Issue 167 | April 23, 2020
Click on an underlined title to go to the full article or link
On April 14, Leadership Team had a called meeting, where they took two important actions. First and foremost, they chose to cancel the May 21 Presbytery meeting due to the uncertainty about whether we would be able to gather safely at that time. Second, they approved the acceptance of a loan through the Federal CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program and authorized our Financial Administrator/Treasurer Rocky Poole to sign all documents as required by United Bank for the purposes of receiving this loan.
For the first time in the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), General Assembly will be held online only. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a plan for a reduced assembly gathering that will require everyone involved — commissioners, advisory delegates, corresponding members and staff — to participate in a digital assembly.
I realize that’s my problem. Maybe it’s yours too. I need to work on seeing God at work in all this because I do believe that God is at work in all this. (...) Maybe our old way of being church has died and a new way of being church is being born? Or perhaps we should say the church has been or is being resurrected. That gives me hope. For all the pain, all the confusion, all the uncertainty brought by this pandemic, I have hope that God will use this time to transform us and to transform the church so that we can let go of the attitudes and practices that were burdensome or perhaps unnecessary so that we can discover new ways of connecting, new ways of sharing the gospel, new ways of being church. The prophet Isaiah proclaims “Look! I’m doing a new thing. Now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it?” (Isaiah 43:19a CEB) I do recognize it Lord. Help me embrace it.   
The last newsletter included information on celebrating communion in this time of the coronavirus pandemic, referring to the March 24  Advisory Opinion from the Office of the General Assembly and  supplemental guidance  from the Office of Theology and Worship. Since then, I have been asked if Ruling Elders trained and authorized by Presbytery to celebrate communion in their churches of membership may officiate virtual communion. The answer is YES! If communion is approved by the session, ruling elders may officiate at virtual communion. Just remember to note these for your annual report.
In this unique time, church leaders are experimenting with different technology and other resources to stay connected with their congregations and engage in vital ministry. In this short, five-question survey about your current service to your church in this time of pandemic, the Synod of the Trinity wants to know what is working for you, what is not, and how you are taking care of "you." Please share the survey with leaders within your congregation who didn't receive it.
Christian Educators' weekly Zoom
Christian educators are now meeting weekly by Zoom from 1-2 p.m. Wednesdays. This is an opportunity to share what they are doing with faith formation at home, as well as check in with each other during this time of staying in place. Anyone who is involved in the educational ministry of their congregation is welcome to participate. To do so, contact Susan Sharp Campbell at susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com or 304-645-4568, so she can include you in the Zoom invitation.
The Youth Council is an important part of our presbytery’s work with youth as it plans and leads two youth retreats each year and assists in promoting other events for the youth of our presbytery. There are openings for youth - who must be in grades 10-12 in the fall - and adults on Youth Council. Applications and nomination forms can be found here and have been emailed to all Pastoral Leaders, Clerks of Sessions, Youth Ministry and Christian Education Contacts, and Christian Educators. Completed forms must be postmarked by April 30, though the Session nomination form deadline has been extended to May 27 in order to accommodate their schedule in this extraordinary time.
___________________________________________________

Loan and grant monies are available through the Presbytery’s Nurture Committee to assist with academic or vocational study beyond high school. Additionally, t hose who have received loans in previous years are eligible to renew them by sending a statement updating the committee on their past years and progress towards a degree. Information has been emailed to all Pastoral Leaders, Christian Educators, Youth Ministry and Education Contacts, and Clerks of Session, or you can contact Susan Sharp Campbell at susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com or 304-645-4568.  Application deadline is April 30, though letters of recommendation will be accepted until May 27. Mail to Presbytery of West Virginia Scholarship Committee, 520 Second Ave., South Charleston, WV 25303 or email to Susan Sharp Campbell.
______________________________________________________
Currently, Montreat Youth Conferences are still scheduled, and there is still space available with the Presbytery for youth currently in grades 8-12 to participate. The registration deadline is April 30. This is a great opportunity to connect with youth from all over the country and explore who God is and who we are through small groups, keynotes, worship and recreation. Rodger Nishioka will be the keynote presenter. The cost of $350 per youth is comprehensive, with the exception of meals while traveling. If you have questions, need more information, or are an interested adult, please contact Susan Sharp Campbell at susan_sharp_campbell@hotmail.com or 304-645-4568.
  • Information from the Board of Pensions
  • CARES Act
  • Maintaining church treasurer's operations
  • 2020 Special Offering Calendar
We invite you to print and include this newsletter in your bulletins or church newsletters, share it with your members and distribute it widely in your community. Click for the  APRIL newsletter in  color  or  grayscale .
In our new reality of virtual worship, session meetings and more, Zoom video conferencing has become a regular part of life for many of us. Because of this increase of use, Zoom updated its system earlier this month in order to help prevent "Zoombombing," where an unwanted guest hacks into your worship service or meeting and displays unwanted content or creates unwanted noise. This includes a new Security icon, which is a quick one-stop location for many important security features, in the host's bottom toolbar during a meeting. Click on the article title for a document from Synod of the Trinity Communications Coordinator Mike Givler about keeping your Zoom gatherings safe.
The Presbyterian Mental Health Network offers resources for congregations, clergy, and communities in this unprecedented time. See tips for promoting your mental and spiritual well-being, as well as how to deal with stress, fear, and panic.
_____________________________________________

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is offering a pair of hour-long webinars designed to increase participants’ understanding of their own signs of stress and teach in-the-moment tools for body and mind relaxation. One is geared towards faith leaders, and the other is for general audiences. It is recommended that participants also download and print out the accompanying handout . Recordings of the two webinars can be viewed or downloaded, or PDA can offer groups a live webinar upon request.
Have you read "re: RE," the PC(USA)'s Regarding Ruling Elders article series?
In its news section, the Presbyterian Church (USA) website offers brief articles focused on ruling elders called Regarding Ruling Elders: a Monthly Series for Serving Faithfully. This month’s article, Ruling Elders in a Pandemic, focuses on the central question of how we will remain the church.
This highly regarded annual preaching conference, which will feature 28 presenters, is being offered in a FREE, ONLINE format this year. The event will focus on the fact that the world needs good preaching… now more than ever. The conference theme is Preaching a New Earth: Climate and Creation. Register here.
Davis & Elkins College alumnus Ryan Mullennex ’18 enjoyed his internship through PC(USA)'s Young Adult Volunteer Program so much that he enthusiastically accepted a position with the organization, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, as his first full-time job. Little did the Elkins native know that just a few months into his career, his work would be more in demand than ever.
Festival of Faith has moved to August 29!
Festival of Faith, with keynote presenter Jill Duffield, editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, has been moved to Saturday, Aug. 29. More information will be coming in early summer. Please mark this date on your calendar!
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.
CONDOLENCES
Carolyn Arbuckle, a retired Certified Christian Educator and the former longtime Presbytery of West Virginia Hunger Action Enabler, passed away peacefully on April 9 at Sunnyside Retirement Community in Harrisonburg, VA. Her body was cremated, and services will be held at a later date. Please keep her family and friends in your prayers.
By Mike Givler, Synod of the Trinity
“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.
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
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.