Issue 198 | August 26, 2021
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It would be easy to miss one of the highlights of our first in-person Presbytery meeting since February 2020. One, it was fun to be together. Two, Cindy Kohlmann gave us a lot to think about with her sermon and presentation. Three, we had seven people sign the Book of Obligations, one of the quirky parts of this presbytery but nevertheless a wonderful sign that we had not been in hibernation since the pandemic hit. I’m not sure what normal is any more, but I’m not sure if we would normally have brought in seven new pastors in that same amount of time in the past. On top of that, we commissioned three new pastors, recent graduates of our Commissioned Pastor training program. That is plenty to celebrate, and we should celebrate all of those things. What grabbed my attention, though, was the announcement that we will begin another round of Commissioned Pastor training in January. (...) We are going to need more Commissioned Pastors...
Saturday, Sept. 18 at Clarksburg First Presbyterian
Registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 7
The Small Church Conference has updated its safety precautions so that they are the same as the Aug. 19 Presbytery meeting, which means in addition to following the CDC guidelines, masks will be required for all participants and there will be no congregational singing or responses. The conference's theme is "Saved to Serve...Thy Kingdom Come on Earth," and it will feature the keynote and a workshop by Rev. Dr. Judi Slater, plus two other workshops. Registration details and more information for this free event are here.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Session Record Reviews, normally scheduled in the spring, are scheduled to start in September. Clerks of Session may choose between two Zoom events and four in-person gatherings. Each gathering is designed to:
  • Support one another
  • Share learnings regarding adding electronic/virtual committee, session, and congregational meetings to church manuals as well as other pandemic learnings
  • Hear a brief synopsis of the church incorporation process
  • Fulfill the Book of Order requirement to review minutes annually
All Clerks of Session are invited to attend one of the following Session Record Review events. Specific locations for the October events will be announced soon.
  • Sunday, September 19 at 3 PM – Zoom
  • Sunday, September 26 at 3 PM – Zoom
  • Sunday, October 10 at 3 PM – in the eastern part of the Presbytery
  • Sunday, October 17 at 3 PM – in the northern part of the Presbytery
  • Sunday, October 24 at 3 PM – in the Charleston area
  • Sunday, October 31 at 3 PM – in the western part of the Presbytery
Contact Stated Clerk Maureen Wright (statedclerk@wvpresbytery.org) for more details.
General Presbyter Ed Thompson will lead a Zoom study/discussion of the book Quietly Courageous by Gil Rendle at 7 p.m. on the Tuesdays in September – Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28. For those who aren’t able to take advantage of those times, he’s offering a second opportunity to study/discuss the book at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays in October (Oct. 12, 19, and 26) and November (Nov. 2). If you are interested please contact the office or Ed, and we will get the Zoom link to you.
9:30-4:30 Saturday, Oct. 23 on Zoom
All of us encounter conflict at some point in time or another in our lives. Though we may not like to admit it, conflict is also present in our congregations. Rather than simply ignoring the conflict or denying its existence, this program will explore skills for transforming conflict into mutual connect, collaboration, and creative vision. Available to anyone who is interested (especially pastoral, educational, and sessional leadership), this course is led by Rev. Theresa F. Latini, PhD, who teaches and consults in a variety of setting on topics related to team building, conflict mediation and leadership. Cost is $25, due with registration, which must be completed by Oct. 18, either online or through the mail. The Zoom link will be sent to registrants on Oct. 21.
Did you know the PCUSA publishes a monthly resource focused on helping ruling elders serve their congregations faithfully? re:RE Regarding Ruling Elders: A Monthly Resource for Serving Faithfully focuses on the call to ministry by ruling elders and the ministry partnership between them and ministers of the Word & Sacrament. Ruling elders have responsibilities in the life of the church, especially in the areas of leadership, governance, spiritual discernment, and discipline. This resource offers a deeper understanding of these responsibilities and helps deepen skills to be a better ruling elder. The monthly articles can be used individually or can be gathered around a particular topic.
8 Habits of Evangelism, a new PCUSA resource, “identifies and explores 8 habits of faith, which invite the reader on a journey into the love of God, the lives of our neighbors, and the transformation of creation” (preamble). These 8 habits are justice, radical welcome, worship, sacraments, prayer, fellowship, teaching, and generosity. For each habit, which is written by a different PCUSA author, there is a lesson plan that includes seven types of resources; the habits can be explored individually or in a group. Additionally, the PCUSA's Office of Theology, Formation & Evangelism will host free Zoom webinars every Wednesday from Sept. 8 through Oct. 27, with a different author/habit each week.
Deacon Ministries: A Year of Leader Formation webinar
7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16. Register by Sept. 8.
According to our Book of Order, “the ministry of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service . . .” The ways this ministry is lived out varies from one congregation to another, depending on culture, context, and needs of the church and broader community. This third Year of Leader Formation webinar features a panel of deacons, pastors, and ruling elders in exploring this vital ordered ministry of the church. You will have an opportunity to hear about the ways that the gifts and skills of deacons are used within congregational ministries, community impacts of deacon ministries, and the connection between discipleship and deacons. There will be an opportunity for questions, answers, and further exploration of the way God is moving through PCUSA deacons. This free event will also be recorded and available online in English afterward.
