June 19, 2020
Foothills Newsletter
God at the Center of General Assembly 2020

The  224 th  General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.  is going to be an assembly like no other in our history. The Assembly will be totally virtual. Everyone will be showing up in their own little zoom square. Instead of the skyline of Baltimore in the background, everyone will be in their home or alternative space with virtual backgrounds including kitchen cabinets, and living room walls. 

Our commissioners ( names & bios below), along with commissioners across the nation, will be tackling the “ critical and core”  business of our denomination. The virtual platform will allow more of us to engage in the business of GA, and at the same time, precious connection is lost by the family reunion not taking place in-person. Through this, I believe our General Assembly has an opportunity to be stronger, wiser, and better prepared for the future.

A virtual GA means there are multiple opportunities for all of us to log-on to GA and effectively gather to focus on the theme  Lament to Hope  (Lamentations 5: 21-22).  Worship and Bible study  is available for everyone. It is for GA participant or those observing the assembly at home with family. They even have Bible Study resources for youth and children. 

Through the testimonials of the many Presbyterian leaders across the globe, GA has gathered video testimonies reflecting, “ that through our lament, there is hope .” The clips echo how the words pandemic, racism, hate, lament, and hope are words that have taken new meaning in our country and world over the past several months. We’ve watched as COVID-19 has rapidly taken hold in our communities causing pain, suffering, and death. Thousands have lost their jobs and the future remains uncertain. A renewed awareness of the injustices against our black siblings has generated numerous demonstrations and a call for real change in our country. Watch some of  these clips  (Foothills is included) and celebrate the way God is at the Center of our business, our lamenting, our repenting, and our hope.

Grant us wisdom Lord,
Awesome God, our hearts are bowed down by the troubles we are experiencing. 
There is suffering and death, despair and doubt among us,
and hope lies just beyond our reach in the shadows of the cross. 
We pour out our hearts before you like water.
Our eyes are spent with weeping, our mouths with cries of “how long.” 
You have seen what has befallen us, O God. 
You have heard our whispers and murmurs at the pain that fill our souls.
The joys of our hearts have ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning.
Yet, we thank you for bringing us to this place of worship and discernment;
of uncertainty and hope about the future.
Inspire us by your truth to listen to your voice speaking through your people gathered  here.
Grant us your wisdom and peace during these days and renew our hope.
For you, O God, are our God.
Your steadfast love never ceases, and your mercies never come to an end,
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  

 -  J. Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk PCUSA
RESOURCES During Covid

Click HERE for a list of important resources including:

June 19, 26 & 27, 2020

For the first time in the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination’s General Assembly will be held online only. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a plan for a reduced assembly gathering that will require everyone involved — commissioners, advisory delegates, corresponding members and staff — to participate in a digital assembly.

Meet Our 2020 Foothills Presbytery Commissioners:

Rev. Leslie Lang, First Spartanburg
What are you most looking forward to as a General Assembly Commissioner?
It feels like a great honor to be able to serve as a General Assembly Commissioner. Although this General Assembly is going to look very differently than what I had anticipated, I am very excited to be involved in something completely new (virtual GA!) and to be part of the PCUSA leading the example on how to move the church forward during this new age in which we find ourselves.

Rev. Mel Davis, Fair Play
What you are most looking forward to as a General Assembly Commissioner?
I am looking forward to doing the work of the Church.

Elder James Edward Cheeks, Jr., First Simpsonville
What you are most looking forward to as a General Assembly Commissioner?
A better appreciation of our Presbyterian Church polity and to get to know other Presbyterians and their life's journey.

Elder Lori Malvern, Townville
What you are most looking forward to as a General Assembly Commissioner?
I have wanted to serve as a commissioner to General Assembly since I served on Presbytery’s Youth Council in the late 1970s in Knoxville, TN. While this experience is going to be so different from I had expected, I am honored and excited to represent Foothills Presbytery in the work of the PCUSA.
Collaborative Build with
Habitat for Humanity and
Congregations of Foothills Presbytery

Congregations of Foothills Presbytery will be working together to refurbish a Habitat for Humanity Home. 

Westminster, Greenville is the organizing partner and other supporting congregations include: Eastminster, First Greer, Fountain Inn, Grace Covenant, John Knox, Providence, First Simpsonville, St. Giles, and Trinity. 

Work will include taking an existing structure down to the studs and rebuilding it. The home is located in the Saluda Bluff neighborhood off of White Horse Road in Greenville. This project was scheduled to begin in the spring and has been delayed due to COVID-19. Safety measures have been implemented to help ensure the health of volunteers and building can begin.

