May 20, 2020
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What Will Phase 2 Mean for Worship?: Notes in Transition

I continue to get more reaction to and interest in what I have written about a future return to in person worship than any other topic. Governor Roy Cooper has allowed for the possibility of proceeding this week to Phase 2 of the Moving Forward plan. A federal court has ruled that any restrictions on churches holding worship are unconstitutional. What does all this mean for churches of Salem Presbytery?

Guidance for Phase 2 suggests that churches may resume worship activities in their buildings with social distancing and other precautions taken to maintain sanitary facilities. Worshipers will continue to be encouraged to wear masks (a mark not of fear but of concern for others). Phase 2 still urges that those who are at risk - whether because of age (above 65), pre-existing condition, or autoimmune disorder - stay at home as much as possible. We recognize that many of our congregations' members who are most faithful in worship attendance are at risk (even if some of us are in denial of our status).

What would worship look like under these circumstances? In person worship in churches that attempt to resume normal activity will look and feel different. As noted, we would be missing our at risk members while those present will be urged to wear masks and to maintain social distancing of at least six feet between people who do not live together. Choral and congregational singing may be discouraged for some time to come as it is estimated safe distancing for singing may be fifteen feet. Churches will need to devote more time, energy, and expense to maintaining safe and clean facilities than before, in sanctuaries and every other space where people gather. Worship leaders will need to contrive ways to avoid worshipers' touching the same items, such as offering plates and communion trays. Some question whether we'll ever have printed bulletins again.

Some of our sessions are deciding not to resume in person worship until further notice, perhaps not until some time next year, perhaps not until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. Presbyteries cannot make decisions for their members and congregations; we can share information and the exchange of ideas. I lean into caution, not out of any lack of faith but out of concern for members of the body of Christ, especially for those who are most vulnerable. So continue to develop proficiency on your chosen virtual platform. Consider a short-range FM transponder for parking lot worship. Maintain social distancing (I have seen some photos that show this isn't always happening). Remember - these are ways we love one another.

We have heard many times in recent years about the difference between technical and adaptive change. No one should have to explain this anymore as all are engaged in adaptive change such as we have never experienced before. I thank you, and I salute you for brave experiments, willingness to fail and learn from mistakes, and resilience. Meanwhile, don't let anyone say in your presence that the church is closed. We have left the building, but still doing the ministry of Jesus Christ, we have gone into the world.

Grace and peace!
Steve Scott
Transitional General Presbyter
Help Hungry Neighbors with an Offering of Letters

The Presbytery Hunger Committee planned to conduct an Offering of Letters at the May stated meeting in Boone; however due to COVID-19 and the need to cancel the meeting, that did not happen. The committee is asking congregations within Salem Presbytery to do an offering of letter virtually. These letters are of particular significance this year as Covid has severely stretched food banks around the country; going into the summer months when children are home from school and not able to access free breakfast and lunches, the demand will be accelerated. Please take a moment to read through the packet and then send your letters/emails. Share with your congregation and urge them to participate also. In a period of time when the needs seem overwhelming, this is an action we can take that could help millions of food insecure families and individuals here and around the world.

FOX8 Finding Hope: Pastor Kim Priddy

Kim Priddy, one of our own, pastor of Greensboro's Sedgefield Presbyterian Church, speaks to our need for hope: 

The Commission on Ministry (COM) and Committee on Examinations (COE) strive to be proactive in our work with all individuals laboring in congregations within the bounds of our presbytery. In recent years, pastoral leadership at some of our smaller congregations has shifted to individuals who are already ordained in denominations outside of the PCUSA. These are not "called and installed" positions but rather part-time supply positions, without benefits, and with annual contracts renewed through the church session and COM.  

Around the first of the year COM established a task group with Examinations to look at this issue closer and to try to come up with a solution to the frustration that was evident. After several meetings (in person and online) the group presented a proposal to the COM which was unanimously approved. 

As stated in the document (link below), the purpose of The Salem Leadership Academy 
is to educate persons from outside our denomination's parameters for ordination to ministry and who are desiring to serve Salem Presbytery congregations.

Participants will participate in a 20-session course of study including learning modules in Reformed Theology, Worship & Sacraments, Presbyterian Polity, and The Book of Confessions. The Examinations Committee may require participation in this program at their discretion. Participants will work with a designated coach with whom they will meet either in person or electronically to assess their understanding and grasp of the material. Following the 20-session program, participants will return to the Examinations Committee for a final evaluation, to be completed in no more than six months.

COM is in the process of identifying coaches for the program. Coaches will suggest appropriate resources for their area of focus, and participants will utilize the resources found on the Theocademy.com website.

