Issue 199 | September 9, 2021
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It was a sobering experience. Not that anyone looked drunk in their little Zoom square. The time of day – 4 p.m. EDT - and the crowd – members of the Association of Mid Council Leaders, who had tuned in for their bimonthly Zoom check-in - worked against that. We were listening to Lisa Allgood update us on the latest trends in our continuing pandemic. You may remember Lisa. The Executive Presbytery in the Presbytery of Cincinnati, she was the speaker at our May Presbytery meeting. In a prior career, she had been an immunocyctochemist. (To be honest, I had no idea that anyone could be that, let alone know what one does. Let’s just say she’s really smart. ) There was good news and more good news. But there was plenty of bad news. It was hard to take it all in. The talk was a sobering experience, but maybe that’s what God is using to get our attention.
Saturday, Sept. 18 on Zoom
Due to continued concerns over Covid safety, the Small Church Conference is moving online. The date is still the same, and the time is only slightly different (9:45-2:45). You can still register by clicking here by Sept. 16. Focusing on the Matthew 25 Initiative and featuring a theme of "Saved to Serve...Thy Kingdom Come on Earth," the conference will feature the keynote and a workshop by Rev. Dr. Judi Slater, plus two other workshops.
Register now! Healthy Boundary Training on Sept. 22
9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 22 on Zoom
All pastoral leaders – Ministers of Word and Sacrament (including Honorably Retired ministers serving congregations), Certified Christian Educators, Commissioned Pastors, ministers of other denominations serving our congregations, lay pastors, and people on the Pulpit Supply list – are required to complete a Healthy Boundary Training Workshop every five years. All new pastoral leaders and all presbytery leaders who have not completed a Healthy Boundary Training event in or after 2016 need to attend. Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center Executive Director Sky Kershner will lead the event, for which there is no cost. Register by emailing Maureen Wright at statedclerk@wvpresbytery.org.
Session Record Reviews will begin with Zoom events on Sept. 19 and 26. Additionally, four events are scheduled in October (Oct. 10, 17, 24, and 31) - currently in-person, though the number and location of events could change due to Covid. All will begin at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon, and all Clerks of Session are invited to attend one. 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
Contact Stated Clerk Maureen Wright (statedclerk@wvpresbytery.org) for more details.
2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10 at Beckley PC & Bridgeport PC
As the presbytery seeks to fulfill the responsibility for “authorizing and training specific ruling elders to administer or preside at the Lord’s Supper when it deems it necessary to meet the needs for the administration of the Sacrament” (G-3.0301b), we share these free training events. All sessions, particularly those whose churches do not have pastoral leadership, are invited to send 2-3 ruling elders (they don’t have to currently be on session) to this event. Names of ruling elders must be submitted to Stated Clerk Maureen Wright in advance. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. Register here.
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.
2 to 5 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 7 and 21 on Zoom
Many congregations elect ruling elders and deacons toward the end of the year. The Book of Order says that after election, “the session shall provide a period of study and preparation, after which the session shall examine them as to their personal faith; knowledge of the doctrine, government, and discipline contained in the Constitution of the church; and the duties of the ministry” (G-2.0402). To assist with this period of study and preparation, Susan Sharp Campbell, Associate for Educational Ministry, will offer this two-session Officer Training that focuses on those topics. The sessions will build on and connect with each other, so participants are expected to participate in both. Newly elected elders and deacons, as well as those who are currently on session, and their moderators are welcome to participate. Register by Oct. 27. Each participant will need a recent copy of the PCUSA Book of Order to use during the training. In January 2022, Officer Training 201, focusing on the responsibilities of sessions, will be held on Zoom on Sundays, Jan. 9 and 23. This will be designed for those who have attended this Officer Training 101 or an Officer Training in previous years.
From the Stated Clerk:
Incorporation of Churches - Continued 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. New information this month, after last month's article addressed quorum, includes a clarification on that (in short: meeting quorum can be reduced, even to 10 percent, but state law requires a higher percentage for certain business items), as well as annual meetings and trustees. Click here for this entire article, plus previously shared information.
Learn about Earth Care Congregations with next mission speaker
The next Mission Committee lunchtime speaker will be Jessica Maudlin Phelps, the Presbyterian Hunger Program's Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns, who will discuss how and why churches should become Earth Care Congregations. Her talk will begin at noon Sept. 23 on Zoom. Register here.
Need a 2021-2022 Presbyterian planning calendar?
If so, you are in luck as the Presbytery has 10 extra planning calendars at the office. If you or your church would like one, contact Amy Robinson at office@wvpresbytery.org or 304-744-7634. Cost per calendar is $11 for pick up at the office, or there is an additional postage fee if we mail them ($3 for one calendar, $3.50 for two or three, or $4.25 for four.)
  • Board of Pensions (BOP) 2022 benefits
  • Checking your benefits accounts
  • PDA responds to Haiti earthquake impacts
  • It's that time of year (to look at 2022 budget)
  • Free information from Church Law & Tax
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  • Post-Pandemic Church Technology Trends
  • 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.
JOB OPENING
Office Administrator & Financial Secretary
St. Albans First Presbyterian
Administrator will staff the church office, oversee general office activity, initiate and support all forms of communication, perform clerical and financial job duties, handle record keeping and database maintenance, and provide support to the congregation, pastor, session, and committees. This is a part-time position of 25 hours per week, with office hours Monday-Friday. Qualifications: prior experience in a clerical and/or financial role, with a degree in Accounting or Business Administration a plus; strong computer skills with proficiency in MS Office and ability to learn new software; ability to handle confidential information, be well-organized, work independently, and complete tasks in a timely manner; possess good oral and written communication skills. Send resumes and cover letters to FPCSA Staff Committee, 201 Kanawha Terr., St. Albans, WV 25177 or fpcsa@firstpresbychurch.com.
Church leases & covenant issues

PC(USA) General Counsel Mike Kirk has prepared advice on best practices when a church is considering allowing an outside group to use its building. It includes guidance on security, tax issues, and insurance. Click here to read it.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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Editor's Note: In order to keep PWV News fresh, articles will generally run for two consecutive issues. If you would like a piece to run longer, please update (with refreshed content, new wording and/or a different photo) and resubmit.