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300th logo 2017
Oct. 6, 2017
The Synod of the Trinity Enews
Being More Together

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Sept. 17 Celebration

These are some of the cakes designed by congregations in the Synod of the Trinity in honor of our 300th birthday.
Thank you to the many congregations that participated in celebrating the Synod of the Trinity's 300th anniversary on Sept. 17 and throughout the entire month. We received photos and videos from more than 30 congregations in 11 of our presbyteries through Facebook, Twitter and email! A drawing will be held at the Synod's Assembly Meeting later this month to determine the three participating congregations that will each receive $500 grants. Also look in the next newsletter for a video that will highlight the entries we received.

Freedom Grants
Four from Synod earn first-ever
Freedom Grants

Freedom Blackwell Peace March 2014 2As part of the Synod of the Trinity's 300th birthday, we awarded four Freedom Grants to congregations within our bounds. Synod Treasurer Chantal Atnip announced the recipients on our anniversary day, Sunday, Sept. 17, and that announcement can be viewed here.

The recipients are:

  • Aston Presbyterian Church and Thomas M. Thomas Memorial Presbyterian Church, Chester, PA (Presbytery of Philadelphia)
  • Capital Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, PA  (Presbytery of Carlisle)
  • Kirkwood Presbyterian Church, Bridgeport, OH (Upper Ohio Valley Presbytery)
  • Pine Street Presbyterian Church, Harrisburg, PA (Presbytery of Carlisle)

Details on all four winners can be found here.


RELATED: The Synod has given $20,000 to "Freedom Rising," a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) initiative “to address and improve the worsening plight of the African-American male" that has received gifts in excess of $78,000. Read more here.


PECO crop
Presbytery lifting up new ministry initiatives during 300th anniversary

When the Presbytery of Philadelphia set out to begin a fundraising campaign that it hoped would raise $300,000 for eight new ministry initiatives around the city, it may have seemed like a daunting task. But the goal has been met, and that, along with numerous videos and a 300-day devotional, have created energy and passion for a year-long honoring of the presbytery's 300th birthday.

The celebration continues Saturday, Oct. 7, when the presbytery holds a worship service at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia that could draw as many as 1,000 people.

“We were very much a part of the thread that wove together the foundation of our nation – good, bad and indifferent,” said the Rev. Ruth F. Santana-Grace, the executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. “Today I believe that call is not different. If we live out our calls, it does transform the world in which we live. We believe that in the 1700s we were part of that storytelling, and we’re trying to reclaim that same kind of voice as a larger covenant community today.”

To read more about the projects created to honor the presbytery's anniversary, click here.


First Bloomsburg Church makes the most of its tricentennial

First Presbyterian Church of Bloomsburg is spending the year honoring its 200th birthday. Included in the anniversary celebration was a worship service on Sept. 17 that included everything from pew rentals to communion tokens to plenty of worshipers dressed in period clothing. A Bicentennial Weekend is also planned for Oct. 7-8.

“God’s hand has been so evident in the commitment of the people to be faithful followers of Jesus,” said the Rev. Dr. Elizabeth McCormick. “To go through a Civil War, two World Wars, a depression and to keep building and growing even during those very difficult times had to be tremendously hard and yet they rose to the challenge. And I know that this congregation has borne the fruits of that commitment and are likewise committed to moving this church forward in such a positive way.”

More details on the year-long celebration can be found here.

Bikes 1
Bicycle repair ministry benefits Native Americans in South Dakota

Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, PA, has started a unique Bicycle Ministry that takes refurbished and rebuilt bicycles from its community to the Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota. This year, over 120 bikes were transported for both youth and adults to use.

It's truly a community event as a local cycling club and students from two local colleges pitched in to provide some labor on the bikes. An area Girl Scout troop happily test-drove the bikes once they were repaired. And the youth at a local residential treatment facility cleaned the bikes, numbered them for the cataloging, and crafted cards that were attached to the bikes. Each card included a blessing.

To read more about this ministry that was featured in Presbyterians Today magazine, click here.

Lake Erie
Wayside Church hopes year-long schedule keeps families connected

"I’m trying to take away the common excuse of, ‘Well I just didn’t know when the church events were going to be.’”

That's the thinking behind the Rev. Keith Sundberg's creation of a 12-month calendar of events at Wayside Presbyterian Church in Erie, PA. He spent part of the summer coordinating dates for the coming year so parents will know important times like when vacation Bible school is so they can plan ahead.

“For a lot of years I felt guilty thinking I’m failing here to get kids to come," Keith said. "Then it suddenly occurred to me, ‘I’m ready. Things are ready if they come. Is it really my responsibility to get them here or to avail them of the programs we’re offering?’ It went back to the baptismal vows and the answer is no. The parents promise to raise their child in the Christian faith.”

For more on this initiative, click here.


Huntingdon Presbytery: Rural roots still shine today

HuntingdonWhen Huntingdon Presbytery was organized in 1795, it encompassed parts of all of 15 counties. Within those bounds were only 11 ministers, albeit 13 congregations. Education quickly became a hallmark of the presbytery, which a decade later was trimmed down in size thanks to the formation of the Presbytery of Northumberland. The Milnwood and Tuscarora Academies were created, the last of which was dedicated to providing the preparatory background necessary for students to enter Princeton Seminary.
By the early 1900s, this presbytery entered into industrial mission work, hiring evangelists who spoke eastern European languages and folks who could work in the mining and lumbering camps
Learn more about the history of the Huntingdon Presbytery by clicking here.


