May 11, 2015
Inside this Edition


Message from the Vice Moderator, James Parks


Night of Elegance Formal Dance at Cherry Hill Comm. PC


Freddie Gray & Your Forum at Faith PC


Light Street Hosting Community Yard Sale


Westminster Ringers perform at Chestnut Grove PC 


Green Burials


Justice Conference Simulcast at Central PC


John Lamkin Jazz Concert at Grace PC


Religious Tour of Switzerland and France


Ashland PC Seeks Dir. of Christian Education


Big Tent!


Donations for The Center


ICJS' Mannekin-Clark Lecture: Eboo Patel


Nepal Earthquake



Committee and Commission meetings will be held at the Presbytery's office unless noted otherwise.) 

Transition Team  will meet 2pm Tuesday, May 14 @ 2pm

Steering Cabinet will meet Wednesday, May 20 at 1pm 

Reconciliation Commission meets Wednesday, May 27 @ 6:30pm

Committee on Ministry meets Wednesday, June 3 @ 3pm

Thriving Congregations Commission  will meet 6:30pm Tuesday, June 16


Bay Area Disciples MG will host a dinner meeting from 6-9pm on Tuesday, May 19 at Harundale PC.


Susquehanna Parish will meet 12:30pm on Thursday, June 18, at First PC of Bel Air.


Praise & Prayer
Praise God for the ministry of Rev.

Dr. Stephen R. Melton,

who will be installed as the 29th pastor of Churchville PC at 4pm on Sunday, June 28.


Praise God for the Ministry of Jonathan Nelson who was approved by the presbytery as a candidate for ordination to serve at  Ark & Dove PC.



Praise God for the Ministry of Rev. Todd D. Smith who will be installed as Pastor of Bethel PC at 4pm on June 7.  



Please Pray for 
John R. "Jack" Sharp, Pastor Emeritus of Gova ns Presbyterian Church who suffered a brain hemorrhage and was admitted today to St. Joseph's Hospital in extremely critical condition. Please pray for his family.

Please continue to pray for CRE Ed Terry, pastor of Mt. Paran Presbyterian Church in Randallstown, who is recuperating from  surgery.
Please pray for our Transitional General Presbyter, Craig Palmer, and his family as they learn to adjust to the recent changes and challenges in their lives.

Former TGP Craig N. Palmer 
Bids Farewell to the Presbytery 


Racial and economic injustice...and hope: a year ago the nation's attention was drawn to Ferguson, MO upon the fatal shooting by a police officer of Michael Brown, a young African American man. These past few weeks the nation's attention was drawn to Baltimore due to the death while in police custody of Freddie Gray, a young African American man. 


Each of these incidents and many other similar incidents leading to the deaths of African American men are tragic in their own right. And when we engage in conversations about what we can do as a community, as a society, to keep such deaths from reoccurring, the conversations inevitably move to exploring the systemic challenges in our communities and nation that need to be addressed. The challenges of racial and economic injustice are ever present and require our full attention and commitment to begin to address those challenges in ways that actually make a difference. As a people of faith claiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must continue to affirm Martin Luther King's declaration over 50 years ago: "Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."


A recent example of one way to begin to make justice a reality is the partnership of Uptown Metro Ministry Group, the Greater Homewood Community Organization and the McCabe Neighborhood. This partnership offers a glimpse of how lives of Baltimore residents can be impacted over time to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood and the ripple effects such improvements can have on the larger community.


Presbytery's transition continues: The transition this presbytery began four years ago continues with the Steering Cabinet, the three Commissions and six Ministry Groups. Ongoing conversations seek to clarify the role and focus of these groups in realizing the vision of this presbytery encouraging, challenging and equipping our congregations to thrive spiritually and be apostles for reconciliation. In addition:

  • The Steering Cabinet is engaged in a review of the Manual of Operations to align the structures and processes more clearly with the vision and reflect more accurately our current operations.
  • The Administration Committee continues to monitor our finances and review our financial reports to insure our finances are reported in a manner that is clear and easily understood. Last year was the first year to present a single page budget recommendation for consideration by the presbytery. The Administration Committee will present a 2014 financial report at the September 17 Gathering.  The Board of Trustees meets this month to begin a review of processes and procedures to insure their work aligns with the vision of the presbytery.
  • The presbytery website is in the process of being redesigned with the new design going live this fall. A team is being formed led by Deborah Greene, Director of Communications, to work with the website designer. As the design process moves forward, groups and individuals will be invited to offer feedback and ideas to insure the new design meets the needs of the presbytery.
  • Reminder to sessions and pastors to report your 2015 Shared Ministry commitment. To date we have received Shared Ministry pledges from 15 congregations for a total of $41,250. Your timely commitment to supporting the work of the presbytery is very much appreciated. I encourage sessions that have not reported your 2015 Shared Ministry commitment to do so by going to the presbytery's website and clicking on the button "Shared Ministry Pledge" or send an email to Terry Jackson Your Shared Ministry dollars are an important part of our presbytery fulfilling the commitments made for 2015. 

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Transitional General Presbyter these past sixteen months. Certainly, my time with you was much shorter than what I expected it to be when I accepted the offer to begin serving in this position in January 2014.  Thank you to each member of our staff for the dedication, gifts and expertise you offer to this presbytery. It has been my privilege to serve with you.  Thank you to the members of the Steering Cabinet, Trustees, ministry groups, commissions, committees and partnerships that have served and continue to serve in these various groups. The Presbytery of Baltimore is in good hands during this newest transition as the search committee for a new General Presbyter is formed and the search for an Interim General Presbyter begins.


