Monday, December 19, 2011

Candlelight Worship, 12/18/11

Once upon a time, God chose to come to earth. Why? Because, as God goes to great lengths to show at Christmas especially, God wants to be in relationship with us.


Morning Worship, 12/18/11

If you had the chance to hold the baby Jesus, would you? Most folks jump at the opportunity to hold a cute and cuddly child. But this neither cute nor cuddly. This child will make the wolf and the lamb lie down together. This child is...powerful.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Morning Worship, 12/11/11

Mixed messages abound this time of year. We Christians insist that cashiers in stores wish us "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," when the very problem is that we've allowed Christmas to be resigned to stores.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Morning Worship, 12/4/11

When I have a goal, I work to reach it. No stopping the smell the roses. When I get in the car to go somewhere, I go. No stopping along the way at tourist attractions. I've heard all of the "life is a journey, not a destination" rhetoric, but I haven't started believing it...yet. Advent is good for people like me, for it teaches us the importance of waiting, of watching, and of listening...patiently...for the child who is coming to show us something new.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Harp Concert

To mark the beginning of the Advent season, Leah & Rodger Trent provided an Advent Harp Concert with Scripture readings this past Sunday night.
*The recording begins halfway-through the first piece. Our apologies for that.


Morning Worship, 11/27/11

This time of year, it's culturally common for us to utter the words, "Thank you," more often than usual. But what does it mean to be theologically thankful?


Morning Worship, 11/20/11

For centuries, theologians have been saying that everything is connected. For centuries, no one noticed. Only recently have economists and scientists, for example, begun to jump on the bandwagon. connected!


Friday, November 18, 2011

"Happy Kids" in the Beckley paper!

A project initiated by our Mission Team in 2010 was featured this week in The Register-Herald (Beckley). The story begins:

"The Happy Kids Project is a network of churches, clubs, non-profit organizations, individuals and civic groups working together to aid at-risk youth by providing school-related items for students whose families cannot afford them and assisting students in funding for after-school or enrichment activities.

'As is the case everywhere, there is a great need throughout Greenbrier County,' said organizer Jane Gillespie. 'Schools provide what children need to achieve academically. Happy Kids is a resource for non-academic needs.'"

Click here to

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Morning Worship, 11/13/11

The moral of the parable of the talents is simplistically difficult: If you have good news to share, you better share it...or else.


Morning Worship, 11/6/11

Pearl Buck, the great author from West Virginia, once said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”  On this All Saints Day, when we remember the saints who have come and gone, leaving behind their lessons to us in the pages of history and in our own memory, let us look back…so that we can look forward. 


Monday, October 31, 2011

Morning Worship, 10/30/2011

Our culture conditions us to be first.  To be the best.  To be served.  To win.  Christ conditions us to be last.  To be our best.  To serve.  To surrender.  Do you see the difference?  He turns everything upside down.  He doesn’t want us to wear our faith in boxes on fringe; he wants us to live it in our actions by being not the first, but the last.  Not the winner, but the one who surrenders.


Monday, October 24, 2011

One year ago, 33 men were trapped 2,300 feet underground in a Chilean copper mine. The hell they faced is incomprehensible to us. And yet, the hell that has haunted them since then is all too familiar to us.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Morning Worship, 10/16/11

Leslie Clay is a Presbyterian Mission Co-Worker in Nicaragua along with her husband, Carl Agsten. Originally from Charleston, she's back in West Virginia for a few weeks to tell the story of her mission work. Here, she preaches on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Morning Worship, 9/25/11

This week concludes my sermon series on the book of Jonah. After finding his way out of the belly of the beast, Jonah relents to God's call and goes over 500 miles to Nineveh. Despite his worst prophetic efforts, the people listen to Jonah...and he is angered at God. Why? And what message does God give in response to Jonah?


Morning Worship, 9/18/11

Do you know the story of Jonah and whale? I thought I knew it all: Jonah was sentenced to the belly of the beast as punishment for a crime. But the more I read this story, the more I question that traditional reading. Why did Jonah end up in the belly of the beast?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Block Party Pictures

Last Sunday we hosted a Block Party at the church. Check it out!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Morning Worship, 9/11/11

"Where were you on 9/11?" Most people remember, and rightfully so; 9/11 was a monumental mile-marker in the life of our country and the world. But perhaps the more important question is, "Where did 9/11 lead you?" 

