News from First Presbyterian Church!
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An Update on Cleaning and
Building Services

New Contractors
Session recently approved plans to contract with a cleaning service and with a facilities management firm. The contracts are for a one-year term, but we have maintained the option to terminate early if necessary, and to renew if we are satisfied. These contracts represent a new way of doing business for First Pres. There are two forces that led Session in this direction: the current labor market, which makes it exceedingly difficult to recruit custodian candidates, and the desire to “right-size” the church budget due to decreased pledges and building use income. Going in this direction is expected to give the church significant savings while still meeting the most critical needs for cleaning and facilities management.
Cleaning Services
We have contracted with Daigle Cleaning Systems. They have provided us with fully trained and experienced cleaners who will do a full building cleaning every Monday, including all of the tasks you might expect in order to keep all surfaces clean, sanitized and free of dust, cobwebs, spots, spills, scuffs, other debris, etc., including these tasks (among others):
  • Sanctuary:  Sweep and mop tile and hardwood floor areas. Vacuum carpeted areas. Collect any trash or recyclable papers remaining following worship services. Dispose of trash and recycling along with replacing trash bags in trash receptacles. All usable areas should be dusted. Clean door handles with disinfecting spray.
  • Administrative, Choral, and Pastors’ Offices: Vacuum carpeted areas, dust any wooden/desk surfaces that have had papers and other items removed. Dispose of trash and replace trash bags in trash receptacles.
  • Education Wing Classrooms: Sweep and mop the floor, Vacuum carpet or any area rugs, collect trash and dispose of trash along with replacing trash bags. All usable areas should be dusted. Clean doorknobs. Dust windowsills and radiators. (not required during summer months.)
  • Bathrooms: Sweep and mop the floor with disinfecting cleaner. Disinfect the interior/exterior of toilet bowl/urinal, sink and wall or tile area around it. Clean mirror with glass cleaner, collect and dispose of trash along with replacing trash bags. Replenish all dispensers with toilet paper, paper towels and soap. Spot clean doorknobs and door frame.
  • Kitchen: Sweep and mop floor, ensure that all food is swept from and around refrigerator, stove and sink area. Wipe down hard surface areas with disinfecting spray. Collect and dispose of trash along with replacing trash bags. Trash cans should be cleaned at least once a week.
  • Passenger Elevator: Vacuum carpet, wipe down button panel & doors with disinfecting solution.
  • Entrances/Vestibules: Sweep and mop floors. Vacuum area rug. Clean/disinfect doorknobs and any stair railings. Collect and dispose of trash along with replacing trash bags.
  • Basement Meeting Area: Vacuum floor thoroughly, dispose of trash and recycling along with replacing trash bags in trash receptacles.
  • Hallways/Stairwells: Sweep and mop floor, or if the area is carpeted, vacuum, collect and dispose of any trash along with replacing trash bags.
  • Recyclables: All recyclables should be taken out to the dumpster along with trash.
Then, they will provide a “freshen up” cleaning every Friday, when following tasks would be completed:
  • First floor bathrooms: Sweep and mop the floor with disinfecting cleaner. Disinfect the interior/exterior of toilet bowl/urinal, sink and wall or tile area around it. Clean mirror with glass cleaner, collect and dispose of trash along with replacing trash bags. Replenish all dispensers with toilet paper, paper towels and soap. Spot clean doorknobs and door frame.
  • Trash and recycling removal: Dispose of trash and recycling from the Administrative, Pastors’, and Choral offices and kitchen.
Daigle Cleaning Systems is certified by their industry as “Green” cleaners and they have given us a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They perform background checks on all applicants, and provide supervision of all cleaners. Daigle provided excellent references from area institutions, including churches. We expect that will competently meet or exceed our stated needs.
Facilities Management
Cleaning services tasks are fairly straightforward, but you may be wondering, “just what does a facilities management firm do?”

Our contractor, B.A. Property Management Services LLC, is affiliated with British American in Latham. They have assigned an experienced employee to oversee the following every week:
  • Operate, inspect, maintain, and adjust all building operating systems including HVAC (boiler), plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems.
  • Ensure preventative maintenance schedule is followed and completed as scheduled.
  • Oversee maintenance of permit requirements (alarms, elevators, fire extinguishers).
  • Monitor repair activity to minimize downtime and in coordination with worship and community activities.
  • Be available 24/7 to trouble shoot mechanical, safety, and environmental issues (happens more frequently than you might think).
  • Ensure all equipment is maintained according to factory specs and maintain accurate records.
  • Obtain bids and manage services agreements and maintains communications with vendors and service providers – with church approval.
  • Comply with safety regulations and maintains clean and orderly work areas.
  • Maintain MSDS file and ensures OSHA and other regulatory compliance.
  • Oversee installation and maintenance of on-site equipment.
  • Perform minor repair work throughout (changing light bulbs, repairing walls, painting, etc.)
  • Provide bi-weekly status report on ongoing and pending projects. Keep log of repairs and maintenance and ensures projects are completed in a timely manner and to specifications.
  • Provide or oversee snow removal in parking lot, sidewalks, and emergency egress points throughout the property.
  • Preserve and respect the historic nature of the Church property by taking extreme care during all maintenance and installation work.

