The Northwest Regional Meeting: Creating a brave space.

The Northwest Regional Meeting: Creating a brave space.

That was the goal of the January 20th Saturday workshop, “Come to the Table. . . .. for Conversations on Race,” sponsored by the Northwest Region of the Presbytery on January 20th.

Over 42 people from across the Presbytery gathered at Church of the Mall to be led in conversation by Rusty Vaughan and Jane Carrigan of the organization “Coming to the Table.” They helped us to create “brave spaces” — respectful spaces where people would speak honestly and listen deeply, even at the risk of discomfort. We began Friday night, when Jane and Rusty trained fourteen volunteers from the Presbytery in facilitation skills. We went over guidelines/touchstones for discussions. We learned the value of going around the circle by passing a “talking stick,” giving every person the opportunity to share their thoughts. We learned about the importance of confidentiality, sharing from personal experience and avoiding “debates.” We practiced honest speaking and deep listening among us, and left excited about the workshop the next day.

On Saturday morning we began with song, scripture and prayer. Then Rusty and Jane shared their experiences: Rusty as a white man who spent most of his life thinking he had nothing to learn about race/racism; and Jane, who grew up in a Cape Verdean community in Massachusetts, hearing mixed and complex messages about race. Their honest and moving stories were the springboard for our morning small group discussions. In the afternoon we examined questions like “How would you feel if your church put up a “Black Lives Matter” banner?” or “What is the cost to being African American in this country?” The circles became brave spaces, spaces of learning, connection and occasionally laughter. In between discussions, we relaxed over lunch and enjoyed fellowship.

What next? Jane and Rusty emphasized that the mission of Coming to the Table is not simply to talk. It’s to help people uncover history, make connections, and take actions to heal the wounds of racial inequality and injustice. But conversation is a place to begin, a place to practice honesty, truthfulness and transparency as we work for the peaceful transformation of society. The NW region would like to support churches (or groups of churches) in beginning “Coming to the Table” groups of their own! Rusty and Jane are ready to help with resources and consultations. Please contact Cheryl Pyrch at [email protected] if you would like to learn more about starting a group in your church.

Thank you to the Presbytery for the Peacemaking Grant that made this day possible. Thank you to Church of the Mall for their gracious hospitality. Thank you to the facilitators who came for training, and thank you and to all who attended on Saturday, not sure what to expect. We were blessed, and we pray that we may be a blessing to others as we continue courageous conversations and work for justice and healing.

The Northeast Region Gathers on Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Northeast Region of the Presbytery will next meet on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 beginning at 10:00 am (with registration at 9:30 am), at Grace Presbyterian Church in Jenkintown.

They will be hosting “A Morning with Stephen King” and invite all to join the Northeast Region as they worship together, network during fellowship, and learn more about what the Presbytery’s new business administrator’s ministry can do to support and partner with our congregations.

Parking is available in the library lot across from the church at the intersection of Old York and Vista Roads as well as on side streets in the neighborhood. Handicapped accessible entry and parking is available by entering the church driveway just south of the church.

Please click here for a flyer to download and share with your congregations.

The Northwest Region Sponsors Conversation on Racism

The Northwest Region sponsors Presbytery-wide event at Church on the Mall

The Northwest Regional Leadership Team of Philadelphia Presbytery would like to invite you and your congregation to “Come to the Table” for continued conversations on race, Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the Church on the Mall, 500 West Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA. The meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. and continue through 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided and the price is included in the $10 registration fee.

The program will be led by Rusty Vaughn and Jane Carrigan from Coming to the Table, an organization that provides leadership and resources for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from racism. Coming to the Table is committed to uncovering history, making connections, working toward healing and taking action. They have a track record of bringing people together across racial lines to develop and deepen relationships. Learn about starting conversations in your congregation or community that are inclusive, respectful, honest, and compassionate.

Space is limited, so please make your reservations through the Presbytery office at 215-242-1400 x329 or email [email protected]

Click here for a flyer to share with your congregation

Yours in Christ,

The Northwest Regional Leadership Team: Rev. Dr. Jade King Bass, Elder Joan Clerk, Elder Deborah Douie Merritt, Rev. Cheryl Pyrch (Convener), Elder Cindy Reed, and Rev. Ethelyn Taylor

All Invited to Northeast Regional Gathering: Discussing Ministry Goals

The Northeast Region of the Presbytery of Philadelphia will meet on Tuesday, June 13 at the Bensalem Presbyterian Church located at 2826 Bristol Road, Bensalem, PA 19020.

