Charleston Atlantic Presbytery’s newest New Church Development, Parkside, held its first worship service on Sunday, September 8, 2019 in the historic Saint Barnabas sanctuary in Charleston. Join them for future Sundays at 10:30 am at 45 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC. Learn more about Parkside on their website.
Today’s CAP Mission Blogger is Cassie Oliver from Methodist Theological School in Ohio, representing St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Charleston:
“Today is our last day here on the island. This week has been one of the best times that I have had. We have seen life breathed back into a school that will be used now for mission team housing as well as other ministries that the church can do!
I just finished reading Dorothy Day for school and one of her general themes to live like Christ is Radical Hospitality. I have seen this displayed over and over again this last week. The welcoming congregation of Primera Iglesia Presbyterian in Aguada, with the food and the help in all the work we did. These people on the island are just so lovely and amazing people. We had a common saying that kept coming up all week, ‘it is normal’ but nothing about this week has been normal. We had 8 people representing 6 Churches throught the presbytery.
Just wanted to thank the churches in the presbytery that have prayed and supported this team and the work we have done. Now to head back to the 20° in Ohio.”
Today’s CAP Mission Blogger is Holly Horsman from Palmetto Presbyterian Church:
“Today was our last work day and the improvements are startling. Even so. with all the painting, scraping, pressure washing, sweeping, bulldozing, I wish there was another team ready to come in on Monday and push the project forward. The neighborhood has noticed that something positive is happening and we have been stopped and thanked repeatedly. This property has such potential.
After lunch we headed off to Crash Beach for a much needed break…palm trees and blue water
We have been so well taken care of by the faithful members of the Presbyterian Church of Aguada who have worked beside us, fed us, thanked us. Many have visited and/or lived in the States but choose to live in Puerto Rico happily, but maybe with less of the things I take for granted. They are people of faith.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to return to Aguada and stay on this property while working on another project?
Tomorrow we start the journey home. God is so good!”
Today’s CAP Mission Blogger is Allison Hubbard from James Island Presbyterian Church:
“As Jeff said, it was Groundhog Day. Today was more of the same – painting, scraping, and pressure washing. It is incredible to see what a difference we have made in just three days! The dirty beige walls of the school are the whitest white you’ve ever seen, where there were layers of peeling pain hanging there is… less, and the gazillion miles of railing is about halfway done. While there is still so much to do, the school already has made a huge transformation. Danielle from PDA visited and was very excited to see the progress. Catherine and Cassie went to a prayer breakfast this morning where they sang songs and prayed with locals from the congregation. The congregation thanked them numerous times for coming to help them! We also have survived our first waterless day, and we did it without whining. However, we are looking to a good night’s rest and having water in the morning!”
Today’s CAP Mission Blogger is Catherine Byrd, First (Scots) and CAP Stated Clerk:
“Yesterday we heard from “Pastor Danille” the disaster coordinator for the Presbyterio del Noroeste, and Raisa, the administrator of the Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana en Aguada where we are working. Tom reported in yesterday’s blog how the school on the church property was damaged by Maria and is no longer viable as a school in the current economic climate anyhow. Clearly there is much interest in the neighborhood about activity on the long unused site. Bobby and I were asked about it several times as we painted portions of the outside wall.
It’s a big wall! Wall part II on Wednesday.
While we painted the wall, Allison, Holly, Antonio, Cassie and Tom painted a gazillion yards of iron railing. Only another gazillion yards to go! Allison also stood on a scaffold and scraped paint off a damaged ceiling.
Our fearless leader, Jeff, ran the power washer, constantly. I suspect he is having a blast.
We have water for Jeff to blast because the church is allowing us to use their reserve tanks. On days where there is not municpal water, this means no water to flush toilets in el bano. At the end of the day today they filled up trash cans with water and placed them in the bathroom. Wednesday will be a waterless day.
Why no water? The hurricane damaged a dam which only now is under repair. More than a year and a half later recovery continues.”
Today’s CAP Mission Team blogger is Tom Thornton from Summerville Presbyterian Church:
“Monday, we went to the church outside of Aguada and started our project. A lady from the NW Puerto Rico Presbytery explained that we would be helping with repairs to the adjacent school that the church used to run. It was an elementary school that once had an enrollment of 400. About seven years ago there was an economic depression when the territory was unable to pay its bills because it was too deep in debt. This led to the emigration of many skilled people who had lost their jobs. Over several years the enrollment of the school shrank to 80, and they had to close the school. After Hurricane Maria the emigration has continued. The school building was severely damaged by the hurricane so has not been in use. They have decided to use the facility as a center for community services after repairs are made. They are remodeling several of the first flight rooms as offices for these agencies. The PDA has approved the project, this is what we are helping with. This morning we removed acoustic tiles from the ceilings of the second floor rooms and moved furniture from the first floor rooms to the second floor. This afternoon we pressure washed walkways and walls and scraped and painted metal handrails.”
