Issue 255 | February 22, 2024

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A Word from our Transitional General Presbyter

At the Presbytery meeting last Saturday during my Transitional General Presbyter’s report, I shared my current thoughts on the transition through which the Presbytery is moving and what this transition is asking of us as a Presbytery and as leaders. A number of people asked for a copy. Below is the text of what I shared: A number of years ago, I attended an event for mid council leaders led by Susan Beaumont, author of the book How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season. Many of you have read my newsletter articles focusing on this time of transition for the Presbytery. For those who have not, I have been reflecting on this time of moving from where we have been to an unknown place – a place yet to be determined, a time of discerning who God is calling us to be and where God is calling us to go. Beaumont’s book is a road map for a church or a Presbytery in transition. We do not yet know where we are going, but I can say with absolute assurance that God has a plan for the Presbytery of West Virginia. In this liminal time, ministers, ruling elders, and laity throughout the Presbytery are being asked to lead.

We're hiring! Associate Minister of Older Adults

The Presbytery is seeking to fill a contracted position to provide pastoral support, emergency counsel, and life-enhancing activities to older adults living at 11 low-income, elderly facilities in West Virginia, 5 of which are owned by Presbyterian-affiliated organizations. Applicants for the position must have experience working with older adults, providing education/training, and managing small groups. They must have Ordination as Minister of Word and Sacrament or be a ruling elder in the PC(USA). Click here for complete information, including access to a full position description.

2024 Nurturing Faith Ideas omission

The original 2024 Nurturing Faith Ideas list from the Nurture Committee accidentally omitted the week of March 24. If you are working on your March newsletter now and need that information to share, it is below. Additionally, a new, complete list for the year is available on the Presbytery's homepage.

March 24: Read Mark 1:1-11

On the Sunday before Easter, we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on the back of a colt, over a carpet of cloaks and leafy branches, to the shouts of the people’s Hosannas. By the end of the week, Jesus will be put to death on a cross. Over the course of the week, read Mark 14:1-15:47 which tells the story of the last days of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion. What are ways we praise and betray Jesus in our lives today?

Your accuracy helps our accuracy! The importance of the Statistical Report for Per Capita assessment

The annual statistical report is a comprehensive document that provides essential data about our congregations to the PC(USA). It includes information such as membership numbers, baptisms, deaths, and financial contributions. This report is a crucial tool for maintaining accurate records and assessing the health and vitality of our congregations. The per capita assessment relies heavily on accurate membership numbers. By ensuring that our congregations' membership data is up-to-date and accurately reported in the annual statistical report, we contribute to the accuracy of the per capita assessment. This, in turn, ensures fair and equitable financial support for the wider church's mission and ministries. The rate is based on the membership of PC(USA) churches two years earlier from the Annual Statistical Report, which are the most recent figures available when General Assembly budgets are approved. So, for 2024, per capita is based off the 2022 membership numbers you submitted to the Statistical Report. 

We are connectional, and we count on you!

A note from Susan Sharp Campbell, Associate for Educational Ministry

For several years now, almost all of the information about events in the presbytery, including retreats, Festival of Faith, Expanding Your Ministry Toolbox courses, and more, is shared only electronically. Gone are the days of copying, collating, stapling, and stuffing more than 200 envelopes about these events. What that means is that we rely on those who receive the information about these events – Pastors, Clerks of Session, Christian Educators, Youth Ministers, and Youth Ministry and Christian Education contacts to spread the word to those who might be interested in being part of these events. When you receive these emails, please think about those who might participate and forward the emails to them. I appreciate your help in getting the word out.

Preaching Pentecost and the Long Road After

9:30 AM to 4:30 PM March 2 at Village Chapel and on Zoom

Is there more to preaching Pentecost than wearing red and having a birthday cake for the church? And what about the long season after Pentecost – how do we preach to keep people engaged and growing in this time? Our time together will explore the contours of preaching on the day of Pentecost and strategies for preaching during the summer months after Pentecost. Led by Union Presbyterian Seminary Associate Professor of Preaching and Worship Richard Voelz, our work together will be based on the Revised Common Lectionary texts for Year B. The cost per person is $40, and the registration deadline is Thursday, Feb. 29. You may register and pay online or send the registration form and check by snail mail. REGISTER BY NEXT THURSDAY, FEB. 29!

