A Friendly Reminder . . .

In an effort to help maintain social distancing to combat the coronavirus, the Presbytery office is currently closed to visitors. Most staff are working remotely and email will be monitored and answered in a timely manner. Emergency contact information can be found at the end of this communication. Stay safe!
October 23, 2020

Please note the change in date for the October Presbytery meeting. The virtual meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 27th via Zoom. We apologize for any inconvenience.

**Registration information for the meeting can be found here.**
Crossroads Anti-Racism Training & October Presbytery Meeting Change

What’s Essential: Discerning the Church’s Work Amid the Twin Pandemics of Structural Racism & COVID-19

As we seek to faithfully respond to God’s call for justice in every time and place, and in the light of recent concerns and our commitment to be a Matthew 25 Presbytery, we would like to draw your attention to the Crossroads Anti-Racism Training Event being held at Montreat Conference Center, October 23-25. As you may be aware, those dates conflict with our stated meeting of the presbytery, originally set for Saturday, October 24. 

In an effort to encourage as much participation as possible by the members of our Presbytery, WE HAVE MOVED OUR STATED MEETING so as not to conflict with the Crossroads Anti-Racism Training at Montreat. Our Presbytery will now meet via Zoom on Tuesday, October 27th.

Furthermore, the Peace and Justice Committee of our Presbytery is offering 5 scholarships (first come, first served) to attend this training. The committee will cover the costs for commuter in-person or commuter online; or if you choose, the committee will subsidize the comprehensive rate at $150. Email Jill Isola, Peace & Justice Committee Chair, to apply. Please note, if you miss-out on one of the five scholarships offered by our presbytery, another option is to apply for a scholarship offered by Montreat Conference Center (please visit their website for details).

The goal of the Crossroads Anti-Racism Training Event is to provide participants with capacity-building tools and resources to work for anti-racist transformation in their churches and institutions. Participants will finish this anti-racism training with concrete action steps for their congregations and local communities.

This Crossroads anti-racism training will specifically address the political challenges facing the church in light of how the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the acute structural inequities of the USA and their impact on communities of color, particularly Black, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities.

We encourage you to attend this conference regardless of whether you have attended prior anti-racism training, or if this will be your first time attending. Anti-racist work is a process. Our goal is also to encourage community building and support among people with like-minded concerns who are thought leaders in their congregations.

The description above was taken from Montreat’s website and you may find more information and details by following this link.

Full Conference, Commuter In-Person
$102 per person. Rate includes a conference fee of $100, plus a $2 community services fee per person for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. Commuter rate does not include lodging or meals.

Full Conference, Commuter, Online Only
$175 per person. Online only participants will receive the same materials and have the same access to small groups, panels, keynotes, and conference materials. This rate does not include lodging or meals. To help us cover the costs of offering this conference online, this rate is higher than the in-person rate.

Comprehensive rates include a conference fee of $100, room in Assembly Inn (Friday and Saturday nights), meals in the Galax Dining Room (Friday supper through Sunday breakfast), plus a $2 community services fee per adult for public services provided by the Town and the fire district. Rooms are assigned on a first come, first served basis. Room check-in AFTER 3:00 pm on Friday. Room check-out BEFORE 11:00 am on Sunday.

Assembly Inn
Single Occupancy, Private Bath - $315.00
Single Occupancy, Connecting Bath - $285.00

The communication recently sent out by the Task Force on Returning to Face-to-Face Gatherings in PWNC was shared yesterday. In case you missed it, you can obtain a copy here.
Need a Substitute Preacher?

Our General Presbyter, Byron Wade, has pre-recorded the first of three sermons for your use anytime. This short message is from the Revised Common Lectionary for Sunday, November 8th (Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A) from Matthew 25:1-13. There are two videos: the first includes the prayer for illumination, scripture reading, and the sermon. The second one is the charge and benediction. Both are in MPG format. If you would like to use these for your worship service, please contact Byron at bwade@presbyterywnc.org or call/text 828/430-1515.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month
Don't forget to recognize that special pastor in your life this month!

Here are some ideas for consideration in light of COVID-19:

Party on wheels - Parades have gained in popularity in recent months, as we decorate our vehicles and make signs to drive past the homes of the honorees. Chose a themed parade to show appreciation to your pastor. During the surprise event, members drive by and drop off gifts. One church chose a "cook-out" theme, where the pastor received everything except the grill!

R&R - As a church, plan and contribute toward a surprise getaway for your pastor and family. Consider a nearby location where your pastor can get some rest and relaxation, as well as spend quality time with the family. Check for hotels, vacation rentals or park facilities that follow strict safety guidelines.

Say it with food - In the age of COVID-19, preparing and sharing meals may be best replaced with gift cards. Find out where your pastor and family enjoys eating out, then offer gift cards to their favorite restaurants.

