Sharing the Season of Lent
This newsletter is one of the many ways that our presbytery makes connections and nurtures our life in community. Another is to share the Season of Lent, a journey that began last week and provides spiritual opportunities that help us grow in faith. In every heart and in each place of ministry in our presbytery, we can mark this time with spiritual practices of reflection, repentance, forgiveness, dwelling in the Word, healing, singing, creating art, and more. Use the links below If you are looking for worship resources for Lent or devotional resources. Another great way to connect is to attend our upcoming Unity in Diversity training event on March 21. Or maybe this is the time for your congregation to formally embrace the Matthew 25 initiative!

If you have a story to share about a Lenten practice that has been life-giving in your place of ministry, or you would like to invite others to an upcoming event, please share those with our Communications Coordinator, Marigrace Doran, so that we can share further. Finally, let’s remember to stay connected in prayer and mutual encouragement as we prepare for the great celebration of the resurrection of our Lord at Easter! 
Winter Stated Meeting - Our Thanks!
Upcoming Stated Meetings

Our 2020 Spring and Fall Stated Meetings will be held at Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center on May 5 and October 6, respectively.

Our 2021 Winter Stated Meeting will be on Saturday, February 6. Silver Springs Shores Presbyterian Church in Ocala will be our host church.

Unity in Diversity Training Day
There is still time to register for the March 21 special enrichment event on our theme for the year, “Unity in Diversity,” at the Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The event, planned by the presbytery’s Training Team, features eight different presentations, dubbed “THEO Talks,” on particular issues of discrimination in society and how the church may be called to respond. Other workshops are also offered on topics ranging from ministry to the post-youth group age to the connectional culture of the presbytery. Lunch is also available for all participants.

This event is for everyone who is a part of our presbytery. Come and learn and be in fellowship with your fellow Presbyterians!

The cost for the event is $12, including lunch. Click on the title graphic for more information, including a full schedule and speakers and a registration link. 
Guidance for Congregations on Responding
to an Infectious Disease Outbreak
As the concerns about the novel Coronavirus (COVID – 19) continues to grow, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is offering guidance on how churches can prepare now to respond should a pandemic manifest in our communities – or to any serious infectious disease outbreak. The guide contains valuable, common-sense tips on what congregations and individuals can do to keep themselves safe. Suggestions are appropriate for churches, preschools, and senior living communities. Click here to download the “Guidance for Congregations.” As with hurricanes or other disasters, preparation is key!
224th General Assembly in Baltimore
The 224th General Assembly begins on June 20! The first day will start with worship and conclude with the election of a moderator or co-moderators who will serve for the next two years. The other eight days are filled with worship, business, fellowship, learning, and serving. 

Our GA commissioners are Yvette Grant (ruling elder - Nueva Esperanza), Bob Bell (ruling elder - First Perry), Joe Medearis (teaching elder - Arlington and Peace), and Sandra Hedrick (teaching elder - Kirkwood and presbytery stated clerk). Our presbytery has endorsed Sandra Hedrick to stand as a candidate for co-moderator of the PC(USA) ( click here to read article). Emma Cottrell (Community) is our young adult advisory delegate, and we have just received notice that Kevin Wright (Woodlawn) will serve as a theological student advisory delegate upon our confirmation this spring. 

Business already docketed for GA attention can be found at “ pcbiz-org.” There is still time for sessions to request that our presbytery concur with overtures that have been filed ( click here for our policy on overtures). More information about GA and our delegation is coming soon!
Matthew 25 Invitation
At our Winter Stated Meeting, ruling and teaching elders took a step of faith to become a Matthew 25 presbytery. Since that day, Kirkwood Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville has been the first congregation in our presbytery to become a Matthew 25 church! Will your church accept the invitation to join in this journey of faith?
Becoming a MATTHEW 25 congregation begins by embracing our Presbyterian belief that we are "saved to serve" those who need God and the radical love of Jesus. You begin by embracing ONE of these three focuses:
  • Building congregational vitality
  • Dismantling structural racism
  • Eradicating systemic poverty

