Janis Blocker, Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Recording Clerk and Clerk of Session of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Walterboro, led a Clerk of Session Training via Zoom in the Fall of 2020. If you were not able to attend live (or just want a refresher), you can view the recording below as well as download relevant handouts.
Virtual STEPS 2020 was held Saturday, August 29. If you were not able to attend or wanted to be in two workshops at once, you can view the workshops and worship service by clicking on the links below:
- Ministry to and with Older Adults While Social Distancing
- Teaching Children Faith at Home
- Big Ideas in Youth Ministry
- Self-Care in a Season of Change
- Adaptive Change in a Time of Volatility
- What Happened at the First Ever Virtual General Assembly?
- Worship with Rev. J. Herbert Nelson
Video Prelude “For Such a Time As This”:
Downloadable Resources from The Thoughtful Christian:
“White Privilege” – This one-session adult study is part of the “Racism Study Pack” from The Thoughtful Christian. They are offering this downloadable resource for free at the links below. We encourage you to form a study group or email to members as a starting point. Consider purchasing the study pack from The Thoughtful Christian to continue your study as well. Download: Participant Handout | Leader’s Guide
Purchase the “Racism Study Pack”
“Responding to Racism” – This one-session youth study from The Thoughtful Christian helps leaders guide preteens and teens through the complicated subject of racism. We encourage you to either lead your youth through this study (in-person or virtually depending on your situation) or email to parents to encourage a family study. Download: Participant Handout | Leader’s Guide
For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World – This discussion and activity guide includes suggestions on how parents and teachers can talk with children about race and violence, ideas on how to create a safe space for meaningful dialogue, and more. The guide is inspired by For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World, an upcoming picture book by Michael W. Waters that will be available this September. It tells the story of a boy named Jeremiah and his family who discover hopeful forms of activism and advocacy in response to racism and gun violence in their community. Download the Discussion and Activity Guide. Preorder For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World
Some Things to Do, Hear, Watch, and Read:
Books offered by The PC(USA) Store
Recommended Books to help talk to Children about Racism and Discrimination. It is also important to diversify our bookshelves so that our children see strong black characters in books that celebrate blackness and diversity: Children’s Books with Black Male Protaganists, Children’s Books with Black Female Protagonists. This BLM Instructional Library has children’s books organized by category, and if you click on the book, you can listen to a read aloud!
Charleston Stage is offering free access to their show 2014 The Seat of Justice. Enter password: EDUCATIONSOJ. “In 1947, a small group of parents in rural South Carolina set in motion a movement that would eventually lead to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision. The Seat of Justice celebrates the brave citizens of South Carolina who fought for justice and equality in the era of segregation. Julian Wiles’s acclaimed play chronicles this courageous journey of the historic Briggs v. Elliott desegregation case from rural Clarendon Country, SC to the halls of the United States Supreme Court.”
The PC(USA) is committed to Racial Equity and offers many resources through the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Union Presbyterian Seminary houses the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation
For up to date resources and information, follow the work of the PC(USA) Compassion, Peace, and Justice Ministry and The Office of Public Witness in Washington, DC, and The Charleston Area Justice Ministry on Facebook.
The Reason for Protest: A Statement from Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Director of the Office of Public Witness PC(USA)
Presbyterian Mission Agency President and Executive Director Diane Moffett issues statement on recent protests, shootings: ‘It is a righteous and holy anger that sees injustice and knows that it is wrong’
COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project: MUSC has a NEW RESOURCE available to will be helpful to local churches as you make decisions about gathering in person. MUSC’s COVID-19 Epidemiology Intelligence Project analysis has been developed to:
- Provide analysis of trends in the COVID-19 epidemic to assist with understanding the current and projected status of transmission, impacts to the community and hospital system, and the success of mitigation efforts. Our goal is also to provide information that can help assess when it will be feasible to begin re-opening certain business and workforce sectors.
- Help us better understand and predict the critical needs of our hospitals, health care teams, and the tri-county (Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester) community so that we can plan for and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 to the best of our ability.
- Provide reliable data to help guide and support decision making by policymakers, business leaders, and members of the general public in the tri-county region.
