December 14, 2015
Inside this Edition
Presbytery Christmas Card

Remittance Notice 

Dramatic Production of the "Apostle" a Prince of Peace PC

Hunting Ridge PC seeks a Part-Time Office Manager

Springfield PC Offers Interest Free Loans for Advanced Education Through the Ruth Gosnell Education Fund

Central PC Seeks and Operations Coordinator

The "Armor of Light" Viewing at Cathedral of the Incarnation

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

Committee on Preparation for Ministry will meet at 3pm on Wednesday, Dec. 16

Personnel Committee will meet at 1pm on Monday, Jan. 11

The Gathering Team will meet at 1pm on Tues., Jan. 12

General Presbyter Search Committee will meet at 10am on Thurs., Jan. 14

Steering Committee will meet at 1pm on Wed., Jan 20

Commission on Reconciliation  will meet 6:30pm on Wed., Jan. 27.

Our Shared Ministry 
Our Shared Ministry provides vital support to our Ministry Groups, Partnerships and Commissions.  As of this date $174,484.77 has been received toward the   $220,000 budget for 2015 Shared Ministry. We are grateful to the Sessions of the following churches:

Ark & Dove 
Brown Mem'l Pk Ave.
Cherry Hill
Christ Memorial 
Christ Our Anchor 
Christ Our King 
Dickey Memorial 
First and Franklin  
1st of Annapolis
1st of Bel Air
1st of Cumberland
1st of Frostburg
1st of Howard County
Good Shepherd 
Hughes Memorial 
Hunting Ridge 
Light Street 
Mount Hebron
Mount Paran
Prince of Peace 
Roland Park 
St. John United
Woods Memorial  

General Presbyter

The  General Presbyter Search Committee continues to review applications for the position of General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Baltimore. Applicants, including members of the Presbytery of Baltimore, are urged to apply to the following advertisement or forward it to someone who you think would be a good match for our presbytery:
Progressive, forward-thinking, financially healthy presbytery seeks a dynamic spiritual leader to inspire, lead and shepherd a diverse group of 69 congregations which is exploring new ways of serving the world and conducting ministry. To apply, send cover letter and PIF/resume to:

Church Management 

Christmas is just days away, which means many churches soon plan to surprise ministers and staff with gifts or meals. However, many church leaders don't realize the potential tax-related implications of these activities, well-meaning as these gestures may be.  Get a full analysis, including guidance with the most common types of gifts, in Richard Hammer's article,  "When Churches Give Christmas Gifts"   and Frank Sommerville's article on What you should know about collecting for  special love gifts for ministers and staff.
What Does It Take 
to Deliver a Good Sermon?

by Debbie Ingram Schmidt
Associate for Spiritual Leader Development 

If you are a Teaching Elder, you are very familiar with the process of writing a sermon. But others may only guess about what actually happens "behind the scenes" in the preparation of a sermon. Some people imagine it to be a daunting task that only a trained scholar could undertake, while others might wonder what their pastor does with the rest of the week after she or he has put in the hour or two (presumably) it takes to write a sermon.

The truth lies somewhere between these two images. Sermon preparation is not something to be entered into lightly, but it is also not beyond the skills of a lay leader. The Book of Order says that Ruling Elders "... are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life." Sometimes this might mean stepping in to preach if your pastor is away. Wouldn't it be nice to have the chance to prepare ahead of time for such an occasion?

On Saturday, Jan. 16, the Commission on Spiritual Leader Development will offer a workshop lead by the Rev. Jeanne Gay on sermon preparation for church leaders who are not Teaching Elders. The workshop will be based on Rev. Gay's experience and will use A Sermon Workbook: Exercises in the Art and Craft of Preaching, by Thomas Troeger and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale.

Rev. Gay, who has been serving as the interim pastor of Havenwood Presbyterian Church in Lutherville, is well qualified to lead a workshop like this one. She knows what it is like to serve as clergy and also as a lay person. Before entering seminary, she had experience in the workplace as a high school English teacher, a secretary, a technical writer, a documentation specialist, a corporate trainer, an organization development consultant and a college English professor. She is passionate about helping lay leaders hone their skills for the important ministry of sermon preparation and delivery.

The workshop will be held at Catonsville Presbyterian Church, beginning at 9:30am with a light breakfast. Lunch will also be provided and the workshop will end at 4pm. The goal of the workshop is that each person attending will have a solid beginning for a sermon and, possibly, the opportunity to deliver a part of it before those in attendance.

This workshop requires preparation in advance, so it is important to register early. You can register online and when you do, you will receive instructions from Jeanne and a copy of the workbook. All costs for the workbook and meals are covered by the $20 registration fee.  For details about the workshop and how to register, click here and look for the banner below.


