Session Records Reading Sites for reading 2014 Records

I want to thank the Ruling Elders who have helped organize our Session Records reading sites and for their committed service to our Presbytery. The sites for the reading and approval of the 2014 Session Records have been scheduled. I have listed them below. You can visit our calendar of events by date for directions to the church. The times to review the records are congenial and helpful for many. It is a great opportunity to meet with others and to exchange ideas or have questions answered.

In an effort to help you prepare for your readings, please click on the PDF’s of the Green and Yellow sheets and fill out two of each. We ask that you please complete the information prior to having your records reviewed. Along with your books, please bring the completed Session Minutes and Church Register checklists (four sheets, two yellow and two green) to the reading site of your choice.

Church Register 2015 Green

Session Minutes Form 2015 Yellow

The deadline for session records reading has also been moved to October 25, 2015 to accommodate all of our Clerks of Session.

In Gratitude for all you do!


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  • Saturday, 7/11/2015, 9:00 am-Noon – Princeton
  • Saturday, 7/18/2015, 9:00 am-Noon -Bryn Mawr
  • Wednesday, 7/22/2015, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm – Abington
  • Tuesday, 7/28/2015, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm – Rhawnhurst


  • Saturday, 8/8/2015, 9:00 am-Noon – Princeton
  • Monday, 8/10/2015, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rhawnhurst
  • Wednesday, 8/19/2015, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Abington
  • Tuesday, August 25, 2015, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm – Rhawnhurst


  • Saturday, 9/12/2015,  9:00 am-Noon – Rhawnhurst
  • Saturday, 9/19/2015, 9:00 am-Noon – First African
  • Wednesday, 9/23/2015, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rhawnhurst
  • Wednesday, 8/30/2015, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Abington


Monday, 10/12/2015, 2:00 pm-5:00 pm – Rhawnhurst

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Great Clerk’s Gathering Saturday, June 13, 2015!

Kevinguitar1We had a great Clerk’s gathering this morning with 28 of our Clerk’s of Session coming to the Presbytery office to brain-storm ways in which we can help our churches have their Church Records reviewed and discussing how the new PA State Child Protection laws will be impacting our churches.

We began the meeting with introductions from our Clerks – how amazing that we have a Clerk who has served for 47 years and a few first-time clerks!  It was a great exchange of information and ideas!

ClerksMetgOut of our conversations, we decided it would be a good idea to have a Clerk’s Orientation session for our newer clerks.  We will keep you posted on dates. We will also be publishing the list of session records sites and sharing a Clerk’s Directory.  Great ideas come out of these gatherings!

The Presbytery of Philadelphia is blessed with Clerks who are dedicated, passionate, invested and engaged in the ministry of telling the Church story!



May 2015 Stated Meeting of the Presbytery, Minutes-In-Brief

News From LeadershipPrayerfully, attendees of the May 19th stated meeting of the Presbytery of Philadelphia had no doubt the spirit of Pentecost surrounded us by the time the meeting adjourned that evening. As commissioners registered at the Gwynedd Square Presbyterian Church, they were invited to pre-Presbytery presentations covering issues ranging from available grant offerings to ramifications of the new PA child protection legislation to updates on Chester Eastside, Inc.’s new opportunities and partnerships.

The meeting was called to order with prayer at 2:30 p.m. by Moderator Mike Henry (Ruling Elder, Valley Forge). The Presbytery met in executive session to hear a report from the Permanent Judicial Commission. When reconvened in open meeting, the Presbytery was welcomed by Teaching Elder R. J. Leek, pastor of Gwynedd Square.

The business meeting introduced the schedule and process for presenting overtures and nominating commissioners for the upcoming 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be held in Portland, OR the week of June 18, 2016. By a margin of 72 to 54, the Presbytery voted to ratify the unanimous action of the trustees and Leadership Collegium to “remit to the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) the actual amount of per capita funds received from congregations, and communicate to the OGA that this decision was made to preserve the integrity of local and denominational mission commitments from congregations.”

In the spirit of the popular “TED talks,” representatives of six ministries from across the Presbytery shared their process in engaging the questions in their context that led to life-giving incarnations of the gospel:

  • Teaching Elder Casey Thompson (Wayne) spoke on “Missional Presence through the Urban and Suburban Partnership”
  • Teaching Elder Doug Hoglund and Candidate Leah Miller (Woodside and The Anchor) presented “Empowering New Leadership through Congregational Partnership”
  • Teaching Elder Lisa Farrell (Penn Wynne) shared “Working for the Kingdom: Orphans in Liberia”
  • Teaching Elder Josh Gill (Doylestown) explained “Relational Webs in Small and Large Church Youth Ministry”
  • Teaching Elders Rebecca Blake and Karen Rohrer (Beacon) interpreted “Community Outreach and Formation through the Arts”
  • Ruling Elder Chris Scott Jr. (Germantown, First)described “Being the Change: Fighting HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa”

