Issue 200 | September 23, 2021
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I’m tired of this pandemic. I suspect you are too. However, I’m beginning to think that God may well be using this pandemic as another wilderness time for the church. You don’t have to be much of a biblical scholar to know that the Old and New Testaments both include wilderness segments. Moses leads the people of Israel through the wilderness for 40 years helping them to escape slavery in Egypt and leading them until they reach the Promised Land. After his baptism, Jesus spends 40 days in the wilderness before he begins his public ministry. These periods in the wilderness helped to shape the faith of the people of Israel and to shape Jesus’ self-understanding. I think God is using this pandemic as a wilderness time to shape our faith and our self-understanding as a church.
Due to ongoing concerns about health and safety in light of COVID-19, all 2020 Session Record Reviews will be held on Zoom. Remaining events are at 3 p.m. this Sunday, plus Sundays Oct. 10 and 24. All Clerks of Session who did not attend the first event are invited to attend one of these. 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 ( for more details.
Have you ever felt like you were called to ministry earlier in your life, and now you’re ready to respond to that call? Has you Session explored calling a Commissioned Pastor but been unable to find one? Would you like to know more about what it means to be a Presbyterian or develop your gifts you may already be sharing with your congregation? Then the Authorized Lay Preacher/Commissioned Pastor Preparation Program may be for you! It has three levels, which can be completed over 2-3 years. Level 1, also known as Presby Prep, will begin in January 2022 (see below). All Presby Prep courses will be on Zoom, with one course per month January-May and September-November. Level 2 courses, which will be held in person, will take place January-June and September-November 2023. For Level 3 courses, there will be two option: one set of courses offered in person, the other online through Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Pathways program. Please note that all levels require participants to have internet access and computer literacy, including using Zoom. If you have questions, please contact Susan Sharp Campbell at or 304-667-9428.
Presby Prep, beginning in January om Zoom, consists of 8 courses intended to enable all interested people to explore and learn more about Biblical Interpretation, Reformed Theology, Church History, Presbyterian Polity, Worship, Christian Education, Stewardship and Mission in the PCUSA tradition and practice. All are welcome to register for individual courses or the whole program; for those who wish to continue in the ALP/CP preparation program, all courses are required. There are two options to attend each month: a Thursday evening or a Saturday morning. Full information is in the Presby Prep brochure. The registration deadline for the whole program is Nov. 30, with deadlines for each individual course one month before the course. Cost is $10 per course or $50 for all. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-667-9428 or
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 October newsletter in color or grayscale.
Older Youth Retreat: The Missing Link with Adrian Pratt
November 19-21 at Bluestone Camp & Retreat
The Older Youth Retreat is for youth in grades 9-12 and their adult advisors/chaperones. Adrian Pratt, Interim Pastor for Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church in Bridgehampton, NY, will be the keynote presenter on the theme “The Missing Link,” looking at where God seems to be missing in our society and our lives, as well as the challenges we face in our own lives and in society as we seek to live as disciples of Jesus. Complete information will be sent to congregational leaders by the end of September. This information will include a registration form; registration deadline is Nov. 8, though those registered by Oct. 18 will receive a free retreat t-shirt. For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-667-9428 or
Rev. Dr. Parrish L. Bridges began his new call as Pastor with First Presbyterian Church of Huntington in September 2020. When asked what had attracted him to the church, Rev. Bridges said that the PNC was fantastic and that he and his wife connected really well with them. He resonated with the church’s sense of mission and their desire to be faithful to God. He finds the downtown location of the church to be a plus. Rev. Bridges is excited by the church’s support of City Mission, Recovery Point, Harmony House, and the Cabwaylingo ministry. The church has converted its property near the church into a meeting place for AA and other recovery ministries. In addition, the church has a great staff and is doing amazing work with music, worship, and children/youth ministry.
While many in the church see the pastor, or a staff person in Christian education, as “the professional educator,” in many of our smaller churches, the primary people responsible for educational ministry may be Sunday School teachers, volunteers who enjoys working with the youth, or teachers in the public/private school system. While they have a passion and sense of call, often they don’t have or can’t afford to get training in basic knowledge and skills areas of educational ministry/Christian education/faith formation. The good news is that there is now an accessible preparation program for leaders in educational ministry who would like to be better prepared and knowledgeable: the Christian Education Associate. For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-667-9428 or
  • Board of Pensions (BOP) 2022 benefits
  • Checking your benefits accounts
  • PDA response to Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Ida & Refugee Emergencies
  • It's that time of year (to look at 2022 budget)
  • Free information from Church Law & Tax
  • Post-Pandemic Church Technology Trends
  • Church financial leadership grants available
  • News from the BOP Connections newsletter
  • 2021 Special Offerings
Sen. Stephen Baldwin of Ronceverte Pres. will close out current mission speaker series
The final presenter of the current Mission Committee lunchtime speaker series will be Sen. Stephen Baldwin, pastor of Ronceverte Presbyterian Church, who will give a Statehouse Report. His talk will begin at noon Oct. 28 on Zoom. Register here.
New scholarship to offer four years' tuition, room & board at D&E
The new Citizens Bank of West Virginia Emerging Leaders Scholarship to Davis & Elkins College (also sponsored by WDTV) will provide four years of tuition, room, and board with an approximate value of $160,000. State high schoolers who graduate in 2022 - whether from a public, private, or home school - with a 3.25 GPA or higher are eligible to apply. Applicants also must include a list of high school and community involvement activities and will be required to submit a 500-1,500 word essay on the topic, “If you receive this scholarship, how will you pay it forward to the state of West Virginia?” Submit applications here or by using the QR code below. Applications accepted through Nov. 15.
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.
From the Stated Clerk:
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.
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. Zoom link will be sent to registrants 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 here 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.
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 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.)
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
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.
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.