Elders from the church volunteer their time to work with the CAP team
RECAP: WINTER STATED MEETING
The 2019 Winter Stated meeting of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, in the West Ashely area of Charleston on Saturday February 23. Arriving commissioners and guests were welcomed by a small army of WPC volunteers who directed parking, served a lovely array of pastries, coffee and fruit, and directed the way to the sanctuary where Moderator (Rev.) Sam Martin called the meeting to order with prayer at 9:30 a.m.
Opening worship was organized by the Moderator Elect, elder Susan Mellichamp, and members of the Global Missions arm of the Service to Others Ministry Team. Illustrating a bit what it is like to be in a place where one does not speak the language, the sermon was delivered in Spanish by Antonio Colon Roman and translated by his wife, elder Sandra Otero Agosto. His message “The Table and the Shared Bread: Proposal for a Receptive Church” based on the story of Eutychus from the book of Acts, highlighted the tradition of hospitality and generosity in the early church, suggesting that today’s church does well to embrace this tradition. The “Immigrants’ Creed” by Jose Luis Casal was used as the Affirmation of Faith. The members of the Presbytery Mission Team to Puerto Rico were commissioned in advance of their trip beginning March 9 and an offering of $1864 (blessed in Spanish by CAP’s own Rev. Spike Coleman) was collected to support the disaster recovery work of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Puerto Rico.
During the business portion of the meeting, Hope Moore of the Bethelwoods Ministry Team of Providence Presbytery shared the many good things happening at the camp and conference center: from upgraded roads to “Camp in a Van.” This latter is an opportunity for small churches to join together to have “summer camp come to them” in lieu of or to augment VBS this summer.
The Commission on Ministry presented two pastors who have assumed new positions at CAP churches: Rev. Lawrence Peebles has been called to Santee Presbyterian Church; Rev. Russell Benton has been called to Harbor View Presbyterian Church. Each spoke briefly, with full faith statements published in the Commissioners Handbook.
With regard to future member of the clergy, the Preparation for Ministry Team presented Inquirer Cibele Santos, recommending she be moved to Candidate status. After an examination by Rev. Richard Cushman and a short statement by Ms. Santos, the recommendation was approved. Elder Kay Keeler, Moderator of the Team also reported that Antonio Colon Roman was being taken into care as an Inquirer.
Representing the Service to Others Ministry Team, Rev. Alonza Washington presented Self Development of Peoples Grant Awards to Twelve Steps Ministries, Inc. and the Wallingford Senior Ministry Stock the Pantry Mission. The grants are funded by the “One Great Hour of Sharing,” one of the Validated Special Offerings commended to CAP churches by the Stewardship of Financial Resources Ministry Team in its report (a recommendation passed by the Presbytery as part of the Consent Agenda).
Reports of all other agencies of the Presbytery were included in the handbook, as were annual reports by Presbytery Staff. After reports of the Standing Committees on Attendance and Resolution and Thanks, the meeting adjourned with prayer and benediction in plenty of time for enjoying a tasty lunch and time of enjoyable fellowship.
What’s with the Spanish sermon? The immigrant’s creed? Blessing the offering in Spanish?
The Global Mission arm of the Service to Others Ministry Team was offered the chance to create a worship service in recognition of and to include the commissioning of the members of the first Presbytery-wide mission organized in many years. Eight people from various churches (see list below) will travel to Puerto Rico on March 9 to spend a week assisting the work of a PC(USA) congregation in the town of Aguada, where recovery from Hurricane Maria continues.
The sermon was presented by two members of Summerville Presbyterian Church, Antonio Colon Ramon (a new Inquirer under care of the Preparation for Ministry Team) and his wife Elder Sandra Otero Agosto. Sandra and Antonio are natives of Puerto Rico and chair the Mackey Presbyterian Ministry, an outreach of the Service to Others Ministry team, building relationships within the Hispanic population in the Ladson/Summerville area. Hearing the sermon in Spanish and depending upon a translator to understand, those assembled got a sense of what it is like to be an immigrant or a missionary in a place where the language is not one’s own.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving for the offering received was given in Spanish by Rev. Spike Coleman, in recognition that it would go to support the work of the mission team and the ongoing recovery efforts of the PC(USA) in Puerto Rico. (Mission team members pay their own travel and other expenses; money collected at this meeting and at the Fall Stated Meeting goes directly to the work.)
The Immigrant’s Creed is a beautiful exposition of the Apostles Creed as applied to displaced people. The Holy Spirit in which we believe, it points out, “…speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.” It ends with the prayerful belief: “Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom, which will never end. Amen.” You can read the creed in its entirty HERE.
Submitted by Catherine Byrd, Stated Clerk
MEMBERS OF THE CAP MISSION TO PUERTO RICO:
Bobby and Catherine Byrd (First Scots PC and CAP Staff)
Antonio Colon Ramon (Summerville PC)
Holly Horseman (Palmetto PC)
Allison Hubbard (James Island PC)
Cassie Oliver (St. Andrews PC, Chas)
Jeff Taylor (Mount Pleasant PC)
Tom Thornton (Summerville PC)
We had technical difficulties and weren’t able to share the Presbytery Joys video at the meeting, but we hope you enjoy watching it now: