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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

A Letter from the General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery

n this week's pastoral letter, A Community of Grace, the Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, continues the series, Grace & Gratitude, in which he focuses on what lies at the heart of our entire theology.

Hear the Good News of the Partnership!

In January 2015, Pittsburgh Presbytery sent a team of six key leaders to the war-torn nation of South Sudan in order to stand with the church of that country in solidarity and encouragement.  This trip included times of worship, a retreat with leadership in the church of South Sudan, and time for reflection and prayer.  On Monday, March 2, at 7:00 PM this team will offer a formal report to the International Partnership Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery.  We will gather for a dessert pot-luck in the Patrick Room of the presbytery center (901 Allegheny Avenue, 15233) and have the opportunity to share intimately with the team as they unpack their experiences.  This is a fantastic opportunity for local church mission committees and people interested in learning more about the good news of partnership in our churches – previous experience with the International Partnership Ministry Team is NOT required!  If you would like more information, please email Dave Carver (dave@chup.org) or Cindy Miller (cmiller@pghpresbytery.org).

Clerk of Session Training Rescheduled for March 7

The Office of the Stated Clerk is sponsoring a training seminar geared toward first and second year Clerks of Session. The seminar will convene at the presbytery center on Saturday, March 7, from 9:00 AM until not later than noon. New clerks are encouraged to attend. For more information or to register, please email or call (412-697-9210) Cathy Nelson.

The OPEN TABLE Exploration Day on Saturday, March 14

What happens when a society, failing to transform poverty millions at a time, begins to transform poverty one at a time?  Would you and your congregation like to take an active part in transforming the lives of people in poverty?

The mission of The OPEN TABLE is to provide a model that empowers faith communities to move from transactional to transformational relationships with the poor – one life and one family at a time.  The OPEN TABLE model provides support groups for people living in poverty, who want to move forward in their lives.  One OPEN TABLE recipient shared, “When I joined OPEN TABLE I gained a support group of people helping me and telling me I could do this.  When you have that many people on your side, you feel like you can achieve anything.”  You may participate in The OPEN TABLE in three ways:  your congregation may form Tables to help people, you may participate in a Table already being formed by another faith community, or financial donations may be made to support the work of the Tables.

To learn more about this mission, we invite you to attend The OPEN TABLE Exploration Day on Saturday, March 14, at the presbytery office from 8:30 AM-1:00 PM (1:00-3:00 Q&A discussion time).  Founder Jon Katov will present the history and explain the various OPEN TABLE models.  OPEN TABLE participants and recipients will be present to share their experiences and to answer questions.  Come, bring a group from your church, it just might change someone’s life – maybe even yours! Click here to download the invitation.

First Presbyterian Church Duquesne created a video telling the story of The OPEN TABLE, the story of how those involved and the person helped are being transformed by this impactful ministry.

To register for this event: opentable@crestfield.net
Cost: FREE (light lunch provided)
For questions about this event contact the Rev. Judi Slater (judislater@gmail.com/412-370-4601) or the Rev. Betty Angelini (bangelini@pghpresbytery.org/412-323-1407).

Announcing the Advocacy Training Weekend

The Peacemaking Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery announces the Compassion, Peace, & Justice (CPJ) Training Day on Friday, April 17, from 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM to be held at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (1313 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC). The CPJ Training Day, a kick-off to the Advocacy Training Weekend, Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration & Systems of Exploitation, is a special pre-conference for Presbyterians designed to help link local congregations interested in social justice and public witness opportunities. More information and registration is available online.

The 13th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) will follow the CPJ Training Day beginning at 7:00 PM on Friday, April 17, and go through Monday, April 20, with visits to your senators and representative on Capitol Hill. You will hear leading experts in the field while interacting with persons from over 55 different ecumenical groups. The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness is a founding member. Please note the early registration deadline for EAD is March 20. More information, promotional materials, and registration information is available online. For questions please email the Rev. Ayana Teter.

What Is the Treasure in Our Own Backyard?

Throughout 2015, the Great Commission Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery will be highlighting our global mission connections. They want to begin by pointing out a “treasure in our own backyard!”  Many of you know about the New Wilmington Mission Conference (NWMC) and most speak highly of it.  Only a few know what a unique and powerful force it has been for 110 years.  Did you know?

Plan to be one of those who is spiritually refreshed and missionally awakened through this multi-generational conference that is only a short drive away.  Speakers, schedule, registration and other information can be found online.

2015 Child Abuse Law Changes Summary

A summary of the new, sweeping changes to the laws of Pennsylvania regarding mandatory reporting of child abuse and required clearance and background checks is now posted on the presbytery website.

Details for Presbytery Grants Available Online

Urban Partnership Seminary Student Intern Grants: Deadline February 23
The Administrative Commission for Transformation (ACT) is funding students for the 2015-16 school year, September through May, to work with churches doing urban ministry who are in partnership with another church. It is the desire of ACT to give seminary students opportunities to work in urban and transformational ministries. Interns receive a stipend of $350/month. The church and student applications are available online.

Small Church Leadership Development Fund: Deadline Ongoing
Small Church Leadership Development Funds are designed to enable members of congregations (ordained and lay persons) with less than 100 in worship through leadership development to: grow in commitment to Jesus Christ; celebrate who and whose we are as people of God in small congregations; gain a renewed understanding and appreciation of our Presbyterian tradition; and develop congregational life. Grants are available for up to $500 per person per event per year, with a maximum of $1,000 per congregation per year. The guidelines and an application form are available online.

Enhancement Grants: Deadline August 31
The Administrative Commission for Transformation (ACT) hopes to promote ministry partnerships with the 2016 Enhancement Grants. The awards will be based on a 3-to-1 ratio: ACT will offer $3 for every $1 you raise with a maximum grant of $3,000. You are also encouraged to consider sharing in ministry with one or more congregations in your area and applying for a joint grant. Applications are due by August 31. Grants are awarded on a one-year basis. Churches are eligible to receive grants for two consecutive years but must reapply annually. After two consecutive years of receiving a grant, a church should wait one year before applying again. Applications and guidelines are available online.

Coming Training Events & Ministry Opportunities:

Coming Events & Retreats at Crestfield Camp & Conference Center

Continuing Education Opportunities & Events at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

NOTE: More information about Continuing Education (CE) is available online; all events offer CE Units.




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