About the Northwest Region

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: http://crossroadsantiracism.org

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 (crossroadsantiracism.org)

  • 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.

NW Region 9/24 Meeting Topic: Antiracism: Next Steps?

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The Northwest Region of the Presbytery will next gather on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield Township (Flourtown) beginning at 9:00 am.

The topic for the meeting:

Antiracism: Next Steps?

Come to a workshop developed by the PC (USA) office of Compassion, Peace and Justice that equips participants to initiate conversations around antiracism in their own congregations and communities. These experience-based exercises will help us gain a deeper understanding of the systems of power and privilege that perpetuate racism and help you facilitate these conversations with others. We’ll learn about the tools and resources for antiracism work (including the newly developed PC(USA) antiracism study guides) and spend time examining our own experiences related to race, power and privilege.

Presented by Elder Courtenay Wilcox, who participated in training with the PC(USA) office. We’ll also elect new members to the NW team and enjoy fellowship, food/coffee and worship together.

All welcome!

Northwest Region Receives Thanks on Behalf of the Presbytery

The Northwest Regional leadership received a letter of thanks from the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN). PIHN was invited to speak at the most recent Northwest Regional gathering in April.  Rev. Cheryl Pyrch wanted to pass on the thank you note from Rachel Falkove:

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network thanks the trustees of the Presbytery of Philadelphia for our generous donation of $200 as a speaker’s honorarium for PIHN staff participating in the Northwest regional meeting held on April 22, 2016 at Oxford Presbyterian Church.

We enjoyed meeting the representatives of the Northwest regional congregations and were honored to have the opportunity to introduce the Interfaith Hospitality Network program to new potential partners. We deeply value our close connection with eight Presbyterian congregations and we hope that in the coming year we grow to this number to at least ten!

May our communities of faith continue working together towards the day when every child will have a safe place to call “home” as we live our lives with a sense of responsibility for our neighbors in-need!

Thank you for all you do!

Rachel Falkove, Executive Director
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network

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NW Meeting Follow-Up: Racial & Environmental Justice

Dear NW Region,

Thank you to all who came out to the program on Saturday to reflect on the connections between racial an climate justice and to join in worship, fellowship and conversation.

I promised to send some links/information:

  1. Speaking of making connections, I just received the notice from the Creation Justice Ministries office of the denomination – they were awarded a grant from the Presbyterian Hunger Program (via One Great Hour of Sharing) to raise awareness of the connection between hunger and climate change. So we’re already doing it . . .Please click here for the letter from Creation Justice: Creation Justice_Thanks_PCUSA
  2. The link to Dwayne Royster’s organization is www.powerphiladelphia.org — Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild.
  3. I’ve also included a flyer about upcoming films on climate in Germantown, Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. More information about area programs are available at www.paipl.org, (Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light). IPL_ClimateChangeSeries_Fall2015

Thanks!

Cheryl Pyrch for the Leadership Team, Northwest Region

Thank You to the NW Region for a Great Meeting!

NW Pie PieceDear NW Region,

Thank you to all who came out to the program on Saturday to reflect on the connections between racial an climate justice and to join in worship, fellowship and conversation.

I promised to send some links/information:

  1. Speaking of making connections, I just received the notice from the Creation Justice Ministries office of the denomination – they were awarded a grant from the Presbyterian Hunger Program (via One Great Hour of Sharing) to raise awareness of the connection between hunger and climate change. So we’re already doing it . . .Please click here for the letter from Creation Justice: Creation Justice_Thanks_PCUSA
  2. The link to Dwayne Royster’s organization is www.powerphiladelphia.org — Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild.
  3. I’ve also included a flyer about upcoming films on climate in Germantown, Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. More information about area programs are available at www.paipl.org, (Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light). IPL_ClimateChangeSeries_Fall2015

Thanks!

