VOLUME VI NUMBER 24
June 17, 2020
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Presbytery Pledge
Steve Scott
Pray for the General Assembly; 
Pray for Our Commissioners 
. . . and More: Notes in Transition
 
I. General Assembly
 
The 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with the theme "From Lament to Hope" (Lamentations 5:20-21), will be held on a virtual platform on June 19, 26, and 27 . As many will recall, the assembly had been scheduled to meet in Baltimore, but in view of the continuing pandemic, it has been necessary to change. Because of challenges that attend online meetings, the assembly will be brief, with election of moderators and financial matters the chief decisions before commissioners (with the experience of the past few months many have observed "Zoom fatigue"; as with Einstein's theory of relativity time passes more slowly, and concentration becomes more difficult in virtual meetings). Added to the docket is the necessity to speak to the present moment in our national life.
 
Representing Salem Presbytery as commissioners are Kaye Barrow-Ziglar, Doug Brinkley, Jack Hartle, Beth Hooten, Cynthia Pringle, Kim Priddy, moderator Paul Sink, and youth advisory delegate Nolan Chilton. As we would say if they were traveling to Baltimore, spending long hours on the floor of the convention center there, please remember them in your prayers, along with commissioners of every presbytery, as they seek the mind of Christ (in the words of The Book of Order ) on our behalf.
 
You can take part and follow the proceedings of the assembly from the comfort of your home or, wherever you are, on your phone, via livestream on the website or through Facebook Live. The website for the GA is HERE ; you can learn about the schedule and docket HERE . Election of co-moderators will be the main item of business on June 19. Opening worship will be held on June 26, with critical business addressed that day and the next.
 
II. Sale of the Office
 
As provided by the plan presbytery adopted last year, the office property in Clemmons has been on the market since August. With a satisfactory offer in hand, the Implementation Team has recommended to the Executive Council that the property be sold. The council has already voted by email to approve the sale; that decision will be ratified at its meeting on Thursday.
 
Much will need to be done before the closing date of July 31. The staff will be taking an inventory of goods that can be made available for pickup. Be alert for ways you can be of service during this time of transition, and watch for more details.
 
III. Worship Matters
 
We continue to get inquiries and to observe online discussion of when churches might resume in person worship. I refer you once again to the Executive Council task force's advice (see link below). That word was based on the best wisdom for Phase 2 of reopening. As a spike in cases of COVID-19, with an increase in hospitalizations, has followed the state's move into Phase 2, state health officials may find it necessary to reimpose earlier restrictions in order to stop the spread of disease.
 
We find it hard to be patient under these circumstances. Some people think we have done this for three months, so it must be time to move on, but that's not the way this threat to everyone's health works. Please remember we are taking extraordinary measures for everyone's protection, particularly for the sake of those who are most at risk. Meanwhile, we are reinventing what it is to be the church for now, and our ministry and mission have taken on new forms.
 
Walking in the park recently, I was recalling that our daughter and her husband's wedding was six years ago last week, in 2014. I thought of how the world changed in the last century from 1914 to 1920, with the Great War and a worldwide epidemic in between. Then I was struck that we are living through such a time, and we don't know what the church or we ourselves are going to be like on the other side. Trust that the God we know in Jesus Christ is our companion, our example of how we ought to respond to human need, our guide and our goal.

Grace and peace!

Steve Scott
Transitional General Presbyter

Holding Space at William Black Lodge in Montreat
June, July, and August 2020
 
William Black Lodge in Montreat, NC is opening its doors-with 50% occupancy-and inviting those who work in ministry to take a break from the pressures of church and life and find space to breathe this summer. Their program, Holding Space, runs throughout the summer while Montreat conferences are canceled. Learn more about the program and safety procedures on the website at the link below. williamblacklodge.org/holding-space. Use the discount code PCUSAPRO for 50% off your stay.
 
If you have questions regarding the media packet, contact - Jo Nygard Owens - Vibrant Church Communications - 336.601.3696
 
We look forward to hosting members of the Presbytery during this unique summer in Montreat.   Please let me know if you have any questions.
Peace and Blessings - 
 
Rev. Tommy Brown
Director
 
William Black Lodge
PO Box 819
Montreat, NC 28757
828-669-6314

A Statement to Salem Presbytery from the Peace and Justice Committee

1 June 2020

To our colleagues in Salem Presbytery:

People of Faith have grieving hearts, overcome by the tremendous losses suffered by the pandemic....over 100,000 dead....40.2million lost jobs. People of Color are disproportionately represented in these high numbers, each representing a person with loved ones and personal responsibilities touching many others. The impact of Covid-19 pandemic is only deepening old, racial disparities in housing, education, access to medical care, and income that we have ignored far too long. These social conditions are representative of the societal structures created to insure white supremacy and privilege over the generations. This is the toxic reality of institutional racism that is baked into our cities, state, and nation. And then added to this unbearable sadness are three more horrific deaths of African Americans killed in recent weeks.


