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From the Board of Pensions: Update your Employer Agreement for 2019

Update your Employer Agreement for 2019

Employer Agreements, including costs for 2019 coverage, are now available on Benefits Connect.

Between now and October 12, log on to Benefits Connect to review, update, and submit your Employer Agreement for 2019. The Agreement will determine the coverage available for employees to elect during annual enrollment, October 29-November 16, 2018. It’s important to log on to Benefits Connect to review benefits and costs and to submit an Agreement for 2019 — even if you do not intend to make any changes.

See Selecting 2019 Benefits for information about plan changes and new offerings, eligibility, benefit groups, and considerations as you review, update, and submit your Employer Agreement for 2019. Case studies are also available for reference.

Here are additional resources:

All 2019 Employer Agreements must be submitted through Benefits Connect by October 12.

If you have questions about your Employer Agreement, contact the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

A Letter from Our Moderator, Elder Linda Rutkosky

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

Silence is not always golden. To refrain from commenting and speaking up for victims and against atrocity is to be complicit. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

As Christians we are instructed in the book of John to “love one another as God so loved us.” This great commandment is all we need for our compass of morality to function with the needle pointing us in the correct direction. It is with a heavy heart that I read and listen to the stories of children being ripped from their parents at our southern border. Most of these children have already come from frightening circumstances and now we are adding to their misery by detaining them in a separate far-away space, alienating them from their parents. Forcibly taking children from their parents goes directly against the fundamental Christian value of loving one another and the sanctity of the family. I write these reflections aware of the executive order signed this week – but I caution us to consider the traumatic impact to children that are still being detained in isolation from their parents in conditions not unlike those of history’s concentration camps.

Those of us called by God to be servant leaders are perplexed and discouraged by the lack of mercy and grace shown to mothers, fathers and their children by our own country. Silence is not golden. We cannot be neutral. We are on the side of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I am putting a pen to paper, decrying loudly with a forceful energy and spirit, that this practice of separating families is horrific on virtually every Christian moral level and directly opposes the teachings of Christ. We may be divided on our perspective of how we got to this place, but we need to be united in how we respond as a people of faith. May we be vigilant until every one of these children is returned to their family. May we be alert and attentive that this absolutely unequivocally never happens again to innocent children.

I pray that hearts will soften, eyes will see, and minds will be enlightened with different ways to resolve problems and that the love of Christ will triumph. I pray that we stop this madness and keep these children where they belong … with their mothers and fathers. Silence is not golden! May we lift up our voices – God, hear our prayers!

In peace, love and with hope …

Read about an approved resolution by the 223rd General Assembly that condemns the separation of children from their families at the border:

New GA Ministry: Hands & Feet

What is Hands & Feet?

Hands & Feet is a new initiative to highlight and strengthen local and national efforts by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to facilitate change and communicate God’s love. The project builds upon the grassroots, community work congregations, mid councils, and the national office are already doing; and dovetails with the biennial General Assembly gathering. Work already is underway via Hands & Feet and the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy to engage with mission and ministry projects on the ground in St. Louis, Missouri, site of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) scheduled for June 16–23, 2018.

A Vision Realized: Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II first shared his vision that would soon become the building blocks for Hands & Feet at the 222nd General Assembly (2016), Portland, Oregon.  At the time, Nelson was standing for Stated Clerk of the General Assembly with a fellow candidate, engaging in a question and answer session with General Assembly commissioners and advisory delegates.

The Journey Begins in St. Louis: On November 28, 2016, the Office of the General Assembly hosted a collection of community gatherings in St. Louis at Third Presbyterian Church with local pastors, elders, youth ministers and Christian educators to envision the efforts leading up to the 223rd General Assembly (2018).

Blazing the Trail: The Stated Clerk’s first introduction of Hands & Feet at the 2017 College Conference in Montreal, NC was not a happy accident. He knows that students and young adults will be crucial to the Hands & Feet initiative’s success and the vitality of the denomination.

Young people, millennial, we can’t do it without you.” Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II

The church is not dying.  We are reforming because we are here.”


Apply to be a Host Church

Ministry and Leadership Incubator

A Collaborative Field Education Initiative of the Presbytery of Philadelphia and Princeton Theological Seminary 

Interest in Participation Form, Apply Here by August 31, 2018:


Chester Eastside Receives $127,500 Grant from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern NJ

Chester Eastside Receives $127,500 Grant from the United Way

Chester, PA – Chester Eastside Inc., announced they have been awarded $127,500 over three years from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey. Funded programs include Out of School Time (afterschool programs) and early literacy efforts in Delaware County.

2019 United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey’s grant award focus is on ending intergenerational poverty. Chester Eastside will be awarded $42,500 annually for three years.

Chester Eastside, Inc. offers Out-of-School Time (OST) educational programs for youths in grades K-8 year-round. The grant will support the expansion of the program and outcomes in an evidence based model. Programs seek to:
– Provide a safe and supportive learning environment,
– Promote positive interpersonal interactions, good decision-making and conflict resolution skills,
– Assist students in planning, reflecting on their actions and taking responsibility, and,
– Supplement and enhance the academic learning provided in the student’s public school.