By Lori L. Riley, Times West Virginian (Fairmont)
When Pastor Rebecca Mihm accepted a new job that will take her to Lakeland, Florida, she felt the time was right. "It's really about a call," Mihm said. "I love Fairmont, I love West Virginia, I love Fleming Memorial Church. But it was really about a feeling, a calling to do a specific type of work, and they have that need down in Florida." After more than five years as the pastor at Fleming Memorial Presbyterian Church on Locust Avenue, Mihm has accumulated countless memories. And lots of belongings. Too much stuff, in fact, to take with her to her new home. She'll be leaving a large home — or manse, as a pastor's home is called — to move into a one-bedroom apartment. Rather than put her furniture on the curb, Mihm called Blessings from the Basement, a local program that gathers furniture and household goods and places them with families in need.
Enslow Park assists Appalachian Service Project
Enslow Park Presbyterian was given an opportunity to assist with feeding high school to college age workcampers this summer. Appalachian Service Project is a non-profit Christian ministry that brings thousands of volunteers from around our country to repair homes for low-income Appalachian families; this was their first year in Cabell County. Enslow Park signed up to help prepare and serve food to the volunteers for one week under the direction of a single cook. But the church discovered that no other organization had signed up to continue helping for the remaining five weeks, so the church decided that it would be its outreach mission to continue to feed the 450 volunteers three meals a day spread out over the remaining five weeks. The church workers enjoyed meeting young people from Maryland, Connecticut, Minnesota, Alabama, and Florida. God is Good!
  • Board of Pensions (BOP) 2022 benefits
  • Checking your benefits accounts
  • PDA responds to Haiti earthquake impacts
  • American Rescue Plan Act
  • Post-Pandemic Church Technology Trends
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  • Free information from Church Law & Tax
  • News from the BOP Connections newsletter
  • 2021 Special Offerings
We invite you to print and include this newsletter in your bulletin or church newsletter, share it with members, and/or distribute it in your community. Click for the September newsletter in color or grayscale.
From the Stated Clerk:
Incorporation of Churches - Learning Together
The Presbytery learned earlier this year that the incorporation of churches is legal in West Virginia. Therefore, all churches in the Presbytery should begin the incorporation process as soon as possible to comply with the Book of Order (G-4.0101). Presbytery leaders and staff continue to learn more about this process. We are not lawyers, so we are unable to provide legal advice; however, we can forward general questions whose answers will assist most churches for legal opinion. Specific situational advice requires a particular church to engage legal counsel. Additionally, a number of churches have asked about annual reports. They will be required for incorporated churches, with the first one due by July 1 of the calendar year after the corporation is formed. Information on annual reports can be found here. Click here to read the entire article, plus previous information.
September mission lunchtime speaker will focus on Earth Care Congregations
The next Mission Committee lunchtime speaker will be Jessica Maudlin Phelps, the Presbyterian Hunger Program's Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns. She will discuss how and why churches should become Earth Care Congregations. Her presentation will begin at noon Sept. 23 on Zoom. Register here.
Belington Presbyterian celebrates member Lennie Poling's Points of Light volunteer service award
Lennie Poling (second from left, with Rev. Dr. Danny L. Franke and fellow volunteers Don Phillips and Ed Corey) was named the Daily Point of Light Award winner on July 12 for his work with Mountain Hospice's We Honor Veterans program, in which he and other veterans host events and visit with terminally ill veterans in the community. On July 25, he was celebrated for the award during Belington's worship service and with a reception afterward. Points of Light is an international nonprofit organization that aims to strengthen volunteerism efforts and was named from a sentence in President George H. W. Bush's 1989 inaugural address: "I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the nation, doing good."
Congratulations, Lennie!
Bream Memorial offers showers, supplies to those in need
In the fall of 2019, Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church became a Matthew 25 church, taking a bold stance to embrace all three focuses: Building Congregation Vitality, Dismantling Structural Racism, and Eradicating Systemic Poverty. The area in which Bream is located, the heart of Charleston’s West Side, is home to many struggling with drug addiction and a large houseless population. Bream was built to be a beacon of hope and strength for the downtrodden of the West Side. In point, the last line of Bream’s mission statement reads, “Welcoming all without partiality or discrimination, being God’s helping hands in our neighborhood.” So when the need for showers in the city occurred, it was an easy decision to step up to fill that void. Many other organizations help in this effort, including Manna Meal, United Way, Kanawha Valley Collective, and AmeriCorps, to not only provide showers but also new clothing, toiletries, a mobile health clinic, and food. These services are
now offered Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-4p.m. until the need ends. Click here for news coverage of this ministry outreach. Click here to donate to Bream’s outreach, writing “outreach” in the note.
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