January 26, 2015

Inside This Edition 


866th Presbytery Gathering 


Presbytery Career Opportunity


2015 Pastors' Retreat


The Center Opportunity  


Catonsville Concerts at 3: US Army Field Band 


Ruth Gosnell Scholarship at Springfield PC


Christ Our King PC Seeks a Director of Music


Joan Howe Pastel Landscapes on Exhibition at Woods Gallery


Advocacy Training Weekend: Breaking the Chains


Human Trafficking Awareness Event in Howard Co.


Next Church: March 16-18 in Chicago


Workshops at the Leadership Institute at Union Presbyterian Seminary


Interim Ministry Network




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


Commission on Reconciliation meets 6:30pm on Wednesday, Jan. 28 


Commission on Spiritual Leader Development will meet Tuesday, Feb. 3 from 6:30pm-8:30pm in the Woodmont Room.


Commission on Thriving Congregations will meet Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30pm.


Administration meets Tuesday, Feb. 3 from 11am to 1pm.


Investment Advisory Committee meets Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 3pm.


Bay Area Disciples MG (BAD) meets 7pm on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at Christ Our Anchor Presbyterian Church 

BAD will meet again on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 9am to 3:30pm for a workshop and review of the Hispanic Ministry Report.  Members planning to attend, please RSVP to dschmidt@baltimorepresbytery.org.


Uptown Metro (H4H) group meets 7pm on Thursday, Jan. 29


Susquehanna Parish MG meets 12:30pm on Thursday, Feb. 19 for lunch at 1st PC of Bel Air.


Wild, Wild West MG will meet Thursday, Feb. 26. Location TBA.


Cuba Trip Orientation Meeting, 9am-12noon on Saturday, Jan. 31





Shared Ministry Pledge
Submit your Session's 2015 Shared Ministry Pledge On-Line. . .

Link to fillable form can also be found at www.baltimorepresbytery.org

Prayer & Praise 

Please continue to pray for Brenda Schoener, wife of TE Terry Schoener (formerly of Woods PC), who continues her battle with cancer; and, Kathy Melton, wife of Stephen Melton (Churchville PC), she heals from injuries sustained in a car accident weeks ago.  


And, please pray for our congregations in transition.



by TE Walt Peters,

Associate Stated Clerk


"April is the cruelest month" - at least according to T.S. Eliot.  But for churches and pastors, I think January may be far crueler.  At least April usually brings the joyful celebration of the resurrection - a story that, while beginning with cruelty, ends with victory and hope.  January, on the other hand, begins as all the lovely Advent and Christmas d�cor is stored away for another year, leaving the sanctuary feeling remarkably barren.  And it ends with ... well, what does it end with?  Too often it seems as though it ends with meetings of the Finance Committee and/or the Session, trying to make the once hopeful budget for the new year fit with the results of the Annual Financial Campaign ... and "shortfall" almost always seems to be the operative word.  So, in the cruelest of months, we cut a bit here, lop off a chunk there, eliminate this new plan and postpone that needed project.  Unless you are part of a very different kind of congregation, you know this cruel season all too well. 


In the churches I served before retirement, along with the painful process of trying to "balance the budget," each year we would also talk about trying to do a better job of "...encouraging the graces of generosity and faithful stewardship of personal and financial resources..."  (G-3.0201c) But the talk rarely turned into action ... because the truth was that we didn't really know how to do that effectively.  And so every fall, we'd do the same sort of thing we'd always done ... and not surprisingly, with the same sort of results we'd always gotten.


Then, a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to be part of a contingent from the Presbytery of Baltimore that attended PC(USA)'s "Stewardship Kaleidoscope" event.  For a guy who'd been engaged in congregational ministry for more than 30 years, it was an incredible and enlightening experience.  I learned more about both the theology and the practice of congregational stewardship in 3 days than I had in three decades.   


I wish I could tell you that what I learned resulted in an immediate turn-around in church finances.  It didn't - not because what I'd learned was wrong or impractical or useless in the "real church" - but because changing both ministerial and congregational attitudes toward stewardship does not and cannot happen overnight.  What did happen, however, is that the church I served slowly began to transform its understanding of how to "do stewardship" ... and also slowly began to stop operating out of a sense that there wasn't "enough."  I've now retired from that congregation, but (as best I can tell) the changes that were made over the intervening years have continued to make a positive difference in church life and church finances.


So here's my invitation to you, and an offer for you: send someone (or maybe several someones) from your Session or Finance Committee to this year's Stewardship Kaleidoscope event.  It is in Kansas City on March 9-11, and there is more information in this edition - or check it out at:

http://stewardshipkaleidoscope.org/conference/.  If you do send someone to the conference and you don't think you got your money's worth, I will personally refund the conference fee to you or to your church. 


