March 10, 2016        Issue #72

The General Word

Session Records Review

Nurturing Faith Ideas

Money Changer Monday

Youth Triennium

2016 Festival of Faith

Prayer Gathering

Got Good News?

Confirmation Retreat

The Guys' Weekend 2016

Small Church Conference & Choir

Bluestone Camp News

WVMAW Mission Opportunity

Enacting the Word

Prayer Concerns

Disciple Making Conference

One Great Hour of Sharing

EAPCE Conference

Educator Gatherings

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits

Presbytery Staff

Ed Thompson
General Presbyter
Maureen Wright
Stated Clerk

Rocky Poole
Financial Administration/Treasurer

Barbara Chalfant
Associate Presbyter for Mission

Susan Sharp Campbell
Associate for Educational Ministry

Nellie Howard
Resource Center Director

Mark Miller
Bluestone Camp Director

Mark Parsons-Justice
Office Administrator/Communications

Prayer List For Churches

Week 11 - March 13 
Anderson Memorial, Welch 
Beulah Humble, Elizabeth 
First Presbyterian, Buckhannon
Church: Kariguini 
Parish: Giakanja 

Week 12 - March 20
Clear Creek Presbyterian Church
Eleanor Presbyterian Church
Gilbert Presbyterian Church
Church: Kihora
Parish: Giakanja

Quick Links 


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The General Word
by Ed Thomson, General Presbyter
Every week the worship bulletin of my home church listed the missionaries our congregation supported. I'm not sure that I ever saw any of them, although they might have come to visit our church when they were back in the states. But I often heard about them. We prayed for them regularly and the pastor would frequently give us updates about their work in Egypt and in Pakistan. They always seemed heroic, willing to sacrifice their own comfort in order to share the gospel. 

At some point we started referring to missionaries as mission coworkers. The change in terminology was significant. It recognized that there were already Christians in the countries where our missionaries were working and that these Christians had already organized Presbyterian churches and established their own Presbyterian denominations. Rather than working with the heathen, they were working with denominations that had their own priorities and with pastors that had their own churches.

Our mission coworkers weren't bringing the gospel to these people. They already had the gospel. Instead our mission coworkers were helping these pastors and these churches to proclaim the gospel to their own people.

I don't mean to criticize those who were missionaries. They made many sacrifices, living in dangerous situations and sometimes even sacrificing their lives. But some of them had an attitude. 

Some of them looked down on the people they came to help. Sometimes they saw these people as inferior and they saw themselves as bringing "enlightenment" as well as the gospel to the "heathen".

Sometimes pastors - as well as presbytery executives - see themselves as missionaries. They think they know more than the people they have come to serve. They believe they have been called to bring "enlightenment" and to teach people how to do church the right way.

The reality is the people we are called to serve are already Christians. The reality is they already know how to do church. The reality is they have as much - or more - to teach us than we have to teach them. That doesn't mean we can't be helpful or encouraging. It doesn't mean that we don't have some insights or skills that might be helpful. It does mean we have to keep our attitude in check.

Rather than missionaries, it may be helpful to think of ourselves as anthropologists. Rather than telling people what to do, we need to be asking questions, trying to understand why they're doing things and seeking to discover what they're trying to accomplish.

At least that's what I'm trying to do. Each day I have more questions. There is so much that I don't understand, so much that seems to have changed since 2007 when I left for Kansas. I don't have all the answers. But I do believe God is - and has been - at work here. I believe God is with us now. I believe there are people out there who need the gospel. I believe these people are driving by and even walking by our churches every day. I believe we can help each other and learn from each other. We have the gospel. We have opportunities. We have our work cut out for us.

Let's keep looking for ways that we can work together. Let's keep listening to one another and listening for the Spirit. Let's keep asking questions. Maybe we won't figure it all out but maybe we can find ways to help one another other be faithful and joyful as we share God's good news.
Session Records Review
Session Records Review events will take place throughout the Presbytery in the coming months. Clerks are invited to attend any of the Session Record Review gatherings in order to complete the Minutes Review requirement (G-3.0108a). A complete checklist is available here:  Session Records Review Checklist 2016.

