November 29, 2022
Dear Presbytery Family,

We greet you today in Advent hope! This short edition of Staying Connected welcomes Gabrielle Bellamy and highlights new ministry opportunities and upcoming events.
Advent Reflection
I’ve seen a few variations of a post on social media recently about not giving people a hard time if they put up their Christmas tree early, put out Christmas decorations early, or hang their Christmas lights earlier in the season. The post reminds us that all of these things are ways of finding a small amount of joy and happiness, and we shouldn’t take that away from people, especially when we’ve been through a hard few years.

Theologically and spiritually, I love the idea of Advent being distinct from Christmas. I love the period of waiting, the somewhat odd and expectant hymns, the candle lighting, and the time of expectation before we burst into song on Christmas Eve. Despite this, I deeply appreciate the idea behind the post I’ve seen on social media about early Christmas decorations. Even as we move further into Advent, and it’s no longer considered too early for decorations, I think all of us can hold on to the reminder that this is a season about joy. How we find that joy might differ. For some of us, it’s singing Christmas carols along with the radio in the car, and for others, it’s admiring our perfectly decorated Christmas tree as we sip a cup of hot cocoa in the evening. It’s easy to either get lost in the commercialism of the Christmas season or to be too doctrinaire about how Advent should be celebrated.

My hope for all of us as we go through this season is that we would find joy in whatever way we can, that we may share that joy with others, and that we may continue to turn toward the light shining in the darkness with complete and utter faith that the darkness has not, will not, and cannot overcome it.

Rev. Rebecca Lawson Putman
Westminster Presbyterian Church
More New Church Positions Posted
We have just posted the Transitional Pastor position for Orange Park Presbyterian Church and a Parish Associate position at Riverside. But that’s not all! Check out the many ministry opportunities throughout our presbytery here.
Dawn Mayes To Be Installed at First Fernandina Beach
Pastor installations are a presbytery event! Everyone is invited to attend the installation of Rev. Dawn Mayes at First Fernandina Beach on December 4 at 4 pm! View the invitation here.
A Gathering of Women, 9th Annual Ecumenical Advent Service for all women
Tuesday, December 6, 7:00 pm (pre-service music begins at 6:30 pm)
Hosted at First Presbyterian Church Fernandina Beach. View the flyer here.
Share Your Events
We would be happy to publish your event in the coming weeks! Email with the dates and details.
News From Montgomery Center
Winter Gala, December 10 - Register Online Now!
Montgomery is celebrating 65 years of camp ministry! Join us for the 2nd Annual Gala Fundraiser on December 10 at 5:30 pm at Montgomery Center. 

Take a step back in time to the Roaring 20s. Hosting Jacksonville's Bold City Classics, this is sure to be a swingin' evening with superb food. Bill Elrod returns for this year's auction, featuring fantastic items and experiences. Take part in funding 2023 camper scholarships. Childcare is provided. Register online here.

  • Gala, Dec 10, 5:30 pm
  • Spaghetti Dinner, December 16
  • Elf Run 5k and 1-Mile Youth Run, Dec 17, 9:00 am
More News From Around The Presbytery
Presbytery Giving Update
To date, only 8 of our 53 churches have pledged their support toward our 2023 operating budget. If your church hasn’t yet pledged, please do so as soon as possible so your presbytery can make preparations for the upcoming year. Thank you, ahead of time, for your support.
Updates from the Presbyterian Women
From PW Moderator Daryl Mullee
  • Save the Date: The Annual Gathering - Saturday, January 28, 2023, at Montgomery which will be hosted by Riverside's PW.
  • Pastor needed to lead the worship service on January 28, followed by the business meeting, workshops and activities. 
  • New Moderator needed: Daryl will not be serving following the Annual Gathering.
  • Baskets Needed: Can you make a basket to auction off at the Montgomery Winter Gala on December 10? (You don't have to have a PW group to contribute.)
Watch: Hunter Camp on the News
Former chair of the presbytery’s Disaster Assistance Commission Hunter Camp is interviewed on Action News to access the storm damage to St. Augustine Beach from Tropical Storm Nicole.
Lake Shore Church Update
With great respect and heartfelt gratitude for the congregation and its history of mission and ministry, the administrative commission appointed earlier this year shares that the church has begun the steps of closing. On January 15, 2023, the presbytery will hold a Service of Thanksgiving to which all are invited. Please keep the members of Lake Shore and the community that it has loved and served in your prayers.
A Year with Matthew for a Matthew 25 Church: 2022–2023
This resource prepared by the Office of Theology and Worship connects the Gospel readings from Revised Common Lectionary Year A with the Matthew 25 invitation’s priorities. Check it out here.
Short Video on the “Holiday Blues”
We found this short video about managing the “holiday blues” and our expectations for the season insightful and helpful. Watch it alone or with a friend or group.
Updated Church Employer’s Resource: Living by the Gospel
Living by the Gospel is a great resource for church employers as they determine salaries and benefits for ministers. Read more here.
For 65 and Up: Grants for Dental/Hearing Aid Expenses
Read about Board of Pensions need-based grants that reimburse eligible retirees and their spouses or surviving spouses for dental services and/or hearing aid expenses of up to $2,500 per person once every three years.
Christmas Joy Offering
This year’s information and materials for the Christmas Joy Offering can be found here.
Read about the impact of the Christmas Joy offering here.
Gillette Advent Collection Book
This new resource contains old and new hymns by the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.
Conferences and Learning Opportunities
2023 APCE Conference
January 25-28, 2023 The Association for Partners in Christian Education's Annual Event. Check it out!

Flagler College Youth Ministry Forum - February 10-11, 2023
Registration is OPEN. View it here.

Association of Smaller Congregations Annual Conference
March 2-5, 2023 Epworth by the Sea. View registration information here.
226th General Assembly (2024)
will be held in Salt Lake City. The dates are June 25-27 for the virtual committee meetings and June 30 to July 4 for the plenary sessions. Read more here.
Key Events
  • December 10 Christmas Gala at Montgomery Center
  • December 16 Montgomery Spaghetti Dinner, 6:00 pm
  • December 17 Montgomery Elf Run 5k and 1-mile youth run, 9:00 am 
  • December 25 – Christmas Day
  • January 25-28, 2023 – APCE Annual Event, Birmingham, AL
  • January 28, 2023 – PW Annual Gathering at Montgomery Center
  • February 4 – Winter Stated Presbytery Meeting, Montgomery Center, 9:30 am
  • March 2-5, 2023 – Association of Smaller Congregations Annual Conference, Epworth by the Sea
  • May 2 Spring Stated Presbytery Meeting (hybrid) at Riverside
Jerie Lukefahr, Moderator of the Presbytery
Sandra Hedrick, Stated Clerk
Joe Albright, Chair of Coordinating Council
On Behalf of the Coordinating Council
Previous Staying Connected emails are available on our website.