Say Nice Things - A card, text or phone call is the perfect way to share a compliment and to simply say "thank you".

And last but certainly not least . . .

Pray! - Prayer is huge. Pray for your pastor each day, keeping in mind the particular needs and challenges of pastoral ministry.
It's Budget Time!
Help us adequately plan for the mission and ministry of PWNC in 2021!

Your Pastor and Clerk of Session recently received information concerning your 2021 Estimate of Giving to PWNC.

Please prayerfully consider what your church can give and return the pledge card to Lisa Pressley at the Presbytery office by November 9. We thank you in advance!
The Office Administrator at First Presbyterian Church of Marion, Joyce Suppes, is planning to retire at Thanksgiving. The church will most likely have a permanent pastor by the first of 2021. We are looking for someone with administrative skills who can work temporarily until the pastor is on board to search for a permanent Administrator. The temp could be considered for the permanent position. We are currently looking at 24 hours/week, (Monday - Thursday) and the pay rate is $15/hour. Hours & days could be negotiated. Skills needed include MS Word, Power Point, Publisher, Excel, weekly electronic newsletters, Facebook posts, website posts, financial record reporting.

Please contact Wanda Neely, Transitional Pastor, at 828/929-5001 if you or someone you know is interested.
“Meet & Three” Lunch

Being a minister is challenging during the best of weeks, but during Covid times, many solo pastors are weathering long durations of weekly preaching. If this fits your context, you’re invited to the first Zoom “Meet & Three” lunch on Tuesday, November 10th from 12:00-1:15 pm. If you are wondering the benefits of eating lunch on camera in front of your colleagues in ministry, there are at least two! First, our pastorates might be solo, but they are not isolated. Second, and the goal of our meeting, is for those attending to bring one, two, or three thoughtful sermon illustrations you don’t mind sharing for Advent preaching. This could mean sharing the title or summary of a story, poem, article, meditation, tale of valor, podcast, yarn or whatever you call a good and faithful sermon illustration for Advent when you hear it. If all goes well, everyone will walk away with some solid sermon illustrations that help inspire our Advent preaching. It’s been a long liturgical year, might as well preach it strong to the end! The zoom link will be sent out closer to the date, but go ahead and mark your calendar.
First Presbyterian Church of Hickory has several banners for worship that are no longer in use. They would like to donate these to a church that would make use of them. The banners are about 6'-7’ long and the 4 larger ones are about 3'-4’ wide with the narrow ones being about 2'-3’ wide. There are no stands.
If you have questions or are interested in securing these for your church, please call Shawn Stamper and leave a message at 828/443-1346.
Free Blue Hymnals
Karl Thomason has four new, blue Presbyterian Hymnals and one new "Sing the Faith" book to give away. In light of COVID-19, it would be especially handy to have a copy at home to use for participating in church services remotely.

If you are interested in a gifted copy (or if you would like all five), please contact Mr. Thomason at 828/446-1172.
If you are due to take part in Sacred Boundaries training this year, the Sacred Boundaries team will have one final offering for 2020 on:
Saturday, November 7, 2020           10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Training will be conducted by use of Zoom. Please register early as a limited number of participants can be accommodated.
The focus of the training this year will be on our recently adopted Child and Youth Protection Policy, giving special attention to issues that arise around it in the online environment into which we have all been thrust. Here is a link to the policy. Since this session is scheduled for 1½ hours, rather than the typical 3 hours, you are expected to spend time in advance studying the policy and to come with questions about how best to implement in our work together. 
To register for November 7th, click here.
If you need assistance in registering, please call the Presbytery office at (828) 438-4217.
Find Us On YouTube!

PWNC now has a YouTube channel! Subscribe to "Presbytery of Western North Carolina" to stay connected!

You can also check out our new General Presbyter Dr. Byron Wade's welcome video posted there, or click here to watch it now!

Hurricane Delta has impacted the northern U.S. Gulf Coast once again. Storm surge, destructive winds and flooding rain have ravaged areas affected by Hurricane Laura in late August.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be responding. Remember to give to a disaster/relief effort of your choice by designating the Disaster Response “DR” project you would like to support. View the list here: Active Disaster Responses (includes links to give online). 
Sessional Records

Due to COVID-19, all face to face Sessional Records reviews have been suspended for 2020. Read how this process will be handled in the following communication from Cam Murchison, Stated Clerk:

COVID-19 Information

A special section has been designated on Presbytery's website to share information relative to COVID-19. Click here to access material that has been pooled for our members and churches, and to find helpful resources for ministering in times like these.
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Byron Wade ~ 828/430-1515
Rev. Dr. Cameron Murchison, Jr. ~ 404/556-8041
Rev. Billy Robinson ~ 828/448-2153
Presbytery of Western North Carolina | 828.438.4217 | www.presbyterywnc.org