January 19, 2016
Inside this Edition
Clerks Annual Questionnaire Deadline Extended

2016 Next Church Gathering 

Spirituality in Smartphone Age at Towson PC

Catonsville Concerts at 3: Ayerheart!

Uptown Metro MG: Involvement Workshop at Govans PC

Lecture on Muslim American Community a Maryland PC

Board of Pensions: Call to Health
Committee and Commission meetings will be held at the Presbytery's office (unless noted otherwise.) 

Commission on Thriving Congregations will meet 6:30pm on Tuesday, Jan. 19

Commission on Reconciliation  will meet  6:30pm on Wed., Jan. 27.

Susquehanna Parish Ministry Group will meet at 7pm on Thursday, Jan. 21 at Highland PC.  

The General Presbyter Nominating Committee will meet 9:30am to 12:30pm on Wednesday Feb. 17.

Our Shared Ministry 
As the Presbytery of Baltimore welcomes a new year, we look forward to the possibilities that are before us.  Much of what comes next will be rooted in the good work of the past years. We praise God for the continued support of the following congregations who generously contributed $216,086.94 to Our Shared Ministry in 2015:  

Ark & Dove 
Brown Mem'l Pk Ave.
Cherry Hill
Christ Memorial 
Christ Our Anchor 
Christ Our King 
Dickey Memorial 
First and Franklin  
1st of Annapolis
1st of Bel Air
1st of Cumberland
1st of Frostburg
1st of Howard County
Good Shepherd 
Hughes Memorial 
Hunting Ridge 
Light Street 
Mount Hebron
Mount Paran
Prince of Peace 
Roland Park 
St. John United
Woods Memorial    
Prayer & Praise 
Please pray for TE Susie Atkinson's husband, Bill, who is hospitalized with a serious infection at the University of MD shock Trauma Unit. TE Atkinson pastors the congregations of Deer Creek Harmony, Havre de Grace Presbyterian Churches .  

Please also pray for RE John Lawson, chair of the Presbytery's Property & Loan Commission, who is being treated for a chronic condition at St. Agnes Hospital.
Free Books!

The Presbytery is eliminating
its resource library and offering books free to anyone who would like them. Please contact Wanda Morgan to make an appointment to review them. 
Back to Basics: Lay Leaders Schooled in Sermon Writing

by Debbie Ingram Schmidt,
Associate for Spiritual Leader Development

On Saturday, 30 Ruling Elders and Commissioned Ruling Elders from more than 15 of our congregations gathered for the day to learn about how to prepare a sermon. The Rev. Jeanne Gay, outgoing interim at Havenwood Presbyterian, lead  the workshop  based on A Sermon Workbook by Thomas Troeger and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale. Using a combination of lecture, small group discussion and enlightening personal exercises,
Jeanne engaged the group around a variety of topics. The group learned about exegesis (studying the Biblical text in preparation for writing the sermon), understanding how important it is to know the needs of the congregation and some of the practical considerations involved in delivering a sermon clearly.
Everyone who attended received a workbook and assignment ahead of the workshop. Part of the assignment was to select a text from the lectionary to use for a sermon. People were encouraged to begin some of the background study before the workshop so that during the workshop they could begin to craft a sermon as they learned more about the process. In small groups, everyone was invited to share their text and what they had learned in their exegesis. Then the groups worked together to consider what the focus of a sermon on the text might be. They also brainstormed ways to outline the sermon and stories or metaphors to illustrate some of the main ideas. Lively and engaging conversations came from these times of creative sharing.   
Some of those who attended the workshop preach on a regular basis while others had only had the chance to preach once or twice or not at all. But everyone went away feeling as though they had learned something. In an evaluation of the workshop, one participant wrote that the workshop focused on ". . .g etting back to the basics, remembering to be respectful of the job of preparing and presenting sermons." 
Most of those who attended said the workshop met or exceeded their expectations and many expressed the desire to meet again to continue learning. My hope is that those who attended the workshop will have opportunities to serve their congregations by putting into practice the things they have learned. 

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Take Note/Act Now

Presbytery   .  .  . and the  Wider Church 

IMPORTANT: the deadline for the Clerk's Annual Questionnaire has been extended to January 25, 2016.
click CAQ to complete.  

Register now for NEXT Church's 2016 National Gathering
February 22-24 in Atlanta
This NEXT Church National Gathering will engage questions that invite us into the transformative power of reconciliation and inspire us by the stories of those witnesses who go before us. This year's theme is "Faith at the Crossroads": what's at stake for you? Your congregation? Your community?  Visit NEXT Church's website to learn more and register today!


Towson Presbyterian Church will host the Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana at 11am on Sunday, Jan. 24 during a presentation entitled Spirituality in a Smartphone Age During her presentation, discover theological grounding and practical wisdom to help you navigate the joys and perils of this digital age-ever changing yet here to stay.  

Catonsville Concerts at 3 presents Ayreheart!  Ayreheart's music is an eclectic mix that includes elements of Folk, Celtic, Renaissance and Bluegrass.  The concert will be held at 3pm on Sunday, Jan. 24 at the church .  Admission is free, and no tickets are required.  For details, call 410.747.6180.

It is not enough to observe witness and wail; we must also act.   Learn how and where to share your gifts and skills -- as well as, that of your congregations' -- within your community. Attend the Involvement Workshop from 9am to 11am on Saturday, Jan. 30 at  Govans Presbyterian Church  in Baltimore. The workshop is sponsored by The Uptown Metro Ministry GroupRSVP by Jan. 27 to Christian Hall at CHall@StrongCityBaltimore.org.

To encourage others  to  take a stand against Islamophobia 
--  Dr. Mohamed Esa a local university professor, will share his perspective on the Muslim-American community in today's political environment at 12:20pm on Sunday, Jan. 31 at Maryland Presbyterian Church. 


Call to Health -  Board of Pensions New Website
Kick off the new year by going to the new Call to Health website and begin working toward better health and lower deductibles for 2017! Click  calltohealth.org and follow these simple steps:
  1. Click Get started. Call to Health asks for your personal information -- one time only --  to identify you as a plan member.
  2. Click Sign in. The first time you sign in, you'll see a welcome screen. Here you'll create your sign-in (user) name and password.
  3. Try out the site! Move around the site by choosing tiles (the rectangular blocks with graphics and topics) that interest you and clicking on the navigation links across the top of the page.

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 Mary Gaut
Interim General Presbyter

  Deb Milcarek
Assoc. for Reconciliation

Susan Krehbiel
Dir. of Congregational Advocacy

William Nickels III
 Assoc. General Presbyter

Debbie Ingram Schmidt
Assoc. for Spiritual Leader Development
Deborah Greene  
Dir. of Communications

Catherine Blacka

Judy Johnson
Ministry Group Staff

 Wanda Morgan
Dir. of Events/Services