December 21, 2015
Inside this Edition
Presbytery Christmas Card

Remittance Notice 

Havenwood PC Service of the Longest Night

Dramatic Production of the "Apostle" a Prince of Peace PC

Hunting Ridge PC seeks a Part-Time Office Manager

Springfield PC Offers Interest Free Loans for Advanced Education Through the Ruth Gosnell Education Fund

Central PC Seeks and Operations Coordinator

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

Personnel Committee will meet at 1pm on Monday, Jan. 11

The Gathering Team will meet at 1pm on Tues., Jan. 12

General Presbyter Search Committee will meet at 10am on Thurs., Jan. 14

Steering Committee will meet at 1pm on Wed., Jan 20

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

Our Shared Ministry 
Our Shared Ministry provides vital support to our Ministry Groups, Partnerships and Commissions.  As of this date $176,375.02 has been received toward the   $220,000 budget for 2015 Shared Ministry. We are grateful to the Sessions of the following churches:

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  

General Presbyter

The  General Presbyter Search Committee continues to review applications for the position of General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Baltimore. Applicants, including members of the Presbytery of Baltimore, are urged to apply to the following advertisement or forward it to someone who you think would be a good match for our presbytery:
Progressive, forward-thinking, financially healthy presbytery seeks a dynamic spiritual leader to inspire, lead and shepherd a diverse group of 69 congregations which is exploring new ways of serving the world and conducting ministry. To apply, send cover letter and PIF/resume to:

Church Management 

Christmas is just days away, which means many churches soon plan to surprise ministers and staff with gifts or meals. However, many church leaders don't realize the potential tax-related implications of these activities, well-meaning as these gestures may be.  Get a full analysis, including guidance with the most common types of gifts, in Richard Hammer's article,  "When Churches Give Christmas Gifts"   and Frank Sommerville's article on What you should know about collecting for  special love gifts for ministers and staff.

by TE Mary Gaut,
Interim General Presbyter

Almost everyone I talk to these days has the same comment:  "It is really hard to get into the Christmas Spirit this year." And the weather seems to have a lot to do with it. My go-to sources for weather predictions are all confirming that Christmas Day is likely to see temperatures in the 70s. My daughter in Roanoke, VA texted me that she was Christmas shopping in a tee shirt and flip flops and it just didn't seem right. Most of us would agree.

But there are other reasons that make it hard to embrace the exuberance of the season this year. The proliferation of violence, not only in acts of terror but also in words and attitudes, seems to mock the vision of the peaceable kingdom of Isaiah's prophecy. The insecurity and anxiety of life in our neighborhoods and throughout the global village challenge the angelic proclamation to "Fear not." 2015 seems a particularly challenging year to proclaim the Christmas Gospel or hear it in ways that are transformative. Yet those who join together for worship and community are desperate to hear it again. They are hungry to be reminded once more, through Word and Sacrament, liturgy and music, candlelight and prayer that God is, indeed, with us. They long to know that even though hope seems as fragile as a newborn, it is hope forged through following in the way of the child of Bethlehem,  proclaimed boldly and lived courageously, that will save us from the current destructive paths that threaten us.

This is the first time in 35 years that I am not actively involved in the planning of congregational worship and activities for Advent and Christmas. Though my office and duties have changed this season my heart is still very much rooted in the places where so many of you are at work in the life and worship of your congregations. I know well the awesome responsibility that comes with leading a community of faith through these weeks. I used to agonize over whether I could do it well enough that it truly would touch hearts and make the love, peace, joy and hope come alive for the expectant ones who gathered. I also know, as you do, that they come not just for candlelight and candles but for the meaning of this season to be proclaimed with authenticity and conviction and for the blessings of standing together in common witness to the transformative Gospel of love and peace in a world of violence and fear. 

My faith assures me that the mystery, wonder and truth of the Incarnate God, whose love and justice really is at work in our world, is not wholly dependent on us or what we do in this season.  But I also affirm that God works in and through us in this season and deserves the best we can offer.  For the Word has become flesh and dwells among us, even now, full of grace and truth.  May you experience that grace and truth in your own life this week as you work to make it come alive again, in your congregations.