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What's New on the PoB Website

In this edition of  Tidings we are highlighting the Presbytery's webpages on Church SafetyGiven the rise of a num ber of alarming incidents involving public agencies around the country -- and, also among our own member churches -- the Presbytery is exploring ways to offer awareness training to congregations to help them become more proactive in securing the safety of parishioners and protecting church property.  As such, TE Ron Hankins, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, is conducting a survey of member churches to document incidents of violence or aggression in the past three years (2013-2016).   To complete the survey or learn more about Church Safety , click  here  to go to the Presbyter y's website and select Ministry Relations; Forms and Policies; and, then click on Church Safety

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Take Note/Act Now

Presbytery   .  .  . and the  Wider Church 

SAVE THE DATE: Jan. 13, 2016 is the last day that the Presbytery will accept r emittances by mail for FY2015.  Remittances received after that date will be applied to FY2016. Faxes and emails will not be accepted.

Nationally acclaimed actor,  Brad Sherrill , returns to Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton for a one-night-only performance of his newest production, "APOSTLE," beginning 7pm on Sunday, Jan. 10. Click Apostle to learn more about this dramatic performance. 

Hunting Ridge Presbyterian Church
 in Northwest Baltimore seeks a Part-Time Office Manager   to staff the church office, format printed materials, assist with facility rentals and process contributions.  Microsoft Office experience preferred; training provided. Hours flexible. Begin the week of Jan. 11, 2016.  For details, email TE Deborah McEachran  or call  410.556.2926.

INTEREST-FREE COLLEGE LOANS AVAILABLE! The Ruth Gosnell Education Fund, directed by the Springfield Presbyterian Church, provides interest-free loans for full time college juniors, seniors or graduate students -- regardless of religion.  Loan applications are evaluated on academic performance, financial need and a short essay. Download the RGEF Form A, "Ruth Gosnell Education Fund Loan Application" at or call 410.795.6152.  The deadline for applications is March 1, 2016.

Central Presbyterian Church is in search of an Operations Coordinator.  This position is critical to smooth running of the church's facilities' and creating the optimal environment for both internal and external ministries to operate. For details click Central. To apply, please send resume and cover letter to


T he Cathedral of Incarnation in Baltimore will host a viewing and discussion of "The Armor of Light" from 10am to 12:30pm on Saturday.  THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister Rev. Rob Schenck as he tries to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. In the film, Rev. Schenck, an anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. 
Christmas Joy Offering: Promises Made, Promises Kept

by Adrienne Knight, Volunteer Ambassador
PC(USA) Special Offerings Leader Support Network for the Presbytery of Baltimore

For God who has promised is faithful. -Hebrews 10:23 

So on Christmas Day we celebrate that the promise is kept in the birth of Jesus Christ! The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) provides the opportunity for congregations to join this celebration of God's faithfulness by supporting those in need of help and hope. Thanks to your gifts, the Christmas Joy Offering is able to help provide financial assistance to individuals and families who have dedicated their lives to the church. The offering also supports racial ethnic education and leadership development for students attending Presbyterian-related schools and colleges. The promise made is one of hope in situations where hope can be hard to find. When we give, we declare that our hope is well founded, because it is God who has promised, and God who is faithful.

Did you know?
The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The offering distributes gifts 50/50 to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and racial ethnic education and leadership development. The Assistance Program provides integral financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and spiritual leadership, while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.

What does the Christmas Joy Offering do?
Supporting our past and present leaders By supporting the Board of Pensions, the Christmas Joy Offering honors the faithfulness of current and retired church workers in their time of need by providing financial assistance to support them through life's challenging circumstances. These actions of generosity bear witness to our faithful response to God's charge to love one another as Christ commanded.  Paving the way for future leaders PC(USA), with its historic commitment to higher learning, has long promoted education and leadership development through the establishment and support of racial ethnic schools and colleges. Our future racial ethnic church leaders are able to receive much-needed assistance while they discover and pursue their professional goals at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges. Your gifts allow these ministries, which Presbyterians have carried out for decades, to continue.

There's Still Time . . .
During Advent please consider collecting for the Christmas Joy. There is still plenty of time to collect. Contributions for the Christmas Offering must be forwarded to the Presbytery's Finance office in order for congregations to receive credit on their monthly statements.  For further information click Christmas Joy Offering, email the Presbytery or

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 Mary Gaut
Interim 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
Deborah Greene  
Dir. of Communications

Catherine Blacka

Judy Johnson
Ministry Group Staff

 Wanda Morgan
Dir. of Events/Services