Matthew 25 is an opportunity to rediscover, celebrate, and share the good work that we are doing and that God is calling us to do in our congregations and in our presbytery. As this initiative unfolds, we look forward to sharing your Matthew 25 stories and photos as we bring alive our commitment to join Christ in "serving the least of these" in our community. 
Meet the Moderator - Ruling Elder Edd Norris
(Silver Springs Shores)
Edd Norris (pictured with Diane Wilson, outgoing Moderator) was installed as Moderator at our Winter Stated Meeting. Edd is a retired 31-year Commissioned Warrant Officer Four (CWO4) Boatswain who served his country and the Lord Jesus Christ proudly. He served mostly in the Amphibious US Navy, with his assignments taking him to 60 different countries, some of which don’t exist today. Upon retiring from the U.S. Navy, Edd earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Troy State University in Alabama and an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Florida. He was the Saint Leo University Ocala Center Director for six years and taught college classes for Webster University, College of Central Florida, and Saint Leo University. After that, Edd began working as the Facilities Manager for Silver Springs Shores Presbyterian Church. Five months ago, Edd married Anna Mae Norris. The Presbytery of St Augustine gives thanks for Edd’s gifts and willingness to serve. Read more about Edd’s background and see photos from the installation on our website.
Presbyterian Women Moderator's Report
By Daryl Mullee, Moderator, Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery of St. Augustine

When I volunteered to serve as Vice-Moderator, lo, those many months ago, the Lord put the verse from 1 Corinthians 13:11-12, in my heart: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became grown, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see as if through a mirror darkly, as a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I focused on the first verse of this passage, and I felt that this meant that I would have to really step up to the plate, if I was to fulfill my obligation. Then, I read the next part of the passage, and realized that I would have to show the other members of the team what I was made of, since I don’t really sell myself well! So, it is with humility and gratefulness, at your support of me, and now as your Moderator, that I present my first Moderator’s Report! 
Natasha Sudderth-Davis Installed as
Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Perry
On February 16, First Presbyterian Church of Perry celebrated the Installation of The Rev. Natasha Sudderth-Davis as Pastor. Blessings to Natasha and the church as they begin their ministry together. Natasha (center) is seen here with Don McGarity, Area Relationship Coordinator, Edd Norris, Moderator, and Bob Bell, ruling elder for First Presbyterian Church of Perry.
Congratulations to Melanie Marsh-Baum
and Community Presbyterian Church
Earlier in the year, the Rev. Melanie Marsh-Baum was installed as the Pastor of Community Presbyterian Church on January 12! We congratulate both Melanie and the church and send our blessings and good wishes for their future. Melanie (front, center) is pictured here with members of the installation commission: (front row, left to right) Judith Bullen, Mary Mickel, Laurie Furr-Vancini, Larry Green, (back row, left to right) E.K. Cottrell, David Lee, and Diane Wilson.  
Welcome to Pastor Joe Reggin, Interim Pastor for First Presbyterian Church of Green Cove Springs
On March 1, First Presbyterian Church of Green Cove Springs welcomed the Rev. Joe Reggin as its Interim Pastor. He transferred from the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, where he most recently served as Interim Pastor of St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church of Hudson. He has served as an intentional interim pastor at multiple churches for the past 16 years. Among other calls, Joe was also pastor of Marion Oaks Presbyterian Church in Ocala in the 1990s, so we welcome him back into our presbytery! Joe received his M.Div. degree from the Louisville Theological Seminary in 1980 and was ordained in 1981. He pursued D.Min. studies from 1986-1988 at McCormick Seminary in Pastoral Care before shifting to Healthy Congregations training and coursework on Bowen Theory at The Center for Family Process. Joe is looking forward to working with the Green Cove Springs congregation.
Forrest Foxworth to be Ordained

It is with joy and thanksgiving that we invite you to participate in the ordination of
Forrest Foxworth
Sunday, April 26 at 4:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church, Fernandina Beach

Forrest is a candidate for ministry under our care and a 2019 graduate of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, Florida. He is being ordained to a call as parish associate at First Presbyterian Church of Fernandina Beach. Currently he is serving as Director of Family Ministry at the church.
Remembering Bert Swearingen and John Nicolson

We give thanks for the life and ministry of two of our Honorably Retired Teaching Elders, Bert C. Swearingen and John Nicolson who faithfully served in our presbytery.

