February 16, 2015

Inside This Edition 


Presbytery Approves Belhar and Marriage Amendments, et. al.


Healthy Boundaries 


Music Fest 2015


2015 Pastors' Retreat


The Center Opportunity  


Earth Forum: 2015 Environmental Update


Tiffany Series: Tribute to J. Spencer Hammond 


Woods Mem'l PC Come & Follow Youth Fundraiser


First & Franklin PC Spire Series: Violinist Kurt Nikkanen


Mt. Hebron seeks a Part Time Youth and Children Leader


Woods Mem'l seeks Organist 


Christ Our King seeks Director of



Prince of Peace PC seeks Director of Christian Education


The Center: Adult Mission Trip Opportunity




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


Commission on Thriving Congregations will meet Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30pm.


Personnel  Committee meets Tuesday, Mar. 3 from 11:30am. The meeting will include lunch.  


BAD will meet again on Saturday, Feb. 21 from 9am to 3:30pm for a workshop and review of the Hispanic Ministry Report.  Members planning to attend, please RSVP to dschmidt@baltimorepresbytery.org.


Susquehanna Parish MG meets 12:30pm on Thursday, Feb. 19 for lunch at 1st PC of Bel Air.


Wild, Wild West MG will meet 6:30pm on Thursday, Feb. 26 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hagerstown, MD.


Shared Ministry Pledge
Submit your Session's 2015 Shared Ministry Pledge On-Line. . .

Link to fillable form can also be found at www.baltimorepresbytery.org

Please pray for . . . 

On Sunday, February 22, 2015, please include a prayer for our state government in your prayers during your worship services.  Click here for Prayer.



Transitional General Presbyter's Report 



My flights back to Baltimore this morning (Monday) were uneventful...even arriving ahead of schedule.  Many of you know that I have been in the Des Moines, Iowa area supporting our adult daughter, Laura, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Laura's treatments will be challenging and your prayers are very much appreciated for her well-being and for her circle of family and friends offering her support.


While I was away, our first Presbytery Gathering of the year was held at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air. My written report to the Gathering included information about the reason for my absence from the Gathering due to health concerns for our daughter.  My report also included information about my decision to not be considered as a candidate for the next General Presbyter.


When I accepted the invitation to serve as your Transitional General Presbyter, I was looking forward to the possibility of being considered for General Presbyter.  Over the Christmas holiday, my wife, Linda, and I reviewed our plans for her move to Baltimore and for me to apply for the called position of General Presbyter.  At the time, our daughter (living in the Des Moines area)was having health issues; and, my mother was just admitted to a nursing facility in Cedar Rapids.  While I have two sisters living near my mother and Linda is near our daughter, the distance between Maryland and Iowa was beginning to feel like a distance too great to live with in the years ahead as these family health issues continued to unfold.  So, we came to the decisions that Linda would not make the move to Baltimore and I would not apply to become your next General Presbyter.  I informed the Personnel Committee of this on Jan. 17 and the Steering Cabinet and staff a day later. 


The commissioners attending the Feb. 12 Gathering voted to approve recommendations of the Steering Cabinet that begin the process for a  search for the next General Presbyter: directing the Steering Cabinet to present to the May 7 Gathering seven *nominees for a search committee and for the Personnel Committee to begin work on a position description that the Steering Cabinet would also present for consideration to the May 7 Gathering.  Searches for such leadership positions can range from 6-18months - generally, 9-12months. 


On Jan. 16, I began my second year of a two-year contract as Transitional General Presbyter.  As the search moves forward and the health concerns of my family become clearer, I will be in consultation with presbytery leadership about the appropriate time to end my service with you as your Transitional General Presbyter as you plan to receive a new General Presbyter.  I look forward to continuing my work with you in supporting spiritually thriving and reconciling congregations. Your ongoing prayers for my family and me are very much appreciated.


Your brother in Christ,  




*The application to serve on the General Presbyter's Nominating Committee is available here; and will be available Thursday on the Presbytery's website. Email completed form to office@baltimorepresbytery.org.

