May 26, 2020
This month's Gathering was a virtual success
If you were among the over 150 people tuning in to Zoom on the 14th, you'd know our 887th Gathering was well-received, but not without its hiccups. In all, it was a great first go at an online-only event of its size. Despite our justifiable pandemic constraints, we succeeded in worshiping together, sharing news together, and conducting business of the Presbytery together. It was historic. The full session is available to view here , but you can skip to your favorite parts, such as Rev. Jack Carlson's stirring sermon, or our General Presbyter's update on the prospects of churches reopening.

While we're at it, we'd like to thank all our panelists for their guidance, preparation and involvement. It was truly a group effort. (and one other presbyteries were watching closely.)

Join the choir for General Assembly
We need your help! What was originally a 250+ voice choir for Opening Worship at GA is becoming a virtual choir that will sing in the one-hour Communion service, which will be shared on June 26.

Our selection, the closing hymn, will be #766 in Glory to God – The Church of Christ Cannot Be Bound (MC KEE). Matt May, the new Director of Music Ministries at First of Howard, has graciously agreed to coordinate everything for us.

Please share this invitation with choir members you may know. Everyone is welcomed to join in the singing. Here is the Dropbox link with more information. All necessary info is contained there, including recording instructions and an additional web link for participants to upload their submissions. We are all working on a very tight production schedule. Submissions/recordings are due before midnight on May 31 .

I hope you'll consider joining us!

-- Rev. Kenneth E. Kovacs,
Pastor, Catonsville Presbyterian Church

Coming soon: The 224th General Assembly
Only three weeks from now, the General Assembly comes to town. Virtually, that is. With Baltimore remaining the “host city” there’s been much to-do about what to do. The Committee on Local Arrangements (COLA) has been meeting regularly to re-define our city’s role in this historic event, and reaching out to congregations to invite their participation.
Here are a couple ways to get involved:

  • Host a Service on June 21 - If your church is hosting online worship on June 21st, and would like to invite commissioners to join your congregation, please contact Sonce Reece at or Deborah McEachran.

  • Got Photos? - Since the denomination can’t visit us in person, we’ll do our best to welcome visitors virtually. The spotlight remains on our region as we host Presbyterians from around the globe, and we are compiling photos (and videos) to accompany our stories. If you have an image (or video) or two that “represents” your congregation, please share it with us so we can share it with our guests next month. If interested, contact Frank Perrelli for more information.

Change in General Assembly Commissioners
One of our elected GA commissioners, Rev. Doris Cowan, has resigned as a commissioner. Our elected alternate, Amy Carlson, is now one of our two minister commissioners. This has been communicated to the Office of General Assembly. We are blessed to have such a competent alternate able to serve!
The Purple Ribbon Ministry
The Sunday after Easter 2017, First and Franklin Presbyterian Church began visibly to express its deep concern for the victims of homicide in Baltimore City.
We read their names during the Prayers of the People, offering up their prayers. concern for the victims, their families and friends and the perpetrators. As we prayed, we held up a purple ribbon for each human life taken. We had decided to illustrate the terrible cost by hanging these purple ribbons on the Park Street side of the sanctuary - where anyone walking or driving by would notice. And they did.
We also hung lists of names and dates of death amid the ribbons. People came and looked and read. Neighbors from all over Baltimore sought the name of their lost son, nephew, brother, father neighbor among the ribbons. They would tell us of him (occasionally of her, but very rarely, as most victims are men).

In January, 2018, we took the ribbons of 2017 to Annapolis to the legislators and the Governor. At the capital we read all the names of folks who had died; We continue to pray by name each week for each new victim, and for the city bereft of their lives. On March 30, 2019, we marched from the front of the sanctuary to The Baltimore Police Headquarters bearing the ribbons from 2018. At the Police Headquarters, we were met by the representative of the Chief of Police. We sang and prayed and delivered each individual ribbon as the name it represented was read.
In early 2020 we made several of the 2019 ribbons available to members of City Council, members of the Family Survivors’ Network and other affected parties. Now we are considering what use to make of the Purple Ribbons from 2020. We are wondering if other congregations in this Presbytery who share our deep concern for the plight of our city and the lives of our citizens would like to join us in hanging Purple Ribbons outside their congregational structures after praying for each life lost to homicide the previous week. We would happily supply you with a “starter kit” of purple ribbons, litanies we have used, and information for ordering more ribbons.

Member, retired

Help Wanted
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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