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.
The Spring Stated Meeting of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery was held Tuesday, May 18 via Zoom. You can view the meeting on Facebook Live.
DID YOU KNOW? That the Handbook for the Spring Stated Meeting is available for anyone to read on the CAP website? Well it is, so if this ReCap sparks an interest, one may find out more by “referring to the handbook.”
Despite some technical difficulties, the Spring Meeting of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery was another success in the face of social distancing. About 100 individuals participated in the zoom meeting, which also was streamed on Facebook Live. Worship was presented in pre-recorded segments allowing worshippers a peek inside the sanctuaries of the various churches from which elders, pastors and musicians participated. The Rev. Tracey Daniel brought the message on “The Good Shepherd.” Rev. James Rogers led communion.
Three guests made presentations. The Rev. Joyce Lieberman, Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Synod of South Atlantic, Olanda Carr, Senior Ministry Relations officer of the Presbyterian Foundation, and Lauren Thompson, Advancement Officer of The Thormwell Home for Children expanded on the written reports they had submitted in advance and which are in the handbook.
Nothing illustrates our presbytery as beautifully and succinctly as the “Celebration of Joys’ video. Since Dorothy Blackwelder had this idea a few years ago, the photo submissions from congregations have been a a great way to show the many ways our many congregations are doing ministry. During this time of Covid, it is especially heartening to see the creative ways Presbyterians are continuing to connect within their own churches and in the greater community. A big thank you goes out to all who contribute these photos.
As Stated clerk, it was my joy to report that preparations are under way for the 225th General Assembly to be held in June of next year. The assembly will be a hybrid meeting, with commissioners meeting in person in committees in Louisville, but all plenary sessions via Zoom. Dates and calendar are in the Handbook with more information on the PC(USA) website.
The Commission on Ministry introduced the Rev. Margaret Fleming, who has been ordained by the presbytery to service as a hospital chaplain. Rev. Fleming was under care of the CAP Committee on Preparation for ministry. The Committee on Preparation for Ministry introduced two new inquirers joining those currently under care.
Rev. Lissa Long and Elder Cassandra Roper, speaking out of their own experience, encouraged all elders and ministers of word and sacrament to consider serving on one of the presbytery agencies. Anyone who is interested in the opportunities to serve in the presbytery should review the report of the Committee on Representation. It contains descriptions of all the commissions, committees, and teams of the Presbytery, all of which will need new members to be nominated for 2022. New members to fill certain spots for 2021 were placed in nomination and approved. The COR currently has a vacancy which needs to be filled for 2021.
The Shepherding Team presented various resolutions all of which passed. As a result, two churches, Lowcountry PC and Hebron Zion PC, will receive the deeds to their church real estate to hold in trust. Zion Olivet was approved to pursue the purchase of the Advent Lutheran property in which it has nested since selling its property in downtown Charleston. At the recommendation of the Shepherding Team, the presbytery approved the creation of a new commission: The “CAP Presbyterian Disaster Commission” will be a part of the South Carolina Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Commission. Descriptions of the commission and the initial members elected by the presbytery can be found in the handbook.
Four Churches in the Presbytery have been recognized as PC(USA) Earth Care Congregations: Dorchester PC, James Island PC, Lowcountry PC and St Andrews PC (Charleston). A description of the Earth Care program is in the Handbook. Cap Moderator, Rev Spike Coleman (pastor of St. Andrews) encouraged other churches to consider becoming an earth Care Congregation.
Service to Others Committee is very busy, planning, among other things, a vaccine clinic to be held at the Presbytery Office in June and a possible mission trip to Puerto Rico in October.
Nurture Ministry also highlighted its work in their report in the Handbook. In speaking for the ministry, Rev Brian Henderson called for youth to serve on the Youth Council.
The Presbyterian Women submitted a written report, but Elder Linda Rousseau also spoke, saying it was an honor to be Moderator of the PW. She encouraged participation in PW activities, noting that “all women who are Presbyterian are Presbyterian Women!”
Alas, not all news reported was good: So many great things are happening in our presbytery, yet we are running over the rather barebones budget carefully crafted by the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team and approved by the presbytery last December. Peter Jones, the team moderator reported the shortfall is due individual churches not giving as projected.