The dates are as follows with locations TBD:
  • Huntington & Teays Valley Clusters - 03/20/16 at Kuhn Memorial Presbyterian, Barboursville, WV
  • Charleston Cluster - 04/02/16 at Festival of Faith, First Presbyterian, Charleston, WV
  • Clarksburg Cluster - 04/03/16 at Glenville Presbyterian, Glenville, WV 
  • Mountain Valley Cluster - 04/10/16; location TBA
  • Parkersburg Cluster - 04/17/16 at Beulah Humble Presbyterian Church, Elizabeth, WV
  • Beckley Cluster - 04/24/16; location TBA
  • Greenbrier Valley Cluster - 05/01/16; location TBA
Nurturing Faith Ideas
The Nurture Committee has released the next five months of "Nurturing Faith Ideas" to be shared with those in your pews as a way of connecting worship on Sunday morning with faith and faith conversations throughout the week. You will find these ideas for April through May aNurturing Faith Ideas.

Money Changer Monday
You've heard of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, but what about "Money Changer Monday?" When Jesus ripped through the temple on Monday of Passion Week it set in motion events that led to his Resurrection. Eleanor Presbyterian Church will begin Passion Week by recognizing the importance of this event with a FREE concert by the group "Bluegrass Harmony" on Monday, March 21, at 7:00 PM at the church. Formed in 2002, "Bluegrass Harmony" plays traditional and gospel music. Attendees are asked to bring canned food items to support the Five Loaves and Two Fish Food Pantry. 

Pastor John Yeager said, "Palm Sunday was a day of praise and honor, but after the temple was torn up the chief priests, teachers, and leaders of the people began to plot against Jesus. This is a week of deep sorrow and great elation for Christians." 

"Bluegrass Harmony" has performed on the radio show; "Music from the Mountains", at the Mountaineer Opry in Milton, WV, and at The Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WV.

Yeager said, "Each of the days of Passion Week is significant," He further explained, "We might call Tuesday, "Tricky Tuesday" because the chief priests asked Jesus questions to try to trap him. And Wednesday is "Spy Wednesday" because that is the day Judas secretly betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver."

Eleanor Presbyterian Church will also celebrate Maundy Thursday with a symbolic Seder Meal. This event will begin at 7:00 PM on March 24. The church is located at 205 Eleanor Circle, Eleanor, West Virginia. For more information contact Pastor John Yeager at 304-360-1198.
Members of "Bluegrass Harmony" are Darin White, Terry Beach, Jane Lothes, and Tom Griffith.

July 19-23, 2016
The Triennium registration deadline is fast approaching on March 31. If you know of a youth who is interested in attending this every third year, faith nurturing event for Presbyterians, please be sure his/her registrations are in the presbytery office by that date. The dates for this event are Tuesday, July 19-Saturday, July 23, with a mandatory overnight gathering at First Presbyterian Church, Charleston, on 
the evening of Monday, July 18.
2016 Festival of Faith
The early registration deadline for Festival of Faith is Thursday, March 17. While there is always registration at the door, early registration is required for child care and lunch. Festival of Faith promises to be a wonderful event for folks across our presbytery as we welcome HEATH RADA, the Moderator of the our General Assembly. There are workshops for all ages and for a variety of interests. You will find registration information online at For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell.
Prayer Gathering Slated 
for Teays Valley Cluster
The Prayer Vision Initiative is a ministry of the Relations Committee with the goal of promoting prayerful vision to discern the Spirit's direction and to provide encouragement for churches and ministries within the Presbytery of West Virginia. "Spirit-Listening Times" will be offered in each cluster throughout 2016.  The next gathering will be in the Teays Valley Cluster at 7 PM on Monday, March 14, at First Presbyterian, St. Albans.

These gatherings will include intentional times for prayer, scripture, contemplation, music, and community. Together, clusters will seek and listen to the Holy Spirit as the Body of Christ for the Body of Christ, build relationships between churches and ministries of the Presbytery, and bear one another's burdens and encourage one another.  

Each church is asked to send at least two representatives to the prayer event in their cluster.  Churches and participants are asked to prepare in three ways: (1) session and/or the congregation may pray over those who will attend, (2) participants and others may pray for wisdom and insight for at least three days prior to the gathering, and (3) participants are asked to contemplate Luke 18:40-41 for three days prior to the gathering.

