July 7, 2020
Wishing Debbie Schmidt a Fond Farewell
It is with mixed emotions that we bring news of Debbie’s retirement this month. For the past eight years, she has been a valued collaborator and advocate for spiritual leader development, and the longest serving Presbytery staffer among us. We are grateful for her dedication and contributions, born from a spirit that has seen much and done more.
As the oldest of four, Debbie was born a lifelong Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, PA. She attended LSU, where she met her husband John in a campus Christian group. They were married in December of her senior year. After school, they took up residence in Massachusetts, then New Orleans, where they had a son and daughter. Years later, Debbie and her family moved to Japan to serve as PCUSA missionaries: First Kochi, then Kobe, where she experienced the devastation of the 1995 earthquake. She would not be deterred, as teaching English, giving chapel talks, leading Bible studies, and serving on boards continued to be her passion.
In 1998, her family returned to the US when John took a call as pastor in Baton Rouge and Debbie directed a host family program for international students. When they moved to Baltimore in 1998, Debbie was involved in women's ministry and training others to lead. She was asked to join the New Church Development Committee of the Presbytery, serving for 3 years and chairing for one of those years. Debbie was also trained as a spiritual director through the Benedictine Monastery of the Risen Christ before being hired by the Presbytery in August of 2012.
As Staff Associate for the relatively new Spiritual Leader Development Commission, Debbie’s background would be put to good use. She also became staff liaison to the BAD Ministry Group, Susquehanna Parish Ministry Group, the MG conveners, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and the Gathering Team Planning Team while overseeing Presbytery scholarships. Debbie was instrumental in steering the SLD Commission into a focus on clergy coaching and received training as a clergy coach in 2019. 
Debbie’s impact will be felt for a long time. Susan Krehbiel reflects: “There were so many ways in which Debbie’s experiences in ministry were a blessing for the Presbytery. One in particular was her experience living in Japan. Debbie developed a cross-cultural orientation session for the Partnerships that were given as part of preparation for all the partnership trips – to the Dakota Presbytery, Guatemala and Cuba. These sessions were less about other cultures, and more about developing our own cultural awareness and understanding how cultural differences impact communication. I love that she grounded her session in the Biblical concept of hospitality, for I believe that hospitality was always at the center of Debbie’s ministry."

Hebrews 13:1, 2 " Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Please join us in sharing our thanks for her years of service and wishing Debbie all the best as she spends more well-deserved time walking, swimming, reading, knitting, and spending time with her family!

The PCUSA Planning Calendar
It was previously mentioned that we’re taking orders for the 2020-2021 calendar. What we’ve learned since is that the month of May will feature a photo of our Christian Educator’s Group in action. This of course was one of Debbie Schmidt’s joys, and we are delighted to see the well-deserved recognition! Check our website for more information on how to order your copy today.
Free Coronavirus Testing Thursday
This testing & tracing site seeks to demonstrate the need for more tests & tracing services to Baltimore residents in the under resourced and underserved neighborhoods of 21217 and surrounding zip codes. The goal is to deliver at least 100 tests to 100 persons at the mobile site on July 9th, at 2110 Madison Avenue from 11 am – 2 pm. Tell your friends, and Contact Patti Flowers-Coulson for more info and so BUILD can keep track of turnout.

This week’s public action is a collaborative effort of several community entities: Madison Avenue, First & Franklin & Brown Memorial Presbyterian Churches, Memorial Episcopal & St. Martin’s Church of Christ, Madison Square Neighborhood Association, Mt. Royal Elementary/Middle School, Dorothy Heights Elementary Child First Program, St. Martin Church of Christ, Promise Heights, No Boundaries, Intersection of Change & Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development (B.U.I.L.D.).

Community Engagement Conversations
Every first Wednesday of the month at 10 am, Center staff gather on Zoom to facilitate a conversation about your congregation's efforts to engage with the local community. Bring success stories, frustrations, questions, or places you are stuck, and we will brainstorm together. Register here . After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Greetings from Taguasco, Cuba
Lore Martinez, a Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church of Taguasco recently shared a video with us . He is an English teacher and frequently serves as the interpreter when meeting in Cuba. The church in Taguasco has a church-to-church partnership with First & Franklin in Baltimore Presbytery.

It is so great to hear Lore’s voice and see him speak directly. Although they are facing their own challenges, Lore and his colleagues are aware of the racial unrest here, and praying for us from afar. We will remember to keep them in our prayers as well. 

William Black Lodge Holding Space Opportunity
Thinking of getting away, but not sure how? William Black Lodge in Montreat, NC is opening its doors—with 50% occupancy—and inviting those who work in ministry to take a break from the pressures of church and life and find space to breathe this summer. Their program, Holding Space, runs throughout the summer while Montreat youth conferences are canceled. This program is for you to design as needed. They are available to suggest options and help guide/resource your time as you discern. Learn more about the program and safety procedures on their website .

Help Wanted
Interim Pastor
First & Central Presbyterian Church in the heart of downtown Wilmington, Delaware is seeking a full-time interim pastor to lead them through the transitional time to call a new pastor. For more information about the church visit their website , and for more information about the position, please contact the Interim Search Committee at: brendadean0867@gmail.com
Associate for Church and Leadership
The Presbytery of Baltimore is seeking an individual to take a leading role in implementing and breathing life in the Presbytery’s vision and ministry plan and encourage, challenge and equip existing and new congregations to thrive in their relationships and become faithful leaders. Full job description
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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