Bert Swearingen died suddenly on February 23.Bert was a warm and welcoming minister who was from Jacksonville and returned to North Florida in his retirement, where he served the Northside Presbyterian Church for many years. Click here to read more about Bert's life and ministry.

A week later we received word that John Nicolson died. A memorial service will be held March 21 at Lakewood Presbyterian Church where he was pastor for 16 years. Read more about John's ministry and details about his memorial service.
Woodlawn Presbyterian Church's Anniversary Celebration Continues
By Mary Mickel, Ruling Elder

God truly blessed Woodlawn Presbyterian Church Saturday, February 22 nd , with an amazing 150 th Anniversary Banquet. The banquet was complete with great food, music, entertainment, and joy in each participant’s heart. Members, families, friends, and guests were awed by the beauty of the room at the Omni Hotel of Jacksonville, and even more awed to witness the love and thanksgiving for 150 years of existence. At the banquet, Lloyd Pearson, 98 years old, and Nancy Watts, 101 years old, were recognized as two of Woodlawn’s oldest members (pictured here).
Highlands Regional Ministry Center Update

The Highlands Regional Ministry Center is off to a good start. The Ministry Center Committee of the Presbytery Trustees has formed and met each month since October to present. Thus far there are four entities using the facilities on an ongoing basis. They include the Gainesville Community Counseling Center, Enduring Faith Ministries, the Alachua County Chapter of Days for Girls, and the Freedom of Choice Group of Narcotics Anonymous. We encourage you to stop by and see the good things that are happening with the Highlands Regional Ministry Center. It is a marvelous example of the property getting a brand new function while still working with God’s mission in the world. Read more about Highlands!
Youth Ministry News
On Sunday, February 23, our new Youth Ministry Leadership Team hosted a presbytery-wide “Youth Day Get-Away” at Community Presbyterian Church in Atlantic Beach. The day before and the day after were stormy, wet, and cold days – and in between it felt like the clouds parted and a blessing unfolded. Hoping for perhaps 35 kids, the YML team was thrilled that approximately 75-100 youth came from 10 different congregations to make this an exciting event. Those who arrived early joined in the 11:00 AM worship at Community, with Rev. Melanie Marsh-Baum preaching. Pizza was delivered around noon, followed by mixers, group games, and various indoor and outdoor activities. Thanks to everyone who took their time and effort to travel to make the Youth Day successful, and thanks also to Community PC for hosting.

Building on this experience, the Youth Ministry Leadership Team will be planning a Senior High retreat at Camp Montgomery on October 2-4, 2020, and some additional Youth Days in the summer leading up to that retreat. It was a great joy to witness the energy, imagination, and love displayed in this gathering. Special thanks go to the youth and young adults on the team who provided leadership and inspiration: Matthew Beckham, Savannah Beeler, Emma Cottrell, Keith Fowler, Casey King, Reed Mann, Abbie Vancini, McKenzie Williams, and Mitchell Worthy.  
Cuba Pastors' Retreat

The first joint retreat of pastors from the Presbytery of St. Augustine and the Matanzas Presbytery in Cuba was filled with joyful fellowship, reflection, and holy moments. Participants deepened their appreciation for their respective ministries and their understanding of the gospel in each other’s context. Visit our Facebook page to see photos of their time together. 
Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Month, and it’s a great opportunity to show your congregation’s comfort, care, and support for those living with mental health issues. A recent Wellness Wednesday newsletter offers practical ways to begin planning for Mental Health Month. The 2020 Toolkit prepared by Mental Health America will be released soon and will offer even more resources to plan your awareness activities. Watch for it in an upcoming Wellness Wednesday newsletter and on our website. Remember that our Comfort My People Coach, Susan Lee, LCSW, and Relationship Coordination Director, Rev. Chris Lieberman, are available to facilitate and encourage your planning, offer presentations and training, and share resources. Thank you for helping break the silence and stigma surrounding mental health issues as we care for all people in our communities. 