Take  noteTake Note /Act Now
Take Note/Act Now


Presbytery .  .  . and the Wider Church 


Presbytery Amendments


On Thursday, during the Presbytery of Baltimore's 866th Gathering, members voted 96 to 5 (with 2 abstentions) in favor of amending the Book of Confessions to include the Belhar Confession; and, they voted 74 to 28 (with one abstention) to approve the marriage amendment(W-4.9000) to the Book of Order. In addition amendment 14A which references the Renunciation of Jurisdiction failed in a "standing" vote of 61 to 48.  Amendments 14B through 14-E all passed by a voice vote.  Belhar requires 2/3rd of the presbyteries in the denomination to be approved; all other amendments require a simple majority vote for approval.   A PDF version of the booklet containing the amendments and the Belhar can be viewed by clicking here.




Teaching Elders, Commissioned Ruling Elders, and Certified Christian Educators are invited to attend the "Healthy Boundaries" training program from 9:15am to 4pm on Feb. 26 at Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies (ICJS), 956 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204 (located opposite Goucher College, inside the beltway  (410.4949.7161).  The program and lunch cost $65.  Payments is required in advance; register on the Baltimore Presbytery website.  Registration deadline:  February 20, 2015.  For more information contact Terrence Alspaugh, chairperson,  Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) Committee.  REGISTER HERE





Save the date!  The 2015 Pastors' Retreat will be held at Bon Secours Retreat Center from Wednesday Apr. 22 to Thursday Apr. 23.  Our featured presenter, TE Theresa Cho (Saint John's Presbyterian Church in San Francisco) will discuss how to integrate art in worship.  





The next Earth Forum will be held at 2pm on Sunday, Feb. 15 at the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County. Come, be a part of the discussion, as the panelists--environmental professionals and leaders--share the highlights and results of their work in 2014 and their plans for 2015. The Earth Forum is free. Email earthforum@firstpreshc.org or call 410.730.3545.  See us at www.earthforumhc.org.

Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church's Tiffany Series presents a choral concert honoring longtime Douglas Memorial Community Church music director J. Spencer Hammond at 3pm on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 at Brown Memorial Park Avenue Presbyterian Church.   Tickets are $15 ($5 for students).  For details, click Hammond.


Come celebrate and support what God is doing in and through the lives of our young people at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church's Come and Follow 2015 program at the Youth and Their Families Ministry from 6-8pm on Saturday, Feb. 21.  This fundraiser for youth is a plain good time with great food, live music, a photo boot and countless auction items and plenty of ways to help raise our goal of over $30,000.  For details, click Youth.


The Spire Series, sponsored by First & Franklin Presbyterian Church, presents solo violinist Kurt Nikkanen, in an all-Bach concert at 8pm on Friday, Mar. 6. A Meet-the-Artist reception will follow the performance.  Tickets are $20 General Admission; $10 for students.  For details, click Nikkanen.  


Mt. Hebron Presbyterian Church seeks a part-time Intern Youth & Children's Leader.  This is a year-round salaried position averaging 12-15 hours per week.  A full job description is available at www.mthebronpc.org.  Contact TE Adrian Pratt  at 410.465.3993 or pastor@mthebronpc.org. 


ORGANIST needed at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park. Interim position starting immediately. Contact musicministry@woodschurch.org or call the church office at 410.647.2550.


Director of Music Ministry - Full Time for Christ Our King Presbyterian Church, Bel Air, MD  Great opportunity to lead an established music program in an active church.  This could be the best church job you'll ever have!   Please submit your resume for consideration to: dmmsearch@christourking.net.


Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church seeks a part-time Director of Christian Education.   The ideal person for this 20-hour a week job will be warm, outgoing Christian who loves children and has experience both in managing educational programming and in teaching. A full job description is available at www.popchurch.org. Contact Rev. Elizabeth McLean at 410.721.2313 if interested.




 Adult mission trip opportunity  This summer, from July 11-18, The Center will offer a week-long mission experience exclusively for adults. Partnering with Ashland Presbyterian Church, this hands-on mission will focus on the Habitat for Humanity restoration on McCabe Ave. in East Baltimore. Participants must be at least 18 years. Opportunities include overnight or day-only mission experiences.  Interested? Contact The Center's director, Rev. Kate Foster Connors.



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


Wanda Morgan

Dir. of Events & Services  wmorgan@baltimorepresbytery.org 





Catherine Blacka

Judy Johnson

Ministry Group Staff




 Deborah Greene

Dir. of Communications