Did you know...?

In 1719, the "Fund for Pious Uses" (now the Board of Pensions) chose to aid its first individual, the widow of a deceased reverend, and the first aid to a minister was recorded a year later. In 1754, it was first proposed that the synod offer life insurance to ministers rather than just charitable grants to ailing and deceased ministers and their families.
The Synodical Company was subsequently formed, which oversaw two funds: the “Widows Fund” to which company ministers could subscribe, and the “Fund for Pious Uses” to which non-company ministers could subscribe.

Rev. H. Paul Leap, 97, was Synod supporter of education

It is with sadness but assurance of resurrection that we celebrate the life of the Rev. H. Paul Leap, who worked for the Synod of the Trinity supporting youth education in the 1960s and ’70s. He passed away peacefully Sunday morning, Sept. 24. He was 97.
For more on Rev. Leap, click here.

A prayer following the massacre in Las Vegas

"God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance, as the sound of gunfire again echoes over another American city, we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.

As death rained down from above in the dark of night, we pray this day for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in its wings, and rain mercy, grace and peace upon our broken people."

Find the entire prayer here.

PDA continues to offer support to hurricane-affected areas

Give. Act. Pray.
Filling the "GAP" is what is being done through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, which has sent volunteers to Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas following the devastation caused by recent hurricanes.
Find out how you can help by clicking here.

Into the Light: Pastor Responses to the Opioid Crisis

A workshop titled “Into the Light: Pastor Responses to the Opioid Crisis” will be held Friday, Oct. 27, at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
This workshop will help attendees become effective allies to those impacted by addiction. It will familiarize faith leaders with the dynamics of addiction in those experiencing it as well as loved ones, equip them with basic skills and information to be pastorally present and provide them with liturgical and church strategies and resources for including addiction in the church conversation. Cost is $25.
Click here for more information and to register.

Lake Erie plans leadership event

The Rev. Graham Standish will host the Presbytery of Lake Erie’s leadership event for elders and deacons at Penn State Behrend College (Smith Chapel) on Saturday, Nov. 4. Cost for the day will be $15 per person, including continental breakfast, beverage service and box lunch. All elders and deacons are encouraged to come and bring their pastors along if possible. Contact the Rev. Dave Edmunds (814-397-1861) or the Rev. Charlie McClung (814-504-7635) for more information about the event and about Graham himself. More information available here.

Welcoming LBGTQ: The Joy of Inclusion

First Presbyterian Church of Morgantown, long an advocate for justice and inclusion, is presenting two sessions of “Welcoming LBGTQ: The Joy of Inclusion” as a demonstration of how open and inclusiveness in Christian communities strengthens and expands the faith.

The sessions will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, at the church at 456 Spruce St. in Morgantown, and repeated at 10:30 a.m. at Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church at 206 Birch St., in Gassaway, WV.

There is no charge to attend and registration is not required. A news release is available here.

Rachel Evans: 'Keeping the Bible Weird'

Rachel Held Evans, a New York Times best-selling author and popular blogger who writes about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt, will speak on “Keeping the Bible Weird” on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in State College, PA. The program will begin at 7:30 p.m. and last approximately 90 minutes. More on Rachel can be found here.
The event is available through the Collaborative Campus Ministry at Penn State University, which includes the Westminster Presbyterian Fellowship, a ministry of State College Presbyterian Church.

Women in Ministry Conf. to be held on Oct. 23-25 at Princeton

The 2017 Women in Ministry Conference will be held at Princeton Theological Seminary on Oct. 23-25.
The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, who is the first African-American woman ordained in what is now the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
The Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace, the executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, will also lead a workshop and participate in a panel discussion.
For more information on this seminar, click here.

1001 New Worshiping Communities rep to speak

Vera White, National Coordinator of 1001 New Worshiping Communities, will visit the Presbytery of Philadelphia office on Monday, Oct. 30, at 1 p.m. for an afternoon of conversation, collaboration and exploration of new ministry possibilities in and around the greater presbytery region.

This is an open invitation to all dreamers and ministry leaders. The presbytery especially invites those currently serving any of its new worshiping communities. For questions and details, email

2018 Board of Pensions benefit plans due in October

"Employer Agreements" for 2018 coverages and benefits are due to the Board of Pensions by Oct. 13. Review, model and update or build your 2018 Employer Agreement. Log on to Benefits Connect and choose Employer Agreement to select benefits for employees to elect during annual enrollment this Fall. Access resources to help answer your questions. Go to for the following: Guide to Selecting 2018 Benefits; web tutorials; Employers: Start Thinking about 2018 Benefits article; Selecting 2018 Benefits: Building Your Employer Agreement short video; Expanded section here.

Resources for Reformation Sunday available

Oct. 29 is Reformation Sunday. This year Presbyterians celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.
The theses, which criticized the sale of indulgences by church officials, are considered the opening salvo in the Protestant Reformation — a movement that emphasized individual relationships with God and salvation through faith alone.
For more information on the Reformation, including a bulletin insert and advertisement for church newsletters, click here.

Synod office closed Monday

In honor of Columbus Day, the Synod of the Trinity office will be closed Monday, Oct. 9. It will reopen Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 8:30 a.m.
The Synod of the Trinity | Being More Together
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