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News From Pittsburgh Presbytery

Should You be Naming the Elephant in the Room?

One of the elephants in the room in many of our congregations is the hostility across party lines that pervades our polarized society and therefore is present also inside the walls of our sanctuaries. Do we ignore it? Or simply endure it? Or can we name it at least, and thereby begin the difficult task of addressing it? The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister to Pittsburgh Presbytery, answers these questions and more in today's meditation, Naming the Elephant.

Freedom Rising Sunday Designated for January 19!

Pittsburgh Presbytery has designated the Sunday before the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to be an annual celebration of Freedom Rising Sunday, a time for congregations in our presbytery to unite in prayer, worship, witness, and giving to support Freedom Rising and our shared call to address the worsening plight of the African American male. The Freedom Rising Steering Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery has created a number of resources to assist your congregation in developing a worship service addressing the themes underpinning the ministry of Freedom Rising:

You can find all of these resources online.

Lazarus Fund Now Processing Applications

The Lazarus Fund Ministry Team is once again accepting applications from Allegheny County residents who need help to pay their rent and utility bills. To qualify for up to $200 in aid, an applicant must visit one of the participating churches and complete an application on site. Potential applicants will be mailed a list of congregations after calling 412-697-7390 and leaving a message with a full name, address, and phone number.

What is SDOP - L?

In 2020, the PC(USA) Self-Development of People (SDOP) Ministry is celebrating fifty years --  a half century (Roman number L!), a semi-centennial, a quinquagenary, a golden Anniversary, a year of jubilee! After the SDOP mandate was issued at the 1970 General Assembly, a multitude of projects controlled and owned by groups of disadvantaged individuals have been approved seeking to correct and/or address systemic injustice related to poverty, economic discrimination, and marginalization of the underserved, specifically minority communities.

Thanks to the past involvement and leadership of the Rev. Dr. Hendrik “Henk” Bossers, the SDOP Ministry Team of Pittsburgh Presbytery identified and awarded funds to deserving projects including The Recovery Group, Urban Clothing Outlet, Conductive Education Group, Angel Treats, Holy Smokes Café, Living Well Homecare Solutions, Mission Possible Therapies, Elpis Community Center, and Saving our Sisters. In February 2019, so that funds could continue to be awarded, Dr. Bossers began the process of SDOP recertification for Pittsburgh Presbytery. By the time certification was received in December 2019 the mantle of leadership had passed on.  The Rev. Dr. Jermaine McKinley, the new SDOP Chairperson for Pittsburgh Presbytery, prays for a portion of the success God granted Rev. Bossers. She states current plans are to identify and award a grant to three (3) groups meeting SDOP criteria. Application deadlines are March 1, June 1, and September 1.

Dr. McKinley says,

“Time and talent are as important as the giving of treasure during One Great Hour of Sharing. Our Presbytery and region have the human resources needed to mentor, support, and encourage groups and communities of disadvantaged people striving to change their socio-economic conditions. With the help of SDOP Volunteer Ambassadors, it is possible to share Good News that freedom is available for the oppressed; it is possible to encourage empowerment and elimination of poverty among minority and underprivileged communities.” 

As the conversation ended, the new chairperson indicated a hope that all presbytery congregations will celebrate SDOP Sunday on March 15.  She also promised to share news and updates related to the PC(USA) SDOP 50th Anniversary Celebration scheduled in Rochester, NY on September 18-20.

Crestfield Welcomes a New Executive Director!

The Crestfield Camp & Conference Center Board of Directors is excited to introduce Gene Joiner to Pittsburgh Presbytery and surrounding presbyteries.

Gene comes from North Carolina. For the last 18 years, he has been the Executive Director of Christian camps within the southeast and is excited to be back in Pennsylvania. He and his family moved to Crestfield in December and will live on campus.

References for Gene state he is a dynamic leader who is both spiritual, faithful, and has a heart for Jesus. The Crestfield search team was very impressed with his well-rounded approach to camping ministry that brings Jesus and faith formation to campers year round. His skills and experience include marketing, promotions and grant writing, summer camp leadership and growth, adult programming, and retreat management. His passion for youth and adult discipleship, organizational skills, and love of God’s Church will be a blessing to all of us.

Gene served as an Airborne Ranger in the US Army and was deployed to Korea for a year. He holds a B.S. in History from Appalachian State University. Prior to working in full-time camping ministry, he was the head coach for the women’s basketball team at Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Gene has been married to Anissa for 22 years and they have four children: Hannah, Madeline, Kaleb and just adopted Sasha from Ukraine. Anissa is a graduate of Campbell University.

Gene believes that, “camping ministry...provides an experience for families to encounter God in a place set apart with radical Christian hospitality, and a place for children and youth to grow and learn who they are in God’s eyes.”

The Crestfield Board of Directors thanks Pittsburgh Presbytery for the opportunity to cause ministries of hospitality and discipleship at Crestfield to thrive in this new decade.

Please introduce yourself to Gene at the February presbytery meeting!

Do You Need Rest & REFRESHment?

Are you a youth worker who needs a comfy place to nap, a quiet spot to work on your next lesson or time with colleagues to brainstorm ideas? If you do, this retreat, Refresh, is for you! Additionally, there will be workshops, game sharing, and time to play on the climbing and bouldering walls. Dr. David "Duffy" Robbins, professor of Youth Ministry at Grove City College, will inspire us as we work to serve our youth and our Lord.

Speaker: Dr. Duffy Robbins
Date: February 3-5
Where: Crestfield Camp & Conference Center
Early check-in: 10:00 AM on Monday, February 3
Arrival: Registration begins at 2:00 PM on Monday, February 3
Departure:10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 5

For more information or to register, click here!

Events & Retreats at Crestfield Camp & Conference Center

Events & Continuing Education Opportunities at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:

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



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