Issue 223 | September 22, 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

A Word from our General Presbyter

I’ve changed my mind. Probably the major factor in that process was reading Adam Grant’s book Think Again. (That also made me realize I need to spend more time revising my sermons, but I will save that topic for another article.) Another factor was going through my files and paperwork to see what to keep and what to discard as we get ready to move out of the office and start working from home. As I’ve gone over these reams of paper, I have realized that I have been more guilty of “printing the internet” than I had realized. I also recognized how important peacemaking had been to me earlier in my career. (...) I know that experience [of the "Commitment to Peacemaking"] has colored my views on the Matthew 25 initiative.

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

2-4 p.m. Sunday or 7-9 p.m. Monday 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. REGISTER BY TODAY 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. 

News from the Presbytery's Treasurer

  • 2023 PWV Budget
  • Sending Benevolence to the Presbytery
  • Board of Pensions news
  • New 2022 IRS Standard Mileage
  • Adjusting Minister Housing Allowance


  • Finding a Church Insurance Broker
  • 2022 Per Capita
  • 2022 Special Offerings

On the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico faces record-setting rainfall and devastation from Hurricane Fiona

By Mike Ferguson, Presbyterian News Service

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s devastation to Puerto Rico, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance personnel on Tuesday were describing a different scene despite the record rainfall that Fiona brought to the island over the weekend before turning toward the Dominican Republic and smaller islands in the Caribbean. The hurricane strength and aftermath were unprecedented in 2017, said Michelle Muñiz, PDA’s Disaster Recovery Coordinator in Puerto Rico, but the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona is comparable. In many ways, the effects are worse than those brought by Maria, “especially the historical rainfall levels,” she said. (...) To make a financial gift, go here.

Brenda Wilson memorial service

Brenda Wilson, a beloved member of the Spencer community, passed away at the beginning of the pandemic. We will be gathering to remember her and grieve her passing on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. at Camp Sheppard, 78 Camp Sheppard Lane, Gandeeville, WV 25243. Dr. Wilson taught at Glenville State College and West Virginia State University. She was an active member of Spencer Presbyterian Church, the Keepers of the Flame Women’s Prayer Group, and the Spencer Meditation Group. She also volunteered with the Helping Hand Food Panty, the Regional Land Trust of West Virginia, and WV Can’t Wait. For the Presbytery, she was a former member of the Administration Committee and an important part of the Stewardship of Creation Ministry Team. Please join us in celebrating her wonderful life and the gifts she was to so many. All are welcome. Food to follow. 

Items free to a good home!

Elizabeth Campbell-Maleke, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Williamstown & Waverly-Bethel Presbyterian Church, has an extra copy of the 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament to share with anyone who can use it. If you are interested, please contact her at She can deliver to anywhere between the Parkersburg-Charleston area or meet somewhere there to pass it on as well. 

The presbytery office has a white C.M. Almy alb and a black Bentley & Simons pulpit robe for any pastor in need. Both are gently used but newly dry cleaned. Call 304-744-7634 or email

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

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. 

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...

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