Cheryl Pyrch for the Leadership Team, Northwest Region

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Northwest Regional Gathering for November 7, 2015

Speak My Language:

Racial Justice & Environmental Justice

NW Pie PieceElder Commissioners, Clergy and all interested Presbyterians and friends are invited to the Northwest Regional Gathering on Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. at Carmel Presbyterian Church, 100 Edge Hill Road, Glenside, PA 19038.

Our topic is Speak my Language: Racial Justice and Environmental Justice.

The movements to address racism and the environment – especially climate change – are growing in the church and the world. But congregations often address only one or the other. Explore the need for intersection and understanding between these two movements, including the theological implications.

Our speaker is Bishop Dwayne D. Royster of POWER, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild (www.powerphiladelphia.org).

Come to worship, learn, be inspired and enjoy fellowship.

Breakfast and registration from 9-9:30; worship and program begins at 9:30 a.m. Childcare available on request. Call (215) 438-2825 for more information.

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Executive Presbyter Report: Audio from Called Meeting

RuthPic15Sept2015So We Begin Again with Hope Before Us and Storms around Us
Executive Presbyter Report
The Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace
September 15, 2015

Please click on the downloadable PDF to read Ruth’s report: ExecutivePresbyterReport_15Sept2105  or click below to listen to Ruth’s report.

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Summer Snapshots 2015

Your stories are our stories. The Presbytery of Philadelphia invites all of our churches to share a photo or two of your summer ministry so we can share it with others. We’ll be posting pictures on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.  Send your pics with a brief description to [email protected].  Overbrook Movie Nite

Pastoral Letter to the Presbytery of Philadelphia

Dear Brothers and Sisters on the Journey,

Grace and peace I bring you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Late yesterday afternoon, we received significant news from Ruling Elder Linda Valentine, Executive Director of our Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). In that email and subsequent video, Linda shared that she is stepping down from her position, effective July 10, 2015. This resignation comes after almost a year of concerns and allegations regarding actions of leadership at the PMA. We receive this news with a sense of sadness related to the circumstances that have deflected energy from the ministry and mission of which we are a part. You can hear Linda’s announcement here:

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For those who may not know, the PMA is the ministry and mission arm of our denomination. Over the past nine years, in large part to Linda’s leadership and vision, our denomination has worked to reclaim ministries of church growth, evangelism, service ministries through the mission field, Presbyterian Disaster assistance, Young Adult Volunteers – as well as creating a more relevant presence in Washington, DC. I personally have been excited about this direction – I was heart-warmed to talk about ministry more than governance. The other arms (or agencies) of our denomination are the Office of General Assembly, Presbyterian Foundation, Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Board of Pensions – each with their own mandate and priority on our behalf.

Although Linda was not directly linked to any of the allegations at PMA, it is clear that those allegations have become a dark cloud over our denominational leadership – representing a breach of trust that is already fragile when it comes to all-things-institutional. This breach of trust has weighed heavily on many, causing unrest in many corners of our church. To make matters even more complex, social media was used to share that unrest -– humbly reminding us of the gift and challenge of electronic communication.

Whatever your thoughts might be about our denominational relationships, this is a time for us to rally as a people of faith. I invite us into a time of prayer for our national church. I ask for your prayers on behalf of Linda and her family as she begins a new season. I am grateful for her nine years of service and wish her God’s speed. I ask for your prayers for the leadership of our denomination – the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and all the staff – as they discern what the next steps might be for future leadership of the PMA.

Finally, I ask for your prayers for the Church of Jesus Christ as expressed in our denomination as we embark on a season that can be described as one of wilderness wanderings. I am, however, reminded that the wilderness is not a place we go to die. Instead it is a place from which we depart – reformed and reshaped for a new season of service. This was true for the children of Israel. This was true for the ministry of Jesus. So I leave you with the words of the Old Testament – “may we be a bold and courageous people, assured the Lord our God is with us wherever we go” (Joshua 1:9).

Blessings and Peace,

Ruth Santana-Grace

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