year to vacation and provided for a pastor during their stay.  It was F. C. Huyck Sr.’s granddaughter, Katharine Huyck Elmore, who, in the middle of the 20th Century, expanded the vision of the summer services to other faith traditions and invited ministers, rabbis, priests, and nuns to fill the pulpit.

The Rensselaerville Presbyterian Church is a nationally recognized example of Greek Revival architecture dating from the 1840s and is listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places.More information about the church may be found on its website:


More Community news

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering video conferences on raising poultery and on raising sheep or goats.

    Both courses will cover acquiring your animals, breeds, feeding, and basic health care. Questions are encouraged.

  • GUILDERLAND — With the start of summer, Guilderhaven wants to remind all pet owners that, when it seems warm to us, it feels even warmer to our furry, four-legged friends. When out walking, they are also closer to the ground, receiving more reflected heat from sidewalks and pavement.

  • ALBANY COUNTY — Cornell Cooperative Extension is offering free courses on parenting through videoconferencing.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.