January 7, 2019
Pockets of Hope
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NIB)
by Wendy Wellington, Administrative Elder
Ark & Dove Presbyterian Church, Odenton

This past October, 2019, I participated in a mission trip to Guatemala, along with the Mission Elder from my church, Cheryl Schafer, and members from three other churches. The trip was hosted by CEDEPCA , or the Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America, with whom the Presbytery of Baltimore has a partnership. This was not your typical mission trip. We didn't help build a church or a home, nor did we create more green spaces or build a water filtration system for a community.  This trip was about encountering a world seemingly so different from ours, connecting with real people from that world, and learning from this experience what I can do to become a more thoughtful, compassionate disciple of Jesus Christ. 

This intercultural encounter impressed on me how critical education and acting from a place of love are for building a healthy community. I learned first-hand how the lives of many individuals had been changed through the education and loving support they received from CEDEPCA.

The people we met shared with our group how the education and support they received from CEDEPCA had made their lives better: their self-esteem had grown and they felt empowered to stand up for themselves. Despite their horrendous experiences, they focused on the positive changes in their lives. They all felt hopeful in a world still broken around them. This felt like the peace of God. I reflected several times during my trip on how each individual transformed by the education they received and the love they felt from God through CEDEPCA, was inspired to share what they learned with others, to spread that peace, creating more pockets of hope. They aren't shouting from the rooftops, but quietly and persistently sharing, teaching, and supporting each other. They are building a healthier community through education and sharing the love that God has for them.

Those of us visiting weren't the only ones learning from others. One woman at the weaving cooperative we visited really engaged Cheryl in conversation – albeit, through an interpreter – to learn about Cheryl and her church back home. The woman was so amazed to learn that Ark and Dove and other churches give money to the Presbytery of Baltimore to provide financial support to CEDEPCA.  She seemed to feel more connected with the world, perhaps not feeling so alone. Maybe CEDEPCA felt more real to her now that she could connect the organization to actual faces and living bodies of some of the people from faraway who helped to support the organization. The woman was so amazed by what she learned that as soon as her conversation with Cheryl was over, she stood up and shared it with the rest of the women from the cooperative. 

Now that I am back home, I find that I am noticing pockets of hope all around me. This intercultural experience has given me hope for our world. It has reminded me, shown me, that I do need pay attention to the current reality around me, to rely on the Bible for guidance about that reality and what to do, then taken action. My desire to work with individuals through the Anne Arundel Literacy Council is affirmed – while it seems like a small, insignificant act, it will create a pocket of hope for others. We all must remember that it is the little wins we see that foster hope and is more perpetual than we realize.

I leave you with this Bible verse that several of the women supported by CEDEPCA shared as the most meaningful education they received. It spoke to me and I present it for your discernment. What might it be calling you to do?  

Guatemalan Weavers' Cooperative
Weavers - women at the Weaving Cooperative who have had their lives transformed through the education and support from CEDEPCA’s Women’s Ministry programs.


All meetings held at the Presbytery of Baltimore's Office unless a different location is indicated

  • Baltimore Dakota Partnership meets Tuesday,
Jan. 8 at 7pm

  • Dismantling Racism Team meets Thursday,
Jan 10 at 2pm

  • Triennium Committee meets Wednesday,
Jan. 16 at 2pm

  • Cuba Partnership meets Wednesday,
Jan . 16 at 7pm at FPC of Howard Co.

  • Steering Cabinet meets Wednesday,
Jan. 23 at 1pm

  • Commission on Reconciliation meets Wednesday,
Jan. 23 at 6:30pm

  • Praise God for the ministry of The Rev. Mary B. Speers, Faith Presbyterian Church's new Interim Pastor.
  • Praise God for The Rev. Dr. Ronnie A. Hankins, Sr. who, for 15 years, faithfully served the congregation of Trinity Presbyterian Church as wel l as the Presbytery of Baltimore. Rev. Hankins and his wife, Linda, will soon relocate to Odessa, TX. See Farewell Invitation.
  • Please pray for the family of The Rev. Leonard A. Dahl, 82, who formerly served as a pastor at Second and at Prince of Peace Presbyterian churches. He also was a  founding director of Harford County’s Ashley Addiction Treatment. Read more here.
  • Please pray for the family of The Rev. Damiel L Force, 80, who died Dec. 13 at a nursing facility in Boerne, TX. He was once active in the spiritual growth of the First Presbyterian Church of Annapolis; ministered in local parishes and as a Navy chaplain; and, raised funds for several religious foundations.

Presbytery & Church-wide

 TAKE NOTE: All 2018 Remittances , Contributions and Check Requests must be received by the Presbytery's Finance Office by this Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 .
Per Capita: $35.73

Synod/Mid-Atlantic.........................$ .85
General Assembly............................$ 8.95

2019 Standard Mileage Rates: 58 cents
Free Workshop on Planning
Estates and Wills
Trinity Presbyterian Church is hosting a free workshop on planning estates and wills on Monday, Jan. 14 from 10am to 3pm at the church. Click here to learn more . . . .
Theme: "Justice for All"
Date: January 19, 2019              
Time: 3pm
Place: Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church

For Elementary, Middle and High Schoolers:
1st Prize $100; 2nd Prize $50; 3rd Prize $25

Granite Presbyterian Church to Host Spring Bus Trip to "Jesus" Sight and Sound Production

Granite Presbyterian Church will host a trip on April 3 to Sight and Sound Theater in Lancaster, PA to see a production of "Jesus". The trip is limited to 56 people, first-come; first-served. Children are welcomed. Click here to learn more about tickets to this event.

Presbyterian Foundation Project Regeneration
Turn Burdens into Blessings
Theologically, churches aren’t buildings. They’re groups of people pursuing the collective call of Christ. The Presbyterian Foundation can help you consider the highest and best use of your church building.

·          A collaborative process that helps your staff and congregation consider other options for your church.
·          Professionally trained experts from the Foundation guide you through the process.

Project Regeneration is designed for congregations who are struggling to keep up with maintenance on an older building, and aren’t sure what to do. It’s a discernment process that helps your church think about your building, and the congregation’s relationship to it, in new ways.

Presbytery of Baltimore | (t) 410.433.2012 | (f) 410.433.2066| [email protected] |