The assigned manager will be walking all four floors of our property and certain exterior areas at least once a week to perform preventive tasks and to uncover any new issues in a timely way. The manager will provide a biweekly status report to Property Committee Chair Owen Gilbo, and Owen will have easy access to the manager and firm via a dedicated app. This new arrangement will allow for enhanced responsible stewardship of our historic church property by allowing for easier tracking of property needs, regular maintenance tasks, quicker repair of minor projects, and assistance in securing contractors and oversight of bigger repair projects that we did not have under our previous custodial arrangement.
Further thoughts
Undoubtedly, there will be some gaps between the tasks contractors perform and what we grew to expect from having a full-time custodian available to serve us. We may need to do some things a little differently. As any gaps are noted, please reach out to other church members for help in covering or assisting, and also make the appropriate member of Session or the Board of Deacons aware. The list of these officers can be found in the worship bulletin every Sunday and also in this eblast. If you are uncertain who to reach out to, please contact the Administration Committee Chair and Clerk of Session at
– Mary Rogers
Leslie Cheu – Finance Committee Chairperson
Marian Eaton – Nominating Committee Chairperson
Kevin Fuscus – Property Committee
Owen Gilbo – Property Committee Chairperson
Carol Green – Membership Committee Chairperson
Lee Helsby – Worship Committee Chairperson
Ellen Kemp – Worship Committee
Paloma Luisi – Ad Hoc Committee Chairperson
Lillie McLaughlin – Social Justice & Peacemaking Committee Chairperson
Jon Rice – Outreach & Mission Committee Chairperson
Kendra Smith-Howard – Christian Education Chairperson
Eric Weinhold – Stewardship Committee Chairperson
Mary Rogers* – Clerk of Session and Administration Committee Chairperson
Board of Deacons
Mirabelle Beck – Hospitality Team
Susan Haney - Moderator
David Hinchen – Hospitality Team Coordinator
Chas Kite – Flock Team Coordinator
David Takor – Flower Team Coordinator
Betsy Hadden* – Care Team Coordinator
(* not currently an active/installed officer)

Trouble the Water

New and Exciting Educational Opportunity for the Entire Congregation

The new and exciting educational program “Trouble the Water:  Conversations to Disrupt Racism and Dominance" offered by the Anti Racism Task Force continues. Developed by the PC(USA) in response to the 222nd General Assembly’s call for church-wide conversations on race, the video series is designed to encourage conversations in local churches about race, racism, ethnicity and ethnocentrism.  Join us via Zoom on the next five consecutive Wednesday evenings, between 7:00-8:30 pm, to watch the videos and talk about them together.

Come to as many evenings as you can!  The dates and topics are:

                         Wed., May 18:   “Racial Identity”
                         Wed., May 25    “Intersectionality and Disruption”
                         Wed., June 1:     “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Click here for the Zoom link.

Advocacy Work

First Pres, through the Social Justice and Peacemaking Committee, has been
working with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Here are opportunities for education and advocacy 




Get on the New York bus to the June 18th Poor People's And Low-Wage Workers Assembly and Moral March On Washington.

New York is joining people from across the nation to gather in Washington, DC for the June 18th Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers Assembly and Moral March On Washington. We will come together after months of mobilizing and organizing for this declaration by poor and low-income people and our moral allies to say that this system is killing ALL of us and we can’t…we won’t…we refuse to be silent anymore!

Saturday, June 18 departure times and locations in New York state are listed below. We will be returning in the late evening on June 18. We encourage all who are able to donate to cover the cost of their seat ($75). Lunch will be provided. Proof of vaccination will be required.

Join Us! Register now to reserve your seat!




Saturday, May 21 from 10AM to 12:45PM
Emmanuel Baptist Church / 275 State Street, Albany NY

Our Interfaith Food Pantry will be open.

We will distribute bags of groceries and "to-go" containers of hot meals (chicken, rice, vegetables, dessert.)  Thanks to our partner Al-Hidaya Center of Latham. 

