December 14, 2017        Issue 113
Quickly go to the articles listed by clicking on the title below.

Use the QUICK LINKS at the bottom of this column to be easily directed to additional news.

Email Presbytery staff using the directory below.


When's the last time 
you checked 
out the 
Presbytery website?

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
Presbytery Staff

Ed Thompson
General Presbyter
Maureen Wright
Stated Clerk, Associate for Congregational Support

Rocky Poole
Financial Administration/Treasurer

Barbara Chalfant
Associate Presbyter for Mission

Susan Sharp Campbell
Associate for Educational Ministry

Nellie Howard
Resource Center Director

Mark Miller
Bluestone Camp Director

Amy Robinson
Office Administrator/Communications
Prayer List for Churchesprayforchurch
Week 51 - December 17
First Presbyterian Church, Bluefield
Highlawn Presbyterian Church, St. Albans
First Presbyterian Church, Whitesville

In Kenya: Wandumbi Special School

Week 52 - December 24
Bridgeport Presbyterian Church
Belle Presbyterian Church
In Kenya: Gatumbiro (Gah-toe BAY-'roh) Presbyterian Church
Quick Links



Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
genpresbyterA Word from our General Presbyter
Ed Thompson
     Every year has its highs and lows. 2017 was tough on my wife and me as it marked the death of my mother-in-law, the last of our four parents to pass away. I am still tickled, though, by the card on the flowers the staff sent to us that read "From your friends in the Presbytery of VW." I'm still not sure whether the florist was dyslexic or if the car culture of Michigan somehow overwhelmed their sense of spell.
     There were numerous highlights during the past 12 months, things that have stuck with me that bring me joy and a feeling that I'm in the right place. Here, in no particular order, are 10 of the events that I will remember from 2017.
     1. Rededication of the sanctuary at Eleanor       
Photo courtesy of Eleanor Presbyterian
     I think it was right before Easter in 2016 that a water cooler on the second floor of the church started to leak. You wouldn't think it would cause all that much damage, even though it ran all night, but it took about $100,000 to do all the repairs. (That, my friends, is one of the reasons you have insurance.) It looked good before. Now, it looks great. And it was a great day. Lots of special music. Lots of food. Lots of people. It was a wonderful celebration.
      As the year ends, I want to encourage churches to remit any amount remaining in 2017 Shared Mission pledge, Per Capita, or other benevolence payments. The General Assembly is allowing some extra time to submit payments for this fiscal year, so please send all remaining 2017 contributions to the Presbytery office by Wednesday, Jan. 17 to be included in 2017 records.
     Sympathy is extended to Susan Sharp Campbell and her husband, Tom Campbell, on the death of his mother, Alma Crosier Campbell, who passed away on Wednesday, December 13 following a faithful life of service. Alma was a member of Old Stone Presbyterian Church, where during her 63 years, she served as  Director of Christian Education (1954-1973), educator,  deacon, elder (including being named an Elder Emerita in 2013),  Presbyterian Women lifetime member (including serving as moderator twice) and the initiator/organizer of numerous programs of fellowship, education and witness. 
     Visitation is 2-4 p.m. Saturday, December 16, and a Service of Witness to the Resurrection is at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 17, followed by a reception hosted by the Presbyterian Women. Both are  at Old Stone Presbyterian Church. Burial is at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 17 at Rosewood Cemetery.
     Please keep Susan, Tom, their family and Alma's Old Stone family in your prayers.

     You never know what will capture the mission imagination of the next generation!  For this young man, it happened in worship at Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church on Homecoming Sunday. He  heard the reading of prayers from the neighborhood prayer box and learned about Bream's community food pantry. He was so moved that he invited his friends to donate food at his birthday party instead of giving gifts.
     Telling our stories inspire the stories of others. Don't just do mission; share your stories! That is how the passion for service to all God's people gets passed on. If you have a story, share it and a photo (if you have one) with us at, and we will include it in the newsletter.
resourcenewsResource Center News
Winter choices for adult study, Part II
By Nellie Howard, Resource Center Director
      Winter is almost here, and with it, a new season of study for our adult classes. Many of us are currently focusing on Advent and Christmas, but what do you plan to offer your adults beyond Jam. 1? Last week, I gave you some choices available to you; included in the link are a few more.  They are:
  • The Jesus I Never Knew: Six Sessions on the Life of Christ by John Yancey
  • Everything is Spiritual by Rob Bell
  • Modern Parables: Living in the Kingdom of God, Volume 1 by Thomas Purifoy Jr. and Jonathan Rogers
  • When Your Life is on Fire: What Would You Save by Erik Kolbell
  • Animate