Build dates are:
  • July 23rd (Thursday)
  • July 31st (Friday)
  • August 15th (Friday)
  • September 4th (Friday)
  • September 19th (Saturday)
  • October 2nd (Friday)

If you would like to help with this mission effort or would like more information, please contact Peggy Swann: peggysswann@gmail.com .
PW Disaster Preparedness Training

In September 2014 a collaboration between Presbyterian Women (PW) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) began to engage PW in the ministry of disaster preparedness.

There are now over 150 PW-DP trainers, however
there are no PW-DP trainers in South Carolina .

We would like to change that by offering a ZOOM PW-DP training!  

July 27, 28 and August 3 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. EDT
are the dates and time for the training.

PW-DP trainers work with congregations and presbyteries to assist them in becoming prepared for disasters. PDA provides resources for the PW Disaster Preparation Trainers and features this collaboration in PDA and PW media. At the conclusion of the PW Trainer Training, PDA will present each PW who successfully completes the training with a certificate and a co-branded scarf. 

For more information about the PW Disaster Preparation Trainer Training, please contact Beth Snyder at Beth.Snyder@pcusa.org or call 502-569-5806 or 502-377-0667 and leave your name and number. Please share the news of this PW ministry of disaster preparedness opportunity that supports the mission of the church worldwide and builds an inclusive, caring community of women strengthening the PCUSA and witnessing to the promise of God’s kingdom.

The deadline for applications is  Friday, July 17 . Workbooks will be emailed and mailed USPS to participants .


Introducing the 2020–2021 PW/ Horizons  Bible Study:
Into the Light: Finding Hope Through Prayers of Lament
P. Lynn Miller, author and artist Suggestions for Leaders by Dee Koza 

Union Forum:
What should white Christians do about racism?

How can it begin to utilize its social capital predicated on undue privilege on behalf of those who have suffered because of systemic racism? How can the church make this more than a temporary concern brought about the exigencies of a moment of crisis in order to manifest true systemic change? What does the Lord require of the white church at this time?

Panel discussion by Zoom Video is below.

Sponsored by Union Presbyterian Seminary's Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation and Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership.

The study Way of Life will help groups approach and engage the spiritual, theological, and missional proposals in Brian McLaren's book The Great Spiritual Migration. The four-session DVD features teaching sessions with author Brian McLaren and others in a conversational approach. The video segments are approximately 10-12 minutes each and when combined with the introduction and three sections of the book, make an ideal four-week group study. All videos sessions are closed captioned. --Cokesbury

*The Foothills Resource Center has the book, leaders guide, participants guide & DVD available for checkout.
In celebration of 60 years of sponsoring lecture series given by prominent thinkers, including professors, pastors and religion leaders, the Anderson Forum for Progressive Theology invited Brian McLaren to speak June 14th.

Camp Fellowship:
Camp-In-A-Box Reservations –
Last Call!
Camp Fellowship reminds all churches and families that it’s time to reserve your Camp-In-A-Box boxes for this summer!
All pre-orders/reservations should be received by Friday, June 26, 2020.

Deliveries begin NEXT WEEK!

If your church is interested in supporting this program and purchasing boxes for your families with camp-aged children, please visit:

Individual Families that did  not  attend summer camp in 2019 can purchase a box here:  https://www.campfellowship.org/campbox

For questions or more information, please contact kevin@campfellowship.org or call 864.396.0582.
Live Concert - YouTube Channel this Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
Here is the link:

10:00 am
Wednesday, July 8*

*We will meet by Zoom again. Meeting information has been sent to the music leaders group.   
Protecting Your Church:
Considerations in the Wake of Civil Unrest

In light of the recent events occurring across our country, Insurance Board’s Loss Control team, released this resource offering information for Synods, Presbyteries, and churches on protecting their houses of worship during the civil unrest. Please feel free to share with your churches; we hope the resource is helpful for you and your churches during these challenging times.
For additional resources, feel free to visit our COVID-19 page:  https://www.insuranceboard.org/covid-19-resources/
Please let us know if you need any additional resources.
Celebrating the call to serve as a ruling elder
Zoom webinar for Elders

The move from an in-person to an online General Assembly has impacted a number of planned luncheons and breakfast meetings next month. However, organizers for the Ruling Elder Luncheon have made other plans. The luncheon is now a Zoom webinar to be held in July.

The webinar, entitled “Celebrating the Call to Serve as a Ruling Elder,” is now scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 7:00–8:00 pm ET. Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be the guest speaker. Read More
Stewardship Technology:
On-Demand Interview

Transitioning to a Virtual Event During a Crisis
Invitations to approximately 2,000 attendees were ready to be mailed when Jana made the call to transition her live event to a virtual event. Listen to Jana's experience in an On-Demand interview. DOWNLOAD INTERVIEW
Online Summer  Programs
Though we cannot gather together in person for our regular summer events, we hope that you will join us virtually! Take a look at our online program offerings this summer.

