704 Whitney Avenue
New Haven CT 06511
Proclaiming the Promise of God's Justice and Inclusive Love
of the
Sixteenth Annual Meeting

3 - 6 PM
29 January 2017

Westminster Presbyterian Church
West Hartford, Connecticut




There will be a lot of reflecting on the year 2016.  Someday someone might ask what you did during those portentous but possibly (?) promising days.  Close to home, Presbyterian Promise is happy about  the progress in the PC(USA) this year.  We especially note with joy the ordination of Lisa Larges, a lesbian candidate of immense gifts who was denied ordination for decades.  She has begun to serve a small church in Minneapolis. We also celebrate our friend Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, who is newly called to a church in Sayville, New York.   May the great gifts of God's LGBTQ+ children be ever more shared with all God's people.

This has been an active year for Presbyterian Promise.   We have continued our work in the Presbytery of Southern New England, consolidating and strengthening efforts from the past and exploring some new directions and emphases.

Highlights of the work include:

  • continuing the effort begun in 2015 with Rev. Maria LaSala and First Presbyterian Church, New Haven, True Colors, and others to encourage continued, more nuanced educational efforts related to sexuality, gender identity and spiritual support for our LGBTQIAPD+ people.  We end the year ready to highlight in the newsletter the kinds of support developing for diversely gendered people on college and university campuses in the presbytery bounds.
  • partnering with Rev. Adele Crawford and the Presbytery of Southern New England's Creative Space project to bring Not So Churchy for an innovative, LGBT led worship at the 2016 annual meeting in February.   Not So Churchy-affiliated leadership returned to the presbytery during the year to help lead in worship.
  • continuing our ministry of presence with four major outreach appearances, including a table at the huge True Colors Conference for LGBTQ+ youth at UCONN, and (working with local churches) Pride events in Fairfield County, Providence, and Hartford.  Is our presence important?  Rev. Jan Hawkins who helped staff our table at Hartford wrote the following: "When the time came to pack up our tables and tent, I realized I had just had the amazing opportunity to invite hundreds of people to our [Hartford] congregation.  Perhaps that's the heart of 'evangelism.'  Simply welcoming everyone and meaning it."
  • continuing to publish a newsletter of thoughtful commentary and reporting, usually twice a year.  We continue expanding the ways we communicate, using traditional print medium, but also sharing substantive content via e-mail, our website, and Facebook.  We expect to expand our exploration of communication possibilities in 2017.
  • continuing to witness and dialogue with our sisters and brothers in Christ at presbytery meetings.  Presbyterian Promise has developed and led open space sessions, including a well-attended session focused on the Pulse club massacre in Orlando in June. 
We feel anxious that the emerging voices of anger and intolerance will begin to define the national tone and policies in the near future.  Vocal witness for justice and inclusion is more important than ever, even here in Southern New England, and Presbyterian Promise hopes to be able to play a crucial and positive role in the coming months. 
Keith Rhoden and Dick Hasbany, Co-Moderators
of the
Our bylaws provide that "at the Annual Meeting the membership shall elect members to serve on the Board.  These members are in addition to those appointed to the Board by Sponsoring Members."  Further, "There shall be not fewer that nine (9) nor more than twenty-one (21) directorships.  ...Each director shall hold office for a term of three years from the time of his or her election and qualification. ... The Board will have at least one appointed director from each Sponsoring Member."

Serving as the nominating committee this year was Robert Bourguignon, Keith Rhoden, Pat Wales. 

The following were elected:

Class of 2019
Jesse Cooper (Pelham Manor: Huguenot Memorial)
Dick Hasbany (New Haven: First)
Ralph Jones (New Haven: First)
Continuing in Service
Class of 2017
Dan Blackford (Providence)
Christine Caton (PSNE)
Jane Hindenlang (New Haven)
Marie MacKellar (West Hartford)
June O'Neal (Hartford: First)
Class of 2018 Robert Bourguignon (Wilton)
Keith Rhoden, Jr. (Hartford: First)
Wil Snodgrass III (Providence)
Chris Tate (PSNE)
 Serving from
Sponsoring Members
Jane Love (Stamford: First)

Jesse Cooper Originally from Madawaska, Maine, Jesse Cooper started his journey in the Presbyterian Church at First Pres New Haven where he was a member for 5 years.  While at the church he was responsible for managing the Friendship hour, serving as a Tenor on the choir, while also being an active participant of Abraham's tent and volunterring at New Haven's soup kitchen, The Columbus House. Currently, he is a member of Huguenot Memorial Church in Pelham Manor, NY, living and working in Stamford, CT at Gartner as a Sales Recruiter.

Dick Hasbany became a member of Presbyterian Promise shortly after moving to Connecticut from Oregon, where he'd been active in advocating for LGBT equality in the Presbytery of the Cascades.  He has served as co-moderator for several years.

Ralph Jones is a member of First Presbyterian Church in New Haven, a graduate of Union Theological Seminary, a long time member of the Presbyterian Promise board which he serves as treasurer. He has served as Clerk of three Sessions in three different presbyteries. In Southern New England he has served on Social Justice and Preparation for Ministry.


Worship leaders: 
  • Jenny Peek, worship leader. Jenny is a Yale Divinity School seminarian and a campus ministry intern at Wesleyan University.
  • Liesl Spitz, music.  Liesl is a YDS Seminarian and Candidate for Ordination in the ELCA
Holy Resistance in the Age of Trump

We welcome Rev. Marie Alford-Harkey, President of the Religious Institute, a multifaith organization advocating LGBT equality, and sexual health and education in faith communities and society

Marie will lead a discussion of strategies and opportunities for interfaith response to the challenges facing vulnerable people following the Presidential election. 

The day following the election the Religious Institute posted the following: 

Today, we call to mind lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, and queer people, women, immigrants, Black and brown people, people with disabilities, people who have experienced sexual assault, and so many others for whom this election season and its conclusion bring fear, anxiety, and trauma.  Let us spend the time needed to care for ourselves and each other. . . .When we are ready to begin again, let us be centered in our values and our commitments.
The conversation at our annual meeting will help us begin to center in our values and commitments and carry on with faith, fellowship, and confidence.


is a ministry called to proclaim God's promise
of justice and love in Jesus Christ
by organizing inclusive and inquiring churches
in the Presbytery of Southern New England
into a community of mutual support
for the empowerment 
of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons,
and for outreach, education, and Christian evangelism.


Crossroads Presbyterian Church  Waterford CT
First Presbyterian Church Hartford CT
First Presbyterian Church New Haven CT
First Presbyterian Church Stamford CT
Providence Presbyterian Church Providence RI
Westminster Presbyterian Church West Hartford, CT
Wilton Presbyterian Church Wilton CT