Data used in trend analysis comes from SCDHEC, Cuebiq, and MUSC clinical data. Data used in the model comes from Census Bureau, literature reviews, and internal clinical data.
Many CAP churches already have plans and procedures in place. You may find reviewing their policies helpful:
For helpful tips and strategies and a list of things to consider when making decisions about meeting in person, please refer to the Guide for Discussion developed from a document created by the Presbytery of Tropical Florida and revised by the CAP Stated Clerk with input from the Shepherding Team.
For further reflection, read the Beginning Conversations for Re-Entry from the PC(USA) Office of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism and Returning to Public Worship: Theological and Practical Considerations. The PC(USA) Website has a page devoted to resources for such a time as this that is updated regularly with new information.
The Presbyterian Association of Musicians has shared their response and some ideas to Church Music and COVID-19.
Hymnal and Book of Common Worship Rights and Licensing Information
Worship Times Webinar on how to “Optimize Your Homepage for Covid-19 Isolation”
Zoom demos and video tutorials
Ten Tech Tips for Meeting Online from Next Church
1001 Worshipping Communities online ministry tools
Practical Resources for Churches has many pre-recorded webinars on technology and social media.
The Church.Digital also has many resources compiled on their website.
The PC(USA) Stated Clerk’s Office offers some suggestions.
Online Giving resources from the Presbyterian Foundation.
NEW FREE DEVOTIONS from These Days: Daily Devotions for Living by Faith! Access the full month of May devotions to continue your spiritual practices even during a time of social distancing: http://bit.ly/395qFnY
From Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center: Stephen McDonald, Camp Director and Lexi Green, Camp Program Director are providing various activities throughout the week. To see the schedule and participate please visit their Facebook page.
The PC(USA) Office of Faith Formation has compiled this list of resources that could be helpful for you during the current COVID-19 situation and that may be helpful in developing sustainable remote faith formation for your community. In this list you will find resources to deal with the current crisis, studies for Christian education, blogs and ideas. This is your toolbox. The list will be updated periodically over the coming weeks.
Also provided is a Faith Practices Toolkit Sampler for intentional intergenerational Sabbath rhythms. A toolkit for faith practices will be released in summer 2020. The completed toolkit will provide scriptural and theological grounding for each practice, as well as ways to engage all ages. HERE is a sampling from that toolkit to provide ideas of engaging in practices during these times.
Check out these resources for all ages groups provided by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators.
Due to the generous financial support of Central Seminary’s Thriving Congregations Initiative funded by The Lilly Endowment, Pinnacle Leadership Associates is able to offer free webinars each Tuesday. You can engage the recorded webinars on their website, while also seeing the topics coming over the next few weeks. If you would like to participate in the webinars, please register on the Pinnacle COVID-19 Emerging Church Practice webpage. Mark Tidsworth, Pinnacle Leadership Associates Founder and Team Leader, has also created An Emerging Church Practice Resource – Church Leadership Guide: Stages Of Response To Coronavirus.
Looking for something for families and children to do? Sarah Coggins, Director of Children and Youth Ministries at First Presbyterian Church Orangeburg, has been sending out Bingo cards to her congregation. Check out the Adult and Children’s samples.
Brennan Breed, from Columbia Theological Seminary, and Chris Holmes, from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, are teaming up with guest professors to offer an in-depth, spontaneous and unrehearsed five-week study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. “Office Hours: An Online Pop-up Bible Study” is a free, hour-long conversation livestreamed to Facebook every Sunday morning from 9:30AM to 10:30AM EST, beginning THIS SUNDAY, April 19th to May 17th. Participants who want a deeper experience may also register here to receive free access to course material, complete with syllabus, downloadable readings, and audio-video links for further study. If you are not on facebook, you can still enjoy the videos on our youtube channel. Videos will be posted after the Facebook livestreams.
Palmetto Presbyterian Church PenPals – Lynn Wiard, the Director of Faith Formation said, “We are having “Pen “Pals” for the time being. I am encouraging my parents to have their children write a note or a letter or draw a picture and mail it to one of our seniors in our church to let them know they are thought of and prayed for and loved. I got great parental support!”