PCSC Welcomes Jenn Paden Stanley, Director of Foundation Services and Church Relations
Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina is excited to announce that Jennifer Paden Stanley has joined its ministry as the next Director of Foundation Services and Church Relations.
Jenn comes to PCSC from Presbyterian College, where she served in the Office of Advancement as Major Gifts Officer. 
Jenn will be out visiting churches and presbyteries as soon as the coronavirus pandemic will allow. In the meantime, please reach out to her with any questions or needs you might have. She can be reached at (803) 772-5885 and at Jenn.Stanley@PresComm.org .
Join us!
Youth Ministry Leader's ROUNDTABLE
Tuesday , August 4*
12:00 - 1:30 pm  
Details TBA

*We will not meet in July.
Two new Resources from Foothills former youth/young adult Bobby Williamson:
The Forgotten Books of the Bible Video Series: Ecclesiastes Part 1

This is Part 1 of a lecture on Ecclesiastes based on my book The Forgotten Books of the Bible: Recovering the Five Scrolls for Today (Fortress, 2018). Feel free to use this video with your class or study group or for your own personal study.
Also Dr. Amy Robertson and I have begun a 10-week summer series on the forgotten books of the Bible on our podcast, BibleWorm. Amy is a Jewish educator in Atlanta (and fellow Emory PhD). We talk about biblical texts as scholars and as people of faith. You can find us at  https://www.biblewormpodcast.com/  or wherever you listen to podcasts. 

I hope you find these resources useful! As always, I'm happy to visit your class or group (via Zoom for now!). Just get in touch with me at  robert@robertwilliamsonjr.com .

All the best,

Dear Friends of the South Carolina Inn,

            We write this letter to you from the front porch of the Inn. Today a gentle rain is providing nourishment to the North Carolina mountains. Tomorrow the sunshine should return to enjoy another beautiful day to walk around Lake Susan. The wonder of God’s creation seems to be made manifest clearly here in Montreat.

            We’ve wonderful news: the South Carolina Inn is open once again to welcome you to Montreat!!  Currently, the Inn is making adjustments to abide by county statutes now in place and to provide a safe and comfortable place to stay.  Read More
Virtual 2020   STEPS

The August 29 event theme is
For a Time Such as This
(Esther 4:14)-
There will be two workshop sessions with three options each. STEPS will conclude with worship. There will be no registration fee, but participants must pre-register to receive the links to join the workshops. Worship will include a video of how you are being the church in these unprecedented times - please send pictures of your drive up stewardship campaigns, graduation celebrations, and food pantries, etc and/or screen shots of your zoom worship and education opportunities to dblackwelder@capresbytery.org by August 10.
Remote Faith Formation for the Long Haul

The PC(USA) Office of Faith Formation has compiled this list of resources that could be helpful for you during the current COVID-19 situation and that may be helpful in developing sustainable remote faith formation for your community. In this list you will find resources to deal with the current crisis, studies for Christian education, blogs and ideas.  This is your toolbox . The list will be updated periodically over the coming weeks.
Also provided is a Faith Practices Toolkit Sampler for intentional intergenerational Sabbath rhythms. A toolkit for faith practices will be released in summer 2020. The completed toolkit will provide scriptural and theological grounding for each practice, as well as ways to engage all ages.  HERE  is a sampling from that toolkit to provide ideas of engaging in practices during these times.

Check out  these resources  for all ages groups provided by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance  Building Resilience  webinar for Faith Leaders:
This one- hour program is designed to increase participants’ understanding of their own signs of stress and to teach in-the-moment tools to engage the relaxation response in body and mind.

This webinar is designed for faith leaders in this season of COVID-19 and will engage participants in responding to questions and prompts to help create a personalized self- care and resilience-building plan, with attention to the particular issues facing faith leaders and awareness of the importance of the spiritual life which guides us all. Those attending will build on their experience while practicing new tools that have been shown to be effective in sustaining our capacity to serve in the midst of challenging circumstances. This webinar has been pre-recorded and is available to view at your convenience. Live webinars can also be requested.

Visit   www.bit.ly/PDAESCwebinar   for more information.
Children’s Educators Gathering
July 16, 2020 11:00 AM

We will meet by Zoom.   

Zoom meeting ID will be sent to Christian Educators from Ginna. Please contact LeAnne White at the Foothills Presbytery office with any questions.
This virtual conference offers a full week of worship and music for musicians, clergy, laypersons, choirs, youth, children, and families.
Organizers plan to stream as many events as possible June 21-26

Live Dates: JUNE 21–26, 2020
Or Watch the Recordings Any Time Afterward!

