August 4, 2020
Baltimore Thanks Mel and Liv
What happens when you invite two people, 15 years apart in age, of different races, and who have never seen each other before, to live together in a city they’ve never lived in, and work together in a shared office? We had no idea what adventure was ahead of us!
In the fall of 2017, when J. Herbert Nelson first shared his vision for Hands and Feet, and asked whether or not The Center would be able to serve as the first full pilot site for the PC(USA)’s new initiative, we answered unequivocally, “yes, of course!” A year and many zoom meetings and phone calls later, we had gone through a search process and hired two Hands and Feet Fellows, Mel Lowry and Liv Thomas. They arrived in September of 2018, Mel fresh out of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Liv a recent graduate of Rhodes College. With funding from the Office of the General Assembly, The Center’s operating budget, and Catonsville Presbyterian’s Envision Fund, Mel and Liv came on board The Center’s staff to support J. Herbert Nelson’s vision for Hands and Feet. Read More >
Welcome José H. López-Chapa
The Presbytery would like to welcome José H. López-Chapa to our staff, albeit part-time. If you are already familiar with José’s role as interim associate pastor of First Presbyterian of Annapolis, and his continuing service to Comunidad Presbiteriana La Trinidad (CPT), you’ll know how much care and experience he’ll bring as he consults with the Commission on Reconciliation partnerships.
Pastor José is a native of Texas whose family is originally from northern México. His wife Melissa, is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, MD, and together they have two children. We are blessed and grateful to have him with us.

Dear Presbyters,
At its July 22 meeting, the Steering Cabinet of Baltimore Presbytery voted to conduct its September 10 and November 14 Gatherings online, via the Zoom platform. Both meetings will be at 10 am.
The reasons for this decision are probably obvious; with most area schools and most of our own congregations not planning to reconvene in person until at least the first of the year, it simply makes sense for us not to gather in person as a presbytery at least until next year. We also had very good feedback on our May Gathering via Zoom; we are convinced that, even though we have much more complicated agendas coming up for our next two meetings, we will be able to conduct our business decently and in order. More about that in a moment.
We have received many requests to consider using the “meeting” format of Zoom (rather than the “webinar” format we employed in May) if for no other reason than it will give us a chance to see one another’s faces—we like this idea, because we miss you all as well. In addition, however, we think this will make it a little easier to recognize speakers for the (virtual) floor. This may coincidentally require that we all be a little patient as our moderator and technical crew get the hang of managing our docket and provide for wider participation.
We have also had numerous suggestions that we consider moving our popular “Open Space” offerings to a day separate from the Gathering itself. We like this idea too; it will give us greater flexibility in providing options at a variety of times, and it will help us accommodate the longer and more complicated dockets that we will necessarily be dealing with. For example, in September alone we have worship with communion and the installation of our new moderator and vice moderator, recognition of three retirements, reports from our General Assembly Commissioners, celebration of the renewal of our Presbytery Partnerships, examination of three candidates, re-election of our General Presbyter, and confirmation of the appointment of an Acting Stated Clerk. November’s docket promises to be busy as well.
So, we ask for your support as we move ahead with this “new normal” in which we find ourselves. We are proud of all the work done by our pastors and congregations during the last six months; it’s all a testimony to the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst, responding to and rising above the effects of the COVID pandemic. And as your leadership in presbytery office and gathered on the Zoom screen for Cabinet meetings, we pledge to do our part to support mission and ministry in these trying times.
See you on September 10. Meantime, watch for further notices on when and how to register for the 888th Gathering of the Presbytery of Baltimore.
-- John V. Carlson, Stated Clerk
A New Nomination Slate for September
When we announced that Rev. Michael Moore has been called to the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville, questions on who would replace him as our next moderator were inevitable. The short answer is that Rev. Sue Lowcock Harris (First Presbyterian of Howard County) will be nominated as vice-moderator while the previously elected vice-moderator, RE Audrey Trapp (Faith Presbyterian), will be nominated as moderator at the September Presbytery Gathering.

