May 23, 2016
Inside this Edition

Presbytery of Baltimore Hosts Dinner at 222nd GA in Portland, OR

Presbytery Women in the
Presbytery Newsletter,
Spring Edition

Veterans' Ministry at Grace PC: 

  • Tuesday Nights Dinner & Bible Study
  • Veterans' Appreciation Breakfast
  • Veterans' Worship Service 

Faith PC Block Party

West Side Ministry
Group: Neighborhood Workshop 

Knox seeks a Church Administrator

1st of Cumberland
seeks Director of Music Ministry

1st of Westminster seeks a Director of Christian Education

Habitat for Humanity: interfaith in Action

Committee and Commission meetings will be held at the Presbytery's office (unless noted otherwise.) 

Steering Cabinet will meet at 1pm on Wednesday, May 25

Commission on Spiritual Leader Development  will meet at 10am on Tuesday, June 7 

Commission on Reconciliation will meet at 6:30pm on May 25

West Side Ministry Group will meet 9:30am to 1pm on Saturday, June 4 at Northminster PC. 

The Cuba Partnership meets 2pm to 3:30 pm the third Wednesday of each month. 

Our Shared Ministry 2016 

Thank you to the following congregations who have pledged toward Our Shared Ministry 2016. At his date, he Presbytery has received $154,507 in pledges toward our budget goal of $225,000. 

Ark & Dove
Brown Mem'l Woodbrook
Christ Our King
First & Franklin
1st of Annapolis
1st of Bel Air 
Good Shepherd
Havre de Grace
Hunting Ridge 
Light Street
Mount Paran
Prince of Peace
Roland Park
Woods Mem'l

Clerks of Sessions
Annual Review  
You are invited to bring your session minutes, rolls, and registers to one of the following annual meetings to review session records.    Click here.

North Baltimore City/County
Monday, May 23, 7pm
Babcock Presbyterian Church, Towson

Harford County
Wednesday, May 25,7pm
Christ Our King Presbyterian Church, Bel Air

Nelson Nominated for PCUSA Stated Clerk 
The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson is the nominee t
o become
next Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) .

 Nelson, 56, is a teaching elder and member of National Capital Presbytery who has served since 2010 as director of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. His name will be placed in nomination on Sunday, June 19, during a plenary session of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland, Oregon. If elected, he will be the first African American Stated Clerk of the PC(USA). The General Assembly runs June 18-25.

Holy Discomfort:  Reflections on a Vigil
for Peace and Justice 

Presbyterians gathered at North and Pennsylvania avenues in Baltimore  during march for peace and justice on April 27, 2016.