**Per requested, please click here for the presenters contact information: Thinking on the Edges_Presenter_Contacts

Executive Presbyter Ruth Santana-Grace’s report continued the creative theme of the Thinking on the Edges presentations. A year after she first shared the concept of a partnership with Princeton Seminary, Ruth introduced the six students and three congregations who will be launching the ministry and leadership incubator this fall: Jennifer Shin and Dana Gray with Teaching Elder David Sanchez and Christ’s Church; Charles Sadler and Jared Legard with Teaching Elder Dr. T. Janel Dixon and Cedar Park Church; and Luis Quinones-Roman and Jacob Douylliez with Teaching Elder Linda Jaymes and Olivet-Covenant Church. Next, reprising the format from her report of a year ago, voices representative of our diverse ministry situations were woven into a litany affirming us as a Pentecost people. From this foundation, Vice Moderator Bill Teague (Langhorne) led the Presbytery into worship.

The Reverend Michael Livingston, Executive Pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, based his sermon “Walking Wilderness Roads” on Acts 8:26-39. The passage told the story of Peter’s encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch culminating with the latter’s baptism. Rev. Livingston challenged us to look beyond the familiar and comfortable—especially when journeying on the “wilderness roads” of our lives—for the angels and oases of God’s living water in our midst, particularly as we enter Pentecost. The commissioning of Associate Presbyter Greg Klimovitz and the musical offerings from Teaching Elder Aisha Brooks-Lytle (Wayne) accompanied by Tim Evers (Wayne) and Gwynedd Square’s organist/choir director Tim Shaw marked other highlights of worship.

After the great food and fellowship around the dinner tables that followed worship, we reconvened to hear the statements of faith and examine three candidates seeking certification to be ready to receive a call: Leah Miller, Peter Martin and Laura Ferguson. The Presbytery enthusiastically voted to certify them. There being no other business, Moderator Michael Henry led the Presbytery in a verse of “Spirit of the Living God” before offering our closing prayer.

The attendance for this meeting was 201. The collection of $1,443.80 will go to support the Presbyterian Church (USA) response to the earthquake in Nepal.

The Presbytery will next convene in regions scheduled to meet in September/October. The next stated meeting of the entire Presbytery will be November 17, 2015.

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Presbytery Meeting Reflection

We give thanks for the faithful within our churches as we gathered for Presbytery and celebrated the prophetic possibilities of Pentecost. We worshiped together, heard from those thinking on the edges of ministry, engaged in thoughtful discussion and deliberation, commissioned leadership and incubator students, and approved candidates for ordination as Teaching Elders: Leah Miller, Peter Martin, and Laura Ferguson. Be sure to click the video link below for a glimpse into how the Spirit stirred among us on Tuesday.



Mission Giving and Per Capita – What’s the difference and why do we pay both?

Mission Giving and Per Capita – What’s the difference and why do we pay both?

Mission_Percapita_StewardshipThroughout the breadth of our Church organization – our Presbytery with 125 churches and 30,000 members; our Synod with 16 presbyteries, 1,200 churches and over 200,000 members; and our P.C.(USA) denomination with 16 synods, 10,250 churches and about 1.8 million members – we are blessed by the gifts of individual members and their congregations. Unlike most non-profit charitable organizations we are a “closed model” for donor contributions, and our ministry, mission and administrative purposes are often defined and sustained by the level of generosity of people sitting in the pews. We typically roll this up into one word: stewardship; but often the spiritual discipline of giving tithes, offerings and apportionments to the greater Church is not easily understood in just one word.

To start, we give to the extended Church in two ways: mission and per capita.


Basic, or Shared, Mission Giving is an expression of our understanding that the work of the church extends far beyond our sanctuary walls. It is how we support the ministry and mission of the Presbytery and Synod, as well as the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville. Within the Presbytery this includes funding for Chester Eastside Ministries, John Gloucester House, West Kensington Ministry and our camping ministry at Kirkwood-Brainerd. It also supports the administrative staff that coordinates and distributes the “Great Ends” and Covenant Fund grants to congregations. Beyond these very tangible programs, our defining mission priority is to share in the dreams of our congregations through the development of pastoral leadership, the training of lay leaders, and assistance as needed in their spiritual, organizational and financial growth.

Per Capita Apportionment is the way that each member of every congregation is able to acknowledge their connection to the broader Church and to sustain the unity of all members within the body of our denomination. By contributing a small amount – currently $25.27 per member, per year – we are each able to support the meetings and gatherings of the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly; to pay for the essential ecclesiastical offices of Stated Clerks, Treasurers and Accountants at all levels; and to preserve the heritage and record of our Church through the Presbyterian Historical Society.