Members of the task group are: from COM John Johnson, Amanda Anderson, Brian Rummage, and Leigh Wisner; from Examinations Bill Hoyle, Debbie Layman, Jay Smith, and Barrie Kirby. David Vaughan and Steve Scott also provided input and met with the group.

We are pleased that this program is now an option for those wishing to serve within our presbytery, who may need a better understanding our Presbyterian theology and polity.

Links of Interest

Personality Affects Spirituality: A Self-Care Event from Salem Presbytery's Commission on Ministry (COM)

The Bible says a lot of things, but what is God's will for me right now? Today? What sorts of things will truly add to my self-care, spiritual health and wholeness and which things are dead-ends or vicious cycles?

Consider Martha of Bethany in Luke 10:38-42. She believed she was showing love to others and being a servant of God by sacrificing personal time with Jesus. How many of us intuitively seek the most spiritually unproductive things for ourselves-things that sound perfectly in line with Christ's teachings?

It is easy for us as religious leaders to be like Martha and miss what God is instructing us to do. We sometimes focus on achieving what seems to be the letter of the law at the expense of the spirit in which it has truth. Jesus acknowledges the importance of prayerful self-reflection in ministry: "You actors! First remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5)

Let us learn how we intuitively operate by participating in this spiritual care opportunity. This event will combine an introductory video, a book discussion of The Road Back To You by Cron and Stabile, and a follow-up event on Zoom on June 1st. The COM is grateful to Evan Harrison, pastor at Pittsboro Presbyterian, for his leadership of this event. Please visit the Pittsboro Presbyterian website for information and registration for this free event at the link below. https://pittsboropres.org/personality-spirituality/  

Note: This is being offered to Salem Presbytery, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church and other religious leaders (interfaith welcome!) to help reflect and share what gets in the way of our self-care and what strategies help us overcome such obstacles. Feel free to recommend this to others and invite others to this process.

General Assembly Will Meet Online

On April 21, 2020, it was officially announced that the 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will be conducted online only. See the link below for the complete announcement and further information.

Advisory Opinions on the Church During Pandemic

Stated Clerk of Salem Presbytery Elder David Vaughan as provided the following articles from the denomination regarding Advisory Opinions on issues that may arise in churches during the pandemic. Follow the links below.

Mental Health Awareness Month - May, 2020

During Mental Health Awareness Month, we find ourselves living in unprecedented times and navigating  the impact of this Pandemic on our lives.  

The effects of COVID-19 present a major mental health crisis. 
We anticipate mental health issues will intensify as the country 
begins to reopen and citizens continue to assess their losses.

The staff at Presbyterian Counseling Center wants our citizens to thrive.  PCC staff continues to be available to our patients and providers. Currently we are connecting with our patients through Telemedicine/Teletherapy.  

We participate with the major insurance carriers with the exception of Medicaid. As soon as we can safely do so, we will return to face-to-face sessions in our offices.

Presbyterian Counseling Center specializes in the treatment of Depression, 
Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, ADHD, Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders,
Grief and navigating life transitions for children, adolescents and adults. 
We offer pre-marital and couples therapy. 

Staff includes psychiatric medical personnel as well as licensed psychotherapists. 
PCC also specializes in outpatient Opioid and Alcohol Dependence Disorder including  
Medication-Assisted Treatment with Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Zubsolv) or 
Naltrexone( Vivitrol).

Visit our website - (link below).  For referrals, call 336-288-1484 Ext 100.
Feel free to contact Claudia McCoy, Executive Director directly at Ext 104 if you have any questions.  We are conveniently located off New Garden Road at 3713 Richfield Road, Greensboro, NC  27410.

We wish you a healthy and thriving spring and summer!

Online Opportunities for Worship in Salem Presbytery

Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, Blowing Rock
Facebook Live, YouTube Live, 11:00