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What's New on the PoB Website

In this edition of  Tidings we are highlighting the Presbytery's webpages on church Personnel Committees  There you will find information to help your church's Personnel Committees foster healthy ministerial relationships among the pastor, congregations and others involved in the life of the Church. To learn more about church Personnel Committees , click  here  to go to the Presbyter y's website and select Church Resource Tools and, then, Personnel Committee. 

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Take Note/Act Now

Presbytery   .  .  . and the  Wider Church 

SAVE THE DATE: Jan. 13, 2016 is the last day that the Presbytery will accept r emittances by mail for FY2015.  Remittances received after that date will be applied to FY2016. Faxes and emails will not be accepted.


Sometimes Christmas Isn't Joyful.  Sometimes the losses we've experienced hold us back from celebrating  when the world says it's time to be happy.  But Christ comes also for those who mourn ... or are blue ...  or have trouble finding Light in the darkness.  Come to Havenwood Presbyterian Church's Service of the Longest Night at 7pm on  Monday (tonight), Dec. 21.  Light a candle, say a prayer and  hear the comforting words of our Lord and Savior.  

Nationally acclaimed actor,  Brad Sherrill , returns to Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton for a one-night-only performance of his newest production, "APOSTLE," beginning 7pm on Sunday, Jan. 10. Click Apostle to learn more about this dramatic performance. 

Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church
 in Northwest Baltimore seeks a Part-Time Office Manager   to staff the church office, format printed materials, assist with facility rentals and process contributions.  Microsoft Office experience preferred; training provided. Hours flexible. Begin the week of Jan. 11, 2016.  For details, email TE Deborah McEachran  or call  410.556.2926.

INTEREST-FREE COLLEGE LOANS AVAILABLE! The Ruth Gosnell Education Fund, directed by the Springfield Presbyterian Church, provides interest-free loans for full time college juniors, seniors or graduate students -- regardless of religion.  Loan applications are evaluated on academic performance, financial need and a short essay. Download the RGEF Form A, "Ruth Gosnell Education Fund Loan Application" at or call 410.795.6152.  The deadline for applications is March 1, 2016.

Central Presbyterian Church is in search of an Operations Coordinator.  This position is critical to smooth running of the church's facilities' and creating the optimal environment for both internal and external ministries to operate. For details click Central. To apply, please send resume and cover letter to

Share your Christmas Spirit with others . . . please post your church services and other holiday events on the Presbytery of Baltimore's   Facebook page . . . and "Like Us."
Christmas Joy Offering: Promises Made, Promises Kept

by Adrienne Knight, Volunteer Ambassador
PC(USA) Special Offerings Leader Support Network for the Presbytery of Baltimore

For God who has promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:23 

So on Christmas Day we celebrate that the promise is kept in the birth of Jesus Christ! The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) provides the opportunity for congregations to join this celebration of God's faithfulness by supporting those in need of help and hope. Thanks to your gifts, the Christmas Joy Offering is able to help provide financial assistance to individuals and families who have dedicated their lives to the church. The offering also supports racial ethnic education and leadership development for students attending Presbyterian-related schools and colleges. The promise made is one of hope in situations where hope can be hard to find. When we give, we declare that our hope is well founded, because it is God who has promised, and God who is faithful.

Did you know?
The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The offering distributes gifts 50/50 to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and racial ethnic education and leadership development. The Assistance Program provides integral financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and spiritual leadership, while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.

What does the Christmas Joy Offering do?
Supporting our past and present leaders By supporting the Board of Pensions, the Christmas Joy Offering honors the faithfulness of current and retired church workers in their time of need by providing financial assistance to support them through life's challenging circumstances. These actions of generosity bear witness to our faithful response to God's charge to love one another as Christ commanded.  Paving the way for future leaders PC(USA), with its historic commitment to higher learning, has long promoted education and leadership development through the establishment and support of racial ethnic schools and colleges. Our future racial ethnic church leaders are able to receive much-needed assistance while they discover and pursue their professional goals at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges. Your gifts allow these ministries, which Presbyterians have carried out for decades, to continue.

There's Still Time . . .
During Advent please consider collecting for the Christmas Joy. There is still plenty of time to collect. Contributions for the Christmas Offering must be forwarded to the Presbytery's Finance office in order for congregations to receive credit on their monthly statements.  For further information click Christmas Joy Offering, email the Presbytery or

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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