March 11- 10:30 AM Leadership Development Team, Presbytery Office
EP Activity This Month
Our Executive Presbyter, Ralph Hawkins, will be teaching adult Sunday School at New Wilmington (March 8) and at First Sharon (March 15). He will be leading a Sunday evening Lenten devotion at Ebenezer (March 8) and, with Rev. Rich Kinney (Highland), presenting stories and pictures from their Egypt/Sudan visit, at New Wilmington church (March 15 — rescheduled because of weather last month). He will be attending the spring Synod of the Trinity meeting at State College (Mar 23-24) and giving a lecture on Christian vocation at Montreat College (March 30). Ralph welcomes opportunities to preach or bring greetings during a worship service, as well as opportunities to visit Session and Deacon meetings. Schedule a Sunday or a meeting time by contacting him at 724-528-1610 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stated Clerk Updates
– TE Jim Leuenberger, having served Tower (ECO) as an interim, has accepted a call to the McKeesport church in Pittsburgh Presbytery.
– TE Brady Randall, formerly temporary pastor at Harlansburg, has transferred from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to Orchard Hill Church, an independent congregation in Wexford, Pa.
– RE Marsha Parrish (Unity) has been commissioned by our presbytery to serve Jameson Healthcare as a Chaplain and Bereavement Care Coordinator. This is a three year commission and runs concurrent with her part-time service to the Mt. Hermon and Oak Grove congregations.
(TE = Teaching Elder; CRE = Commissioned Ruling Elder)
Highmark Member Records Potentially Compromised by Data Breach at Anthem
A late-January cyberattack on Anthem Inc. compromised the data of as many as 80 million Anthem plan members. The Board of Pensions has learned that some Highmark member data on Anthem’s systems may also be at risk.
Highmark Blue Cross (the Board of Pensions’ service provider for the Medical Plan) participates in the national Blue Cross BlueCard network, sharing certain member information with local Blue Cross plans, including Anthem Blue Cross, to pay providers and process claims locally. The information compromised during the attack on Anthem’s systems includes names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of Medical Plan members who have, or may have had, claims for services with providers participating in Anthem Blue Cross.
Within the next few weeks, as Anthem and the FBI continue their investigations, Anthem will send a letter by U.S. mail to current and former Highmark and Anthem plan members whose data may have been compromised. The letter will offer free credit monitoring and identity protection services. The Board of Pensions encourages you to accept these services if you receive a letter.
Important Note: Anthem will not contact members by phone or email and will not request credit card or Social Security numbers. They will contact members by mail only.
The letter from Anthem will provide further details, including additional contact information. Benefits Plan members with questions may call Anthem toll-free at 877-263-7995, visit the website anthemfacts.com, or read their Frequently Asked Questions.
Bruce Stevens Named Synod of the Trinity’s Executive Emeritus
Former Synod of the Trinity Executive, the Rev. Dr. Bruce Stevens, was honored with Executive Emeritus status for “his long and faithful years of service to the Synod” during the Presbytery of West Virginia meeting on February 28. Pictured with Bruce are, from left, Synod Transitional Executive Susan Faye Wonderland, 2014 Synod Moderator Jim Robinson, and former Synod Executive Tom Johnston. Ideally a presentation like this would take place at a Synod Assembly meeting, but in this case Susan asked, with a smile, if those in attendance would stand in for the rest of the Synod of the Trinity! The back of the framed certificate was signed by the Synod’s Executive Presbyters.
Pictured (right) is Rev. Elmarie Parker, PCUSA Regional Liason to Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Elmarie preached at Trinity Church in Mercer and shared her sense of call to ministry in the Middle East to a group of Trinity adults. She offered remarkable testimony about the faithfulness and resilience of Christians in that region. Together with her husband Rev. Scott Parker, who recently preached at Clen-Moore in New Castle, they serve as the “face” of our denomination with Presbyterian and Reformed denominations across the Middle East. Several of our Shenango churches support the Parkers. You can too! Contact RE Miriam Gwin to learn more.
Robbie Arnold is looking to ride-share to the PTS program, “Journey Within, Journey Without” on March 17. Is there anyone that she might ride with, sharing the cost of gas? Contact Robbie at 724-983-0194 (Hermitage).