May the Lord bless and keep you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Worship on the Greenbrier River, 8/28/11

Yesterday, we gathered at the Greenbrier River for worship to celebrate the sacrament of baptism and receive a new member. What a blessing it was! Whether you couldn't make it or would like to remember the special day you can see below for a few pics taken by our Clerk of Session, Kay Smith.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Morning Worship, 8/14/11

Jesus says, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles."   Our mouths are full of vile vulgarities.  If we were to see ourselves on video, we would hear ourselves saying things our mothers would slap us for saying.   Idiot.  Dummy.  Hippie.  Gay.  Crazy.  Redneck.  “It is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 


Morning Worship, 8/7/11

I confess that for the past few weeks I’ve been in a spiritual rut, of sorts.  Each time I go to pray, I can’t seem to find the right words.  Each time I open the Bible, I can’t seem to find the message.  Each time I look for the face of God in the world, I can’t seem to see past my own hand.  Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual rut? 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Morning Worship, 7/31/11

The Bible contains numerous types of literature--poetry (Psalms), law (Leviticus), biography (Gospels), letters (Romans). But it also contains one non-traditional type--the soap opera. The story of Jacob & Esau is a soap opera of biblical proportions, and it comes to a surprising conclusion...


Monday, July 25, 2011

Morning Worship, 7/24/11

They say what goes around, comes around.   Have you found that to be true in your life?  Do the good things you do find their way back around to you?  What about the bad?  Some people call it karma.  We in the Christian faith call it the Golden Rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 
For that scoundrel Jacob, what goes around does indeed come back around.  The tables have turned in an instant.  Jacob, who was the trickster, now becomes the tricked. 


Friday, July 22, 2011

Morning Worship, 7/17/11

Jacob stumbles into the region of Haran, finding a "thin" place where the veil between heaven and earth is especially thin. There, he finds a ladder (or a staircase) descending from heaven and filled with angels coming down to earth. The big question is...why? For what purpose does it exist?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jacob offers Esau what seems to be a terrible deal, yet Esau takes it. When you are offered a deal, how do you decide whether or not to take it? What goes into your decision-making process?


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Call to Action from the Presbytery of WV Peacemaking Team

A call has been made for all people of faith to be in prayer for South Sudan as they become an independent nation on July 9th.

Consider sharing the following prayer, A Prayer for South Sudan and Forgiveness written by PCUSA Mission Co-worker Aliamma George,  with your congregation and ask them to be in prayer with and for the people of Sudan on this historic occasion!

A prayer for South Sudan and forgiveness
Our loving Heavenly Father,
We come before you to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance for South Sudan.
Lord, we know that bitterness and resentment are like toxic thorns in our soul, sapping our mental process, thought-life, will, motivation, and joy of our life.
Remind us that we will be the prisoners of our strongholds if we cannot forgive our brothers and sisters.
Help us to remember that forgiveness is the deliberate act of the will to pardon another individual or self whether we like it or not.
Thank you for your word that we receive forgiveness in the same manner that we forgive others.
Help us to work out the torments of forgiveness with you alone our God and the other person, we are making the list of persons and situation causing troubles in South Sudan.
Intervene with the formation of the new Government and give us peace in South Sudan.
In Jesus Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

Rev. Claire L. Butler
Staff Rep. Social and Ecumenical Ministries Committee
Presbytery of West Virginia

Monday, July 4, 2011

Morning Worship, 7/3/11

On this Independence Day weekend when we celebrate our political and personal freedom, I ask you a theological question: Why did God give us our freedom?


Monday, June 27, 2011

Morning Worship, 6/26/11

The zoo is a busy place—filled with families, excited children, crying babies, and long lines.  Zookeepers have found that the hubbub of the zoo—all the noise and motion—takes a toll on the animals.  So what do the zookeepers do about it?  They close the zoo.  Two days a week, they close the doors of the zoo, or at least of particular exhibits, so that the animals can relax.  By being away from the drama of having others watch their every single move, just for two days a week, the animals are able to achieve a sense of balance in their lives. Is your life like a zoo?


