Issue 222 | September 8, 2022

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Our new address

Moving forward, please use the following address for Presbytery mail. 

Presbytery of West Virginia

P.O. Box 11720

Charleston, WV 25339

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A Word from our General Presbyter

I recently started reading Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but it seems his main point is that we need to be willing to admit that we might be wrong, that many – or at least some – of the things that we believe no longer hold true. He says that we often act like a preacher, a politician, or a prosecutor when we need to act like a scientist. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a preacher; after all, that’s been my chosen profession, my calling, how I’ve thought of myself for most of my life. However, Grant observes that when one of our deeply held beliefs is challenged or questioned, we often try to teach or encourage someone to adopt our views (like a preacher), we try to argue or debate to persuade someone to adopt our views (like a politician), or we challenge or question the person who has challenged or questioned us (like a prosecutor). Instead, we need to step back and examine what’s actually happening, measure the results, and be more objective, like a scientist. Admittedly, it’s more complicated than that (and Grant does a better job making his point than my attempted summary of his work), but in his view, a scientist is concerned more about discovering whether something is true or not rather than proving what they already think is true.

The Book of Confessions: How the Church has Spoken In and To the World

2-4 p.m. Sept. 25 or 7-9 p.m. Sept. 26 on Zoom

While all of the confessional standards in the Book of Confessions guide us in what we believe and do as a commentary on Scripture, the “Theological Declaration of Barmen,” “The Confession of 1967,” and “The Confession of Belhar” focused attention on threats to the church’s existence and injustices in the world. This Equipping Disciples event will explore these three documents, including the times in which they were written, the circumstances they sought to address, and how the church continues to confront injustice and threats and seeks to speak in the midst of a world that yearns for peace, justice, and wholeness. Anyone who is interested in exploring some of the confessions of the church and how the church has spoken to the world is invited to participate. While it would be helpful to have read the three confessional statements mentioned above in advance, it is not required. Click to download the Book of Confessions. There is no cost for these events, but you need to register to receive the Zoom link. Please register no later than Thursday, September 22, by sending an email to

Child Protection Training

7-9 p.m. Oct. 10 on Zoom

Most, if not all, Child Protection Policies require training for those working with children and youth. Susan Sharp Campbell, Associate for Educational Ministry, will provide this training opportunity on child protection processes and procedure; it is open to anyone interested in training. Topics to be covered include: the need for such policies, definitions and kinds of child abuse, best practices and policies, and procedures for reporting and responding to abuse. While there is no cost for this workshop, it is important to register in order to receive the Zoom link. To register, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at or 304-667-9428 prior to Friday, Oct. 7. It would also be helpful if, when you register, you could share a copy of your church’s child protection policy, so this workshop can be somewhat customized to participants. 

Interfaith Relationships & Dialogues: How to Effectively Develop Them and Transform Church, Community, and Self is final 2022 Expanding Your Ministry Toolbox course

9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Village Chapel Presbyterian, Charleston

Interfaith dialogues and gatherings can play a crucial role in both strengthening relationships within civil society and expanding the good work on fellowship among our parishioners. This program will offer ideas on why interfaith activities are so valuable, how to create successful partnerships with other faith communities, and what to both look for and avoid when developing interfaith programming. Led by Ibtesam Sue Barazi, Vice President, Islamic Association of West Virginia; Victor Urecki, Rabbi, B'Nai Jacob Synagogue; and Todd Wright, Pastor, Village Chapel Presbyterian, this day of study will provide guidance, knowledge, and support in discovering how to overcome the barriers of religious difference and build bridges of religious understanding and growth. Cost is $50, due with registration. Register online here or by mail with this form and a check to Presbytery of West Virginia, PO Box 11720, Charleston, WV 25339. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell, or 304-667-9428, with questions or for more information.

Officer training coming up in November will feature a new design from previous two years

2-5 p.m. Nov. 13 and 20 on Zoom 

Susan Sharp Campbell, Associate for Educational Ministry, will lead this Officer Training, which is specifically designed for newly-elected ruling elders and deacons, although those who are currently serving are also welcome to attend. It will be based on the questions asked at the time of ordination and/or installation. What do these questions mean, and how do they guide our work as those in ordered ministry? The two sessions will build on each other, so participants are expected to attend both. Registration deadline is Nov. 3, so that advance assignments can be shared. All participants will need a copy of the 2019-2021 or 2019-2023 Book of Order. The Zoom link will be sent on Nov. 9, to those who are registered. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell, or 304-667-9428, with questions or for more information.

"A More Loving World" youth retreat and concert in November will feature David LaMotte

Retreat is Nov. 18-20 at Bluestone. Concert is 8 p.m. Nov. 19.

