Issue 202 | October 28, 2021
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All Ministers of Word & Sacrament and Ruling Elder Commissioners, as well as guests who want to watch the meeting, should register by November 8.
In his book Quietly Courageous, Gil Rendle says he will ask church leaders if they think of themselves as younger than they actually are. Frequently, people will laugh as their hands go up in response to that question. “Thinking of ourselves as younger than we actually are reflects the fact that we actually know more about who we once were than who we currently are." There’s a TV commercial that has a 53-year-old man who admits that he thinks of himself as being 35. Maybe that’s extreme, but I suspect it’s not uncommon. The question we need to ask - as churches and this presbytery - is “Who are we now?”
From 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 7 & 21, Associate for Educational Ministry Susan Sharp Campbell will offer this two-session Officer Training on Zoom for newly elected elders and deacons, as well as those currently on session, plus their moderators. Participants are expected to attend both days. Register here. Everyone needs a recent copy of the Book of Order.
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, including a registration form, has been sent to congregational leaders. Registration deadline is Nov. 8, though those registered by Oct. 25 will receive a free retreat t-shirt. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell (304-667-9428, susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com).
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 November newsletter in color or grayscale.
  • Board of Pensions Annual Enrollment
  • It's that time of year (to look at 2022 budget and review church's insurance coverage)
  • Free information from Church Law & Tax
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  • Church financial leadership grants available
  • Board of Pensions news
  • 2021 Special Offerings
Bridgeport Presbyterian Church pastor Robin Ray on the death of her sister, Debbie Palmer-Shepard, on Oct. 26 after a long battle with cancer. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Please keep Robin and her family in your prayers.

The Rev. Dr. Agnes Brady started her ministry with the First Presbyterian Church of Nitro in May 2020. Rev. Brady was raised on a family farm in western Pennsylvania; this gave her an affinity for farming and rural life, which has served her well in ministry. She has served in a number of rural setting across this country, as well as a missionary in Zambia and as an agricultural and Theological Education by Extension instructor there.
The session of Charleston First Presbyterian Church approved the request of the Mission and Witness Committee at the August 2021 session meeting to join other Presbyterian churches throughout the Presbytery and across the US in the Matthew 25 endeavor. Since last spring, members of the mission committee have been meeting with other Matthew 25 churches on Zoom to learn about what they are doing in their congregations; they also met with the Presbytery’s Associate for Missions.
By Jonathan Weaver, The Bridgeport News
Bridgeport Presbyterian Church Pastor Robin Ray has imposed blessings on the youngest children to the eldest local residents during her local tenure. She has led parishioners and community organizations through 18 months of a global pandemic, but even she couldn’t predict God’s plan for her. “I planned to be here until I retired unless God had a different plan,” Ray said. “I hit a bump in my life in June, so I took the advice from Carrie Underwood’s song ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’ and said, ‘God, I have this bump. What would you like me to do?’ I felt like God was saying that it was time to go and leading me to New Jersey to be with my children and grandchildren.”
Edgewood Presbyterian holds Blessing of the Pets
Rev. Kristi Shay Moore held a Blessing of the Pets outside the church in Lewisburg on Oct. 3. In addition to blessing the pets, she gave each one a treat bag.
Hope Village, a fair trade shopping boutique, will be back at Charleston First Presbyterian Church this holiday season. Featuring 18 artisans from around the world, it will include unique jewelry, carved olive wood from Bethlehem, African market baskets, handwoven items from Guatemala, Indian shawls, and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 18-20. 26-27, and Dec. 2-4, plus from the end of Sunday worship through 3 p.m. Nov. 14, 21, 28, and Dec. 5. With this mission outreach ministry, all proceeds go to the artisan vendors.
By Luke Blain, WVU Daily Athenaeum
The Morgantown City Council is currently considering a ban on conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change someone’s sexuality that has been widely discredited by medical professionals. With the council expected to vote on the ban next week, one Morgantown pastor is speaking out in favor of the [ban] legislation.
This article ran Oct. 13. In an update on Oct, 20, The DA reported that on Oct. 19, the city council voted in favor of the ban.
By Mike Ferguson, Presbyterian News Service
Also known as Pastoral Care Week, Spiritual Care Week began Monday and continues through Sunday. Learn more about Spiritual Care Week, along with this year’s theme of Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research, here. Heading into the week honoring those doing ministry in specialized settings including college campuses, military bases, mental health facilities and hospitals, the Rev. Lyman Smith, a retired chaplain and captain in the United States Navy and the executive director of Presbyterian Federal Chaplaincies, reached out to chaplains in healthcare settings so that Presbyterians can learn more about their difficult and often exhausting work in their particular surroundings. Following are excerpts submitted by the Rev. Kathryn Willoughby Weed (pictured), who since 1995 has been a staff chaplain at Thomas Health System in Charleston, West Virginia, and the Rev. Edward Spence, a retired PC(USA) chaplain certified by the Association of Professional Chaplains, as is Weed.