Task Force Encourages Caution in Worship Planning

The Executive Council of Salem Presbytery, taking seriously its responsibility for offering guidance to congregations, last week appointed a task force to review advice from a variety of sources and to offer a word to those making decisions for the lives of churches.

As we noted in Salem Matters recently, Governor Roy Cooper has announced that the state has entered Phase 2 of the Safer at Home mandate, lightening restrictions on public activity. Phase 2 will last until June 26 unless numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase. If targets are not met, added restrictions may be reimposed. Latest figures show that the trend in North Carolina is flat, not yet decreasing. Even as the governor extended guidelines, a federal judge ruled that executive orders do not impede First Amendment religious freedom rights, including the right to gather for worship. Yet just because you can gather legally doesn't mean you should.

The consensus of Salem Presbytery's task force is that churches in our presbytery ought to continue to abide by guidelines offered by the governor, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control. According to those guidelines, gatherings of more than ten persons indoors are prohibited, and gatherings of more than twenty-five outdoors are prohibited. In addition those who are in at-risk categories because of their state of health or age continue to be encouraged to stay at home as much as possible except for absolutely necessary ventures outside to obtain food or health care or to take exercise.  Many members of our congregations, including some who are most faithful in worship attendance, are in these at-risk categories. The decision for each congregation belongs to its leaders, but we encourage you to continue to refrain from in person worship until further notice.  

We feel this is the faithful response for God's people to make during this season. It's not because we don't think worship is important; we do. We agree that worship is essential. We applaud and encourage the creative work of many congregations offering worship through YouTube, Facebook Live, and live streaming. We appreciate that some are finding short range FM transmitters useful for drive-in worship. Some are now choosing to gather outdoors, with social distancing, wearing masks. This too is a faithful response.
We encourage every session to appoint a task force to evaluate resources as they make recommendations, seeking the mind of Christ (as we are counseled in The Book of Order ), giving priority to our mutual care. We call your attention to guidelines offered by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 


We continue to affirm not that the church has closed, but that the church is out of the building. We continue the ministry of Jesus Christ, exercising mutual care, offering nurture for members and neighbors, turning to God in prayer on behalf of the world. The Executive Council and the staff of Salem Presbytery continue to pray for our congregations, all those serving our churches, and our members.

The Executive Council Task Force: 

Lindsey Altvater Clifton
Kyle Goodman
Susan Moorefield
Steve Scott, Transitional General Presbyter
Paul Sink, Moderator of Salem Presbytery
Help Hungry Neighbors with an Offering of Letters

The Presbytery Hunger Committee planned to conduct an Offering of Letters at the May stated meeting in Boone; however due to COVID-19 and the need to cancel the meeting, that did not happen. The committee is asking congregations within Salem Presbytery to do an offering of letter virtually. These letters are of particular significance this year as Covid has severely stretched food banks around the country; going into the summer months when children are home from school and not able to access free breakfast and lunches, the demand will be accelerated. Please take a moment to read through the packet and then send your letters/emails. Share with your congregation and urge them to participate also. In a period of time when the needs seem overwhelming, this is an action we can take that could help millions of food insecure families and individuals here and around the world.

Links of Interest
August Presbytery Meeting Will Be Virtual! Elect Commissioners Soon

The Executive Council of Salem Presbytery has ordered that the August 15, 2020 meeting be conducted virtually. At this point, the Presbytery Staff and Officers are recommending the use of the ZOOM technology, which will allow participation from computers, iPads or tablets, and even by telephone (as a final resort). Clerks of Session are reminded to have your governing body elect its commissioner(s) to this meeting, keeping in mind that electronic  means will be ideal in order to participate.
Advisory Opinions on the Church During Pandemic

Stated Clerk of Salem Presbytery Elder David Vaughan as provided the following articles from the denomination regarding Advisory Opinions on issues that may arise in churches during the pandemic. Follow the links below.