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Morning Worship, 6/19/11

The notion of the Trinity is a tough one. Over the years, folks have come to understand it through various metaphors. I prefer a family metaphor--if Jesus is the son of God, then the Holy Spirit is God's daughter. And while we speak often of God's son's influence in our lives, today we take time to discover the Spirit's influence.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Morning Worship, 6/12/11

I once heard the Rev. Dr. Brad Braxton preach a sermon on the "Second Wind"--the one which athletes receive to push their performance over the top, and the one the church receives on Pentecost to do the same. This is my "remix" of Dr. Braxton's fine work.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Faith is Fun

The first Faith is Fun event was held Sunday, June 5, 2011. A great time was had by all. Click here to view pictures of the bowling portion of the evening.

Morning Worship, 6/5/11

Paul made a major decision at the beginning of his ministry that would mark the rest of it. He chose to minister principally to God-worshipers, those middle people in society who were neither fully Jew nor fully Gentile. Why did he choose this? How do we know? What does it mean for our own churches today?


Monday, May 30, 2011

Morning Worship, 5/29/11

Two cities--Thessalonica & Athens. One goal--spreading the Good News. Two results--booted out of town & welcomed as a friend. What's the difference? In Thessalonica, Paul used a confrontational style to talk about his faith, and that resulted in him being thrown out of town. But in Athens, Paul uses a gentler, conversational approach, and that gained him conversation partners. He learned that when we feel called to talk about our faith, we must "share."


Monday, May 23, 2011

The Happy Kids Project

*We belong to The Happy Kids Project. Today, Stephen is presenting the program to the Lewisburg Rotary. Below are some frequently-asked questions about the program.*
The Happy Kids Project
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the program’s purpose? We meet the school-related needs of children based on the referrals of their Guidance Counselors.

What are the goals of “Happy Kids”? 1) To be a resource for obtaining school-related needs, boosting a child’s self-confidence and self-worth in school; and 2) To be a resource for supporting school-sponsored activities, helping to plant resiliency factors in the lives of children where few or none exist.

Who participates in the program? We began as a network of churches, supporting students from our own local community. We now also have individuals and community organizations that sponsor children in their local communities.

How does it work?  Guidance counselors refer the needs of a particular student to a sponsor in their local community. For example, a child from Lewisburg needed a winter jacket. Edgewood Presbyterian was asked to provide a girl’s winter jacket, size medium. They bought the jacket and left it at the school for the Counselor, who anonymously gave it to the child in need. 

Where is the program?  In the 2010-2011 school year, we ran a pilot program at Eastern Greenbrier Middle School, partnering with their counselors and Communities in Schools.

Is the school system supportive?  Yes! We consulted with them before beginning the pilot project, and Guidance Counselors from across the county concurred that many needs are going unmet.

Do you plan to expand?  Yes! Our intention is to have this program in every primary and secondary school in the county, but we need more partners in order to achieve that. 

Are you a 501c3?  No. We are a network of churches, organizations, and individuals working towards a common goal.

How can I help?  We need additional sponsors to expand the program. If your church, organization, or family would like to serve as a sponsor for a local community, please contact us (304-647-4400,, or

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Pastoral letter to the people in the Presbytery of West Virginia

Since becoming your Interim Executive Presbyter on March 1, it has been a pleasure and honor to serve you and to get to know you.  As I go from church to church, I have become aware that relationships are important to you.  The biblical image of the Body of Christ comes into mind – together, we belong to the Body of Christ and individually, we all contribute to the Body.  I give thanks for your warm welcome to ministry within this presbytery and give thanks for how you live out your faith relationships.

We have received notification from the Office of General Assembly that Amendment 10-A has now passed a majority of presbyteries and will become a part of the Book of Order on July 10, one year following the conclusion of the 219th General Assembly.  The matter of ordination has been a matter for discussion within our denomination and within other denominations for many years.  We are not of one mind on this matter. 

I am grateful for those who care deeply about their faith and seek to live out that faith in mission and witness.  For those who may feel anxious about the matter of 10-A, let me make these observations:

--Our process for determining suitability of call has not changed.  Our sessions will continue to determine suitability of call for those called to serve within the local congregation.  The presbytery will continue to determine suitability of call for Ministers called to serve within this presbytery. 

--How the body of Christ relates to each other serves as a witness to the world, for many, both young and old.  It is my hope that we begin dialogue as the means for discernment.  Ask someone who voted in a different way why they voted that way.  Ask someone who attended the 2010 General Assembly in Minneapolis how that Assembly made its discernment.  Our commissioners were Mary Jane Knapp, John Arbuckle, Jr (Edgewood), Paul Romine (First, St Albans), Susan Eason (First, Morgantown).