About United Way of Greater Philadelphia & New Jersey: United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. Their mission is to end intergenerational poverty in our region by harnessing, leveraging and strategically investing the collective power of donors, advocates and volunteers, to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty.

Click here to visit their website and learn more about this valuable ministry serving the City of Chester.

Per Capita Conversations with the Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II

Per Capita Conversations with the Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II

Officials from the Office of the General Assembly will be speaking at Princeton Theological Seminary on Thursday, May 24, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the Theron Conference Room in the Library.

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, accompanied by the Deputy Stated Clerk Elder Kerry Rice and the Associate Director for Mid Council Relations Rev. Tricia Dykers Koenig, will address COGA’s proposed per capita budget that will be considered by the 223rd General Assembly.

The presentation is open to leadership from presbyteries or synods in the region who are interested in participating in this conversation prior to the  convening of the 223rd General Assembly from June 16-23, 2018, in St. Louis, MO.  Click here to register for Thursday, May 24 at Princeton:  The Theron Conference Room holds 100 people, and there is plenty of parking available. 

Those who cannot make it to a face-to-face event are encouraged to join the Zoom video conference on Thursday, June 7, 12:00 pm  to 1:30 pm (EDT). Click on the link to Register:  (Registrants will receive a link for joining by phone or computer).

For more information about Per Capita and how it is accessed and allocated, please go to:

Other locations for per capita conversations: 

  • Saturday, June 2, 12:00 noon–3:00 EDT (including lunch)
    Calvin Presbyterian Church
    415 E. Grandview Avenue
    Zelienople, Pennsylvania 16063
  • Tuesday, June 5, 12:00 noon–3:00 p.m. CDT (including lunch)
    Nashville Korean Presbyterian Church
    5555 Franklin Pike
    Nashville, Tennessee 37220

What Is a ‘New Initiative’:  A Working Definition for Ministry Innovators

What Is a ‘New Initiative?’   A Working Definition for Ministry Innovators

A new initiative might be a project built on a bare foundation that seeks to utilize the gifts already present in a community to embody the good news of Jesus Christ in a particular time and place as we address concrete needs, build community, empower leaders, etc.

A new initiative might also be an advancement to a pre-existing effort that makes a long-standing initiative more holistic, expansive, and faithful to what it can mean to be the church in a particular time and place. The invitation to dream about new initiatives is an invitation to adapt ministry, guided by the Spirit, to the changing community in our pews and the changing world around us as participants in God’s mission of reconciliation.

Click below on helpful resources on understanding and dreaming about new initiatives:

Exploring Missional Leadership: An Assessment Offered by 1001 NWC

The Presbytery of Philadelphia will be hosting an Exploring Missional Leadership at East Falls Presbyterian Church on Friday, May 18 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. This event is in partnership with the 1oo1 New Worshiping Communities movement through the PCUSA.

If you are interested in exploring what gifts God has given you for missional leadership, this is the event for you. Click here for flyer . 



Please let us know if you are interested in attending the Exploring Missional Leadership Gathering: 


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March For Our Lives Philadelphia


March For Our Lives Event in Philadelphia

Interested in participating in March for Our Lives Philadelphia, a local extension of the national #MarchforOurLives on March 24? Did You Know: A contingent from our Presbytery will meet at Cafe Square One (50 S 3rd St) as a part of the local Philly extension of #MarchforOurLives. We will gather at 9:30 am.

RSVP for the local #MarchforOurLives in Center City, Philadelphia here:


RSVP your interest in participating on March 24 in the Philadelphia for the March For Our Lives event


Self Development of People 2017 Fund Recipients

The Presbytery of Philadelphia’s Self-Development of People Committee is pleased to announce the African Family Health Organization and the Black Male Leadership Initiative and have been awarded grants from the 2017 National Self Development of People Fund (PCUSA). Each program has been awarded $8,000 for programmatic activities.

The African Family Health Organization applied for the 2017 SDOP grant to support its African Women’s Empowerment Program. The African Women’s Empowerment Program’s primary goal is to strengthen the ability of vulnerable African and refugee women with multiple and complex needs to move to independence and stability in the communities in which they reside. The program helps African immigrant and refugee women to improve their access to basic needs and mainstream resources by providing ESL classes, interpretation resources in dealing with bureaucracies, as well as parenting and life skills training.

The Black Male Leadership Initiative is a partnership between First African Presbyterian Church and The Fatherhood Institute. It is an intergenerational program that uses an African-centered curriculum to promote mentoring relationships between adult males and boys 10-18 years old. Promoting education, spiritual formation, and life skills are emphasized. Trips to post-secondary institutions and cultural venues are planned this year.

How is Self-Development of People Funded? Proceeds from One Great Hour of Sharing are divided among Hunger Efforts, Disaster Relief, and the Self-Development of People. This year, Self-Development of People Sunday will be held on Sunday, April 8, 2018. Churches are encouraged to highlight the work and witness of SDOP. For more information, please visit the national SDOP