The Presbyterian Mission Agency has put together resources for Remote Faith Formation for the Long Haul.
The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation is offering free resources, including These Days devotions and activities for children.
Presbyterian Women Bible Study – To help Bible study participants who cannot attend a face-to-face Bible study (or even pick up the disc at the church) continue their study, lessons seven, eight, and nine of the Love Carved in Stone Companion DVD are now available on PW’s YouTube channel. Many thanks to Ellen Stroup, PWP moderator of Tampa Bay (and others), for suggesting this new way of being PW community. Says Ellen: “We need to let the women know that we can all stay connected even in difficult times.” Visit PW Youtube Channel to access the videos.
Free Resources from Illustrated Ministry – HERE. They are also offering 20% off digital resources to help churches provide Lent and Easter Resources. Search their great offerings HERE and use code MARCH20.
Looking into the Lectionary – Reflections from The Presbyterian Outlook’s Editor, Jill Duffield can be found HERE.
Growing in Grace and Gratitude – Each week the PC(USA) Store be providing on their Facebook page a free story with corresponding activities and a pack of five coloring pages from the children’s curriculum, Growing in Grace and Gratitude. Click the links above for this week’s offering.
Won’t You be My Neighbor? – A free intergenerational online curriculum based on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood that could be adapted for families to use at home.
The Thoughtful Christian A one session study on Ash Wednesday and Lent is available from www.thethoughtfulchristian.com This study explores themes and Scriptures that help participants reflect on the meaning of the liturgical season and its impact on one’s Christian discipleship.
Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding: Here are several six session studies. Each study has a leader’s guide and participant’s book. Illuminating Lent; Temptation in the Desert, Looking at the Cross; and Seven Days to Glory.
Final Words From the Cross by Adam Hamilton- This six session series includes a book, DVD, and leader’s guide. The sessions include: “Father, Forgive Them”; “Today You Will be with Me in Paradise”; “Behold Your Son…Behold Your Mother”; “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”; “I Thirst”; and “It is Finished…Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit”. In this study participants will examine Christ’s dying hours and his final works as seen and heard by those who stood near the cross.
Living into Lent by Donald McKim- Imagine the transformation of God’s church called into a common learning. The Lenten journey is a shared journey- Christians join with others along the way of faith, following Jesus, and seeking to live out the will and purposes of God. This resource allows time for readers to reflect on their Christian identities, listen to God’s Word and will, and discipleship. Readings are enhanced by a six session study guide and questions for consideration.
Lord Teach Us to Pray: Six Studies in Spirituality and The Lord’s Prayer by John Purdy- This study explores the Lord’s Prayer in its biblical context, what the Lord’s Prayer teaches about the activity of prayer, and what all of this teaches about biblical spirituality.
24 Hours That Changed the World by Adam Hamilton- This series contains a book, DVD with seven sessions, leader’s guide, and 40 day devotional book. The sessions include: “The Last Supper”; “The Garden of Gethsemane”; “Condemned by the Righteous”; “Jesus, Barabbas, and Pilate”; “The Torture and Humiliation of the King”; “The Crucifixion”; and “Christ the Victor”. The aim of the series is to help participants better understand the events that occurred during the last 24 hours of Jesus’ life, see more clearly the theological significance of Christ’s suffering and death, and reflect upon the meaning of these events for your life.
Something for youth:
A Look at Those Who Knew Jesus In this Thoughtful Christian study youth will explore how the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, and Disciples were touch by their encounters with Jesus.
Let Us Break Bread Together by Michael Smith and Rami Shapiro- This Passover guide provides a complete guide (plan and script) to a meaningful Seder experience. The authors share a deeper knowledge of the great themes of the Exodus story, in combination with Christian insight, and opportunities for a better understanding of Lent and Holy Week.
Forgiveness: Finding Peace Through Letting Go by Adam Hamilton- This DVD based study is designed for use in a four session study based on the book by the same title. The sessions are “The Divine Answer”; “For Better, For Worse”; “Seventy Times Seven”; and “The Dreamcoat”. Participants will be shown how to receive the freedom that comes with forgiving- even if the person needing to be forgiven is ourselves.