Treasurer's Training

On February 27, our presbytery had 20 church bookkeepers and treasurers attend the Treasurer’s Training event, which was led by Chuck Atkins, presbytery Treasurer, and Nancy Brown, Bookkeeper. Hosted by Lakewood Presbyterian Church, attendees came from Trinity (Palm Coast), Perry First, Fort King (Ocala), Faith (Melrose), and several Jacksonville area churches. The informative training included the topics of statistical reports, terms of call, financial policies and procedures, tax forms, and audits. There were many great questions, which led to more discussion. If you would like for the presbytery to schedule another session later in the spring or in the fall, please email Nancy Brown ( 

Montgomery Center Update
By Page Walwik - Seminary Intern, First Presbyterian Church, Palatka

Tucked away just outside of Starke, Florida, in a forest of trees surrounded by three lakes, lies a special place favored by God. The presbytery’s Montgomery Center has been given another chance for redemption. Montgomery has now been revitalized with an abundance of life under the direction of the center’s new Executive Director Monica Williams. She will work alongside her team, with the support of the Board of Trustees and the Presbytery of St. Augustine. Along with new leadership comes new plans and visions for long-term growth for this gift from God to be a place centered around Christ, reminding people to turn back to God.

January welcomed the first Winter Camp of 26 campers and staff; February filled the place with love from countless volunteers who cleaned, repaired, organized, and remodeled areas of the camp. With March comes hope that all rooms in every building of the center will be filled as families and friends gather for a work day. The plan is to redecorate and redesign the rooms and work on many other projects. Visit Montgomery's website for more information about how you can help! Now is the time for recruiting and interviewing for future staff and campers as Montgomery prepares for a full summer. Things are happening at Montgomery Center, be alert and ready for the fun to begin. This is everyone’s place; donors and supporters are a part of giving life back to the heart of Montgomery. You, too, can take part as you give and serve.

Leaves now giggle with excitement, doors open with voices, trails direct the children, and all of nature bows at the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Montgomery Center is back and well on its way to renewal.
  • Ordination of Forrest Foxworth - April 26, 2020, 4:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church, Fernandina Beach

  • Synod Stated Meeting – April 30-May 1, 2020, at Epworth-by-the-Sea, St. Simon's Island, Georgia.

  • 2020 Spring Stated Meeting of the Presbytery – Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at the Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center

  • Dental-Medical Mission Trip to Jamaica – June 14-20, 2020 

  • 224th General Assembly of the PC(USA) – June 20-27, 2020 in Baltimore, MD.

  • Summer Gathering of the Presbyterian Women – Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center.

  • 2020 Fall Stated Meeting of the Presbytery – Tuesday, October 6, 2020, at the Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center
Check out our Classified page on our website for several employment opportunities (our newest opportunities include Interim Pastor, Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Savannah, and Director of Finance and Accounting for a Jacksonville congregation).

Also, if your church needs hymnals, Orange Park Presbyterian Church has some to donate! We also have a small supply of hymnals in the presbytery office. Email us at for details.

Celebrating With You!
If you are celebrating a milestone anniversary as a congregation or in years of ordination as a Minister of Word and Sacrament, please let us know. Email Marigrace Doran so that we can include your milestone in The Connection.
The Presbytery of St. Augustine Connection Newsletter is a publication of the Presbytery of St. Augustine. It is written and designed by Communications Coordinator Marigrace Doran. Editorial assistance is provided by Stated Clerk Sandra Hedrick, Relationship Coordinator Director Chris Lieberman, and other presbytery leaders.

Masthead photo by Will Barnwell
The mission of the Presbytery of St. Augustine is to support our faith community, so that together we are a greater witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.