Workshop Series for Churches
Lackawanna, Lehigh, and Northumberland Presbyteries jointly offered a series of important Zoom workshops on topics of concern for churches in the COVID-19 era: re-opening our buildings, the financial impact of remote worship, and the format(s) of our worship and other ministries as we move forward. These workshops were open to everyone: church members, elders, and ministers. They began with a presentation highlighting the major issues, followed by a Q & A time and conversation. The workshops were recorded and posted below.
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Theological, Ecclesiastical, and Practical Issues Related to Re-opening Church Buildings. Current PC(USA) Co-Moderator Rev. Cindy Kohlman will help us explore the complexities of returning to our sanctuaries in the midst of the current pandemic. What is the church’s faithful response in red, yellow, and green regions of Pennsylvania?
If you were unable to attend in person, this workshop was recorded and can be viewed on you tube at https://youtu.be/j1iq6pgY6gc Rev. Kohlmann shared some important information on Returning to the Building
Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Generosity in Uncertain Times. Ministry Relations Officer Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelley and Vice President for Planned Giving Resources Karl Mattison, both from the Presbyterian Foundation, will help us address the effects COVID-19 has on stewardship and giving–now and in the future.
If you were unable to attend in person, this workshop was recorded and can be viewed on you tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Cx4mXDiYfI&t Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelley and Karl Mattison shared some important information on stewardship, giving, and best practices now and going forward. Here is the document Karl Mattison shared: Generosity in Uncertain Times
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 (Synod-wide)
The Expanded Table: Ideas for a Hybridized Worship Experience Between People on Zoom and People in Person. Former PC(USA) Moderator Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will led us in a conversation about how churches’ new ways of worshiping can be combined with pre-COVID-19 worship as a both/and rather than an either/or.
If you were unable to attend in person, this workshop was recorded and can be viewed on you tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkq_id5HLDc Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow shared some informative information on worship practices and what is needed. To view the powerpoint he shared during the workshop click this link https://bit.ly/BRCTrinityJune2020
Let’s Canoe The Mountains Together!
Those of you who attended the January Presbytery assembly heard a presentation by Tod Bolsinger about the concept of adaptive change for the church from his book, Canoeing the Mountains. When asked if ever imagined that this book would be so popular, Tod said “No, I was totally surprised, but it really seems to have struck a nerve in churches across many denominations.
Indeed, the theory behind Canoeing the Mountains, that the church must learn new ways to engage in ministry because the old ways no longer work, has also struck a nerve here in Lehigh Presbytery. We’ve heard excitement and energy around learning more about adaptive change and beginning to innovate and experiment in the hope that our congregations’ DNA will begin to shift in a positive way.
You can view the Zoom recording of the January 24, 2020 Presbytery Assembly with the presentation by Tod Bolsinger, along with his PowerPoint Presentation and additional free online training resources by clicking the links below.
YOUNG ADULT VOLUNTEERS
The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service for young people (ages 19-30) in sites across the United States and around the world. YAVs accompany local agencies working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation. Alongside this work, volunteers explore the meaning of their Christian faith and accountability to their neighbor in community with peers and mentors.
Volunteers serve during the academic year, August through August, and are placed at sites based on our mutual-discernment process.
Program benefits include a regular stipend, housing, all program-related transportation costs covered and a lifetime of change.”
- November 1, 2019 – Applications open
- January 1, 2020 – ROUND 1: All sites available, early placement
- March 1, 2020 – ROUND 2: Most sites available, final date to apply to international sites
- June 1, 2020 – ROUND 3: National sites only, limited spots available
For more information visit their website at https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/yav/
A Different Kind of Leadership
Are you as a leader in need of new energy, renewed vision, which the typical leadership program hasn’t filled?
Do you desire to strengthen your inner being as prayed in Ephesians 3:16?
Then, perhaps the Oasis program Contemplative Leadership is just what you need. Andrew Barton, a member of our Presbytery, invites you to join him in this year-long program as a means of deepening your leadership. Registration is open and the program begins in October.
Details can be found at https://www.oasismin.org/cl or contact Andrew directly at .
Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS)
Preserve vital church records for free at the Presbyterian Historical Society. You can order digital copies of the records at a PC(USA) discount. If you join their church membership program, you would receive even further digitalization savings.