--Remember what brings us unity in Christ.  We proclaim Christ to be the head of the Church.  What did Christ ask us to do? – to love one another – to go and make disciples – to baptize and teach – to go into all the world – to preach the Good News -- to follow…  In responding to this call, we can find unity and a focus for our mission together.

It is my prayer that we seek that unity and do what Christ has called us to do. 
“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.”  (Col. 3: 12-17)

Forrest Palmer, Interim Executive Presbyter

NY Times article on revised ordination standards in the PCUSA

After 33 years of debate, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has voted to change its constitution and allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.
Craig Lassig/Associated Press
Representatives of the Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday.

The outcome is a reversal from only two years ago, when a majority of the church’s regions, known as presbyteries, voted against ordaining openly gay candidates.

This time, 19 of the church’s 173 presbyteries switched their votes from no to yes in recent months. The Twin Cities presbytery, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul, cast the deciding vote at its meeting on Tuesday. The vote was 205 to 56, with 3 abstentions.

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Morning Worship, 5/8/11

For as long as I can remember, I've been in the church. And over the years, I've learned a thing or two. I've learned that you can never have enough dessert at a covered dish dinner. I've learned sermons on current events tend to be divisive. And I've learned that without women and mothers, there would be no church.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Worship, 5/1/11

Their shock is visible. Their trauma is undeniable. The disciples, after seeing their teacher brutally tortured and killed, are walking around in the haze of what we today would call PTSD.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reconciliation in Sudan

Watch Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council, tell a story of reconciliation among warring ethnic groups in Sudan here. Debbie Braaksma, Presbyterian World Mission’s area coordinator for Africa, helped facilitate the reconciliation while serving as a mission co-worker in South Sudan. Linda heard the story during a recent visit to a South Sudanese village with Debbie.

Ronceverte Presbyterian Church proudly supports the PCUSA's peacemaking efforts in Sudan, and we ask you to join us in prayer for our Sudanese brothers and sisters.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Morning Worship, 4/17/11

We tend to see today as a festive parade, with palms waving and children smiling and voices raised in all glory, laud, and honor!  But there is a dead seriousness to the journey Jesus took, and the donkey knew it.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Morning Worship, 4/10/11

While we all face pain, there are many ways to respond to it. I can try to avoid it. I can numb it with something else. I can fight it. Or I can submit to it, and let it teach me a thing or two the hard way. That’s precisely what pain does to Jesus in today’s Gospel reading.   


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Morning Worship, 4/3/11

Here’s the big secret about Christianity--it cannot be practiced alone on an island; it must be practiced with others, for it takes others to study the Bible, to have someone to pray for, and to have someone to bless and be blessed by.  Most importantly, it takes someone else in which to see the face of God.


Monday, April 4, 2011

April year later

One year ago, the mountains and people of West Virginia held their collective breath, as 29 miners from the Upper Big Branch mine fell victim to a terrible tragedy. In addition to a service in Whitesville at 6:00pm on April 5, there will be a service in Beckley sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at 3:00pm to be held at First Christian Church. Those who cannot attend but wish to lift up the families of those lost in prayer have been asked by the governor to do so at 3:01pm, which is the estimated time of the deadly explosion. We at RPC will toll our bells 29 times on April 5 at 3:01pm in memory of the fallen miners at Upper Big Branch.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

International Mission Focus for April: Iraq

Each month, RPC highlights Presbyterian ministries in different parts of the world, lifting up our  brothers and sisters in prayer. This month we turn our attention to Iraq. 

Christians continue to flee Iraq. “It is difficult for all the people of Iraq, but especially for Christians,” said Archbishop Georgis Sliwa of the Armenian Church of Iraq. “Those remaining are not feeling any security, especially politically, and have no hope for their children’s futures.”

Attendance at the Baghdad church pastored by Archbishop Avak Asadourian has declined by 85 percent in the last five years. Though their numbers are depleted, the churches’ witness in Iraq persists. Regular worship services still take place, Asadourian said, “but they are quieter and we have some police protection.” The Christian churches in Iraq are not about to give up. “Despite all the difficulties, we are hopeful because we are Christians,” said Asadourian, “and we love our country.” 

