This is the category for General Information
The Presbytery of Philadelphia to Host PC(USA) Regional Liaisons from the Middle East
The Presbytery of Philadelphia is Hosting the PC(USA) Regional Liaison from the Middle East on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Presbytery office.
Topic for Presentation: “The Shape of Hope in Syria, Lebanon & Iraq”
Rev. Elmarie Parker serves as a PCUSA Associate for Ecumenical Partnerships in the role of Regional Liaison to Church Partners in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. She will lead a discussion regarding current conditions in the region where they work and live, along with how these conditions (including the rise and fall of ISIS) are impacting PC(USA) Partners and their continuing work of worship and ministry.
Though there is much over which to be deeply concerned, there are also stories of hope to be heard and shared. Bring your questions and come ready to hear the witness received first hand from local church leaders on the ground in these areas of conflict and chaos.
Join the Presbytery for a morning presentation, followed by a luncheon and time to meet and speak with the PC(USA)’s regional liaison about the work with Church Partners in the Middle East. Please RSVP your attendance so we can prepare enough refreshments!
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).
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: https://pres-outlook.org/2018/06/general-assembly-condemns-the-government-for-separating-children-from-their-families/
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.”
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
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: https://goo.gl/forms/eVCcFUbbPmShnVz72. 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: https://goo.gl/forms/eVCcFUbbPmShnVz72 (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: http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ecclesial-and-ecumenical-ministries/per-capita/
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
- Wednesday, June 6, 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. CDT (including lunch)
Presbyterian Mission Center
6100 Colwell Boulevard
Irving, Texas 75039