By Sue Washburn, Presbyterians Today
(...) Churches are changing in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and what ministry looks like is changing with it. Congregations are getting smaller, and ministry is getting more personal. According to the Office of the General Assembly, in 2020, more than half (63%) of the churches in the denomination had fewer than 100 members and 40% of PC(USA) members attended a church with fewer than 50 members. As the Jesus story shows, small doesn’t mean weak or ineffective. Take for instance the fact that the median size of a church in the Presbytery of West Virginia is 26 members. Many of the churches can’t afford a full-time pastor, and yet they continue to spread the gospel, care for each other and work for justice. “Despite their size, even our smallest churches continue to bring value to the communities they are in, even without sustained pastoral leadership,” said the Rev. Dr. Ed Thompson, general presbyter of the Presbytery of West Virginia.
Click image for more on this free webinar at noon Dec. 7.
As I have shared before, the Presbytery recently learned that the incorporation of churches is legal in West Virginia. Per the Book of Order (G-4.0101), where permitted by state law, each congregation shall incorporate. Therefore, all churches in the Presbytery should begin the process of incorporation as soon as possible to comply with the Book of Order. To assist with this process, all pastoral leaders and Clerks of Session received a packet of information in late May. The packet included a template for Articles of Incorporation, a template for Bylaws, and a template for Board of Trustees Consent, and instructions for completing these documents. If your church’s session is beginning the conversation about incorporation, please read the articles from the June through September newsletters (listed within the article in reverse order) before you move forward.
The Authorized Lay Preacher/Commissioned Pastor Preparation Program has three levels, which can be completed over 2-3 years. Level 1, also known as Presby Prep, will begin in January (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 susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com or 304-667-9428.
Presby Prep consists of 8 courses on Zoom that will enable anyone to learn more about Biblical Interpretation, Reformed Theology, Church History, Presbyterian Polity, Worship, Christian Education, Stewardship and Mission in the PCUSA tradition. All are welcome to register for individual courses or the whole program; those wishing to continue in the ALP/CP program must complete all courses. Each month, you can attend on either a Thursday evening or a Saturday morning. Full information is here. Register for the whole program by Nov. 30; deadlines for single courses are one month in advance. Cost is $10 per course or $50 for all. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-667-9428 or susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com.
The Rev. Dr. Se Hwan Isaiah Kim was called to become the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hinton in August 2020. Born in Korea on August 6, 1973, he was the third of four sons in a devout Christian family; three of the four sons are pastors and missionaries. Rev. Kim has an extensive educational background and has studied and ministered in many different countries and cultures around the world: Korea, Singapore, Sweden, England, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States.
Campus ministry needs you!
Do you have a heart for campus ministry? The Westminster Foundation Board of Directors is seeking potential nominees to the board – particularly for the Class of 2024 – who want to help us provide this vital ministry supporting a Presbyterian/ Reformed presence on state college campuses. Our next meeting is October 25 via Zoom and is one of three meetings per year. Please consider how you might be called to help support our campus ministers in their work and bring the message of campus ministry to the Presbytery. Please reach out to Tina Vial at 304-614-4591 or tinamvial@gmail.com to offer your name or suggest name(s) of others who might be interested in this effort. Thank you.
By Michael Givler, Synod of the Trinity
Christian education has been a passion for the Rev. Dr. Susan Sharp Campbell for many years. It’s something she draws great strength from and what motivates her in her call at the Presbytery of West Virginia and beyond. (...) Susan has turned her love for Christian education into a role with the Presbytery of West Virginia where she has been the Associate for Educational Ministry for the past 19 years. That experience, mindset and devotion made her a perfect choice to lead the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) national chapter as its president in 2021.
11:30-1:30 Nov. 4 and 11 on Zoom
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Davis will lead this two-part Union Presbyterian Seminary online course that is the essence of what it means to live into our baptism. It is our privilege and our sacred responsibility to teach those who seek to follow in God’s ways how to bridge the divide between the personal piety of beliefs and the public decisions and practices of our lives. Register here. Cost is $60.
Many in the church see the pastor or a staff person in Christian education as “the professional educator,” but in many of our smaller churches, the primary people responsible for educational ministry may be Sunday School teachers, volunteers who enjoys working with youth, or teachers in the 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. However, there is now an accessible preparation program for leaders in educational ministry who would like to be better prepared/knowledgeable: the Christian Education Associate. For more, contact Susan Sharp Campbell: 304-667-9428, susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com.
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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.