Stewardship Kaleidoscope
2020 Registration is Open
Over 40 workshops, networking, and learning with stewardship experts.
Even as we navigate new waters for worship, for connection, and for service we look ahead to the time when will be able to be together as a community.
Registration for Stewardship Kaleidoscope is open and we hope you will be able to join us in Cincinnati September 21-23.
This annual conference offers education, worship experiences and amazing opportunities for growth in stewardship and generosity.  This year we are offering group pricing that will allow more people from your congregation to attend together , to learn, and to take home tools for expanding generosity.
There will be over 40 speakers and workshops addressing change and opportunities in stewardship today.

Please join us for one of the many events that we have planned from July through December of this year, including traditional events that we haven't presented for a while, as well as brand new webinars on timely topics. A sampling of a few imminent events is listed below (some events will be repeated in future months):

Meditation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (August 3-7, 2020): This intensive 5-day event helps clergy and other church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.

Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches (July 18): Sessions include "Finding Renewal in Conflict" and "How to be Effective when People are Angry," among others. Groups are especially encouraged to register for this event!

Healthy Congregations (July 21): Participants will learn how to keep anxiety within their congregations from becoming infectious, put limits on invasive behavior, manage reactivity, focus on strengths, and more! This workshop is also especially well suited for groups who are members of the same congregation.

Breaking Free: Finding Resilience in an Era of Collective Trauma (July 16 and July 30): Grounded in Family Systems Theory, and offered in the context of COVID-19 and the aftermath of George Floyd's tragic death, Breaking Free will help participants identify the impact of trauma on themselves and others, discuss strategies to break free from trauma, and find resilience.

Further details and registration information for these events and others will be made available on BrownPaperTickets (some events still pending). We also encourage you to visit https://lmpeacecenter.org/ from time to time for the latest updates, call the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at 630-627-0507 , or email us at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org .
SC5 Presbyteries Minister/Educator Retreat

October 26-28, 2020

"'A Word in Its Season': Effective Speech in the Bible and Our Fractured Political Moment"

Speaker: Sam Adams

Covenant Connections BLOG
Danny C. Murphy General Presbyter- Trinity Presbytery

“But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” Amos 5:24, NKJV.

One week before Ahumad Aubery’s death by two white vigilantes’, my wife, Judy, and I were walking through our subdivision early in the morning. I pulled my cellphone out of my right pants pocket and my driver’s license fell on the ground. Judy asked, “Why do you have your driver’s license?” I replied, “Because I’m a black man living in America. If a white officer should happen to stop me, then I’m prepared to prove that I live in this community.”
What is it that causes a highly educated and gifted, African American male, who has been the first African American to obtain significant achievements in several areas during his lifetime, to feel the need to carry his driver’s license while taking a walk through his subdivision so that he’s always prepared to prove he lives in the community should a white police officer stop him? While there are several contributing factors, I’ll highlight only a few. Read More
by Beth Lindsay Templeton

Recent events of blatant racism in our country have set off strong responses on all sides. Hate, violence, compassion, and love have been spoken, acted out, and streamed. I find myself disoriented by both extremes and wonder what my role is in all this.
I was shaken when I learned that my great-great grandparents were slave owners. They called the three people who worked in their household “servants” but when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, two of them left immediately while the third, the cook and care provider, stayed a bit longer. My great-great grandfather offered her “wages” if she would stay. She chose to return to her childhood area for a new life. Read More
Presbyterian Outlook- COVID-19 news & resources
We invite you to use our weekly lectionary reflections,  " Looking into the lectionary " for worship, Bible study or devotions. Please check  our website  or follow us on social media for the most up-to-date materials. You can find all of the  Outlook's  COVID-19 stories  with this link  and you can find all of our new  worship resources here .

How can we support you? Are there other resources that would be helpful?  Let us know.  And if these free materials are helpful to you, please consider  making a donation  to help us keep providing theologically sound content for the church.

  • Worship Resources
  • Lenten Devotional Video
  • News & Ministry Aids

Mark your Calendars for these Upcoming Events

22 FP Staff Meeting (Zoom)
25 Committee on Preparation for Ministry meeting (Zoom)

2 Committee on Ministry meeting (Zoom)
6 Office Closed in Observance of July 4!
8 Zoom Webinar for Elders
16 Examinations meeting (Zoom, tentative)
21 Committee on Shared Ministry (TBD)
23 Committee on Preparation for Ministry meeting (TBD)

Resource Center of Foothills Presbytery