Online Opportunities for Worship in Salem Presbytery

Jamestown Presbyterian
Facebook Live, 10:00

Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, Blowing Rock
Facebook Live, YouTube Live, 11:00

First Presbyterian, Burlington
Livestream, 10:00

Springwood Presbyterian, Burlington
Livestream, 11:00

Chapel in the Pines, Chapel Hill
Virtual Worship

Clemmons Presbyterian
YouTube, 10:00

Third Creek Presbyterian

Alamance Presbyterian
Streaming, 10:00

Fellowship Presbyterian, Greensboro
Facebook Live, 9:30

First Presbyterian, Greensboro
Livestream, 10:30

First Presbyterian, Statesville
Facebook and YouTube Live, 10:00

Guilford Park, Greensboro
Facebook Live, 11:00

Sedgefield, Greensboro

Westminster, Greensboro
Livestream, 9:30, 11:00
Click Here

Bethany Presbyterian, Graham
Zoom Worship, 11:00

Bethany Presbyterian, Statesville
Facebook Live, 11:00

Concord, Statesville
Livestream, 11:00

Graham Presbyterian
Streaming 10:30

Glendale Springs
Livestream, 9:00

Fellowship, Greensboro
Livestream, 9:30

First Presbyterian, High Point
Livestream, 11:00

Shallowford Presbyterian, Lewisville
Online Worship

New Hope Church, Lexington

North Wilkesboro / Wilkesboro Chapel
Livestream, 10:00

Oak Ridge
Facebook Live, 10:00

Parkway Presbyterian
Online Worship, 10:00

First Presbyterian, Mocksville
Facebook Live, 9:30

First Presbyterian, Salisbury
Livestream, 10:30

Sparta Presbyterian
Livestream, 11:00

John Calvin Presbyterian
Facebook Live, 11:00

Thyatira Presbyterian
Facebook Live, 11:00

Taylorsville Presbyterian, with neighbors
Facebook Live, 10:00

Mt. Jefferson Presbyterian, with neighbors
Livestream, 9:00

Highland, Winston-Salem
Online Worship, 8:00

Trinity Presbyterian, Winston-Salem
Facebook Live, 11:00
Frontporch Facebook Fellowship
Jill Crainshaw and Sheila Hunter
Thursday, 6:30 pm
The Board of Pensions Announces Dues Relief for Small Churches, Deferments for Other Churches and Employers

In recognition of the challenges impacting employers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) due to COVID-19, the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions today approved dues relief for churches with congregations of 300 or fewer members that have a single pastor enrolled in Pastor's Participation. These churches may be eligible for a dues waiver of up to three months. For other churches and employers, including presbyteries and affiliated organizations, Directors approved deferments of up to two months on payments for benefits. In both cases, there will be no reduction in benefits to ministers or employees.

The Creating a Culture of Generosity workshop will hold its initial meeting in September rather than the May 2nd date originally announced. Please follow the link below to register.

Provided by Church Campaign Services (CCS), this 18-month training process will improve the level, generosity, and financial stewardship among Salem Presbytery congregations and their members. Salem Presbytery's Church Growth and Transformation Committee will subsidize this training so that congregations can participate with a financial commitment of only $500 over two years!! Information and registration for this exciting training process is available at the link below.

Avoid Email Scams!!

I am 99.99% certain that no clergyperson in Salem would reach out electronically to ask for gift cards, wire transfers, or even bail money - yet many of us have been subjected (on both sides) to this kind-of scam. It might be helpful for clergy to tell their congregations/ministries that they should delete such requests.    

David Vaughan, Stated Clerk
Click HERE for the 
2020 Prayer Calendar
June Prayers for:

GA Commissioners
Hunger Task Groups
First Presbyterian - Statesville
Mt. Jefferson - West Jefferson
Freedom Presbyterian - Statesville
Korean First Presbyterian - Greensboro

Mission Leaders In Salem Presbytery

Salem Presbytery is compiling a list of "Mission Leaders" in each of our congregations. We seek contact information for mission committee chairs, mission coordinators (staff or volunteer), or those excited about the mission of the church. Click the link below to add your info. 
 
Add Your Information Here
Become a Peace and Justice Church!

Become and Peace and Justice church! Let your Salem Presbytery Peace and Justice Task Force help, inspire, equip, and send you on a journey. Contact Frank Dew at the link below.
 
Email Frank Dew
2020 Prayer Calendar

Click the link below for the 2019 Prayer Calendar for Congregations and Ministries of Salem Presbytery.

Other Special Events

Are you hosting a special event *(concert, speaker, training, etc.) at a time OTHER than on Sunday morning worship? Submit your event through the link below to be included on our SPECIAL EVENTS Calendar.

Meeting Calendar Available

Don't forget to use our Calendar of Meetings for planning your 2020 monthly agenda. 

Hunger Action

Become a Hunger Action Congregation! Check the links below for more info.
Board of Pensions

Click below for Board Connections - May 2020

Board Connections
Board of Pensions Call to Health

Click the link below to join the Board of Pensions Call to Health.

Board of Pensions Call to Health
PCUSA News and Announcements

Click below for the latest news and announcements from the PCUSA.

PCUSA News
Salem Presbytery | PO Box 1753, 3950 Clemmons Rd., Clemmons NC 27012
336.766.3393 | Email | Website
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