Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley
"partner with and equip present and emerging
PC(USA) faith communities in central Alabama
to serve Christ and our neighbors"
Pandemic Ponderings
by: Rev. Dr. Sue Westfall

Twice a month our Transitional Executive Presbyter, Rev. Dr. Sue Westfall sends out a meaningful, informative and uplifting blog during these unusual and strange times we are all going through together. Be sure to watch for the email or you may click the link below to read her "Ponderings" so far.

Sue will be out of the office Tuesday – Friday this week attending a conference “Rethinking Church.- Virtual Summit”. She will be available but, on a limited basis. Due to her unavailability she will not be hosting the Presbytery Gathering this Thursday but, will resume next week.
Project Empathy / Medical Debt

Medical debt is another burden on the poor. A Sunday School class at Southminster Presbyterian Church got the idea of trying to alleviate medical debt by raising money for RIP Medical Debt ( ), a charity that forgives medical debt. The Presbytery’s Executive Council has approved this project, Project Empathy. Project Empathy’s goal is to raise at least $50,000 to eliminate $5,000,000 of medical debt in 10 counties in the Black Belt. The counties in the Project area are: Chambers, Macon, Lowndes, Dallas, Perry, Wilcox, Hale, Greene, Sumter, and Pickens.

Here is how Project Empathy works:  one dollar eliminates $100 of medical debt . Go to , click on Campaigns, scroll down until you see The Black Belt Region in Alabama, click on this. This takes you to Project Empathy’s donation page. More information about the Project and RIP Medical Debt is on this page. You may donate electronically. The direct web address to the donation page is:

RIP Medical Debt will send you a letter acknowledging your donation, for your tax records. RIP Medical Debt will buy the debt in these counties and then send letters to the debtors, forgiving their debts.
If all churches and members in this Presbytery donate we can do our Lord Jesus a great service, helping the needy among us.
If you have questions, please contact Ralls Coston, Mission Coordinator, at .
Matthew 25 Presbytery

If your church has recently become a Matthew 25 church, would you please let the Presbytery office know? You may email Tammy to confirm. Also, you may register on the Matthew 25 website below and your church will receive a packet of material from PMA:

2020/2021 Planning Calendars

The Presbytery will be ordering Planning calendars again this year at a discounted rate of $10.00 each. They are normally $16.95 each. Please reply to Tammy no later than August 10th and let her know how many you would like to reserve and your church name. These calendars begin in September of this year and go through December 2021.
The Board Bulletin
Summer 2020

News from the Board of Pensions including:

Covid updates
Investment Portfolio
Medical plan reductions
Prescription drug news
Your annual chance to review your Employer Agreement on Benefits Connect and make benefits selections for 2021 is July 20 to October 9. Click here for more information.
Pentecost Canpaign 2020
The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley will have the Pentecost Canpaign again this year. Because of the COVID-19 virus and social distancing, we will be doing it a little differently this year.

Churches that participate in the Pentecost Canpaign collect cans of food, or its money equivalent ($1 equals 2 cans of food). The churches send the food and/or money to anti-hunger organizations of their choice. Then, the churches inform Presbytery as to how much food was collected and where the food was sent.

The news reports increased need for food at food banks and pantries. The need for food to help the unemployed is real.

The Pentecost Canpaign can help with this need. The Canpaign will run from May 1 through September 15 this year. This should help our socially distanced churches to collect the food. However, this year, instead of amassing the food and giving it to the charities all at once, please give what money and food your church has collected to your anti-hunger organizations as you collect the gifts. They need the food now. Just keep a running total of what your church has collected and let us know at Presbytery by September 15.

Contact the Presbytery office or Ralls Coston, Mission Coordinator ( ).
Southminster Foundation
for Ministry
The purpose of the Southminster Presbyterian Church Foundation is to expand the Ministry and Mission of Southminster by supporting community service agencies and special missions of the Church in the community, Presbytery, Synod, region and the world.
The Foundation awards grants annually to support this ministry and mission. The Foundation is now accepting grant applications for 2020. The total funds available are up to $29,000. All grant requests must be received by September 1. Grants will be awarded in late
For a grant application form and further details go to and click on “Foundation.”
Risers Available

Three risers are available at Shades Valley Presbyterian. Available for free to first interested party. Heavy and bulky to move. Size: 8'x4' wide; 2' tall. If interested, please contact Lana Lash at .   
Felicia Storey helps Presbyterian Home reach milestone as she approaches another

TALLADEGA --  Talladega’s Presbyterian Home for Children recently achieved national certification through the New York-based Council on Accreditation after nearly two years of work by a team led by Vice President of Program Operations and Services Felicia Ayers Storey. 
According to Presbyterian Home President Doug Marshall, the announcement of the accreditation dovetails nicely with Storey’s 35th anniversary at the Home, coming up on July 23.
“In her role, she led our entire team here in achieving this historic accreditation for the Home,” Marshall said in a prepared statement. “She is highly respected by the Alabama Department...
Despite the pandemic, Presbyterian Home for Children paves a path of hope

JEFFERSONVILLE, Indiana — It’s a common sight from the window of Doug Marshall’s office at the Presbyterian Home for Children in Talladega, Alabama: A care worker accompanies a new girl from the administration building to the cottage that will be her new home.
She is overwhelmed, perhaps crying. The care worker, who has made this trip across campus countless times, quietly walks with her.
“To me, it is the beginning of...
Habitat 2020