Currently, the next CAP meeting is scheduled to be a zoom meeting on September 18. We hope and pray that by December we will be able to meet again in person.
Catherine D. Byrd, Stated Clerk
Winter Meeting 2021 ReCAP
At the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Winter Meeting 2020—a year ago—none of the plans we had going forward included learning how to function remotely. But Winter Meeting 2021 proved we have learned. Call to order on Saturday February 27, 2021, didn’t occur until 10:15, not because of technical problems, which would have been this stated clerk’s fear a year ago, but because the STEPS team of the Nurture Ministry Team presented their second electronic STEPS (Studying, Teaching, Equipping, Praying, Serving) event starting at 9:00. Three workshops were offered and were well attended from throughout our presbytery and beyond; at least one participant attended from his home in Colorado!
Worship followed closely upon the call to order. Once again the electronic format allowed attendance in ways we would not have imagined last year. Music was provided by Dr. JooSoo Son, Traditional Music Director at Providence Presbyterian Church on Hilton, head playing that church’s organ and piano. Rev. Cibele Santos Associate Pastor at Providence preached the sermon, “Prayer, Unite Us,” from Providence’s pulpit. For the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, worshippers were transported to Hebron Zion PC on Johns Island where Rev. Patricia Jones pronounced the words of institution. Other worship leaders participated from James Island PC, Bethel PC (Johns Island), and Edisto PC. Works of art relating to parts of the service were shown on screen, presented by “A Sanctified Art, LLC” which had presented one of the STEPS workshops. You can view the worship service HERE and download the worship bulletin HERE so you can follow along.
During the business portion of the meeting, Stephen McDonald, Camp Director of Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center, presented the exciting news that Bethelwoods is planning for summer programs! There will be opportunities onsite at Bethelwoods, a one week day camp at the new CAP facility at Park Circle, and “Camp in a Van” opportunities for churches almost anywhere. Covid shutdowns dealt Bethelwoods quite a blow in 2020, and Stephen thanked CAP for its monetary support, which helped the camp persevere.
The moderator of the Committee on Representation, Rev. Cameron Smith, was live in person via zoom to report on vacancies on CAP teams and committees. She emphasized the importance of having members participate from across the presbytery, both Ruling Elders and Ministers of Word and Sacrament. Vacancies and Opportunities will be listed in the Chatline.
The co-moderator of Service to Others Ministry Team, Sandro Otero, reported that plans are underway to plan a return mission to Puerto Rico, if the COVID-19 way be clear, next fall. Additional work of that team was presented in the written report in the handbook and as part of the “Celebration of Joys” video that was played during the meeting.
The Celebration of Joys video also revealed the ways congregations across the presbytery have met the Covid challenges and moved their ministries outdoors (not just for worship but also for programs, fellowship and outreach), into spaces allowing for social distancing while masked, and online (many a shepherd and little angel are now on video for posterity). The creativity of our members is wonderful.
THE HANDBOOK contains the full reports of all ministry teams, committees and commissions. The work of the Shepherding Team, the Commission on Ministry, the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team, The Preparation for Ministry Team, Nurture Ministry Team and other information of interest are contained therein. The reader does not have to have been a commissioner or even in attendance at the meeting to benefit from this information. Questions or comments can be address to the moderator of each or to the stated clerk.
Submitted respectfully and with great joy,
Catherine Byrd, Stated Clerk
STEPS in Winter was held on Saturday, February 27 via Zoom. You can view the recorded workshops below.
1. The Pandemic and Children and Youth led by Rachel Ward- The pandemic has upended the lives of everyone, but how specifically does it affect our children and youth. This workshop will discuss ways parents and the church can ease the stress. Rachel Ward is a counselor and a member of Providence Presbyterian Church. View the workshop HERE.
2. Holy Disunity: How What Separates Us Can Save Us lead by Layton Williams- Join the author of this book as she proposes that our primary calling as humans is not to create unity but rather to seek authentic relationship with God, ourselves, one another, and the world around us. And that means actively engaging those with whom we disagree. Our religious, political, social, and cultural differences can create doubt and tension, but disunity also provides surprising gifts of perspective and grace. By analyzing conflict and rifts in both modern culture and Scripture, Williams explores how our disagreements and differences—our disunity—can ultimately redeem us. Layton Williams is an ordained PCUSA minister and writer. She has worked with Sojourners and NEXT Church. View the workshop HERE.
