Longtime religious leader steps down

Delmar Presbyterian bids farewell to Larry Deyss, its pastor of 30 years

After three decades as the face and faith of Delmar Presbyterian Church, Pastor Larry Deyss will be stepping down from the pulpit. He was the church's second pastor.

Deyss' first day as pastor was March 1, 1981, and since then he has led the congregation to greater outreach work and overseen an expansion to the church's facilities to include a new fellowship hall, education wing and library that has greatly increased the Delaware Avenue church's community utility.

Deyss described landing in Delmar as not unlike finding any other job: he applied after being told of the position by friends in Delmar. His resume includes credentials from the Princeton Theological Seminary and time as the executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Elizabeth, N.J., serving 50 congregations with 14,000 members.

During his ministry, the Delmar Presbyterian Church has grown slightly in membership,which in Deyss said he's quite pleased with in today's world of declining church attendance, especially considering that the congregation of about 150is made up of active, community-minded worshipers.

If you're able to keep even or a little bit ahead, you're really doing well, he said. "It has been solid growth. It's people who join and really become a part of the church."

Deyss said he's particularly proud of the formation of an ecumenical youth group with neighboring churches. Now about 90 members strong, the teens make mission trips all over the area to help out where it's needed.

"It reaches a lot of kids in the area and I'm pretty pleased about that," Deyss said.

The church also does work to help the less fortunate, including holding collections for food pantries and doing work with groups like Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless and the Schuyler Inn in Menands.

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