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.