by Timothy R. Hughes, Associate Pastor 
Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church 
There is such a thing as holy discomfort.  It's that prick of unease you feel when stepping into the unfamiliar place where God is calling you.  It's the unsettling nudge that lets you know that imminent change, however unwelcome, is both necessary and right.  And then there are other kinds of discomfort that come with the knowledge that something has gone awry.  I felt both kinds of discomfort at the Presbytery's Vigil for Peace and Justice at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church on the anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising. 
The Vigil, which I helped to plan, was born out of a desire to step out of our comfort zones, acknowledge the pain and progress of the last year, and stand in solidarity with a community (including several of our own churches) which was acutely affected by last year's unrest.  Much of the best of that vision was realized in the service itself, which was held on the lawn outside Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.  There were songs and stories from local residents, reflections and prayer, and young people from Jubilee Arts (a local non-profit) shared their art.  Many thanks to Phyllis Felton and the members of Madison for hosting us and leading us in worship. 
The march that preceded the service (three city blocks between the CVS at Penn/North and the church), however well-intentioned, became a flash-point of conflict which I think we would be wise to reflect upon.  Our marching group reflected the demographics of the Presbytery.  While we drew from an impressive number of our congregations, we presented as a largely white middle-class group, walking down North Avenue with a
The West Family and on-lookers gathered during protest.
police escort and a news reporter. When we arrived at the CVS to begin the march, we discovered a protest that had already been in place for several hours - the friends and family of Tyrone West.  Mr. West died in police custody in July of 2013 and his family has publicly protested every Wednesday since his death.  The West family was quickly dwarfed by our group and they responded with anger and confusion as we gathered before the news cameras. 
As we moved through our liturgy, angry shouts and questions were in the air.  "Who are they?"  "Who do they THINK they are?"  "No, seriously," one man said.  "I don't know who they are.  We've never seen them here before."  We were asked in many different ways to leave the area.  And soon enough, the march began, and our group departed. 
Several of us stayed behind to talk with the protesters.  After the group and cameras departed, it was easier to dialogue.  "To us, ya'll came out of nowhere," one man said. "Why didn't you reach out to anyone in the protest community before organizing a march on the anniversary of the Uprising?"  I acknowledged that we should have. "The truth is, we welcome you here," he said.  "We would love to have you march with us if you are interested in justice for people like Tyrone West. But we don't want you to march in front of us."  
Walking back to the church, I reflected on the mistakes we made. While our march was well-intentioned, there were also textbook examples of privilege in play.  If we truly wish to be a part of God's reconciliation in the city, it must begin with and revolve around building relationships of trust across race and class in every affected community.  If we are not rooted in relationships of trust, doing more listening than talking, and seeking what God is already doing in oppressed communities, we risk doing damage where we hope to bring healing. 
In the end, I'm proud of the steps that our Presbytery has taken this year to have difficult conversations and to seek justice in Baltimore City.  It would be easier to stay in our comfort zones and I'm so glad we are stepping out.  But there is much more work to be done and holy discomfort will surely continue to be part of it.  I, for one, am anxious to learn from mistakes made and continue to build relationships and trust that will foster the spirit that so many of us long to see in our fractured communities.

taff Directory

Take Note/Act Now

Presbytery  .  .  . and the Wider Church   

Are you planning to attend the General Assembly gathering in
June in Portland?  Please let Deb Milcarek know.  The Presbytery of Baltimore will be hosting a dinner for you on Tuesday evening, June 21 and we will need a count of how many to expect.  Looking forward to seeing you in Portland!

Presbytery Women in the Presbytery   Spring Newsletter


Veteran's Ministry at Grace --  Join Grace every Tuesday night from 6-8pm for Dinner, Bible Study and Addictions Victorious led by The Rev. Nevalon Mitchell, Jr (lead chaplain at the Veteran's Administration in Baltimore).  This ministry is for everyone: church members, neighbors, friends, and veterans.
Veteran Appreciation Prayer Breakfast --   The Veteran Appreciation Day Prayer Breakfast for the Baltimore Washington Conference will be held Saturday, June 4 at Grace Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall . The guest speaker will be Jeffrey Kendrick.  The cost is free.  For details call 410.466.4000 or visit our website at
Come Let Us Worship -- Join the Veteran's Ministry at Grace on  Sunday, June 5 for worship in appreciation of Veterans!  The guest speaker will be The Rev. William Ray Boone.  Everyone's Invited!

Faith Presbyterian Church will sponsor a free block party from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on Wednesday June 1.  For further details, click Block Party

Catonsville Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian of Howard County will join together at 6:30pm pm Thursday, May 26 for a dinner and workshop entitled Engaging in Your Neighborhood: How Your Congregation Can Get to Know Your Neighbors and Get Involved in Your Local Community .   All West Side Story churches are invited to participate.

Knox Presbyterian Church seeks a   Church Administrator . For a job description and salary information.

The First Presbyterian Church of Cumberland seeks a Director of Music Ministry .

The First Presbyterian Church of Westminster seeks a part-time Director of Christian Education. Click here for a job description.


Habitat for Humanity will host "Interfaith in Action," from 10:30am to 4pm on Sunday, June 5. Share , listen and learn how to build relationships with people of different faiths as, together with others, you help to build homes for families in need. or details, call 443.297.5245. Click here for flyer.

taff Directory

 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