Issue 166 | April 10, 2020
Click on an underlined title to go to the full article
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Presbytery office is closed. Staff is working remotely and available to help. Contact information is below.

Ed Thompson, General Presbyter

Maureen Wright, Stated Clerk/Associate for Congregational Ministry

Rocky Poole, Treasurer/Financial Administrator
treasurer@wvpresbytery.org or 304-481-7239

Barbara Chalfant, Associate for Mission
missions@wvpresbytery.org or 434-944-0137

Susan Sharp Campbell, Associate for Educational Ministry

Amy Robinson, Office Manager/Communications Director
office@wvpresbytery.org or 304-206-6173

Nellie Howard, Resource Center Director

Mark Miller, Bluestone Facilities Director
mark@bluestonecamp.com or 304-466-0660

Sarah Specht, Bluestone Program Director
sarah@bluestonecamp.com or 304-690-6667
The question that keeps running through my mind with this pandemic is “What comes next?” Of course, we don’t know when we will get there, but eventually, our in-person worship and committee meetings will resume, and official social distancing will be a thing of the past. What do we do until then? I found a variation of that question in the book Sailboat Church by Joan Gray, which I just finished reading. At the end of the book, Gray reflects on a visit she made to Nebraska and noted that while there were some churches that had closed in light of the changes in the agricultural economy there were others that wanted to keep going and were asking God the question, “What do you want us to do now?” The conditions, the context had changed and were so very different than when their churches had been founded, but they still believed God had work for them, so they offered up this question to God in prayer. I think that needs to be the question we need to be asking God as well. It feels like we had some momentum leading up to Holy Week and Easter, but once that is over and we have no clear goal to work toward, what are we going to do? What do we need to do? What does God want us to do?
WHO'S UP FOR A VIRTUAL EASTER EGG HUNT?
With many Easter Egg Hunts getting canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, an online hunt is planned for Saturday at 1 p.m. Here's how it works:
  • Congregations are being asked to consider the Easter story in scripture, provide a picture of an egg and say what Easter means to them. These should be posted on Facebook and/or Instagram by noon Saturday. The posts will be connected using the hashtag #onebasket2020 and will include a tag of the church or camp ministry.

  • Families can “hunt” the eggs, making a list of churches and camps or even a map of the places they find eggs! Most importantly, it gives families an opportunity to talk and discover the meaning of Easter together.

  • Families can search the hashtags to find eggs after noon on Saturday! Children are encouraged to search with their families. Get creative… count how many you find, how many churches and camps you find them from, or even map out the places your eggs are coming from!
Siblings in Christ, we recognize your plans for a joyous Easter celebration have changed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many of you are now planning virtual services. Please know you are not alone — we are the Church together, and we are united in the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.

In this time of social distancing, our need for connection has never been greater. With that in mind, we invite you to join us for an Easter celebration and message of hope. Leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) share with you a special Easter worship video, created to help us come together in community on this holiest of days.

You are welcome to use the video however you like. We hope it is helpful for congregations that are unable to hold their own virtual worship. Even congregations that are already streaming worship may wish to watch. You may choose to create a sense of community by asking your congregation to watch the video at an appointed time. Our hope is that Presbyterians might unite in spirit during worship on Easter.

This 40-minute, standalone worship video is available in English , Spanish and Korean, with a downloadable Order of Worship in each language. You may view or download the video here . And we invite you to engage with us on Sunday to share your joyous expressions of Easter on the Church’s Facebook page .

In this time of crisis, the ministry of the Church is more important than ever. We are encouraging Presbyterians to give generously to their local church, providing support for their congregation and community. We also encourage support for One Great Hour of Sharing as a witness to the whole Church coming together to support the most vulnerable among us. To accompany the Easter service, download this bulletin insert highlighting the offering and how it enables the Church’s response to crises such as these.

We encourage you to follow the latest news from the Church regarding the coronavirus. You may sign up to receive daily or weekly updates.

Paul tells us, “We do not grieve as others who have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13). While this crisis may consume our attention, it cannot destroy our hope. We join you in prayer for all those impacted by this pandemic.

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett President, Executive Director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency
A number of our churches have asked for guidance about celebrating communion in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. As pastoral leaders gathered by Zoom last week, my initial response was no due to the fact that our tradition and the Directory for Worship start with God’s people gathering physically at the Lord’s Table. It has been a week of back and forth, with Mid Council leaders discussing the issue, the Office of the General Assembly issuing a confusing opinion, and the Advisory Committee on the Constitution of the PC(USA) offering another opinion. On March 24, the Office of the General Assembly issued a longer, clearer Advisory Opinion...

  • Information from the Board of Pensions
  • An overview of the CARES Act
  • Maintaining church treasurer's operations
  • Board of Pensions' tax resources
  • 2020 Special Offering Calendar
By Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity featured news
“Call to Worship” has a whole new meaning for two congregations in West Virginia these days. Because of the outbreak of the coronavirus, both  Highlawn Presbyterian Church  in Saint Albans and  Saint Andrew Presbyterian Church  in Pinch are using simple phone technology to keep the congregations connected on Sunday mornings. The churches, both of which are pastored by Nancy Didway, are located about 23 miles apart and are now regularly worshiping together for the first time. The experiment began on March 22 after people were encouraged to maintain “social distancing” by staying six feet apart and were also asked to not gather in groups of more than 10 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. While video platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube have become popular options for churches to use to meet their needs during this unique time, Nancy opted for a more tried-and-true option to keep her congregations connected.
CONDOLENCES
Carolyn Arbuckle, the former longtime Presbytery of West Virginia Hunger Action Enabler, passed away peacefully yesterday morning, April 9. Her body will be cremated, and services will be held at a later date. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers.
A series of worship services for the six Sundays following Easter that links us to the same emotions and questions the early church had in the time after Jesus' resurrection.
From Rev. Beth Patton, Rev. Nicole Farley, and Ruling Elder
Rachel Yates of the Presbytery of Milwaukee

The six services move in theme from confronting our fear, the things that cause us to trip in our walk with Jesus, and our longing to stay safely away from the world, to a recognition that God is not contained inside walls, but instead God’s house is much larger than just us. We are called to be the church in the world and to be living stones built into a spiritual house. The foundational text is I Peter 2: 4-6, focusing on the concept of becoming Living Stones. Each service begins with a different biblical translation of this text to convey the sense of journey from an invitation “Come to him, a living stone…” (NRSV) and ending with words of acceptance, “Welcome to the living stone…” (The Message).

What's included are six digital worship services, including embedded links to hymns; six weekly bulletins for congregations and worship leaders, and six full liturgy scripts, except for sermon. The bulletins and liturgy scripts are editable in Word. Click on the article's title image for a link to the webpage, where you can find all the instructions to create this series for your own church.
Save the date for the 2020 Small Church Conference in September!
In our efforts to reach out to various parts of the Presbytery, we are taking the Small Church Conference a little more to the north this year. Our host church will be First Presbyterian Church of Clarksburg for the conference scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12. As the planning team continues its work, we will periodically share updates and information.
QUICK LINKS
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.