 If you don't think you can afford either the time or the money, I'm signed up to go again and I am more than willing to share what I already know and what else I will learn with your Session.  I'm especially interested in small congregations (that is, congregations that average fewer than 75 or 100 folks in worship), and I would like to help create a stewardship consultative team within the presbytery that would work with such churches.  If you are from such a church or are interested in being a part of such a consultative team, give me a call or send me an e-mail. Let's talk ... because I'd like to see the cruelest month grow less and less cruel.    


Take  noteTake Note /Act Now
Take Note/Act Now


Presbytery .  .  . and the Wider Church 



The 866th Gathering of the Presbytery entitled, "New Worshipping Communities" will be held 9am-4pm on Thursday, Feb. 12 at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air.  Click Gathering to read the itinerary and register for a meal



Career Opportunity: The Presbytery seeks a Director of Finance. This is a full time, exempt position offering a salary commensurate with education, skill and experience.  Click Dir. of Finance to read the position description.  Please send resumes to applydiroffinance@baltimorepresbytery.org.

Save the date!  The 2015 Pastors' Retreat will be held at Bon Secours Retreat Center from Wednesday Apr. 22 to Thursday Apr. 23.  Our featured presenter, TE Theresa Cho (Saint John's Presbyterian Church in San Francisco) will discuss how to integrate the arts in worship.  


The Center, a partnership of the Presbytery of Baltimore, is seeking applications for weekend and overnight program staff. Work will be on a contract basis, and as needed throughout the year. For more information or to apply, click here. Questions? Contact Kate Foster Connors or click here to read the announcement.





Catonsville Concerts at 3 presents The Soldiers' Chorus of the United States Army Field Band in concert at 3pm on Feb. 8.  The Soldiers' Chorus is the vocal complement of the U.S. Army Field Band, and has performed to audiences of all ages around the world.  The concert is free, and no tickets are required.  For more info, call 410.747.6180. 


Springfield Presbyterian Church's Ruth Gosnell Education Fund provides interest-free loans to full-time college juniors, seniors and graduate school candidates for the 2015-16 academic year.  Regardless of religion, all applicants will be given impartial consideration; and repayment of the interest-free loan does not start until 6 months after graduation.  Click Gosnell for an application.  Applications must be received by March 1, 2015 at the Springfield Presbyterian Church.  For questions call the church office at 410.795.6152.


Director of Music Ministry - Full Time for Christ Our King Presbyterian Church, Bel Air, MD  Great opportunity to lead an established music program in an active church.  This could be the best church job you'll ever have!   Please submit your resume for consideration to:  dmmsearch@christourking.net.


Seaside dunes, vineyards, fields of flowers and verdant woods are some of the subjects depicted in Portrayals of Life, Light and Color, an exhibit of landscapes in pastel and oil by local artist Joan Howe, which is on display in the gallery of Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park now through Feb. 15. Call Nancy Saarlas at 410.647.0135 for gallery hours.





Register Now! Advocacy Training Weekend Apr. 17-20, 2015

Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Exploitation PC(USA) Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day  - Apr. 17 Ecumenical Advocacy Days - Apr. 17-20.

Adult mission trip opportunity  This summer, from July 11-18, The Center will offer a week-long mission experience exclusively for adults. Partnering with Ashland Presbyterian Church, this hands-on mission will focus on the Habitat for Humanity restoration on McCabe Ave. in East Baltimore. Participants must be at least 18 years. Opportunities include overnight or day-only mission experiences.  Interested? Contact The Center's director, Rev. Kate Foster Connors.


Human Trafficking Awareness events in Howard Co.  Click here to learn more.

Come with us to the 2015 Next Church National Gathering, Mar. 16-18 in Chicago to hear inspiring words of faith from renowned leaders, engage in worship that renews our hearts and minds, build relationships through fellowship and learn from workshops that strengthen our courage in the name of the One who calls us. Click Next Church.


The Leadership Institute at Union Presbyterian Seminary offers workshops, seminars and free public events that will enhance your personal faith life and your leadership in the church.  For details, click here


Interim Ministry Network courses and conference: "From Transition to Transformation." Click IMN to learn more.

taff Directory

Craig N. Palmer
Transitional 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


Wanda Morgan

Dir. of Events & Services  wmorgan@baltimorepresbytery.org 





Catherine Blacka

Judy Johnson

Ministry Group Staff




 Deborah Greene

Dir. of Communications