Mark your calendar, and save the date! LaMotte will be the keynote presenter for the Youth Retreat, which is for those in grades 6-12 and their adult advisors. We are trying something new with this retreat for youth of all ages. While youth from the same church will be housed together, there will be different small groups for older youth and younger youth. Complete information will be available later this month and sent to church leaders.

Additionally, as part of this retreat, David LaMotte will be presenting a concert on Saturday evening, which will be open to all interested persons. There will also be the opportunity for concertgoers to come for dinner on Saturday and stay through Sunday morning. More information on this will also be out later this month. 

News from the Presbytery's Treasurer

  • 2023 PWV Budget
  • Board of Pensions news
  • New 2022 IRS Standard Mileage
  • Adjusting Minister Housing Allowance
  • Are internal controls necessary?
  • Stewardship Kaleidoscope
  • 2022 Per Capita
  • 2022 Special Offerings
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Rev. Robert G. Newman Ph.D.

Reverend Robert G. Newman, Ph.D., passed away peacefully on August 27, 2022, with the caring staff of the Meadowbrook Acres Nursing Center at his side. He was 86.

A minister member of the Presbytery, he served on several committees, including the Committee on Ministry and Vocations Committee. He was an interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston and provided pastoral services to the Kanawha United Presbyterian Church and many other places of worship. Additionally, he led the Lay Academy of Religion, which was a forum for sharing faith.

His memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15 at First Presbyterian Church, 16 Leon Sullivan Way, Charleston, WV 25301 with Rev. Dr. William Myers officiating. A reception will follow. Click here for Bob's obituary. Memorial donations can be made to First Presbyterian Church of Charleston. 

George Horning

George Horning, the father of PWV Stated Clerk/Associate for Congregational Support Maureen Wright, died Sunday at Hospice of Cincinnati, Blue Ash, with his wife of 65 years by his side. There will be a memorial service at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10 at Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati. Click here for George's obituary. 

Connect with God's Creation at the Bluestone Fall Getaway

Oct. 21-23; register by Oct. 19

"Connecting with God's Creation" is the theme of this intergenerational retreat designed for all ages to explore and discover connections with God’s creation and each other. Time will be spent engaging in activities and conversations that present the importance of all of our connections – with God, one another, and the world we live in. The hope is that all will leave this experience with closer connections and an understanding of how we are caretakers of God’s creation. Click for the retreat flyer and registration

Getting to know our newer pastors: Debbie Penn

Perhaps Debbie Penn was predestined to be a Presbyterian preacher. One can certainly see the hand of God upon her from her earliest years. She was on the cradle roll of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunbar. Her father was an elder there, and her mother was a Sunday School teacher. Debbie’s grandparents were also active in that church, and her grandfather was an elder. Debbie was active in Sunday School and youth group. She was a Bluestone kid, and that experience helped shape her Christian identity. She went every year and later served as a part-time counselor at the camp. Like many young people, Debbie drifted away from the church in her 20s, but she came back in her early 30s and was ordained an elder at 34.

What We Sing as Creation Cries Out

By Kelsey Kramer McGinnis, Christianity Today

Deckers Creek, an Appalachian tributary that runs through Morgantown, West Virginia, was once clean and clear. These days, it often has an orange hue. “That’s the heavy metals leaching into the creeks and ground water,” said Zac Morton, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church, a nearby congregation of roughly 250. “It’s notorious as an acid mine tributary.” In Appalachia, Morton says, addressing climate change and weaving the theme of environmental justice into liturgy reflects the experiences of his community...

PWV Office Inventory Giveaway

The bulk of the items have been claimed, but there are still some things left, including two desks, a set of small trapezoidal tables with chairs, a 5-shelf bookcase, a wide 3-drawer cabinet, and two 12-cup coffee makers. You can claim any available item by emailing, noting the item number and description in the subject line and your name in the body. (Items marked by a C in the inventory have already been claimed.) The items will go to the first email response received, as indicated by the time stamp. You may pick up claimed items during regular office hours (8:30 AM-5:30 PM Monday-Thursday) Sept. 19-29. The office is at 520 2nd Ave., South Charleston, WV 25303.

Need hymnals or Bibles? Kuhn Memorial can help!

Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian Church in Barboursville has more than 80 of the blue Presbyterian Hymnals and more than 40 RSV Bibles available for any church in need. If you are interested, please contact the church at or 304-736-4512.

Manual for Church Building Care & Related Operations

In the Aug. 16 Synod of the Trinity newsletter, this resource was included, which is helpful but may not cover everything for every church. Produced by the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Men, who have been active in providing building maintenance and restoration care for many years, it includes sections on Funding & Design Resources, Maintenance, and Project Implementation, including areas relating to roofing, stained glass, food service, building security, and solar power. There are numerous inspection checklists to help buildings and grounds people determine the life of their facilities. 

Nurturing Faith Ideas
Prayer List for Churches
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.