Click here to read more

giftideaResource Center Gift Idea
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving by Katherine Paterson
By Nellie Howard, Resource Center Director
     How are you thankful? What do you say when you want to show gratitude? Sometimes when we want to thank God, the words come easily, but there are times when it is hard to find the right thing to say. Here is a Resource Center book that will help you express your gratitude to God and, as a bonus, might also be a perfect gift idea for someone to whom you want to say, "Thank you." This could be your pastor or your Clerk of Session. It could be your Sunday school teacher or your mail carrier. More than merely a "Thank you" gift, this is a whole book full of "thank yous."
     Often we know that we are thankful, but it is hard to remember who to include. Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving by Katherine Paterson is a book that should sit beside every dining room or kitchen table. Perhaps you should have two - a copy by your meal table and also one by your front door, where it is convenient to read each morning before you step outside to face the day. Click here to read more
janfaithNurturing Faith Ideas for January 2018
     Below are Nurturing Faith Ideas for January 2018. Provided by the Nurture Committee, these are brief ideas to encourage the connection between worship and home. They are intended to be used by families of all sizes and configurations as a way to shape faith-based conversation. Ideas for the whole year will be sent to Pastors, Clerks of Sessions, Educators and others soon.
     January 7: For those who follow the liturgical year, the first Sunday after Epiphany (January 6) is Baptism of the Lord Sunday, a time to hear reflect on Jesus' baptism and our own. In Acts 19, Paul baptized people in Ephesus in the name of the Lord Jesus. Reflect on your baptism and share with family members what your baptism means to you. Ask them what their baptism means to them.
     January 14: Now that the New Year is in full swing, in what ways will you live as a disciple of Jesus this year? Will it be different from other years? Share with someone. 
     January 21: In Psalm 62, the palmist says about God, "God is my rock and my salvation." How do you describe God to others? Has this changed over your lifetime? 
     January 28: In 1 Corinthians 8:2-3, we read "Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God." How would you explain God's love to someone who doesn't go to church or to a new believer?
Rev. Joan Stewart named Summersville Presbyterian's permanent pastor

     On November 12, members of Summersville Presbyterian Church (SPC) voted unanimously to call The Rev. Joan Stewart as their permanent part-time pastor. Presbytery approved the call at the November stated meeting. Pastor Joan is no stranger to SPC since she has preached and assisted with pastoral duties for more than a year and a half as the interim pastor. She plans to continue her work as executive director of WVMAW, assisted by her husband, Tim. Joan and Tim are already residents of Nicholas County. The SPC Pastor Nominating Committee felt Spirit-led to call Pastor Joan, and the congregation agreed! May God continue to bless SPC and The Rev. Joan Stewart.
elkinsDoor to Davis Memorial Church's Blessing Box is always open
By Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity
A Blessing Box at Davis Memorial, Elkins holds food for those in need.
"Take what you need. Leave what you can. Above all Be Blessed!"
 These are the words that are written on the glass door of a "Blessing Box" that stands outside  Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins, WV. Inside are canned goods and other non-perishable items that are free to the community, not only now during this holiday season but throughout the entire year.
     "This church definitely feels called to serve the community and feels it's part of God's mission here in the community to feed folks," explained the Rev. Dr. Peter Vial. "It's part of our call."
     Davis Memorial is home to a long-running food pantry that is open 5 ½ hours each weekday. That means that if someone needs food and is not available during those hours, they must go somewhere else to find food. This Blessing Box, which holds roughly 20 total cans and boxes, allows those in need to be able to get food every day and at any time of the day. Click here to read more
pcusacalPC(USA) 2018-19 calendar seeks photos of vital congregations & mission activities
      The PC(USA)  Presbyterian Planning Calendar  is seeking photo submissions from congregations, camps, conference centers and education centers for its 2018-19 edition.  Focusing on vital congregations and mission activities, the request for images also asks, "Who are the unsung heroes of your congregation?"
     Images should feature congregation members engaged in activities including worship, mission service, creativity and the arts, and direct outreach. Calendar planners ask that staged photos of groups and photos of people sitting at tables be avoided.
     The calendar is landscape format, meaning photos should be wider than tall, and high resolution photographs, with a minimum resolution of 2000 x 1500 pixels (no smaller than 1 MB), are requested for best printing. Please include caption and photo credits with all image. If children are pictured, please ensure the use and distribution of your photo complies with your safe church policy.
     Submission deadline is January 15. Photos should be emailed to J Call 502-569-5772 with questions.
scmtNews from the Stewardship of Creation Ministry Team
     We have a list, provided by Appalachian Power, of ways to save energy during the Christmas season.  
     1. Switch your Christmas lightbulbs to LEDs. ENERGY STAR-certified LED decorative light strings use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent lights and last up to 10 times longer. While you're at it, change those old bulbs around your house to high-efficiency LEDs.
     2. Make sure to turn off your dazzling light display late at night or when you're not at home. It's safer, and you'll avoid wasting energy. Add convenience by installing a timer to automatically turn lights on at dusk and off at whatever time you set.

