Issue 230 | January 26, 2023

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A Word from our General Presbyter

If I had one piece of advice to give to pastoral leaders, it would be “Get a coach.” In the same way, if I had one piece of advice to give to church members, it would be “Encourage your pastor to get a coach.” A second piece of advice would be “Pay for their coaching with funds over and above their continuing education allowance.” This will be the best investment you can make in your pastor and for your church. Coaching is not a panacea, a cure-all, a magic bullet. However, I think it can help a church find its way in the face of an uncertain future.

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Expanding Your Ministry Toolbox:

I Love to Tell the Story

9:30-4:30 Saturday, March 4 at Village Chapel, Charleston and on Zoom

This preaching course will focus on the power of stories to communicate the gospel. Donna Giver-Johnston, Director of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry Program, who has served as a pastor in small, medium, and large churches, will lead participants in telling their stories, listening to the stories of others, and finding impactful sermon illustrations. Cost is $40 per person. Register by Feb. 23.

Officer Training 101 to be repeated

2:30-5:30 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 5 and 12 on Zoom


Some congregation may have held their ruling elder and deacon elections too late to participate in Zoom Officer Training in November, so this is another chance. The course, built around the questions asked of ruling elders and deacons at the time of their ordination/installation, is connected, so participants should plan to attend both days. Participants need a copy of the PCUSA Book of Order, which can be ordered here or downloaded here. Register as an individual or register a group. To register, send an email to with your name, church, phone number, and email addresses for everyone who will participate.

2023 Educator, Clergy, CP, and ALP Retreat

Feb. 20-21 at St. John XXIII Pastoral Center in Charleston

"Gift vs. Grasp" is the focus of this retreat for educators, clergy, Commissioned Pastors, and Authorized Lay Preachers. It will explore shifts in power throughout the church and society using stories from the Succession Narratives in the Hebrew scriptures as we think about getting and letting go of power and influence, and the ways these decisions reflect our experience and understanding of God. Presented by Richard Boyce, Associate Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Pastoral Care (and former Academic Dean) at Union Presbyterian Seminary. The retreat will run from lunchtime Monday to lunchtime Tuesday. The overnight rate is $120 per person, with a reduced rate for a second person from the same church; the commuter rate, which includes all meals, is $80. Register by Feb. 10. Contact Susan Sharp Campbell at 304-667-9428 or


Festival of Faith 2023

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at Charleston First Presbyterian Church

Teri McDowell Ott, Editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, will be the keynote presenter for this year's Festival of Faith, which will have the theme "Necessary Risks." Her keynote will focus on "Embracing a Love Ethic," which can guide us in these divisive, polarized days of "purple" churches, where listening well, embracing humility, and encouraging vulnerability in our conversations with people of diverse perspectives are important. Additionally, she will lead two workshops. The first will be on "Living a Love Ethic," which will build on the keynote's "whys" of embracing a love ethic and focus on the "hows" of living a love ethic in everyday life, including practices and strategies to engage with others across lines of difference. The second will focus on the work and vision of The Presbyterian Outlook, the PC(USA)'s only independent publication. Plus, there will be several other workshops, a time of worship, and fellowship throughout the day. Complete information and registration forms will be sent by email to the presbytery's mailing list in early February.

Spring youth retreat planned for April at Jackson's Mill

Following the successful Fall Youth Retreat for grades 6-12 that was held at Bluestone in November, there will be a Spring Youth Retreat at Jackson's Mill April 14-16. While all middle and high school youth are invited, the focus is on having a retreat that will be closer to our youth in churches in the northern part of the presbytery. The retreat will be led by members of the presbytery's Youth Council around the theme of "A More Loving World." Complete details, including registration forms, will be sent by email and through the newsletter in late February/early March. For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at or 304-667-9428. 

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Reverend Reuel "Lanny" Lanphier Howe, Jr.

Rev. Lanny Howe, long-time pastor of Alderson Presbyterian Church, passed away Jan 19 at age 79. Click here for an obituary. A memorial service was held at the church on Jan. 22. Memorial donations can be made to the Alderson Ministerial Association, PO Box 641, Alderson, WV 24910. 

Forrest "Tiny" Palmer Sr.

Forrest Palmer Sr., father of retired Certified Christian Educator and former Interim Executive Presbyter of the presbytery Forrest Palmer, passed away Jan. 10 at age 98. Click here for an obituary. Memorial donations can be made to the Forrest and Lois Palmer Faculty/Staff Recognition Fund at Keister Elementary School, c/o Harrisonburg Education Foundation, 1 N. Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA 22802.

Betty Gardner Bailey

Betty Bailey, a long-time member and Elder of Bluefield First Presbyterian Church, passed away Jan. 16 at age 100. She served in various capacities on committees of the church and the presbytery. Click here for an obituary. A memorial service was held at the church on Jan. 21. Memorial donations can be made to First Presbyterian Church, 208 Tazewell Ave., Bluefield, WV 24701.

Kanawha United's Braveheart Fellowship to host Valentine party for young adults with developmental disabilities

Braveheart Fellowship is Kanawha United's outreach to teens and young adults with developmental disabilities. Their mission is to offer opportunities for social interaction through fun, stress-free events that are cost-free and open to everyone. The church is located at 1009 Virginia St. E. in downtown Charleston. For more information, contact Susan Marrash-Minnerly at or 304-549-5749.

Rodgers classic organ for sale

Covenant Presbyterian Church, a Presbyterian Church in America congregation in Nitro, is tearing down its building and before that happens is looking to gift its Rodgers Instruments classic organ to another church for a low price. The organ, which plays very well, is valued around $10,000, but the church is looking to sell it for just $2,000. If you are interested, contact Jeff George at 304-550-7476 or

Valley Hospice seeks chaplain for Wheeling facility

Valley Hospice, which operates Liza's Place Care Center South near Oglebay Park, is in search of a full-time chaplain for the Wheeling facility. Interested parties can check out the full job description and contact Natalie Bolock, VP of Human Resources & Administration, at or 740-859-5650.

Getting to know our newer pastors: Rev. Dr. Boyd Purcell

Boyd Purcell has been a member of this presbytery for more than 30 years and is well known to many of you. He has served a number of small churches throughout the presbytery and served as pulpit supply in several others. Now, he finds himself serving the First Presbyterian Church of Ripley. He became acquainted with the Ripley church by being asked to preach there as pulpit supply while they were without a pastor. In a very short time, the church asked Boyd if he would sign a covenant with them and become their Stated Supply Pastor. Boyd was happy to do this.

Pianist sought at Winfield Presbyterian

Winfield is seeking a pianist to accompany hymns and responses for its Sunday morning services. No choir or organist duties are required. The position would require the pianist to coordinate with the pastor to plan the hymns, prelude, offertory, and postlude music prior to the weekly 11 a.m. service, which is also livestreamed on Facebook. The pianist will be using a full-sized Yamaha Clavinova keyboard, and the church uses the 1990 blue Presbyterian Hymnal. Salary is $50 per week. Contact Rev. David Bush at 304-562-3365 or or David Gladkosky at 304-550-1598 or


Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network

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.
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