Join us at 9:15 am for registration and a continental breakfast.
Our meeting will be called to order at 10 am.
Our focus will be the next 300 years of our ministry together with focused commissioner-led discussions on the role of pastors and laity in leadership, successful outreach and evangelism, and ministry goals for our next 300 years of ministry together!
Please stay for a free BBQ luncheon at noon graciously hosted by the members of the Bensalem congregation.
Encourage your church members to attend!
Parking is available on the side and behind the main building. The sanctuary main entrance has a handicapped accessible entrance and parking.

Thank you,
Rev. Cynthia Betz-Bogoly
COPMM commissioner and NE planning team member

Summary of Crossroads Anti-Racism Workshop

A Presbytery-wide Anti-Racism Workshop was held on March 11, 2017, hosted by the Northwest Region

Inspired by the call to celebrate our 300th Anniversary with a focus on mission, and wanting to deepen the Presbytery conversations on “Race, Bias and Privilege,” the NW Region invited Crossroads Anti-Racism Training to lead a day-long seminar called “Introduction to Systemic Racism.” Sixty people representing over a dozen congregations from across the Presbytery gathered at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill for learning, conversation, worship (and a delicious lunch). The program was supported by the Church Leadership Development Fund of the Great Ends Grants, and with donations from the Ambler, Norriton, Oxford, and Summit Presbyterian churches. Individuals also gave generously!

Crossroads is dedicated to helping people understand and combat racism in institutions – including the church. They offered a definition of racism that went beyond the common understanding of racism as a matter of personal prejudice or hostility. It is better defined, they suggested, as a combination of race prejudice combined with misuse of power by institutions and systems – and therefore needs to be tackled on both an institutional and personal level. An ethical/theological framework developed by Christian Ethicist Miguel de Torres guided our discussions.

Provocative questions, personal stories, videos and short lectures sparked energetic conversations between members of different congregations. We looked at the concept of a cultural “center” and “borderlands” (developed by philosopher Gloria Anzaldua) to explore how racism and other kinds of oppression play out in society. We considered ways in which the church is complicit, and how it might change.

Near the end of the day we thought about our own congregations and where they fit on an anti-racism spectrum. Nearly all agreed there was not enough time for this interesting exercise and we needed an opportunity to plan next steps. The Northwest Regional team will be exploring ways we can further our anti-racism work.

The Northwest Regional Leadership Team thanks the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, for graciously hosting, and all who attended and made the event a success. Thank you to the Presbytery for supporting churches. Stay tuned for follow-up programming!

Learn More About Crossroads:

Southwest Regional Meeting on March 21 focuses on Immigration and Refugee Issues

The SW Region of the Presbytery of Philadelphia will be meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.

The program will focus of Immigration and Refugee Issues

Guest speakers are coming from HIAS, the New Sanctuary Movement and Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.

If you have not done so, please RSVP to [email protected] so they can have a head count for dinner.

Rev. Dr. David Lose Presents to the Northeast Region on Church in the Digital Age

Did you miss the most recent Northeast Regional? Our guest presenter was Rev. Dr. David Lose, who spoke on the “Challenges in the Church in the Age of Technology.”

Check out the video of his presentation here:

Ministry in an Age of Digital Pluralism: Rev. Dr. David Lose at NE Region

Posted by Presbytery of Philadelphia on Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Northwest Region Hosts “Introduction to Systemic Racism” Workshop

All are welcome to attend this important workshop on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm!

The NW Region invites you to join them in a special workshop. As part of the Presbytery’s 300th Anniversary celebration, they are offering an “Introduction to Systemic Racism Workshop,” conducted by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training (

  • You are encouraged to sign up with others from your church.
  • Cost: $25, which includes lunch and snacks. (Checks made out to Presbytery of Philadelphia)
  • Parking available.

This workshop helps people explore the idea that racism is not only a matter of individual prejudice but a systemic, institutional problem of power. Participants will be exposed to the “power definition” of racism, its historic and legal roots and the way it functions today. The discussion will be placed in a theological framework, which will begin with worship.

RSVP Here:

Introduction to Systemic Racism Workshop

Introduction to Systemic Racism Workshop hosted by the Northwest Region of the Presbytery of Phialdelphia
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Southwest meeting Re-Scheduled for November 5!

CEM logoThe Southwest Region has rescheduled their gathering for Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at Chester Eastside, Inc. (The ministry is located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chester.)

All are invited to join with the Southwest Region as they gather in celebration and fellowship. During the meeting they will be honoring the life and work of a couple of pastors who are retiring.

Please contact [email protected] with any questions of for additional information.

Hope to see you there!!

Stewardship for the 21st Century will be the Topic for the NE Region Meeting in October

The Northeast Region will gather on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at Newtown Presbyterian Church beginning with a light supper at 5:00 p.m. and a 7:00 p.m. meeting time.

The Topic will be:

Stewardship for the 21st Century, led by Rev. Su Fall.