educatorsEleanor Presbyterian Christmas cantata
     At 1 p.m. Saturday, December 16, Eleanor Presbyterian will present its Christmas cantata, "Born in My Heart," at the church, 205 Eleanor Circle. The program is a collection of holiday music and stories of how some have found Jesus. Refreshments follow. For more information, contact musical director Keith Ritz at 304-360-1198.
educatorsEducators' Gathering
     The next Educators' Gathering is Monday, January 22 at the presbytery office, beginning at 10 a.m.  This is an opportunity for anyone involved in leadership in the educational ministry of their church, whether as paid staff or a volunteer, to share ideas, resources, concerns and support. We will end at approximately 1:30 p.m., following lunch together at a nearby restaurant with those who can stay. For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-645-4568 or
  • February 10: Youth Day of Service: Mission Possible (see more information below)
  • February 19-20: Educator, Clergy, CRE Retreat (see more information below)
  • March 2-4: Younger Youth Retreat
  • April 7: Festival of Faith
  • June 9-16: Montreat Youth Conference II
  • August 25: Playology
  • November 16-18:  Older Youth Retreat
toolboxExpanding Your Ministry Toolbox 2018 
Note revised date for first course
     These courses are provided through the Presbytery's Leadership Development Coordinating Team for church leaders who may have limited resources for continuing education. Each course, led by a leader in the field, is an independent opportunity to gain skills in particular areas of ministry. 
     Dates and courses for 2018 are as follows: 
  • Thursday, March 15: Evangelism
  • Tuesday, April 17: Mental Illness Awareness and Response
  • Saturday, June 2: Leading Congregations through Change
  • Saturday, September 8: Biblical Storytelling
  • Saturday, October 27: Preaching (specific focus yet to be determined)
     Complete information and registration forms will be sent out approximately 10 weeks in advance of these courses. There will usually be an assignment to be completed prior to the course. For more information, click here and watch your inbox.
ydos2018 Youth Day of Service Service: MISSION POSSIBLE
February 10 in three locations in WV
      February will be here before we know it and, with it, the 2018 Youth Day of Service. This event for youth in grades 6-12 and their adult advisors will be held in three different locations across the presbytery - Bridgeport Presbyterian Church; Old Stone Presbyterian Church, Lewisburg; and Village Chapel Presbyterian Church, Charleston (with South Park Presbyterian Church assisting). This will be an opportunity to join with other youth across the presbytery in a time of service and mission at a variety of sites. 
     Information and registration forms, along with covenants and medical forms, were sent out November 29 and can also be found here. Please contact Susan Sharp Campbell (304-645-4568 or ) with any questions. 
retreat2018 Educator, Clergy, CRE Retreat
February 19-20 at Hawk's Nest State Park
     The 2018 Educator, Clergy, CRE Retreat will be held Monday, February 19-Tuesday, February 20 at Hawks Nest State Park. The focus will be "New, New Ways to Tell the Old, Old Story" with presenter Tracy Radosevic, a professional biblical storyteller. Christian educators, Ministers and Commissioned Ruling Elders are encouraged to attend, along with their spouses. Click here for more information. Please note this event has a limited audience.
montreatLooking ahead:
Montreat Youth Conference II
     Montreat Youth Conferences provide opportunities for youth in our churches to connect with hundreds of high school youth from across the country to engage in faith conversations through keynote, worship, small groups, fellowship and recreation. Next summer, the presbytery plans to take a group of our youth to this event from June 9-16.
     Youth currently in grades 8-12 are encouraged to participate in this opportunity exploring different voices in our lives. The cost per person is $350, with $175 due at registration. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis until the deadline of March 31. Information and a registration form was distributed by email on Dec. 12; click here for it.
     If you didn't receive the information or need it sent another way, please contact the presbytery office. Please contact Susan Sharp Campbell at  304-645-4568 or with questions