First Presbyterian, Burlington
Livestream, 10:00

Springwood Presbyterian, Burlington
Livestream, 11:00

Chapel in the Pines, Chapel Hill
Virtual Worship

Clemmons Presbyterian
YouTube, 10:00

Third Creek Presbyterian

Alamance Presbyterian
Streaming, 10:00

First Presbyterian, Greensboro
Livestream, 10:30

First Presbyterian, Statesville
Facebook and YouTube Live, 10:00

Guilford Park, Greensboro
Facebook Live, 11:00

Sedgefield, Greensboro

Westminster, Greensboro
Livestream, 9:30, 11:00
Click Here

Bethany Presbyterian, Graham
Zoom Worship, 11:00

Bethany Presbyterian, Statesville
Facebook Live, 11:00

Concord, Statesville
Livestream, 11:00

Graham Presbyterian
Streaming 10:30

Glendale Springs
Livestream, 9:00

Fellowship, Greensboro
Livestream, 9:30

First Presbyterian, High Point
Livestream, 11:00

Shallowford Presbyterian, Lewisville
Online Worship

New Hope Church, Lexington

North Wilkesboro / Wilkesboro Chapel
Livestream, 10:00

Oak Ridge
Facebook Live, 10:00

Parkway Presbyterian
Online Worship, 10:00

First Presbyterian, Mocksville
Facebook Live, 10:00

First Presbyterian, Salisbury
Livestream, 10:30

Sparta Presbyterian
Livestream, 11:00

John Calvin Presbyterian
Facebook Live, 11:00

Thyatira Presbyterian
Facebook Live, 11:00

Taylorsville Presbyterian, with neighbors
Facebook Live, 10:00

Mt. Jefferson Presbyterian, with neighbors
Livestream, 9:00

Highland, Winston-Salem
Online Worship, 8:00

Trinity Presbyterian, Winston-Salem
Facebook Live, 11:00
Frontporch Facebook Fellowship
Jill Crainshaw and Sheila Hunter
Thursday, 6:30 pm
Navigating the Rapids: Finding Hope in Changing Times

Guest speakers:
Tod Bolsinger , author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory and Peter Steinke , author of Uproar: Calm Leadership in Anxious Times

Thursday, May 28, 5:30-9:00 pm (EDT)
Friday, May 29, 9:00 am-12 noon (EDT)
Please join us online via Zoom.
This event is open to the public.
For more information, follow the link below.

The Board of Pensions Announces Dues Relief for Small Churches, Deferments for Other Churches and Employers

In recognition of the challenges impacting employers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) due to COVID-19, the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions today approved dues relief for churches with congregations of 300 or fewer members that have a single pastor enrolled in Pastor's Participation. These churches may be eligible for a dues waiver of up to three months. For other churches and employers, including presbyteries and affiliated organizations, Directors approved deferments of up to two months on payments for benefits. In both cases, there will be no reduction in benefits to ministers or employees.

The Creating a Culture of Generosity workshop will hold its initial meeting in September rather than the May 2nd date originally announced. Please follow the link below to register.

Provided by Church Campaign Services (CCS), this 18-month training process will improve the level, generosity, and financial stewardship among Salem Presbytery congregations and their members. Salem Presbytery's Church Growth and Transformation Committee will subsidize this training so that congregations can participate with a financial commitment of only $500 over two years!! Information and registration for this exciting training process is available at the link below.

Presbyterian Foundation Shares Resources

Olanda Carr, our ministry representative for the Presbyterian Foundation, offers the Foundation's assistance during this challenging season: 

Presbyterian Foundation Resources
Help Us Keep Salem's Online Directory Updated

We have been encouraging members of Salem Presbytery, volunteers, and members of our congregations to take advantage of this handy resource, to which you have access through the Salem Presbytery website. As our staff grows smaller, and as fewer are available to answer the phone, you will find this directory easier to use (password = clemmons3950) than calling the presbytery to get phone numbers and email addresses of committee members or others you want to be in touch with. If using a list you received an email that bounces back, check the directory. Please check your own entry to make sure we have accurate information, especially in a time when we have to rely more and more on the telephone and digital communication and have less face-to-face contact. 
Click HERE for the 
2020 Prayer Calendar
May Prayers for:

Examinations Committee
Executive Council
Madison Presbyterian
Laurel Fork - Laurel Springs
Mission Leaders In Salem Presbytery

Salem Presbytery is compiling a list of "Mission Leaders" in each of our congregations. We seek contact information for mission committee chairs, mission coordinators (staff or volunteer), or those excited about the mission of the church. Click the link below to add your info. 
Add Your Information Here
Become a Peace and Justice Church!

Become and Peace and Justice church! Let your Salem Presbytery Peace and Justice Task Force help, inspire, equip, and send you on a journey. Contact Frank Dew at the link below.
Email Frank Dew
2020 Prayer Calendar

Click the link below for the 2019 Prayer Calendar for Congregations and Ministries of Salem Presbytery.

Other Special Events

Are you hosting a special event *(concert, speaker, training, etc.) at a time OTHER than on Sunday morning worship? Submit your event through the link below to be included on our SPECIAL EVENTS Calendar.

Meeting Calendar Available

Don't forget to use our Calendar of Meetings for planning your 2020 monthly agenda. 

Hunger Action

Become a Hunger Action Congregation! Check the links below for more info.
Board of Pensions

Click below for Board Connections - May 2020

Board Connections
Board of Pensions Call to Health

Click the link below to join the Board of Pensions Call to Health.

Board of Pensions Call to Health
PCUSA News and Announcements

Click below for the latest news and announcements from the PCUSA.

Salem Presbytery | PO Box 1753, 3950 Clemmons Rd., Clemmons NC 27012
336.766.3393 | Email | Website