2024 Festival of Faith: All the Light We Can See

April 6 at Charleston First Presbyterian Church

Shannon Craigo-Snell, Professor of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, who grew up in the Teays Valley Presbyterian Church, will be the Keynote Presenter for this year’s Festival of Faith. Her keynote, "Understanding the Roots of Racism,” will explore how we can live out our Christian commitments to love and justice in the current context of racial tensions and how we might create space for new ways forward. Shannon will also be leading a workshop on “Christian Understandings of Evil.” One other workshop to highlight: Emily Chudy, the Board of Pensions’ Church Consultant for our region, will also be with us to share an update on the Board of Pensions’ Season of Rebuilding/Benefits Plan Initiative. There will also be limited opportunities for interested persons to meet with her individually with their questions and concerns. As always, Festival of Faith will be an excellent opportunity for learning, worship, fellowship, and food for congregational leaders. There will be a wide variety of workshops available for those in large and small churches. This year, we are also bringing back the childcare option. The deadline for early registration, lunch orders, and childcare registration is Friday, March 15. 

2024 Spring Youth Retreat: Crossing Paths

April 12-14 at Jackson's Mill, Weston

This retreat is for those in grades 6-12 and adults who work with them. Rev. Joseph Jumper, a recent seminary graduate and Resident Pastor at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, will be the keynote presenter. Throughout the weekend, the focus will be on the journeys that each of us are on and how God helps and guides us as we journey together, looking at the biblical stories of Joseph, David, and Jesus. The cost per person (youth and adults) is $65. The registration deadline is Monday, March 25. Emails with complete information has been sent to Pastors, Clerks of Session, Christian Educators, Youth Ministers and others; please share this information with your youth.

Communion Training for Ruling Elders

3-5 PM April 28 on Zoom

All sessions, particularly those whose churches do not have pastoral leadership, are invited to send ruling elders (they don’t have to be on the session currently) to this event. Participants must be approved by the session of their church of membership to be authorized. Note that there is an advance assignment that includes reading sections of the 2023-2025 Book of Order. There is no cost to participate. The registration deadline is Friday, April 19. Register by submitting your name, church, email, phone number, and date of session approval to attend this training to If you have any questions, you may contact Susan at this email address or 304-667-9428.

Youth summer mission opportunity with WVMAW

July 14-20 in Colcord

This summer, the Presbytery’s Nurture Committee is offering an opportunity for those currently in grades 8-12 to work with a Project Manager from West Virginia Ministry of Advocacy and Workcamps. The work to be done will be based on the skills of the group, but could include building ramps, repairing porches, flooring, and roofing, as we seek to assist with the needs in the community. In addition to youth, at least three adults are needed to serve as advisors. If you are interested, please contact Susan Sharp Campbell, who will be coordinating and participating in this event. The cost per youth is $300, all of which will go directly to WVMAW. Presbytery will cover the costs for adults, food, and transportation. Participants will be housed in the manse at Colcord First Presbyterian Church. There is a limit of 20 people. The registration deadline is Monday, April 22. Complete information has been sent to church leaders; please post the flyer where youth and adults can see it and share the information page and registration forms with youth, parents, and any adults that might be interested.

News from the Presbytery's Treasurer

  • Church treasurers and finance committees
  • Board of Pensions news: Register for the new Benefits Connect
  • Board of Pensions webinar: Tax Tips - 2023 Tax Update & Federal Tax Return
  • 2024 IRS Standard Mileage
  • Feds roll out new Form I-9
  • Year-end checklist
  • 2024 Pastor Minimum Compensation
  • 2024 Per Capita
  • Board of Pensions: New Medicare Advantage plan
  • 2024 Special Offerings

2024 Presbytery Directory: deadline for churches to send their information, request a hard copy of the directory

Has your church sent in its 2024 directory information to the Presbytery office? If not, please do so ASAP! You can fill out this form, then email it to Once we get the directory prepared, we will put together a hard copy version that will be mailed out by the end of March to any church or individual requesting one. If you would like to be on the request list, please email or call Amy Robinson at 304-744-7634 by March 15. Remember, the directory is also on our website; if you need the password to access it there, contact Amy.

