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 to read her "Ponderings" so far.

You are invited to join Sue for her Presbytery Gathering Thursday, September 17th at
4:00 pm. The Zoom link is:
Board Connections from the Board of Pensions

This edition includes benefit plan expansion, access to grants, Minister education debt relief, etc.

"Wholeness in Times of Crises"

Registration for the 2020 Mid Council Leaders Gathering (Virtual) is free and opens mid-September. This year's conference will be hosted entirely online. November 5, 2020
11:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (EST) Click the link below for more information.
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, please register on the Matthew 25 website below and your church will receive a packet of material from PMA:

2020/2021 Planning Calendars

Presbytery still has plenty of planning calendars! If you placed an order or would like to, please contact Tammy to make arrangements for pick up. Cost is $10 each.
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
Pentecost Canpaign 2020
This year, the Pentecost Canpaign is running until September 15. Churches that participate in the 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.

Please inform Ralls Coston, the Mission Coordinator, how much food and money your church has collected for the Canpaign and where your church sent its collections. Ralls’ email address is:

The churches that have given the most food by numbers and per each member will be recognized during the November Presbytery meeting.
Holy Imagination + Race: How the Church Can Be a Healing Force in America’s Racial Divide
There is no denying what history makes clear: Systemic racism in America is deeply entwined with the history of the institutional church. Even today, the church must look at our complicity — which at times has been overt, and other times the product of mere silence. The good news ...
Don't Miss
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Online

The 2020 conference starts Tuesday, September 22 with Rev. Dr. Eric Barreto looking at the Acts of the Apostles in the 21st century and continues September 29, and October 6. Hear theological, practical, and actionable perspectives with a live Q&A after each session.

September 29th will feature Bonnie Ives Marden providing practical tools for church financial management;

October 6th we hear from Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow with perspectives on engaging multi-ethnic, multi-generational congregations in building the church for forward-thinking, funding, and functioning.

A link to participate in the weekly events will be emailed to registrants a few days prior to each program. Register Here and see more at

If you are a member of the PCUSA, scholarships may be available - learn more here.
Reduced rate!!!

Thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Presbyterian Foundation is able to offer a reduced registration rate of $25. If you would like the reduced registration simply email Robert Hay Jr. and he can give you instructions on how to register for the reduced rate of $25.
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.


Until further notice, due to Covid-19, donations will NOT be collected at Shades Valley on the first Saturday of the month. We hope to resume soon and will keep you posted as to when that will be. To volunteer or for more information, contact Jonathan Ahern at 1-256-368-8109.
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 Help for the Fall

As churches prepare for the fall, many are thinking about stewardship and wondering how to encourage generosity in this year of disruption. If you’d like an experienced, trained expert to offer advice and help to churches in your presbytery or synod, please reach out to the Presbyterian Foundation’s Ministry Relations Officers. Find the Ministry Relations Officer for your region.
Disaster Preparedness & Response Team

(DPRT) is being formed for the purpose to develop a disaster plan for the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley and assist churches to form their plan. Volunteers are welcomed, please contact Rush Watson or text 205-394-1957 if you would like to work with the DPRT. If you know of someone in your church that might be interested please give them Rush’s contact information.
Peace and Global Witness Offering

Peace at all times, in all ways.
Your gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering join Presbyterian’s worldwide to help people experience the freedom and dignity that Christ wants for everyone. Let us offer the peace of Christ at all times, in all ways. If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot!

You are invited to the

Ordination Service
Cecilia Chang

Sunday, September 20, 2020
4:00 PM
Shades Valley Presbyterian Church

Zoom link will be sent in a separate email.
In our Prayers

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


MBPC is searching for our next Pastor!

We are asking our neighbors to help find the person God has selected for our congregation. The candidate must be ordained in the PCUSA denomination. 

Our beloved pastor Lant Davis will be retiring in November. Please submit any questions or resumes to
First Presbyterian Church
of Phenix City, AL is looking for a
New Part-time Pastor. Click here for the job description.
First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, Alabama, seeks a full-time Interim Associate Pastor. See attachment for Position Description.
3603 Lorna Ridge Drive ~ Birmingham, AL 35216
Phone: 205-978-0320 ~ Fax: 205-978-0330