As I prepare to move back to Iowa, I appreciate your support, thank you for the prayers offered on behalf of my family, and I seek your continued prayers for healing and wholeness for my step-daughter, Laura.


Your Brother in Christ,


Take  noteTake Note /Act Now
Take Note/Act Now


Presbytery   .  .  . and the  Wider Church 

Message from Vice Moderator James Parks


Thanks to everyone who participated in our small group discussions on the crisis in Baltimore at the May 7 Gathering. The discussions seemed very passionate and everyone appeared to be fully engaged. I could feel the Holy Spirit moving in the room.


If we take seriously our roles as Christ's ambassadors, we must intentionally move out of our comfort zones, reach out in love and make a long-term commitment to form lasting, and mutually respectful relationships with people we don't know or have ignored completely. We must commit to creating a new normal in our community and finding ways to join with those who are suffering, whether they live in the center of Baltimore or among the abandoned farms in Western Maryland or as one of the silent poor in the suburbs.   


I want to thank TE Susan Quass and Retta Barkley for quickly compiling the suggestions and ideas we collected at the Gathering.  They report that there were 138 responses!!  Hallelujah!! For our next step, the ad hoc group of pastors and elders and the Commission on Reconciliation will each meet to consider the responses. Both meetings are open to anyone in the Presbytery. The Commission on Reconciliation meets next on May 27 at 6:30pm at the presbytery office. The ad hoc group will meet again within the next two weeks. We'll send out a notice when that meeting date is set. 


We will report back to all our congregations in the Presbytery soon with some considered, targeted strategies for responding to this crisis and opportunity. Remember, every congregation is different. But no matter what your membership, your resources or situation, God calls us to this mission of reconciliation and reminds us that we thrive by reaching out, as Jesus did, to those on the margins of society.




Cherry Hill Community Presbyterian Church will host a formal dinner and dance entitled "Night of Elegance," from 6-9pm on Saturday, May 16. Admission is $20 for an individual and $35 for a couple.  For details, click Formal.


Faith Presbyterian Church, in conjunction with the Loch Raven Ministerium, will host "Freddie Gray & You," an open conversation for youth and others,  on Thursday, May 14 at 6:30pm in the church's fellowship hall. 


A COMMUNITY YARD SALE will be held 9am to 3pm at Light Street Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 16. For details, click Yard Sale.


Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church will host the Westminster Ringers at 4:30pm on Sunday, May 17. This is a group of gifted musicians playing advanced handbell repertoires. Appropriate for children of all ages. There is no admission fee for the concert. For details, Click Handbell.


Green Burials Organizational Meeting, Sunday, May 17 at 4pm  - Towson Presbyterian Church (400 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Towson 21204) invites you to meet with Earthome and other interested individuals to consider the establishment of  the first natural cemetery in Maryland.   Free parking.  If interested, please contact Ann Phillips

On Saturday, June 6, Central Presbyterian Church will be hosting a local simulcast of The Justice Conference This is an international event that brings together world-class speakers and artists with a focus on biblical and social justice for the 21st century.  For details, click Justice.


Local jazz great, John Lamkin and his quintet, will shake up your spirit at Grace Presbyterian Church from 4pm to 6:30pm on Saturday, June 27 with his sacred jazz sounds! The concert includes an exciting program of gospel and spiritual arrangements featuring vocalist Eartha Lamkin; soloist, Leo Burroughs; and, a performance by the J.A.M. (Jesus and Me) Dancers. Donations: $25.00 adults; $10 Children 12 years and younger. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling 410.466.4000 and leaving your name, phone number and number of tickets needed.  


Reforming Spirit in Switzerland and France Tour, April 3-12, 2016.  Join TE Ken Kovacs, pastor of Catonsville Presbyterian Church, and others on a travel tour to explore the rich history, religion and culture of Switzerland and France. The group will travel to some of the most beautiful and inspiring places in France and Switzerland to learn more about the roots of the Reformed tradition and to witness the continued development of traditions in TaizĂ©, Strasbourg, Basel and Zurich. Click Reforming Spirit for more details.


Ashland Presbyterian Church seeks a Director of Christian Education. Click here for details 




Big Tent 2015 registration is up and running and everyone is excited about what it will bring.  You can watch the Big Tent video or read more information about this event on the Big Tent web site 


The Center needs a few items for its dorm space.  If you think you might have some items to donate, click on this link to see what we need and to sign up:  Questions? Contact Kate Foster Connors. 


Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core, will lecture on best practices of effective interfaith leadership: the ability to voice values, engage diversity and act on behalf of the common at 7pm on Wednesday, May 13 at Goucher College's Kraushaar Auditorium. The event is sponsored by The Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies' Manekin-Clark Lecture series.




image courtesy of

 An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale struck west of the ancient Nepali capital of Kathmandu, Pokhara; It is the most powerful earthquake to hit the region in 81 years. The death toll from the quake has risen to more than 970 and is rising further. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's (PDA) partner ACT Alliance and ACT members are on the ground and working to support the people of Nepal. Financial assistance will be needed to help with the response. Financial gifts can be made by clicking here or checks may be written to the Presbytery of Baltimore and designated in the memo section to DR999999 - Nepal.

taff Directory

Craig N. Palmer
Transitional General Presbyter
  Deb Milcarek

Assoc. for Reconciliation 

Susan Krehbiel

Dir. of Congregational Advocacy




William Nickels III

 Assoc. General Presbyter


Debbie Ingram Schmidt

Assoc. for Spiritual Leader Development

Terry Jackson
Dir. of Finance  


Deborah Greene

Dir. of Communication 


Catherine Blacka

Judy Johnson

Ministry Group Staff



 Wanda Morgan

Dir. of Events/Services