Issue 244 | August 25, 2023

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Did you attend the August 17 Presbytery meeting? If so, please send us your feedback.

A Word from our Transitional General Presbyter

The Presbytery met for a stated meeting last Thursday, August 17, at Fayetteville Presbyterian Church. It was good to see so many of you. For those who were unable to be present, you were missed. The Presbytery met Emily Swanson of Holy Cow! Consulting, who has been hired by the Leadership Team to help us discern what God is calling us to be and do. A cradle Presbyterian who is the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor, Ms. Swanson introduced us to the work of Holy Cow! and our process for discernment.

The Small Church Conference is coming!

Join the Presbytery of West Virginia for the 2023 Small Church Conference from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7 at Elk Hills Presbyterian Church in Charleston. The theme for this 9th annual event is Ministry in the Wilderness. Rev. Dr. Judi Slater, who previously presented at our 2019 & 2021 conferences, will be the keynote presenter, speaking on “A Journey of Faith.” Additionally, participants have the chance to attend their choice of two workshops from three offered: A Journey of Compassion, Forum on PWV’s Future Direction, and Commissioned Pastor: Could God Be Calling You? Or Someone You Know? Registration information will be available in early September.

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Communion training for Ruling Elders

Oct. 15, 3-5 p.m., on Zoom

As the presbytery seeks to fulfill a 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), it will offer this free training event. All sessions, particularly those whose churches do not have pastoral leadership, are invited to send ruling elders; participants must be approved by the church’s session prior to the event. There is a preliminary assignment including reading sections of the 2023-2025 Book of Order, so participants must have a copy. To register, submit your name, church, email, phone number, and date of session approval to attend this training to no later than Oct. 2. If you have any questions, contact Susan at this email address or 304-667-9428.

Loss, Grief, and Nostalgia in Congregational Life is final Expanding Your Ministry Toolbox course of 2023

Oct. 28, 9:30-4:30, on Zoom

In many of our churches we look back at how things were, be it to the 1950s where our churches were full or to 2019 pre-pandemic, and pray, hope, wish that we could go back to the way things were when people flocked into our sanctuaries and gathered for our programs. We sense the loss of people, programs, finances, and more, and we grieve. In this course, Michael Girlinghouse, the interim chaplain for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will lead participants in exploring how congregations can work through their grief as we mourn the “used-to-be’s” and embrace God’s new future by “remembering forward.” Registration deadline is Oct. 16. Cost is $40.

Church officer preparation course

Nov. 12 and 19, 2-5 p.m., on Zoom

To assist pastors and moderators with the period of study and preparation the Book of Order describes in G-2.0402 for newly elected Ruling Elders and Deacons, Susan Sharp Campbell will offer this two-part course, of which participants are expected to participate in both sessions. While some of the content may overlap, this will be a new plan from previous years. All participants will need to have a copy of the 2023-2025 PCUSA Book of Order during the course. Participants can register individually or as a session; registration deadline is Nov. 2.

Mark your calendars for the Fall Youth Retreat!

Nov. 10-12 at Bluestone Camp & Retreat

The Fall Youth Retreat is for those in grades 6-12 and the adults who work with them. It will feature keynote presenter Anne Russ, a Presbyterian pastor who has been a small church pastor, keynote speaker including 2023 Montreat Youth Conferences, music leader, and workshop presenter. The presbytery’s Youth Council is meeting on Aug. 26, to plan this retreat, and complete information will be emailed to Pastors, Clerks of Session, and Christian education and youth ministry contacts the first full week of September. It will then also be available on the presbytery’s website. Church leaders are asked to share it with youth and their parents and youth advisors/leaders. 

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Another Presby Prep begins in January 2024

Presby Prep is the first year of the presbytery’s Authorized Lay Preacher/Commissioned Pastor Preparation Program. It's also an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about what it means to be Presbyterian and part of the Reformed family of churches. Presby Prep consists of 8 courses, one a month from January – May and September – November, all on Zoom. Each course is 3 hours long and offered on Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings, so you can choose the most convenient time to attend each month. Each course also has an assignment to be completed in advance. The registration deadline to participate in all 8 courses is Nov. 30. Note that in order for Presby Prep to take place in 2024, there must be at least 8 people registered by Nov. 30; otherwise, it will take place in 2025.       

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The Rev. Dr. John Goodman, appreciated as a volunteer at PC(USA) General Assemblies for his knowledge of polity, dies at 81

By Mike Ferguson, Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Dr. John Robert Goodman, a pastor and mid council executive appreciated and respected for his polity knowledge proffered at the many General Assemblies he served as a volunteer, died Aug. 8 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He was 81.

Celebrate Synod Sunday on Sept. 17

On Sept. 17, congregations and presbyteries in the Synod of the Trinity are invited to celebrate the gifts and blessings that take place in our bounds throughout the year. The Synod works hand-in-hand with the ministry and mission of our presbyteries as they seek to support the witness of congregations, to the end that the church throughout its region becomes a community of faith, hope, love and witness. You can use the following bulletin inserts to help tell the story of our synod and celebrate the good news that is occurring in our region: color insert, B&W insert.

Apply now to be part of the 2024 General Assembly

Application deadline: Sept. 29

The 226th General Assembly will hold committee meetings online June 25-27, 2024, and the Plenary Business Meeting in person in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 29-July 4, 2024. The Committee on Representation is now accepting applications for Minister of Word and Sacrament and Ruling Elder Commissioners, as well as Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs). Ruling Elder and YAAD applications require a Session endorsement. Click here for more information, including application forms.

News from the Presbytery's Treasurer

  • Day of Learning - Stewardship: Back to Basics
  • Board of Pensions: New Medicare Advantage plan replaces Medicare Supplement
  • Church Financial Leadership Grants available
  • Selecting Board of Pensions benefits for 2024
  • Assets & Liabilities: Manage Your Church’s Balance Sheet
  • Stewardship Kaleidoscope 2023
  • 2023 Special Offerings
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Getting to know our newer pastors: Rev. Steve Elderbrock

Rev. Steve Elderbrock has served three other Presbyterian churches before coming to Bridgeport. However, this is the first time he has been interviewing and seeking a new call since he and his wife Deb were married on Oct. 22, 2022. This is Steve’s first marriage, and he noted that it was a different experience to be interviewing for a position with a wife. Part of what attracted him to the Bridgeport congregation was the wonderful way that the PNC included Deb and any concerns she might have in the process. Steve says the PNC was positive and upbeat about the church but also very open about who the church was and its history. Steve says that he is “too old to be pretending that I am someone I am not.” He, therefore, found the lack of pretense on the part of the PNC very refreshing.


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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