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FOCUS and Westminster Presbyterian Church support local immigrants through free legal clinics. The next Westminster LIGHT Immigration Clinics will take place May 21, 23 and 24.  Thanks to LIGHT Coordinator Kathy Walter for organizing these important opportunities.

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FELLOWSHIP TIME:  We're pleased to announce that Fellowship Time is once again being held either in Assembly Hall or outside on Willett St. following the Sunday Worship Service. The Hospitality Team Coordinator Deacon David Hinchen is organizing this effort. As we no longer have a custodian and are no longer relying on flocks to oversee this task, we're seeking members of the congregation to assist with making coffee, bringing snacks, setting up and putting things away.  If you're available on any upcoming Sundays, please contact:

David Hinchen
(518) 489-1854 (call or text)
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The Youth are updating their space on the 2nd floor! Help us out with skills or donations! Do you have building or design skills? Do you sew? (hoping to make pillows out of youth musical T-shirts!!)  Please contact Molly via email or text/call if you can help.

Donations of gently used items requested:

Area rugs
Hanging contraptions for plants
Individual seating (bean bags, gaming chairs, comfortable armchairs)
Old throw pillows to upcycle
Floor cushions  

Youth Group News



Sierra Pratt was with us for a limited time only! We are so grateful for the many ways she served the congregation during her 9 month stay in Albany, including Youth Group Leader, Adult Ed, Sunday Sign-in table, and Scripture reader to name just a few. We will miss you, Seirra!  Thank you for being a vibrant part of our community during this time. 
The congregation is invited to give Sierra a warm send-off after worship during fellowship time this Sunday, May 22.


Save the Dates: 

June 12- Albany Pride Parade

June 18- March on Washington D.C.



Parents/Caregivers, please take 5 minutes to respond to this Survey to help us set goals for our youth programming. 



School Play? Sports Event? Music Concert?

If you/your 6th-12th grader has a special event coming up, please let Molly know & invite her to come! 


 Sign up for Text Reminders
All youth and parents, if you haven't already, please sign up for text alerts!
Text @mdowellb to 81010


May Birthdays

Robert Dreher                                       Mary Vail                                
5/1                                                            5/16                                  
Meddy Jacques                                      Rose Jackson
 5/2                                                           5/20  
Peggy Schalit                                          Rowan Lindsley Fletcher
 5/2                                                           5/20  
Janna Pfluger-Boucher                         Ray Henrikson   
 5/4                                                           5/22  
Owen Gilbo                                            Jacquelyn Ellsworth
 5/7                                                           5/29 
Miriam Lawrence Leupold                  Todd Stevens
 5/9                                                          5/29 
Karen Smith                                          Eric Fagans
 5/10                                                        5/30
Susan Sneeringer                                  Sebastian Mikel Tañón-Elias 
5/14                                                         5/30 
Sam Rogers                                           Mary Kelly
5/15                                                         5/31

If your birthday is this month and it's not listed, please let Jamie know so we can update our records. 


Tuesday, 5/17     9:00am   Men's Bible Study via Zoom 
                            7:00pm   Session Meeting

Wednes., 5/18   10:00am   Women to Women Small Group Meeting
                            7:00pm   Trouble the Water

Thurs., 5/19      7:00am   Men's Bible Study (Rose Room)
                           6:30pm   General Meeting of Capital Region Poor
                                          People’s Campaign
                           7:00pm   Soloist/ Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, 5/22      9:00am   Adult Education via Zoom
                            9:15am   Children’s Education via Zoom
                            9:30am   Soloist/Choir Rehearsal
                          10:30am   Worship Service
                                           In-Person/Livestream on Facebook
                          11:30am   Fellowship Time

Monday, 5/23     1:00pm   Covenant Group Meeting

Tuesday, 5/24     9:00am   Men's Bible Study via Zoom 
                            7:00pm   FOCUS Board Meeting

Wednes., 5/25     7:00pm   Trouble the Water
                            7:30pm   Dads' Small Group Meeting

Thurs., 5/26      7:00am   Men's Bible Study (Rose Room)
                           6:30pm   SWAT Team Meeting
                           7:00pm   Soloist/ Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, 5/29      9:00am   Adult Education via Zoom
                            9:15am   Children’s Education via Zoom
                            9:30am   Soloist/Choir Rehearsal
                          10:30am   Worship Service
                                           In-Person/Livestream on Facebook
                          11:30am   Fellowship Time

Tuesday, 5/31     9:00am   Men's Bible Study via Zoom 

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362 State Street
Albany, NY 12210

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