May 27, 2020
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Presbytery Pledge
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 last week, 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: 

Linsey 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.

Executive Council Meeting Summary

Follow the link below to read a summary of the May 20th (virtual) meeting of the Salem Presbytery Executive Council.
Links of Interest

Personality Affects Spirituality: A Self-Care Event from Salem Presbytery's Commission on Ministry (COM)

The Bible says a lot of things, but what is God's will for me right now? Today? What sorts of things will truly add to my self-care, spiritual health and wholeness and which things are dead-ends or vicious cycles?

Consider Martha of Bethany in Luke 10:38-42. She believed she was showing love to others and being a servant of God by sacrificing personal time with Jesus. How many of us intuitively seek the most spiritually unproductive things for ourselves-things that sound perfectly in line with Christ's teachings?

It is easy for us as religious leaders to be like Martha and miss what God is instructing us to do. We sometimes focus on achieving what seems to be the letter of the law at the expense of the spirit in which it has truth. Jesus acknowledges the importance of prayerful self-reflection in ministry: "You actors! First remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5)

Let us learn how we intuitively operate by participating in this spiritual care opportunity. This event will combine an introductory video, a book discussion of The Road Back To You by Cron and Stabile, and a follow-up event on Zoom on June 1st. The COM is grateful to Evan Harrison, pastor at Pittsboro Presbyterian, for his leadership of this event. Please visit the Pittsboro Presbyterian website for information and registration for this free event at the link below. https://pittsboropres.org/personality-spirituality/  

Note: This is being offered to Salem Presbytery, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church and other religious leaders (interfaith welcome!) to help reflect and share what gets in the way of our self-care and what strategies help us overcome such obstacles. Feel free to recommend this to others and invite others to this process.

General Assembly Will Meet Online

On April 21, 2020, it was officially announced that the 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will be conducted online only. See the link below for the complete announcement and further information.

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

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

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, 10:00

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
Navigating the Rapids: Finding Hope in Changing Times

Guest speakers:
Tod Bolsinger , author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory and Peter Steinke , author of Uproar: Calm Leadership in Anxious Times

Thursday, May 28, 5:30-9:00 pm (EDT)
Friday, May 29, 9:00 am-12 noon (EDT)
Please join us online via Zoom.
This event is open to the public.
For more information, follow the link below.

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.

Presbyterian Foundation Shares Resources

Olanda Carr, our ministry representative for the Presbyterian Foundation, offers the Foundation's assistance during this challenging season: 

Presbyterian Foundation Resources
Help Us Keep Salem's Online Directory Updated

We have been encouraging members of Salem Presbytery, volunteers, and members of our congregations to take advantage of this handy resource, to which you have access through the Salem Presbytery website. As our staff grows smaller, and as fewer are available to answer the phone, you will find this directory easier to use (password = clemmons3950) than calling the presbytery to get phone numbers and email addresses of committee members or others you want to be in touch with. If using a list you received an email that bounces back, check the directory. Please check your own entry to make sure we have accurate information, especially in a time when we have to rely more and more on the telephone and digital communication and have less face-to-face contact. 
Click HERE for the 
2020 Prayer Calendar
May Prayers for:

Examinations Committee
Executive Council
Franklin Presbyterian
Springwood Presbyterian - Whitsett
Spencer Presbyterian

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.

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