Something for children:
A Rooster’s Tale– This resource includes Easter dramas, speeches, and recitations for children. There are 14 different scripts that take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to perform with one to twelve parts. This can be used with an intergenerational group.
Easter Garden: A Lenten Experience for Children by Daphna Flegal and Marcia Stoner- This Lenten study moves children (younger and older elementary) through Holy Week, from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. This study may be done in preparation for a congregational mean and worship experience. Children will create a garden setting for the meal, filled with symbolic meaning; banner symbols for worship; and table decorations for the congregational meal.
Writing to God: Kids Edition by Rachel Hackenberg- This idea-packed book shows children how their prayers don’t have to be perfect to reach God; don’t have to have big or fancy words; may tell a story using words or pictures; can be happy or sad; and may have misspelled and crossed-out words.
Something for the whole church:
The Way by Adam Hamilton- In this church-wide six session plus epilogue study for children through adults, Hamilton takes participants to the Holy Land to explore the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. You will “visit” the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized and the wilderness where Jesus was tempted; Capernaum, where Jesus healed the sick and taught on the mountainside; the Sea of Galilee, where he calmed the sea and the wind; Samaria, where Jesus visited with outcasts and sinners; and Jerusalem, where Jesus spent his final days. There is a book, devotional book, and DVD with study guide to use with adult groups; a youth guide; and a guide for children. There are suggestions for including some intergenerational activities with this study.
Throughout the month, we will be highlighting Back History Month resources available in the presbytery resource center:
African American Presbyterian Clergywomen: The First Twenty-Five Years by Karen V. Brown and Phyllis M. Felton- This book celebrates 25 years of service of African American Presbyterian clergywomen, whose ministries grace the PCUSA.
African American Congregational Histories– This notebook is a result of the Committee on Reunion and African American congregations in collecting their histories and putting them in written form.
All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou- In her third autobiographical book, Maya Angelou tells of her time in Ghana and what it means to be an African American on the mother continent.
Call to Worship: African American Liturgical Resources edited by Kimberly Long- The essays in this edition of Call to Worship offer readers a deeper understanding of the history, theology, and practice of African American worship. It grew from the work of a task force of African American Presbyterian musicians, pastors, and scholars convened by the Office of Theology and Worship.
Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood by Bell Hooks- This book shows the unfolding of female creativity and one strong-spirited child’s journey toward becoming a writer. She learns early on the roles women and men play in society, as well as the emotional vulnerability of children. She sheds new light on a society that beholds the joys of marriage for men and condemns anything more than silence for women. In this world, too, black is a woman’s color—worn when earned—daughters and daddies are strangers under the same roof, and crying children are often given something to cry about. Hooks finds good company in solitude, good company in books. She also discovers, in the motionless body of misunderstanding, that writing is her most vital breath.
The Education of a British-Protected Child by Chinua Achebe- This collection of essays provides a vivid portrait of growing up in colonial Nigeria; considerations on the African-American diaspora, glimpses into the author’s extraordinary family life, and thoughts on the potent symbolism of President Obama’s election.
A disaster preparedness plan is an important part of every church facility, but even more so for us located close to the coast.
The attached PDF was created by Col. Jon Rockstad of Summerville church. Jon has delivered this presentation to some members of the presbytery and will speak at the October 4th Presbytery meeting about the importance of disaster preparedness.
In the coming weeks, Rev. Mike Fitze will reach out to every church in the presbytery to identify the disaster preparedness contact in your congregation. Please assist us with this process so we can work together to prepare for potential disasters in our area.
We have asked all presenters to provide any resources they used in their presentations. The list below includes only the classes where we have these materials. If you are a presenter and would like your material included, please email Eric H. Doss.
Donnie Woods-221st General Assembly
Leif Kehrwald: Faith Formation in a Post Sunday School Era
Jan Cook: Practice Makes Perfect
Leif Kehrwald: Analytics Don’t Lie
Jan Cook: Building a Highway to the Soul
Leif Kehrwald: Faith Formation in a Digital Age