This year, 2020, the Presbytery will not be sponsoring a Habitat for Humanity house in the Birmingham area. Covid-19 has disrupted this year's project. Habitat for Humanity-Birmingham will be doing some construction work in June and July. There is a new way to register to volunteer this year. Go to: to register. 
If your church has been giving money monthly to Presbytery for the Habitat Fund, please continue to do so. Presbytery will accumulate any donations for next year's Habitat house construction. If your church desires, it can donate directly to Habitat for Humanity for use in 2020.
If a group of volunteers (no more than 10) want to go and work on the same day, please let Ralls Coston ( know and we can coordinate the workday.
August Presbytery Docket

Our next Presbytery meeting will be August 20th via Zoom (info to be sent at a later date). If you are on a Committee or Commission, please let Tammy or Stated Clerk, Tom Winter know if you would like time on the docket to speak.
Online Church Services

Several churches in our presbytery have made available live-streaming, Facebook live, or other platforms of their Sunday worship services. We are aware of the following churches (click the link below) that are offering these platforms and will plan to continue services on Sundays so their church members can participate in worship from home. If you are not on the list and would like to be added, please let Tammy know.

Did you miss PAM’s Worship and Music Conference? 

Now for the first time you can register and experience the conference after it has ended! You can view all 96 recordings of our conference content whenever you like – including Worship, Routley Lectures, Art Workshop, Concerts, Choral & Handbell Masterclasses, Programs for Children/Youth, and much more! These recordings demonstrate what physically distant worship can look like and can help supplement your church’s programming for the fall, especially during the current situation in our country. Visit to learn more and to register.

The next collection date is Saturday,
August 1, 2020. Bring your usable discards, gently used clothing, etc., to the Presbyterian Home for Children's reception center in the rear parking lot, below the playground of Shades Valley Presbyterian Church. Volunteers will be on hand to unload your vehicle and to give you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. The center will be open from 8 AM - 12 noon. To volunteer or for more information, contact Jonathan Ahern a t 1-256-368-8109.
Update from Living River

While Living River is not able to have summer camp sessions this year, we welcome individuals and families who are looking for a day-trip or overnight adventure. Of course, everyone will follow state or county guidelines in place regarding COVID19. Living River is open weekdays from 7:30 to 3 for folks wanting to hike, picnic, kayak, canoe or fish. We ask that you email at least 24 hours before you plan on coming so we can make sure there will be someone to open gates. Contact Jenny at the same email address for information on overnight stays. We look forward to seeing our PSL friends at the river this summer!
The Perry and Dallas County Fund has been set up to provide aid to mission work in Perry and Dallas Counties. In particular, funds will be provided to a local agency, C.E.T. Ministries. Please consider donating to this fund. Contact Ralls Coston for more information. Read more...
Stewardship Kaleidoscope
is moving online

Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. - Psalm 25: 4-5
These are extraordinary times and while we can’t “do church” the way we are used to the needs of our communities and our call to be stewards of God’s kingdom has not been put on hold.
This year Kaleidoscope will offer learning over three weeks in the fall to help you respond to
the needs of your community, adapt to change, and think about how to engage as church in new ways. We hope you can join us on three consecutive Tuesdays: September 22, September 29, and October 6 at 11:30am eastern/8:30am pacific.
On September 22nd hear from Eric Barreto of Princeton Theological Seminary on the Acts of the Apostles in the 21st century - imagination, vision, and creativity in responding to our call;
September 29th we will learn with consultant Bonnie Ives Marden about the ways in which
faith shapes our financial health, and get practical tools for church financial management;
October 6th Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will provide perspectives on engaging congregations
across generations, cultures, and ethnicity to imagine building the church for forward thinking funding and functioning.
Registration will be open soon. See more at
In our Prayers

Please keep Presbytery Stated Clerk, Rev. Tom Winter in your prayers as he continues chemotherapy treatments.

Please be in prayer for the mission of our congregations, our presbytery and our mission partners overseas.

Pray for peace in Congo and the safety of our mission co-workers. Jeff and Christi Boyd.

If you would like to support our mission co-workers, click the link below and type in their name. You will be led to their personal page with more information on their mission story and how to give.


Sue Westfall
Transitional Presbyter

Ralls Coston
Volunteer Mission Coordinator

James Ephraim
Volunteer Liaison for
African American Churches

Tammy Strickland
Presbytery Administrator
Assistant to the Stated Clerk

Tom Winter
Stated Clerk

Linda Burrowes
Recording Clerk

Jean Russell

Pat Goodman
Volunteer Nurture Coordinator


First Presbyterian Church
of Phenix City, AL is looking for a
New Part-time Pastor. Click here for the job description.
UKirk Birmingham exists currently as a Campus Ministry through the Presbyterian Church (USA), located in the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley. We seek to be a “theologically reformed and socially progressive” community of faith, rooted in our weekly gathering where we celebrate the gifts and mystery of God’s love and grace.
The Ministry Coordinator for UKirk Birmingham will work directly with the Student Ministers who are chosen to serve at local Birmingham-area colleges and universities. The role will be formed out of the Presbytery and will oversee the students in a way that fosters supervision and discipleship. This person will also be responsible for the administrative and organizational tasks of UKirk. 
3603 Lorna Ridge Drive ~ Birmingham, AL 35216
Phone: 205-978-0320 ~ Fax: 205-978-0330