Among the five Presbyterian congregations in Iraq, only one currently has a pastor. Pastor Haitham Jazrawi of the Kirkuk Evangelical Presbyterian Church writes, "Since the change of the regime in Iraq in 2003, our church policy has been to demonstrate that despite the fact that we are a small minority in our community, we are a people with a holy and noble message of love, peace, and tolerance."

Elder Yousif Al-Saka of the Presbyterian Church of Baghdad said he does not expect the political unrest sweeping through the Arab world to affect Iraq. “The regimes in all those countries are dictatorial while we are a constitutional system,” he explained. “The main problem in Iraq for all the departures is security. If we want people, especially Christians, to return, we have to establish security.” On a personal note, Yousif Al-Saka of the Presbyterian Church of Baghdad asked the Presbyterian News Service to thank the PC (USA) for its unflagging support of the Presbyterian Church in Iraq. “You came to us before the war and after the war,” he said. “Victor Makari, Nuhad Tomeh and others in the PC(USA) have been best friends to us.” (Nuhad, pictured to the right, visited Ronceverte Presbyterian Church in October ’09 as part of the World Mission/ International Peacemakers event.)

Pray for:
Assembly of the Presbyterian Churches of Iraq (5 congregations)
Kirkuk Church Kindergarten and Child Care Center
Nuhad Tomeh, PC(USA) regional liaison (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, & the Gulf)
Amgad Beblawi, PC(USA) mission work coordinator
Yousif Al-Saka, Elder in Baghdad and Secretary of the PCUSA in Iraq

Additional links for more information:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Morning Worship, 3/27/11

In the wilderness of our lives, we often feel like the Israelites--wandering through the desert praying for direction. Listen for the Holy Spirit's whispers in music provided by Rodger & Leah Trent as you listen to today's Scriptures readings in this third week of Lent.


Friday, March 18, 2011

PDA Responds to Crisis in Japan

‘When they call to me, I will answer them.’ – Psalm 91:15

Earthquake. Tsunami. Nuclear meltdown. Any one of these disasters could be catastrophic.

Rescue efforts continue in Japan following the March 11 tsunami and earthquake and the growing nuclear crisis. Thousands have been confirmed dead, tens of thousands are missing, and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is responding through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) and our ecumenical and mission partners. Already, $100,000 from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering has been sent to provide immediate relief.

While Japan is among the world’s most advanced countries, the damage caused by the unprecedented scale of these multiple disasters is beyond imagination. You can make a difference in bringing God’s healing to this devastated nation, where Presbyterians have been engaged in active mission work since 1859.

What you can do:

GIVE — Financial support for relief efforts wherever disasters occur can be designated to DR000148. Support exclusively for these disasters can be designated to DR000117. Donations may also be made to One Great Hour of Sharing, which supports PDA. Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by mailing a check to: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

ACT — Congregations and individuals can put together Gifts of the Heart hygiene kits and baby kits. Stay informed through the PDA website and Rapid Information Network e-mail reports.

PRAY — Join with others in lifting up the people of Japan and those providing aid.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Morning Worship, 3/13/11

When Jesus went into the unknown wilderness, he seemed so prepared.  Like fasting that long was water off his back.  No problem.  And when the accuser tried to throw him for a loop, he seemed so underwhelmed.  Like he already knew the temptations he would face.  No problem.  That strikes me as something we can learn from Jesus, because in the unknown wilderness of our lives, we seem so unprepared and so overwhelmed. 

Be sure to check out the music during the offering by Sidney, Rodger, and Leah Trent. Enjoy! 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Morning Worship, 2/27/11

Christians sometimes overlook the Old Testament. Especially the Law. Most especially Leviticus, with rules and regulations about everything from facial hair to treatment of animals. What facets of our faith are missing if we ignore this important part of the Scriptures? Can we be a "holy" people, as God calls us to be, without a faithful understanding of the law?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ministry Priorities, 2011

The officers of RPC set ministry priorities for 2011, and they are represented in the below word 
cloud. Check it out! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Morning Worship, 2/20/11

Kids sometimes accuse parents of giving them "the evil eye," a look that says more than words could. That concept isn't new. The Greeks literally believed that someone with the eye could impart evil with their glance. In today's passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges this common cultural conception of judgment.