The long answer is that the Nominating Committee invested great consideration identifying a solution. Although electing co-moderators could be a worthy alternative, there is insufficient time to make the necessary changes to the operating procedures to move forward with this idea. In fact, the little time available made it vital that the candidates would be able to on-board quickly with the experience and ability to intersect with our virtual community in a timely manner.

On the surface, Audrey and Sue may not reflect the diversity of our Presbytery. But because the rotation in leadership has included gender balance on a regular basis, and seen considerable African-American representation in recent years – exceeding the proportion to memberships – geographic diversity remains a factor. Audrey is from Baltimore, while Sue is from Howard County.

Although this may seem like a disruption to the expected rotation (from vice-moderator to moderator to chairing the Steering Cabinet), the Nominating Committee felt it was important to replace a teaching elder with another teaching elder. Ultimately, they remain guided by the best interests of the Presbytery, and we look forward to sharing more about the nominees in the weeks ahead.
Upcoming Events
Black Lives Matter Rally
Saturday, August 8th: Bring a sign and let your voices be heard. Faith Presbyterian, St. Matthew Catholic Church, NE Catholic Community, and Racial Justice Circle are partnering with Baltimore Cease Fire Weekend. (Wear a mask and practice social distancing) 10am - 11am at Loch Raven Blvd. and Woodbourne Ave. For more info, contact Ryan Sattler, (717) 891-6156
Springfield Presbyterian Church’s 13th Concert Series Begins
August 9th at 3:00 pm: Due to COVID safety concerns, the concert will be outside on the church lawn at 7300 Spout Hill Road in Sykesville. Ayreheart, a progressive folk trio with backgrounds in rock and jazz perform. Bring a chair or blanket to sit on and plan to wear your mask while you are up and about on the church grounds. There will be a hand sanitizing station and all groups are expected to observe social distancing protocols. Please visit their website or call (410) 795-6152.
Reform to Transform
You are invited to a Presbytery-wide Worship Service on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. This special service will conclude with a time for small groups facilitated by members of the Dismantling Racism Team. Please plan on joining us and stay tuned for additional details. Register in advance.
888th Gathering of the Presbytery of Baltimore
Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 10th! We will be meeting on Zoom once again. The meeting will include worship with communion, the installation of our new moderator and vice moderator, reports from our General Assembly Commissioners, re-election of our General Presbyter, and much more.
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Virtual Conference
Tuesdays, September 22nd, September 29th, and October 6th: The conference opens this year with Eric D. Barreto: Weyerhaeuser, Associate Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary and an ordained Baptist minister. Eric will be exploring the relevance of the Acts of the Apostles for a 21st-century audience, asking us to imagine what our call as stewards of the gospel looks like today, and how we can be a relevant, impactful church in the midst of crisis. Register here.

Help Wanted
Director of Music Ministry
Maryland Presbyterian Church is seeking a collaborative, invocative, talented, and diversely skilled musician to lead their Music Ministry. The Minister of Music will work closely with their direct supervisor, the Pastor. They will lead the choir, supervise a soprano section leader, and arrange for occasional instrumental ensembles for special occasions such as Christmas Eve. Special consideration will be given to candidates with relationships to potential guest musicians in the area. They are seeking an individual who is a skilled pianist who is also comfortable singing, teaching congregational singing/being a cantor, and leading the choir, and ideally could play guitar, percussion, brass or a stringed instrument, along with participating as a vocalist as needed. Specific desired skills because of COVID-19 precautions include the ability or willingness to learn how to pre-record Sunday hymns and songs, or knowledge of other technologies that allow for mixing music for worship, and skill or ability to learn how to set up and manage outdoor worship music and sound to be broadcast on an FM transmitter for “Drive-in” worship experiences. This position is 10 hours/week, at a competitive rate. Vacation and paid study leave are included and required to grow in skills and knowledge of our growing music ministry. For more info, or to apply, contact
The Presbytery offices are closed for visits or appointments until further notice, but staff and commissions continue to meet regularly online.

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