Paul Douglas Heidt

Doug Heidt, an Honorably Retired minister member of the Presbytery, passed away on Feb. 20. Ordained in 1969 by Mecklenberg Presbytery, he was an Associate Pastor Emeritus at the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, where he served as Associate Pastor for the final 23 years of his career. In his retirement, Doug served the Presbytery, including as chair of the Personnel and Administration Committee. Arrangements are pending, and we will announce them when they are ready.

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James W. Roberts

March 26, 1951 - February 12, 2024

Dr. James W. Roberts, 72, passed away on Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. In his 40 year career in ministry he served as a chaplain and a pastor. In Huntsville, he was the pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church, and he completed his active ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, West Virginia. He also served on the General Presbyter Search Committee that hired Ed Thompson. Click here for his obituary. A celebration of his life will be held on March 3 at 2 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, Ala. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to First Presbyterian Church in Huntsville Building Fund (, The Presbyterian Home for Children (, and The Vine Pastoral Counseling Center (

News from our Congregations & Partners

First, Clarksburg celebrates Rev. John Koerner's retirement

On Jan. 31, Rev. John F. Koerner retired after serving the First Presbyterian Church of Clarksburg for 14 years. His wife, Rev. Charla Waters Koerner, who was a Parish Associate there for many years, also retired. A celebratory luncheon was held at the church on Jan. 28, following John's final Sunday worship service. He and Charla have served Christ's church well. John previously served the Beechwood congregation in Parkersburg and has been quite active in the Presbytery for many years. During the pastoral search process, the Rev. James A Harris, ordained Methodist minister, will shepherd the congregation. His wife, Jeanne, has served as Music Director at the church for the past several years and both are blessings, especially during this period of change.

Davis Memorial, Elkins offering older blue hymnals

Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins has between 200 and 250 of the older blue Presbyterian hymnals that they are getting rid of. If your church is in need or you known of any other organization seeking a large number of hymnals, please contact the church at 304-636-2788 or

A note from Forrest Palmer, our local connection to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team

As one who serves on the National Response Team for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, I first want to express gratitude for the congregations and individuals who participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering. The ministry of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is one of the recipients from this special offering, as well as particular disaster response offerings when natural or human caused disasters occur. It truly would not be possible for PDA to do what we are called to do without your support – your financial offerings and your prayers. When we are deployed, we go with your prayers and with your support. When a disaster occurs, whether that be a natural disaster, such as storms, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires or human-caused disasters, such a mass shooting, the needs of the community and individuals within the community are great. Not only are we called to bring immediate comfort but also work towards building community and personal resiliency and long-term recovery to those impacted by disaster.

2024 NEXT Church National Gathering

This gathering, on April 8-11 in Falls Church, VA, focuses on several areas to equip and empower those on the ground seeking to bring new life to their communities. There will be 6 Pathways to choose from: Community Organizing, Community Partnerships, Leading Changes, Identity and Coalition-building for People of Color, Intersectionality, and Preaching. It will promote learning and immediately invite participants to think about application in a collaborative, collegial space. Registration is $399.

PC(USA) launches Lenten resource webpage

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has created a new online landing page that offers a wide variety of devotional and worship resources for Lent from across the agencies of the PC(USA). The resources, many of which are free and downloadable, are suitable for use by individuals, congregations and mid councils.

Do you have time to share care and compassion with someone in need?

At the time of the writing of this article, there were 14 clients who had requested

services from the Red Cross due to fires in their homes. Most were major or destroyed

and had lost most or all their belongings. Their lives had been turned upside down, and

they needed someone to listen to their stories and provide care, compassion, and hope.

That is where YOU can make the difference. The Red Cross needs Disaster Spiritual

Care volunteers to make calls to our clients to offer that care, compassion, and hope.

Faith & Community in Appalachia Conference

This conference, which runs March 14-16 at Twin Falls State Park, is a gathering of Appalachians envisioning our future together in the ecumenical Christian community. With workshops, immersion opportunities, speakers, and discussions with people and organizations from across the region, it is an opportunity for community and faith groups to be educated and share experiences on issues facing Appalachia, explore the possibility of new ways of working together, have the opportunity to pass on generational wisdom infused by the perspective of young activists, and share where God is at work in our communities. Registration is $150 and does not include lodging. Register here.


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