3. Planning for Holy Week and Easter with Sanctified Art- This workshop will provide creative and meaningful ways to celebrate Holy Week and Easter in your congregation and homes. Sanctified Art is a talented creative team formed as the result of each member discerning ways to blend their creative talents with ministry. They are trained theologians and pastors in addition to being artists and creators. Sanctified Art offers their creative gifts to resource, provoke, guide, facilitate, and enrich the spiritual lives of worshipers around the world. View the workshop HERE.
Fall 2020 ReCAP
The Charleston Atlantic Presbytery held its “Fall” Stated Meeting on a day that felt almost like winter in the lowcountry, Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Elder commissioners and pastors from across the presbytery attended the “Zoom” meeting from the comfort of their own homes or offices. The electronic format also provided a unique worship experience, since each portion of the service was prerecorded in a different location, then blended through the efforts of Michael Hardy of Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church Staff and Rev. Dorothy Blackwelder, the CAP Director of Communications. A particular thank you goes to the combined choirs of the James Island churches, who have mastered the art of choral singing when everyone is in a different place. Our outgoing Moderator, Susan Mellichamp, brought the message “Loving as Jesus Loved,” and Commissioned Ruling Elder Karey Poinsette officiated over communion.
Seated as a corresponding member, Elizabeth Little of the Board of Pensions of the PCUSA, highlighted some recent and prospective changes to BOP benefits and programs. Sy Hughes, the Mission Engagement Advisor for our area from the Presbyterian Mission Agency also was seated as a corresponding member and spoke briefly of that entity’s work, including the invitation for congregations to become “Matthew 25” churches. Elizabeth and Sy are available to anyone who has questions about the work of their agencies of the PC(USA) and their work is funded by the contributions of presbyteries.
The Stated Clerk’s report included, among other things, reference to the “In Memorium” list included in the Handbook. We lost four current members of our presbytery last year plus six others who had served us at one time or the other. They were remembered in prayer by the moderator at the close of the meeting.
Shepherding Team Moderator Rev. Sam Martin asked, and the Presbytery agreed that the Park Circle Administrative Commission, formed in 2016 when the Park Circle Presbyterian Church was dissolved, be dismissed with thanks. The Shepherding Team also recommended, and the Presbytery agreed, that $40,000 from the CAP “Camp Fund” be earmarked to assist Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center with its expected $92,000 budget deficit for 2020. (The Presbytery budget for 2021, passed later in the meeting also includes the usual line-item contribution to the ongoing work of Bethelwoods.) The Shepherding Team also included a written report in the handbook about these items, New Church Development, and the Building-Use Subcommittee.
The presbytery was presented with a slate of volunteers to be elected to positions in the presbytery. All were approved, including, of note: the Moderator of Presbytery for 2021, Rev George “Spike” Coleman and moderator elect, Elder Kent Grimes.
STEPS Co-Chair, Rev. Laurey Harrell reported on the “electronic STEPS” held in September. Continuing “to do a new thing…” in the face of Covid-19 protocols, STEPS will be presented for the first time outside of its usual September date. A variety of STEPS learning opportunities will be presented in conjunction with the February 27, 2021, CAP Winter meeting, available without charge to commissioners and to anyone else who chooses to participate.
The budget for 2021 was presented by the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team moderator Peter Jones, and was passed after only a few questions and responses. The Committee on Preparation for Ministry congratulated two candidates, Margaret Fleming and Terri Wetherell who are now designated as “ready to receive a call” to be ordained. The Commission on ministry presented Rev. Cibele Santos, a newly ordained and installed addition to the pastoral staff of Providence Presbyterian Church in Hilton Head.
The electronic format of the meeting made it easy to check in with mission partners in Honduras, as Service to Others Ministry Team Moderators Sandra Otero and Antonio Colon-Roman presented a short update on the devastation wreaked by back-to-back hurricanes this fall. Information on how to help was included (you can give to the Presbyterian Church in Honduras or to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Hurricane Relief Fund). CAP Moderator pointed out that electronic worship at this and September’s meeting did not include taking up an offering, and suggested donations be made in lieu.
