e-News for March 19, 2021
In this issue:

  • Reopening Survey Results
  • News from the Presbytery
  • News from Our Congregations
  • News from the Broader Church
  • Job Opportunities
  • In Our Prayers
In response to God‘s call in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the mission of the Presbytery of New Hope is to enable local congregations, and presbytery as a whole, to function effectively as the body of Christ by actively exploring, facilitating, equipping, and establishing appropriate ministries with the covenant community and beyond. 
As we settle in to the second year of changes to our patterns in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic, we are often asked what our churches are doing about re-opening for in-person worship. We have had anecdotal evidence from our regular conversations with church leaders, but we wanted to be able to offer something a little more exact. So last week we reached out to the churches of the presbytery with a brief survey to gather some information about what they are doing so that we can have some data to share. Thanks to the 90 people who submitted information about the status of 75 congregations in this season!
 
Of the 75 churches that responded:

  • 37 (49%) are doing some sort of in-person indoor gathering for worship
  • 33 (44%) continue to have online services only
  • 3 (4%) gather outdoors
  • 2 (3%) worship in cars in their parking lot
Churches that have resumed in-person gatherings have established a number of precautions to help keep their worshipers and communities safe. Of the 40 churches that gather in person indoors or outdoors:
 
  • All provide hand sanitizer
  • 35 (88%) require masks
  • 5 (13%) have temperature checks
  • 25 (63%) intentionally shorten the service
  • 16 (40%) limit the number present
  • 7 (9%) require reservations
  • 7 (9%) require seating by ushers
 
Our churches continue a robust online ministry. 28 of the 40 churches meeting for in-person worship (70%) offer an online option, and 61 of the 75 total churches reporting (81%) have at least some of their congregation worshiping online every week.
 
A continuing question for many churches in re-gathering is about music. Of the 40 churches that gather in person indoors or outdoors:
 
  • 19 (48%) have instrumental music
  • 12 (30%) have solo singing
  • 10 (25%) have a small group that sings
  • 11 (28%) have congregational hymns
New Hope’s large geography and diverse ministry settings mean that our churches make different choices that may still be faithful, but there are some differences based on size and location that show up in these decisions.
 
  • 20 of the 34 churches under 100 members reporting (59%) are regathering for in-person indoor worship, with 9 of those (36%) offering an online option.
  • 12 of the 29 churches with 100-500 members reporting (41%) are regathering for in-person indoor worship, with all offering an online option.
  • 5 of the 12 churches over 500 members reporting (42%) are re-gathering for in-person indoor worship, with all offering an online option.
  • In the Triangle region (Durham, Orange, and Wake counties), 7 of the 25 churches reporting (28%) are re-gathering for in-person indoor worship, with 6 of those (86%) offering an online option.
  • In the areas outside of the Triangle counties but west of I-95, 13 of 22 churches reporting (59%) are re-gathering for in-person indoor worship, with 8 of those (62%) offering an online option.
  • In churches east of I-95, 17 of 28 churches reporting (61%) are re-gathering for in-person indoor worship, with 12 of those (71%) offering an online option.
 
We hope that this information is helpful as your congregation considers the appropriate next steps to love God and love neighbor as we move closer to the end of this pandemic season. Please let us know if there are others ways that we can support your discernment in this work.
 
Ted Churn and Andy James

News from the Presbytery
Join in the 2021 Outstanding Older Adults awards! Honor that person in your church who’s over 60 and still serving the Lord with everything s/he’s got — oftentimes active in various areas of the church AND the community — by having your session make an official nomination and submitting a one-page bio on why this person is so inspiring, a portrait-style photo of the honoree, plus three additional photos of them in action in ministry. The deadline to submit to René Baker is Friday, April 30, 2021.

We will honor 25 Outstanding Older Adults this year via Zoom and available later on YouTube. The premiere will be held over a Zoom gathering at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 13. An awards booklet and certificate will be mailed to each nominee.
 
Update from the Youth Council

The Presbytery of New Hope Youth Council continues to meet monthly via Zoom. The four teams (music, theme, worship, and recreation) are each putting together resources that will be distributed to churches across the presbytery for use by youth groups who are meeting virtually. We miss being together physically, but are hopeful that this project will help connect the Youth Council with the rest of the presbytery in lieu of our usual retreats. We hope to be able to gather for a retreat in the fall, but will be making a final decision at a later date. Stay tuned for more information about applications for next year's YC! 
Update on the office: As many of you know, the presbytery office has been closed since late March 2020. Though it will still be some time before the end of the pandemic is in sight, we are hoping to reopen toward the end of April. We may begin with a combination of work from home and in-office hours. Stay tuned!