With grateful hearts we ask all our congregations to contribute generously to Basic Mission, and to ensure that all members are represented through Per Capita contributions.


Clerks Meeting & Session Records

To Clerks of Session:

Grace and Peace to You!

I am so grateful for the offering of your time and talents in the important ministry of telling your church stories through statistics and session records. Your hard work impacts the overall ministry to which we’ve been called.

In addition, I thank you for your hard work on the statistical reporting and am thrilled that 92% reported Church statistics to the PC(USA). You really raised the bar this year!

Today, I am writing to invite you to an informal gathering of Clerks who would be interested in serving as readers in our records reading process, or have questions about the process. Whether new to the role of Clerk, or having served for some time, we would like to have you come to share best practices and questions

The gathering will be held Saturday, June 13, 2015 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the Presbytery Office, 915 East Gowen Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19150.
Refreshments will be provided!
Our goals will be:

  • to fellowship with one another and share best practices and/or questions
  • to discuss the different ways we can read records
  • to finalize the dates and locations* of session record reading sites for 2015

*Regarding the last goal, if you believe your church could host a reading this year, it would be very helpful to bring those dates/times with you to the meeting.

I have included two copies of the green and yellow sheets for your use in preparation for your records reading:

On behalf of the Presbytery and our congregations, thank you for all you do and we hope to see you on the 13th!





ThBelharUpdateButtone Belhar Confession officially received enough votes from PCUSA Presbyteries to be added to the Book of Confessions. Pending the 222nd General Assembly in 2016, Belhar will become the first confession from the Southern Hemisphere to be added to the Book of Confessions.  The Confession still needs final approval at the 222nd General Assembly in 2016.

  • Click on the image above to read the full confession.
  • Click below to view the announcement fromGA:

Read the full text of the Belhar Confession here:

Session Records Reading 2015

To the Clerk of Session

Greetings Partner in Ministry!

I am writing to update you regarding this year’s session records reading process.  We will soon be announcing Session Records reading sites and just wanted you to know that we are working on this years’ schedule.

In the meantime, to help you prepare for your readings, please click on the PDF’s of the Green and Yellow sheets and fill out two of each. We ask that you please complete the information prior to having your records reviewed. Along with your books, please bring the completed Session Minutes and Church Register checklists (four sheets, two yellow and two green) to the reading site of your choice.

I am grateful to all of our hard-working Clerks of Session and I thank you for all you do!


New PA Law Requires Criminal Background Checks for Religious Institutions

We have updated links and information as of June 24, 2015.  Please click here: New PA Child Safety Laws, Summary of Requirements


Governor Tom Wolf announced that fees for child abuse clearances and criminal background checks required by the Child Protective Services Law will be waived for volunteers working with children. Additionally, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) will be reducing the cost of both the child abuse and criminal history record checks from $10 to $8 for all other applicants. These changes will take effect July 25, 2015.  Please click on the image above for the announcement on the PA.Gov page.

Archived information, Click here.


Boundary Awareness Trainings Scheduled


White Picket Fence With BougainvillaAs members of Christ’s body we live and work together in community.  It is imperative for servant-leaders to continually maintain healthy vocational and personal relationships.  Training is necessary and required for:

  • All clergy in the Presbytery of Philadelphia
  • All HR Ministers who are still participating in the life of the Presbytery and its congregations
  • All Ruling Elders serving on Commissions and Committees
  • All Clerks of Session
  • All church members who participate in Youth Programs and Youth Ministry

Therefore we are pleased to inform you that you have three opportunities to acquire boundary awareness training in 2015.

Dr. David Olsen of the Samaritan Counseling Center in New York will offer seminars on February 25, May 9 and October 23.  Dr. Olsen’s expertise as a facilitator will provide participants with a full discussion of boundary issues within the context of pastoral ministry, guidelines for the appropriate use of Social Media, and a clear definition of sexual harassment and abuse.

Please plan now to attend one of these three seminars. The seminar on February 25 will be held at Oxford Presbyterian Church and  venues for the other events will be announced when they are confirmed.

Each seminar will begin at 9:00 am and end around 3:00 pm.  You can register online by filling out the form below.  The cost to each participant is $20 and lunch will be provided.  Checks should be made to the Presbytery of Philadelphia with “Boundary Training” in the memo line.
Please submit your payment to:
The Presbytery of Philadelphia, Attn: Cassie Paulk
915 East Gowen Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19150

Child care will be provided if needed and should be requested upon registration. Please register online at the Presbytery website for the event you choose at least 30 days before the seminar.