For more information, please contact Nancy Didway at [email protected]  
Got Good News?
Does your church have good news to share? Let us all celebrate with you! Maybe it's a milestone anniversary for the congregation or one of its members, or a celebration of a new ministry, or maybe you've experienced God's glory in new ways.  Share it with us so the whole Presbytery can rejoice! In God's economy, no news is too small to celebrate!  Send your Good News tidbit (a sentence or two) to [email protected] so we can include it in the newsletter.
Confirmation Retreat
Does your church have only a few youth who might be interested in Confirmation? Have you been wondering what to do about a Confirmation Class? Join with youth from other churches in a CONFIRMATION RETREAT for youth in grades 6 and above at Bridgeport Presbyterian Church, Friday, April 15-Saturday, April 16. We will begin at 7 PM on Friday and end at 5 PM on Saturday. There must be one adult (Teaching Elder or Ruling Elder) with each group of youth. Material used will be our denomination's confirmation curriculum, Professing Our Faith. For more information, or to register youth, please contact Susan Sharp Campbell, 304-645-4568 or [email protected] The registration deadline is Monday, April 11.
The Guys' Weekend 2016
Every year, men from all over the Presbytery of WV gather for The Guys' Weekend, a men's retreat designed to encourage you in your faith in Jesus Christ and give you an opportunity to serve making Bluestone Camp the best camp possible, all in the midst of an incredible retreat experience, filled with lots of laughs, great grub, time to hang out, and much more. Join us April 22-24 at Bluestone Camp. Our guest speaker this year comes all the way from Flower Mound, Texas - Alf Laukoter, who will focusing on "Becoming Fools for Christ." You can find more information and the registration forms at
Small Church Conference
Ministry Molded by Mountains
Year III:  Mustard Seed Ministry
Saturday, April 30
Fayetteville Presbyterian Church
For more information click here.

Join the Small Church Choir for worship at the Small Church Conference. The only requirement is that you can make a joyful noise!

Nancy Villain, Music Director at Elk Hills Presbyterian Church, will direct the choir that will be made up of church members from all over West Virginia joining their voices in praise to God. Please send an email to[email protected] and let her know you are interested. 

To help us prepare for the conference, Ron Buckalew reflects on why small is beautiful.  To read, click here!
Bluestone Announces Summer Camp Dates
It's time to register for Bluestone Camp! Complete camp information can be found online at   To register, download the Bluestone eBrochure 2016.
Bluestone Seeking Summer Camp Staff Applicants
Bluestone is now receiving staff applications for Summer Camp! Application deadline is March 25. Interviews will take place on Saturday, April 2, in the Charleston area. Anyone interested please see the information contained on the flyer (Click Here!). To apply please visit 
WV Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps Mission Opportunity
WV Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps Inc. is offering a mission opportunity August 14-18, 2016, in Hampden, WV.  Click the link for more information! WVMAW Mission Opportunity
Enacting the Word:
Using Drama in Preaching 

Need a little help preaching the Word? Here is a resource that has been feeling ignored. It has been sitting on the shelf of The Resource Center just waiting for you to realize its potential and check it out.

Enacting the Word is a great way to enliven your sermons and help your listeners tune in to God's word. The author, James O. Chatham, reminds us that all of us probably have a couple actors within our congregations. If not, then bring in someone you know who might help out. A few of these presentations might even work better using someone who is a stranger to your congregation.

Most of us know the story of Jonah and the Big Fish but the story themes come alive the way that Chatham presents it. From God walking nonchalantly - yet Godly- in one door of your sanctuary to Jonah clumsily leaving his own pew and trying to sneak out a different door we learn that we can't hide from God and that we do not get to decide the limits of God's love and forgiveness. 

So try it! Try Enacting the Word and see what happens.
Prayer Concerns
Please join in praying for the friends and family of Rod Jennings who died unexpectedly in late February.  Rod was a teaching elder from Bridgeport, attended two trips to RHINO, and attended the first few Guy's Weekends at Bluestone. His service of remembrance was held at the Bridgeport Presbyterian Church. He was 58.

