Dear Presbytery Family,

How great is your love, Lord God, how wide is your mercy! Never let us board up the narrow gate that leads to life with rules or doctrines that you dismiss; but give us a Spirit to welcome all people with affection, so that your church may never exclude secret friends of yours, who are included in the love of Jesus Christ, who came to save us all. Amen. — Reprinted from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press.

May the gift of 2021 be for the Church and for all of us, a renewed call to love as Jesus loved, to forgive as Jesus forgave, to speak words of life as Jesus spoke, and to lift up the downtrodden and forgotten of the world as Jesus did.  
Here are highlights from your presbytery at work in ministry and mission:

Presbytery Meeting
The Winter Stated Meeting will be held on Saturday, February 6, beginning at 9:30 a.m. We invite you to be a part of this meeting! Click here for more information and to register. Registration is required.
Presbytery Service of Reconciliation and Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Monday, January 18th, over 80 people from across the presbytery joined together on Zoom and Facebook Live for a service of worship. Prayers and liturgy focused on the ministry of reconciliation and included the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thirteen pastors and ruling elders participated in worship leadership. Music was provided by Rene Johnson from Woodlawn Presbyterian Church and Wilford Kelly, chorus member at the San Francisco Opera and former choir intern at Palms Presbyterian Church. The service was a collaboration between the Presbytery of St. Augustine and Woodlawn Presbyterian Church. The video is available on our Facebook page.

Coordinating Council Highlights
Your Coordinating Council (Diane Wilson, Chair) has been making final plans for our upcoming presbytery meeting, including worship, an offering for Mutual Mission, and the presentation of news, information and action items supporting our presbytery's mission and ministry. As a result of its work, the Coordinating Council will present a balanced budget, a new covenant with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and others, and a "thank you" to Chuck Atkins who has completed eleven years of service as our presbytery treasurer.

The Coordinating Council devoted several hours to strategic planning on January 14 and will share some of this work on February 6. We hope to ignite continued work on our goals, strategic issues and core strategies throughout the presbytery in support of our mission: to support our faith community, so that together we are a greater witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
COVID Updates
As more of us are able to receive the COVID vaccine, we may be tempted to be less vigilant and decrease the protocols and practices we have been using. It is helpful to understand more about the vaccines and how to address questions that have or will arise about when it will be safe to return to “normal” worship.  PC(USA) leaders from across the country met recently to discuss the continuing challenge that COVID presents to churches and ministry.

Commissioned Ruling Elder Lisa Allgood, the transitional executive presbyter for the Presbytery of Cincinnati, and a trained immunocytochemist, serves as a resource to the PC(USA) and has produced a document outlining how the COVID-19 vaccines work and how the body develops immunity to the virus. Read the information here.

Diane Wilson, Chair of Coordinating Council
Edd Norris, 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.