PHS is here to serve your congregation. From preserving your history, to accessing historical records, to learning more about the heritage of American Presbyterianism, there is a lot to explore at www.history.pcusa.org!
Presbyterian Historical Society, 425 Lombard Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
2020 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced
IR-2018-251, Dec. 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:
- 57.5 cents per mile for business miles driven.
- 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes.
- 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations
To read the entire notice visit their website at:
Mission does not belong to us; it belongs to God. God invites us to participate in God’s global mission, across town and across the world. Whether your congregation is planning to go on a short-term mission trip, study tour or partnership delegation, the new Short-Term Mission Trip Toolkit has resources to help trip leaders and participants prepare to engage in cross-cultural travel trips. To learn more, visit:
a href=”https://lehighpresbytery.org/lp/wp-content/uploads/3_How-to-use-this-toolkit_FINAL-1.pdf”>How to Use the Short-Term Mission Toolkit
Important Federal Court Ruling on Failure to Report Child Abuse
Published in Church Law & Tax Report, January/February 2016, pg. 12, Senior Editor Richard R. Hammar, Christianity Today, publisher.
A federal court in Pennsylvania ruled that a local church and denominational agency could be sued on the basis of the legal principle of negligence per se by a victim of child abuse as a result of their failure to report … This means that a mandatory child abuse reporter’s failure to comply with a state child abuse reporting law’s requirement to report a known or reasonably suspected incident of child abuse would render that person automatically liable for monetary damages without a need for the victim to prove actual negligence. [Doe v. Liberatore, 478 F.Supp.2d 742 (M.D. pa 2007)
Report submitted to assembly on identity, purpose of PC(USA)
A vibrant family portrait of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has emerged from the recent church-wide conversation on the identity and purpose of the denomination, and God, Christ, love, and the world are among the most prominent subjects.
Dominant, too, is a commitment to Reformed Theology, and to the scriptural call to ministry outside the church. That’s the message coming from “When We Gather at the Table: A PC(USA) Snapshot (PDF),” a report of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) to the 222nd General Assembly (2016).
It outlines the results of the comprehensive effort made by COGA in late 2015 to dialogue with the church about who it is and what it is called to be. COGA, with the help of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Research Services office, invited anyone who wished to complete an online form with open-ended questions and to engage in group gatherings to talk about the PC(USA) in this current time and place. More than 3,000 Presbyterians responded and some 21,000 pieces of data came in.
“The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly wants to thank everyone who gave thought, prayer, and insight to Research Services,” COGA said in its report. “It was clear in all responses that all people care about their Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). If our church was only fueled by passion there is enough to carry us well into the future.”
COGA’s report is available on PC-Biz and will be part of the business received by the General Assembly when it meets June 18–25 in Portland, Oregon. The data collected by Research Services is available in a report here, and an external report written by Dr. John Brueggemann can be found here.
“We are a blessed and fortunate people who have a heritage that still inspires us to be hearers and doers of the Word; to treasure the role of laity and clergy together; that privileges thoughtful discernment and compels us to act for justice,” COGA said. “There is a widespread appreciation for Reformed Theology and how it has shaped us a church.”
Simultaneously, “There is an urgent sense that our efforts must now address the needs of congregations, mid councils, and agencies of the church—venerable and emerging, as an expression of faithfulness to the Lordship of Christ,” the committee said. “COGA notes a healthy restiveness to reform our structures and perhaps even our Presbyterian culture in service to a renewed vitality of witness in our nation and around the world. There is a common desire to find ways to support healthy congregations and our commitment to helping others.”
COGA’s report will first be received by the Assembly Committee on The Way Forward before moving on to the full assembly.
Office of the General Assembly
Director of Communications and Assistant Stated Clerk
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) provides emergency relief and short-term recovery to the impacted areas with our partner, ACT Alliance and its members. Immediate responses help provide needed food, water, supplies and medicine to the impacted towns and villages.
The needs for the response are great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP” – Give. Act. Pray.
- Give: Financial support for relief efforts can be designated. you can view the list at http://pda.pcusa.org/page/active-accounts/. Gifts can be made through your local church, online, by phone (800) 872-3283 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EST), or checks can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.
- Act: Learn how your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.
- Pray: Pray for those who suffered loss of family or those who are working tirelessly to provide rescue, humanitarian aid, and spiritual and psychological support.
For more information, visit The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA),