PresbySpeak is the podcast and audio platform of the Presbytery of Philadelphia (PCUSA). PresbySpeak is also the host site for our Covenant Connections, where we tell the stories of the work and witness of our churches and related ministries and engage in honest conversations about what it means to bear witness to the gospel in our time and place. Check us out online at https://presbyphl.org/covenant-connections/
PresbySpeak also hosts other digital media of our equipping events, keynotes and fishbowl conversations at Presbytery meetings, and other worthwhile soundbites that empower our church leaders in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.
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A Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
2018 Presbytery Leadership Reading of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream"
On January 18, 2018, the Presbytery gathered at Doylestown for their Stated Meeting. In honor of MLK Day, Leadership of the Presbytery recited Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream." May we never turn back.
Seven Words of Light and Highlights from November 2021 Stated Meeting
This week we feature our presbytery's take on Minutes in Brief from our recent Stated Meeting hosted by the faithful of Doylestown Presbyterian Church. Our first go as a full-fledge hybrid meeting, roughly 70 gathered in person with another 70 or so convening online. Thanks to all who made that possible.
This November meeting was full of sacred opportunities to gather together for important business matters, fellowship with one another safely in the midst of an on-going pandemic, and to worship as a reminder of the hope and light we find in being called the people of God and church of Jesus Christ. Among so many holy moments was the examination of Isaac Baah for Ordination as Minister of Word and Sacrament, who will be ordained an installed as Pastor of the United Ghanaian Community Church in a few weeks. We also elected the next moderator and vice moderator of the Presbytery, Rev. Ted Mingle and Elder Zandra Maffett respectively, our commissioners and young adult advisory delegate called to represent us at next summer's General Assembly, and new members of committees and commissions in this body. We celebrated the ministry of outgoing Transitional Executive of the Synod of the Trinity, Rev. Susan Wonderland, our faithful attorney, Bill Bradbury, who is retiring after 23 years of work together, and recognized the ten-year anniversary of Elder Betsi Moise, our Website, Social Media, and Publications Manager, who has served this presbytery office and our people so well. Our Moderator of the Presbytery, Rev. Ashley Rossi, shared a report from the Leadership Collegium, which not only underscored the ongoing work of antiracism, but also acknowledged the abundance of ordinations and installations that have occurred this fall- a reminder the Spirit is alive and well in these sacred vocations. Our Executive Presbyter, Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace, then called attention to the significant work and development of our Presbytery's Disaster Assistance response team after recent hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and more within in our region, and highlighted the launch of our Lilly Endowment-funded initiative, Cultivating Enough in the Care of Clergy, as we come alongside pastors serving our small congregations, congregations of color, and church plants/replants. The meeting concluded with a service of light, which hinged on seven meditations on Scripture from seven voices within our presbytery. We give thanks for their words and witness that assure us, as one preacher noted, as long as there is God, there is hope.
What follows are these beautiful and relevant homilies by Revs. Wonjae Choi, Todd Stavrokos, Carla Jones Brown, John Wilkinson, Heidi Hankel, Randy Barge, and Susan Wonderland. We invite you to listen and share and find assurance that, as we say over and again, this is Christ's work that shapes our collective witness. Be well, faithful of Philly.
The Power of the Redirect: Rev. Paul Roberts, Sr. at Fall Fest
This year’s Fall Fest was once again on-line and in a new format. Rather than workshops and breakout rooms, we gathered for a morning of learning alongside Rev. Paul Roberts as he spoke about “Leading in the Wilderness. Rev. Roberts recently led a gathering with our pastors participating in our Cultivating Enough in the Care of Clergy venture. Their conversations were so genuine and life-giving that many of members of our leadership wanted to extend a similar opportunity to our whole presbytery.
Rev. Paul T. Roberts, Sr. Paul is the President of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, one of the 10 theological schools of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Paul preaches and teaches nationally, and is a contributing writer for the Presbyterian Outlook. He is an advisory board member for the Macedonian Ministry of Atlanta. He received degrees from Princeton University and Johnson C. Smith Seminary, and is an Academic Fellow of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Celilgny, Switzerland.
Lesson One “Moses at the Burning Bush” (Exodus 3:1–6)
Lesson Two “Moses Called” (Exodus 3:7,10 paraphrase)
Small Group Break Out (15 minutes)
Have you ever asked “Why me, Lord?” What did you conclude? (15 minutes)
Lesson Three “Moses Empowered” (Exodus 4:18a)
Lesson Four “Ministry Is Complicated” (Exodus 18:5–18)
Small Group Breakout (15 minutes)
Moses had Jethro. Today we have technology. What resources do you have at your disposal that you can make better use of to support your wellbeing and your ministry?
Lesson Five “Moses Witnesses God’s Glory” (Exodus 33:17–23)
Lesson Six “Shining Moses” (Exodus 34:29—31)
Lesson Seven “Transfiguration Station” (Matthew 17:1 – 8)
Tiny Homes and a Worshipping Community with Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness: The Welcome Church
We are pretty excited about the conversation we have for you on this episode. As many may know, one of our ecumenical ministries we have supported for over a decade has been the Welcome Church. An ecumenical worshipping community partnership of the local Lutheran Synod of Southeastern Pennsylvania and our Presbytery, Welcome Church especially hinges on ministry alongside people experiencing chronic street homelessness. We sat down with our own Rev. Schaunel Steinnegal, Associate of the Welcome Church, and Rev. Violet Little, founding minister of the Welcome Church. They shared a number of stories and we talked quite a bit about how their inclusive and empowering love of neighbor. However, we were most eager to share about their 2018 and 2021 Covenant Fund Initiative, Sanctuary Village, which is a Tiny Home project embraced by the City of Philadelphia that will be a vital and collaborative effort to provide housing and community to those presently unhoused. So lean in, God's Spirit is alive and well in and through these saints.
Side note, if you are interested in collaborating with the Welcome Church, you can check out a helpful resource on this episode page or by visiting www.presbyphl.org and clicking Welcome Church on the Ministry Associations dropdown. Be well friends!
Vital Questions: Conversations with Revs. Cheryl Pyrch and Peter Sulyok (Church Vitality Episode 2)
What we have for you today is a second episode featuring reflections from two pastors engaged in the Vital Congregations initiative. You can learn more about this church revitalization venture of the PCUSA and our 11 participating congregations at www.presbyphl.org and click Vital Congregations under our Ministry and Leadership incubator Tab. So much good stuff is available there. This week, Courtenay Willcox, moderator of what we call the VCI Discernment and Startegy Team, and I sat down over ZOOM with Rev. Cheryl Pyrch of Summit Presbyterian, and Rev. Peter Sulyok, Transitional Pastor of Carmel Presbyterian Church. Both of these congregations are uniquely exploring questions and curiosities related to congregational vitality that are sure to speak into your own ministries and musings about what it means to be the church of Jesus Christ.
Also, stick around at the end of the episode as our Executive Presbyter, Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace offers once again a Blessing of Vitality for our congregations.
Finally, before we go farther, a quick plug for our upcoming Fall Fest on Saturday Nov. 6. This year we will simplify this on-line leadership equipping event by welcoming Rev. Paul Roberts, President of the Johnson C Smith Seminary. Rev. Roberts will lead us in reflections on Leadership in the Wilderness. More information is available on our website under the tab News and Events. We hope to see you there!
Holistic Ministry as a Matthew 25 Church: Witness of Iglesia Central in Norristown
This week we have a gem of a conversation with Rev. Gadiel Gomez and Pillar Gomez-Cortes of Iglesia Central in Norristown. This congregation serves as an incredible witness in their community, embodying holistic and intergenerational ministry as a Matthew 25 congregation. Whether they are discipling youth through a leadership and spiritual formation academy, extending pastoral care to congregants and neighbors who have immigrated to this nation and face a number of challenges, annual baptism celebrations or festivals in the parking lot, and hosting Bible studies that also collect offerings to distribute to those facing a number of personal and financial challenges, this congregation is Spirit-filled and a faithful extension of our Presbytery. Iglesia Central is also our only predominantly Spanish-speaking congregation, which is especially relevant as we lean into Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month. And given the numerous nations represented in their congregation, our recent conversation is sure to remind us of the sacred and sending and universal call of Christ's table. So, listen in as Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace and Rev. Greg Klimovitz talk with Rev. Gadiel and Pillar.