The reports of the above and other agencies of the presbytery were received as information. They can be found in the handbook on the CAP website.
The meeting closed with a service commissioning the new moderator and vice moderator. Outgoing moderator Susan Mellichamp presented the gavel to incoming moderator Spike Coleman, who closed the meeting with prayer and benediction.
Resolution of Thanks
Ruling Elders, Teaching Elders, and others from near and far
Established the presence of the church and didn’t really use cars
Susan’s dash will include trusting, obeying and her great leadership
Opportunities to vote were offered for commissioners in attendance
Lots of cheers to Dorothy, Michael, and others for all the technical work
Uniquely allowing us to gather and not one of us went berserk
Thanks for our new building where we can gather and meet
In a few weeks or months or whenever outside is clean
Online or in person we are grateful for sure
Never missing the chance to give God glory galore
Of course, we have many, many reasons for giving God thanks
Far too many to list, but at least 97 reasons were among the ranks
Today our thanks include but is not limited to
Hearing from our guests and all the work that they do
Also hearing reports from committees who work very hard
New moderator and moderate elect are now even on board
Keep welcoming new ministers, attend STEPS, and uphold this balanced budget
Seems like we are well on our way to a new season that we won’t soon forget
A RESOLUTION OF THANKS can be really serious or fun
The letters of the words were used to get this important work done
Submitted by Rev. Cecelia D. Armstrong
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ReCap: Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Summer Meeting
After having to cancel the Spring Meeting and Convocation due to Covid-19 concerns, the presbytery (staff, shepherding team and strategy team) realized it had to do what so many of our churches already had perfected: embrace “Zoom” as a means to meet remotely. The resulting Summer Meeting held on September 19, 2020, was a great success, with 91 participants in the zoom meeting and many others viewing via Facebook Live. A team of four–Susan Mellichamp, moderator, Rev, Donnie Woods, in his position as associate stated clerk, Rev Dorothy Blackwelder, CAP director of communication, and Michael Hardy, staff member of Mount Pleasant Presbyteryian Church–presented the meeting live from the MPPC Fellowship Hall. All voting members in attendance had previously attended a training session in order to prepare for the meeting.
Despite their physical distance, first time commissioners and guests were introduced as always, The Rev. Joyce Liberman was seated as a corresponding member, to continue as long as her tenure as Synod of South Atlantic Executive and Stated Clerk
Before the majority of the business was conducted, worship was led by Rev. Spike Coleman, CAP Vice Moderator, whose worship team had prepared and pre-recorded the elements of the service in a way that integrated seamlessly into the order of worship. An advantage of the format was that segments were presented from different churches, and the message was presented from the front seat of the Westminster PC church van! Rev. Lissa Long and Cap Director of Youth Ministry Janie Bruce delivered a meditation based on the 16th chapter of Exodus, drawing parallels to our current time “in the wilderness.” Also included were musical offerings by members of St. Andrews and James Island Presbyterian Churches, and communion led by Rev. Dr. Donnie Woods.
The Commission on Ministry welcomed two new minister members to the presbytery. Rev. Ralph Herbert and Rev. Joseph (Bo) Welch each spoke a few minutes on their faith and current call. New graduates from seminary, Margaret Flemming and Teri Wetherall, were congratulated by the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. The “CPM” also presented the examination of inquirer Catherine Parler, whose move to Candidacy Status was approved by the body.
The moderator and her team adeptly handled debate and comment on a motion to sell property the presbytery owns in the Can Bay subdivision. Distance was not an impediment to discussion of this topic. Ultimately the motion did not pass.
The first reading of the 2021 Budget was presented by the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team and accepted by the body. The Committee on Representation highlighted its annual report on the diversity of presbytery officers and members of teams, committees and commissions. “COR” moderator James Deavor also made a request for nominations for positions on these entities. Without adequate volunteers from throughout the presbytery, the work of the presbytery cannot be accomplished.
You can read more in the HANDBOOK and view the full recorded meeting HERE. If you want to see just a portion of the meeting, you can view the Worship Service, COM New Minister Introductions, and CPM’s New Candidate individually. You can also view the Presbytery Joys Video Below:
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.