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CRTC annual fundraiser in Scotia cancelled

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— The Capital Region Theological Center’s annual fundraiser, scheduled for Oct. 3 at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia, has been cancelled.

The group, which was created in 2001 to provide continuing education programs and leadership development for clergy and non-clergy in congregations throughout the Capital Region, announced on its web site Thursday that the fundraiser was cancelled because “CRTC is at a crossroads as the Board of Directors deliberates about future programs, audience and revenue for this agency.”

Martha Reisner, CRTC’s executive director since 2008, confirmed the cancellation but also said her group is continuing to hold classes in the fall semester.

“We’re trying to figure out what it is we need to do with our programs,” said Reisner. “We need to make them more successful. What we’ve done for 15 years has been well-respected and very well done, and we want to continue that. But it’s a changing world out there and the church world is changing, too. The faith community is in transition, and we’re in that same boat.”

The CRTC was created in 2001 as a joint venture of four different denominations; the Evangelical Church of America, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church of America. Mary Lou Hammer was hired as the first full-time director of the CRTC in 2003, and was succeeded in 2008 by Reisner, who was already an employee of the group.

“It’s a revenue issue, not an overall financial issue,” said Reisner. “We have to explore other program options, their structure and delivery methods. People aren’t available for traditional-format courses, so much stuff has moved online, and we have to figure out if it makes sense economically for us to create our own online option.”

The CRTC, which currently has an office staff of five, moved out of its long-time space at St. John’s Lutheran Church in downtown Albany into its new Clifton Park location in January of this year.

“Our fall classes are on, and we may schedule our fundraiser and other fund-raising events for early next year,” said Reisner. “We haven’t scheduled our winter and spring classes yet, and while we’re looking to the future, we just didn’t think it was appropriate to hold big event at this time.”

The Lilly Endowment helped the CRTC get started with a $400,000 gift in 2002, and in 2011 the group gave the CRTC an additional $1 million grant.

The mission of the CRTC is to “Equip with tools for developing and expressing faith; Connect people and resources, creating community; and Inspire a commitment to renewed discipleship and spiritual growth.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or

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