oldstoneJob opening!
Old Stone Presbyterian music director
      Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg is looking for a new music director.  This position has a great deal of flexibility, but at its core, the music director nurtures Old Stone's worship and ministry through directing the adult choir, leading a program for an after-school children's choir, working with a handbell choir director, and coordinating organists.
     This position welcomes imagination and creativity. We know how we've done it in the past, but we want to see how a new director will lead our choirs and congregation to  a more profound alleluia.
     If you are interested, please contact Anna Pinckney Straight at for more information.
     We invite you to print and include this newsletter in your bulletins, give it to your congregation and distribute widely. We hope it is helpful for your congregation and community. 
adultstudyWinter choices for adult study, part I  
By Nellie Howard, Resource Center Director
       Winter is almost here, and with it comes a new season of study for our adult classes. Many of us are currently focusing on Advent and Christmas, but what do you plan on offering your adults beyond January 1? Here are some choices that might be good for your adult class or for your personal study; some are also good for youth. Contact information for the Resource Center is at the bottom of the article. Click here to read more
resourcesIntroducing New Resources
bissellDavis Stuart welcomes Dr. Mark C. Bissell as new executive director
      The  Davis Stuart Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark C. Bissell to the role of Executive Director. Dr. Bissell comes to Davis Stuart with a multitude of experience working with adolescents. 
     In 1982, Dr. Bissell earned an associate's degree in Criminal Justice from Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts. He went on to earn a B.S. in Adolescent Counseling from the University of Massachusetts in 1986. After completing his undergraduate degrees, he earned his first master's degree in Human Services from Keene State College. In 1993, he received a Certificate of Advanced Graduated Studies. In 1998, he earned his second master's degree in Organizational Studies from Fielding Institute in CA. He earned his Ph.D. in Human & Organizational Development from Fielding Institute in 2002.
     Dr. Bissell moved to the Greenbrier Valley 6 months ago but has had ties to West Virginia since 1976. At Davis Stuart, he enjoys working with the children and staff and appreciates the diversity of both. He believes Davis Stuart's Culinary Arts Program, Equine Assisted Therapy Program, and the picturesque campus in Lewisburg set the agency apart from others. 
     Along with improving communication between all stakeholders, Dr. Bissell looks forward to utilizing Davis Stuart's 574 acres of farmland to build a strong agriculture program for the residents in order to teach many of the youth a trade and skill they can use in their future endeavors.
     He says, "I love West Virginia. The people are wonderful, and I feel fortunate to be here and working with such amazing individuals. The long-standing tenure of so many employees really speaks to the greater service Davis Stuart provides."
beechtree Sign up for The Beech Tree
The Beech Tree, the Friends of Bluestone newsletter, is now electronic. If you wish to receive it, go  here  to sign up.
*Also on the webpage
You will find located on the Home page of the website (scroll down past the banner and grant buttons) direct links to recent newsletters, the Pray-For church list and Nurturing Faith Ideas for 2017 and more. Please let us know how we can improve the website and whenever you encounter any problem with it. Thank you.
Editor's Note:
In order to keep the PWV Newsletter  fresh,  articles sent 
for publication will generally run for two consecutive issues.  
If you wish for a piece to continue to run, please resubmit. 
We encourage you to reword, add a photo (or different photo), 
or change the piece in some way so that the news stays 
fresh and interesting. 

Presbytery of West Virginia, 520 Second Avenue,  South Charleston, WV 25303
Phone (304) 744-7634, Fax (304) 744-7649, 

Office Hours: Monday -Thursday  8:30AM-5:30PM