Ted
An Update from Your Presbytery Personnel Committee

In our commitment to keep everyone informed, we are now at the stage of interviewing candidates for the position of interim executive presbyter/stated clerk. During the month of February we received several personal information forms through the denominational Church Leadership Connection(CLC). Personnel is devoting the month of March to interviewing select candidates both from CLC and those who have self-referred. We ask for your prayers as we move to this next stage in our process.

Jody Welker, chair of Personnel
PW logo
Join us via Zoom for the New Hope Presbyterian Women Spring Gathering
When: April 17, 2021 Time: 10:00 a.m. - Noon 🌷
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Dianna Wright 🌷
Special Music 🌷 Dedicated Mission Focus
The Presbyterian Women of New Hope Presbytery has openings in the following slots: vice moderator, secretary/historian, Together in Service, area representative, Resources and Scholarship. If you would like to serve or help us discern how to improve our service and outreach, I look forward to hearing from you. Please contact Frances Turner at: fran0747@yahoo.com or (252) 915-4818.
The COVID-19 resources previously featured weekly in the e-News are now listed at the bottom of the home page on the presbytery website.
News from our Congregations
SCIENCE AND CHRISTIAN FAITH - LEADERS FROM THE PAST, QUESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE

In two installments on Wednesday, March 24 and Wednesday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m.,
Rev. Duane Hix will lead a virtual seminar on the topic of science and faith. Session one addresses the history of Christian scientists who combined their faith in God with groundbreaking discoveries, including offering a framework for how we can today view the contributions of science and technology within our Christian belief system. Session two will introduce participants to modern authors who are addressing the relationship between science and faith, and will include a discussion with participants on how they connected their faith to their work in research and teaching, especially addressing the issue of increased specialization in scientific fields and its effect on scientists' ability to relate their work to larger questions of ethics. Rev. Dr. Hix has studied the history of science and its interface with philosophical and theological questions for over 40 years, from graduate school to seminary and throughout his years as a parish minister.

If you are interested in these topics and would like the Zoom link, contact Melinda Merkley King at mmking@kirkofkildaire.org. Feel free to advertise within your congregations too.
Covenant Presbyterian Church, Durham, along with the Durham County Health Department, the Durham Academy of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy and the Community Health Coalition, Inc., will offer a drive through COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the parking lot of the church on Saturday, March 20, 2021 from 12:00 - 6:30 p.m.
News from the Broader Church
Job Opportunities
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church in Durham is currently seeking a director for its half-day education program for children 18 months through pre-K. Ideal candidates will have a background in early childhood education, in addition to administrative and managerial experience. View the position description. Qualified applicants are encouraged to send a resumé and cover letter to personnel@wpcdurham.org. No phone calls please.


  • Howard Memorial in Tarboro, NC is looking for a part-time (6-8 hours/week) youth director to lead a robust youth ministry at a wonderful church. The role would oversee youth Sunday school, Sunday night youth group, and summer mission trips, Montreat, and Massanetta conferences. Anyone interested can reach out to hmpctarboro@gmail.com.  
Upcoming Events
All in-person events have been canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic
until the all-clear has been issued. The meetings listed below will be conducted via Zoom.

April Calendar
2 ~ Good Friday - Office Closed
4 ~ Easter Sunday
8 ~ Preparation for Ministry - 9:30 a.m.
8 ~ Commission on Ministry Executive - 1:00 p.m.
13 ~ Examinations and Transfers - 8:30 a.m.
15 ~ Small Church Webinar - 6:30 p.m.
17 ~ Presbyterian Women Spring Gathering - 10:00 a.m.
19 ~ Finance and Property - 10:00 a.m.
21 ~ Coordinating Body - 1:00 p.m.

Online Presbytery Directory

The Presbytery of New Hope directory of congregations and teaching elders is now available online! Get the most up-to-date information available, search anywhere you have an internet connection, and even print a PDF at www.nhpresbytery.org/directory.
 
You can look up your personal passphrase at the bottom of the page, or you may contact us at directory@nhpresbytery.org to get a pass phrase, update your address, or receive other support.
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