Please also lift in prayer Bob Schultz, lay pastor at South Park Presbyterian, as he undergoes medical tests.
Disciple Making Conference
On Saturday, October 15, 2016, St. John's United Church of Christ (Columbus, OH) is pleased to host the national "Radical Disciple Making" Conference presented by Rev. Dr. Bill Easum and his partners in The Effective Church Group. This is an exceptional opportunity to equip your clergy and lay leaders alike with new tools for making disciples in a new and challenging age of ministry, and we are pleased to be part of this effort to help our mainline Protestant churches grow and thrive.
You can find more information about the conference at:
Presbytery of WV's New Health Ministry Affinity Group
Faith communities have a special role to play in helping their members eat smart and move more. Faith communities care about individual members' health, have programs and services that support. Their members, are centers of their communities, and have leaders who are widely respected. Click on the link to learn more about this new initiative. PWV Health Ministry Affinity Group Flyer
One Great Hour of Sharing
Most congregations receive "OGHS" on Easter Sunday, Passion/Palm Sunday or both, while many receive it throughout Lent-however, you can help sustain the important PC(USA) ministries and programs that are supported by One Great Hour of Sharing Offering by making an online gift at any time throughout the year.

A gift to One Great Hour of Sharing enables the church to share God's love with our neighbors-in-need around the world by providing relief to those affected by natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and helping to empower the poor and oppressed.
For more information on One Great Hour of Sharing, visit
EAPCE Spring Event
Don't Check Your 
Brain at the Door:  
Creating a Whole-Brain Church
April 18-20, 2016
Rhodes Grove Conference Center
Chambersburg, PA
Holly Inglis writes, "In the last 20 years, neuroscience has literally and figuratively opened up our brains to new understandings and new ways of thinking about how human beings learn.  The field of education has begun to appropriate much of this new information in classroom practice and teaching pedagogy.  Until recently, the church has not been part of these conversations between neuroscience and educational theory and practice.  During our time together, we will reflect on what we do and how we do it in light of recent neuroscience, contemplate what a whole-brain church might look like, and consider the possible impact of those who share ministry with us."

Holly is a PCUSA Pastor/Educator serving as the Associate Pastor at Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL.  She holds a Doctorate in Educational Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, where her research focused on the neuroscience of learning and memory - how neuroscience can inform what we teach and how we teach. 

All who are involved in the educational ministry of the church, including Pastors, Christian Educators, Teachers will benefit from this educational opportunity.  In addition to Holly's presentations, there will be  variety of workshops offered.  Complete information can be found by clicking here.

Please note the availability of scholarships for this event on the registration information. 

For more information, contact Susan Sharp Campbell.
Educator Gatherings
Educators Gatherings are designed for those actively serving as professionals or volunteers in the educational ministry of their congregations.  Gatherings are held almost monthly during the academic year.   For the most part, these gatherings are held at the presbytery office in South Charleston from 10 AM - 1:30 PM.

Dates for Educator Gatherings are as follows:
  • Monday, March 14; Janet Chambers, First Presbyterian Charleston, will be sharing on Godly Play and communion preparation.
  • There will not be an Educators' Gathering in April.  Educators and interested others are encouraged to attend the Eastern Region Spring Event, April 18-20, at Rhodes Grove Conference Center, Chambersburg, PA.  Holly Inglis will be the presenter on the creating a whole brain church.
  • Monday, May 9:  Educator Gathering
  • Friday, June 3:  End of Year Educators' Picnic
For more information, or to be added to the educators email list, please contact Susan Sharp Campbell.
Healthy Body, Healthy Spirits
On March 1, West Virginians from 11 denominations kicked off Healthy Bodies Healthy Spirits Month at the Capital with a proclamation by Gov.Tomblin and resolutions in the Senate and House of Delegates.  Presbyterians Dr. Joe Reed and Pastor Julie Sterling and people were on hand to receive the proclamation from Senate Presidents Bill Cole. 

Now it's up to us to turn it into reality. What's your plan? Go to for a great spread of ideas about ways your church can help create a healthier church and healthier community, this month and every month!

For the full proclamation issued by Governor Tomblin, click here.
Editor's Note:
In order to keep the PWV Newsletter fresh, articles sent for publication will generally run for two consecutive issues.  If you wish for a piece to continue to run, please resubmit. We encourage you to reword, add a photo (or different photo), or change the piece in some way so that the news stays fresh and interesting. 
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