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Being More with map 2
May 15, 2018
The Synod of the Trinity

Being More Together


Synod of the Trinity

Third regional gatherings allow for deeper, wider conversations

Three of the four stops in the Synod of the Trinity's Regional Gatherings for Partnership and Networking are in the books. This year's meetings took on a different format as specific leadership were targeted in order to go deeper with presbyteries and our connections to one another.

Conversations included thoughts on a 30,000-foot view of the region (Discern & Design) as well as looking at what's going well (Passions and Possibilities) in certain areas.

Synod Transitional Executive Susan Wonderland offered a recap of the gatherings, which still has one more stop to go next month in the Central Region. Read Susan's reflections here.

Lancaster Theological Seminary

Cross-cultural program leaves lasting impact on students

Since 1964, Lancaster Theological Seminary has been taking Master of Divinity students to nations around the world, helping them understand more deeply the lives and faiths of people very different from themselves. These journeys are not vacations or mission trips. They are educational experiences designed to expand the world view of the seminary’s students.

The Synod of the Trinity distributed $2,500 to the seminary to help with costs for a trip to Kenya in 2017. (This year, the seminary is traveling to Mexico.) The funds were pulled from the Mary Meade Maxwell Vocations Scholarship and awarded through a Student Study Grant.

Read the summary of the trip here. (Check out the entry from one of the students on day 8 that includes the words "giraffe-patterned jellyfish the size of my head" and "quicksand.")

Lake Erie

GE trellis
Garden of Edin growing nourishment for body and spirit

Yes, there are a lot of community gardens out there. But how many of them have their own Meditation Garden, which includes a Serenity Circle? The Garden of Edin (pronounced like the biblical Garden of Eden) is housed on the property of First United Presbyterian Church in Edinboro, PA, (pronounced "Ed-in-boro") and also has several other unique distinctions associated with it, like its 10 percent tithe to the local food bank and the partnerships it has created with several community organizations.

“Our mission statement,” said Heather Zimmerman, the manager of the garden, “is ‘The Garden of Edin Community Garden provides a place for gardening education, community gathering and sharing, and nourishment for both body and spirit.’ It’s a place to gather, share stories, form communities, form friendships and nourish your spirit."

To read about the community effort surrounding the Garden of Edin, click here.


2018_04_18 W Alexndr Ch Women
Presbytery comes together to celebrate 'God's grace & goodness'

In mid-April, Washington Presbytery members gathered for an evening of presbytery celebration under the theme “Stronger Together.” Buzzing with laughter and conversation, the guests – more than 200 – filled the spacious Christian Life Center at Thomas Presbyterian Church in Eighty Four, PA, to enjoy marvelous fellowship, music and singing, and a relaxing, catered buffet dinner. Old friends were reunited and re-acquainted, and several new friendships began.

Displays highlighted several of the mission projects undertaken by the presbytery. It was an entire evening of celebrating God’s grace and goodness exhibited through the presbytery’s many ministries of “Growing Leaders, Challenging Congregations and Engaging Communities.”

Read more about the gathering by clicking here.

Lake Erie

crop josh
Presbytery key part in helping get 'Wheels for Josh'

Josh Heikkila serves as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) regional liaison for West Africa. In that position Josh relates to Presbyterian Churches in Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and Togo. The work he does involves extensive travel under daunting conditions. It is no surprise that motor vehicles bear the brunt of travel on these roads and that vehicles wear out quickly.

A conversation in September at Abetifi-Kwahu led to action on two continents over a period of several months. The Presbytery of Lake Erie voted to provide an initial gift in November, as well as providing dollar-for-dollar matching gifts. The matching gifts were made available to both churches within the Presbytery of Lake Erie as well as churches and presbyteries in the Ghana Mission Network.

Over the past six months, 16 of the 58 churches in the Presbytery of Lake Erie provided extra commitment gifts of more than $9,900. Nine partner churches and presbyteries across the Ghana Mission Network in the United States also contributed matching money totaling $6,400. Including the matching money from the Presbytery of Lake Erie, a grand total of $31,301.78 was raised, by the grace of God, for “Wheels for Josh” across the Ghana Mission Network!

To read more about this initiative, click here.


From the archives

In the July 1942 edition of "The Pennsylvania Presbyterian" newsletter from the Synod of Pennsylvania, the following item appeared under the heading "Is Your Church for Sale? (written by Southwestern Presbyterian, Cactus Points):"
"Requests are coming in from every side for the church to sell out its functions to something less than that for which Christ established it. In these days when patriotism is a fetish and doing war work is a religion, it is difficult for the church to be 'The Church.'
"The church has a program, which if carried out diligently, will do more for the nation and the world than it can do by diverting its energies from that program.
"Let the church be 'The Church.'"

Find helpful resources on Synod website

The Synod of the Trinity continues to be a resource hub for the region. On the Synod's website, you can find helpful links to the following categories:
If you have something to contribute to these sections, or have an idea for a resource page, contact Synod Communications Coordinator Mike Givler at

Webinar to focus on opioids, addiction and Christ's Church

On Wednesday, May 23, the Synod of the Trinity will host a 45-minute webinar titled "Into the Light: Conversations about Opioids, Addiction and Christ's Church." The conversation will include insights from the Presbytery of Redstone's Addiction Ministry Team, which will explore what churches can do in worship, education and prayer as well as talk about best practices for bringing the issue of addiction into the light of Christ.

This free webinar is open to the first 15 people who register, which can be done by emailing Synod Communications Coordinator Mike Givler (

A flyer is available here.
Resources on opioids from the PCUSA's mid council relations team, including a fact sheet and PowerPoint presentation, are available here.

Celebrate Mister Rogers on Heritage Sunday

Every year, Presbyterians celebrate Heritage Sunday, a day to reflect upon and learn more about the long and rich history of the Presbyterian church in America.
The Presbyterian Historical Society is honoring the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood this Heritage Sunday, May 20. Heritage Sunday always falls on the Sunday closest to May 21, the opening date of the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1789.
Download PHS's 2018 bulletin insert about Rogers' early career and his unique TV ministry, and share it with your church.
More information and the inserts can be found here.

GA newspaper to be posted online this year

Leaders and especially pastors are encounraged to subscribe to the daily electronic edition of The General Assembly News here.
Something that is heard repeatedly is that pastors who can’t be at the Assembly are frequently asked questions about GA that they are not prepared to answer.
By e-subscribing to the daily paper, they will be well- (or at least better) equipped to respond when parishioners (and others) ask.

Pittsburgh's Freedom Rising Grant information available

Pittsburgh Presbytery is offering grant opportunities related to the Freedom Rising initiative for people within its bounds who live in Allegheny County.
Freedom Rising is an initiative of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) which is
seeking to address the worsening plight of the African American male.
The grants available through this application process are awarded on behalf of Freedom Rising, Pittsburgh, as one facet of Pittsburgh Presbytery’s preliminary response to address this crisis.
The grants are for ministries or programs serving African American males between the ages of 6-19 (or grades 1-12) in Allegheny County.

The two grants offered are Enrichment Grants for an existing ministry or program and Seed Grants for a new ministry or program.
For more information, click here.

Registration open for New Wilmington Mission Conf.

The 2018 New Wilmington Mission Conference will be held July 20-27 at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. At 113 years old, the New Wilmington Mission Conference is the longest-running mission conference in the United States. Held on the campus of Westminster College in Pennsylvania every July, NWMC is intergenerational, Presbyterian-related and youth-focused.
“Love Your Neighbor” (Gal. 5:14) is the theme for the conference. Visit the conference website
here for more details or to register.

The Synod of the Trinity | Being More Together
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