Dear Presbytery Family,

Stay Connected each week by joining in prayer for one of our churches, one of our mission partnerships, and a part of the larger church. Stay Connected through opportunities for spiritual growth and resources to strengthen our commitment as a Matthew 25 Presbytery. Stay Connected through updates from presbytery meetings and the Coordinating Council.  
Prayer
Holy God, you have gathered us from the ends of the earth to be a part of your church, this great family that stretches across time, and that transcends the boundaries of language, nation and race. We praise you and we thank you for your claim on our lives. We thank you for calling us to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
 
Today, we come to you as a people who need healing. As a nation we are still deeply divided. We have seen this division tear apart families and end friendships. Our fears and anxieties run deep. We do remember our unity in Christ, and we claim that unity. For we know, O God, that you are one and that you desire for us to be one. Open our hearts to one another and to you. Heal us. Redeem us. Bless us - that together we would be a blessing - and may we together, as the Presbytery of Saint Augustine, serve as a visible sign of your love, mercy and grace. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen. 
— Joe Albright, Moderator of the Presbytery.

This week we join together in prayer for:

First Presbyterian Church Palatka (https://fpcpalatka.com)
  • The Transitional Pastor, Cliff Lyda, and the congregation as they undergo building renovations, which have been impacted by COVID;

  • Discernment as the congregation re-imagines how they might use the building to support the numerous social ministry needs in downtown Palatka;

  • The 50-80 individuals who receive weekly meals through the partnership with Putnam County Bread of Life;

  • The session as they discern becoming a Matthew 25 congregation; and
  • The PNC as they seek to call a new pastor.
Ministry Partner
  • Florida Presbyterian Disaster Network (FLAPDAN) - Kathy Broyard, Executive Director

Larger Church
  • February 21 is Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Blue Shirt Sunday; pray for PDA, FLAPDAN, and our presbytery's Disaster Assistance Commission.

Celebration
  • Congratulations to Rev. Dr. Brian Lays on completing his D.Min. degree on December 31, 2020!
Resources and Opportunities
Ash Wednesday Worship by PC(USA)
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is providing a 40-minute pre-recorded service for congregational use on Ash Wednesday, featuring liturgy and music in English, Spanish and Korean. The service can be accessed here:  https://www.pcusa.org/ash-wednesday-service-2021/

Matthew 25 Resource
Deepen your understanding of the central role religion has played in the Black community in America and the seminal influence of the Black church in shaping the history of the African American people. Watch this two-night PBS special, The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on February 16 & 17 at 9:00 pm. PBS has created a Discussion Guide which can be used individually or as part of a group.

Lenten Spiritual Resource
Foothills Presbytery is offering a unique Lenten experience - The Interactive Virtual Lent Garden. Visit their webpage to learn more:
Coordinating Council Highlights
Coordinating Council highlights from February 11:

  • Presbytery Strategic Plan – made "thrive and grow in faithfulness to Jesus Christ" key strategic issue one and "create a culture of unity, diversity and inclusion" issue two, switching the order in the document provided at the Winter Stated Meeting. Click here to read the updated Strategic Plan Summary.

  • The presbytery and Montgomery have both received a second forgivable loan under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) of the Small Business Administration.

  • Stay the course with COVID - We encourage pastors and congregations to continue to monitor the COVID situation, take precautions like social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and get the vaccine whenever possible. Pastors and clerks of sessions are invited and encouraged to attend a zoom conversation on "Viruses, Vaccines, and Variants - OH MY!" led by Lisa Allgood, an immunocytohemist and Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Cincinnati. Read an article about COVID Vaccines written by Lisa Allgood.

  • We welcome those who are new members of the Coordinating Council, commission, and teams: Jerie Lukefahr (Moderator-Elect), John Ragsdale (Treasurer), Barbara Darby and Steve Crowley (Coordinating Council), Connie Smith (Trustees), Rebekah Hutto, Oday Mickel, Debbie Abbott, and Ricky Kirby (Training Team), Ruth Elswood (Care & Reconciliation), Sandra Hedrick (Finance), Anne Newman (Personnel), Forrest Foxworth, Kathy Ebener, Don Johnson, Jennifer Hallberg, and Dana Riley (Church Vitality), Jennifer Clark and Greg Walwick (Montgomery Trustees), Jennifer Hallberg (Disaster Assistance Commission)

Blessings,

Edd Norris, Chair of Coordinating Council
Joe Albright, Moderator of the Presbytery
Holly Dillon Inglis, Ministry & Mission Coordinator
Sandra Hedrick, Stated Clerk
On Behalf of the Coordinating Council
Previous Staying Connected emails are available on our website.