2014 “Tax Guide for Ministers” Available
The Tax Guide for Ministers, updated for the 2014 tax year, was recently mailed to active and retired teaching elders. It is also available on Benefits Connect, accessible from pensions.org. The Web module Tax Tips for Members & Churches has been updated as well. Tax Tips is in the Tax Resource Center of Board University, which can be reached from the Members & Employers menu on the pensions.org home page.
“Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches” Updated
The Federal Reporting Requirements for Churches has been updated to provide guidance for the 2015 tax year. It is available on Benefits Connect, accessible from pensions.org. The Web module Tax Tips for Members & Churches has been updated as well. Tax Tips is in the Tax Resource Center of Board University, which can be reached from the Members & Employers menu on the pensions.org home page.
WORLD CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
The World Christian Discipleship program is receiving applications for 2015-16. WCD, a program of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, is a nine-month immersion in missional formation for young adult Christians. Participants are formed spiritually as they engage in the church’s rich heritage through reading, prayer and regular fellowship with one another (a rule of life for the 21st century), while participating in ministry in the local church and mission to the world. Evann Wildhack, recent Westminster College graduate and member of the New Wilmington church, is a graduate of the WCD program. Contact Rev. Tom Ribar for more information.
WORLD CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGES
World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary
In October 2015, WMI is offering two opportunities for travel:
– South East Asia – This October 15-27 journey led by Don Dawson will continue to build on WMI’s long-standing relationship (12 years and 19 visits) with an Unreached People Group in SE Asia. Participants will meet with and encourage leaders of the Christian movement among this People Group, and share with and learn from our brothers and sisters.
– Armenia – In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, join World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Seminary on a 10-day journey to a beautiful, ancient Christian homeland October 8-19, 2015. Enjoy worship, warm hospitality, and discussions with all three ecumenical church partners – Apostolic, Catholic and Evangelical. You will be immersed in the faith-based community development projects of the Jinishian Memorial Program in this post-Soviet republic. Eliza Minasyan, Executive Director and Cara Taylor of JMP will be the leaders. See http://www.worldmissioninitiative.org/index.php/trips/fall for details.
NEWS FROM THE PC(USA)
The Young Adult Volunteer program is on its way to tripling its size. With sites in 6 countries around the world and 12 sites in the United States, young adults are committed to a year of service while living in intentional community and engaging in vocational discernment. Up to a third of the alums go on to seminary. Read more here.
Looking For Donations For The Dominican Republic
25 persons, most from Shenango churches, will make the annual ministry visit to Sabaneta de Yasica, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. At least three Shenango churches have shared in a partnership with a Iglesia Evangélica Dominicana congregation in that community. The IED was founded by American Presbyterians, Methodists, and Moravians. To support the ongoing ministry of the Sabaneta congregation, we are looking for donations for the following items:
– working video projectors, new or used
– new or gentle used baseballs and gloves
– pencils, paper, crayons and general school supplies
– new or gentle used liturgical stoles for a female pastor
– a gently used communion set (trays for small cups and plate(s) for bread)
Items can be dropped off at the presbytery office by April 13, 2015, or contact the office if you need someone to pick up some items.
The World Christian Discipleship program is receiving applications for 2015-16
– www.wcdpittsburgh.com. WCD, a program of World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, is a nine-month immersion in missional formation for young adult Christians. Participants are formed spiritually as they engage in the church’s rich heritage through reading, prayer and regular fellowship with one another (a rule of life for the 21st century), while participating in ministry in the local church and mission to the world. Contact Rev. Tom Ribar – email@example.com.
Westminster College Office of Faith and Spirituality Chapel Drama will present the musical “Leap of Faith” on Friday, March 20th at 7:30 PM, Saturday, March 21st at 7:30 PM and Sunday, March 22nd at 6:00 PM in Wallace Memorial Chapel. The musical is free and open to the public. A free will offering will be received at the intermission in support of the show and Campus Ministry programming.
Westminster College Office of Faith and Spirituality extends an invitation to the community to attend our Palm Sunday Vespers on Sunday, March 29th at 7:00 PM in Wallace Memorial Chapel. The service will include the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Rev. Jim Mohr, College Chaplain will be preaching “In the Crowd, Waving”, and music will be provided by the Second Chance Praise Team and the Westminster Women’s Chorus.
Making a Wake: Integrating Faith, Life, and Work as We Follow Christ
Join Christopher Brown, Co-Pastor of The Upper Room Presbyterian Church and Vera White, Associate of 1001 Worshipping Communities on March 17th from 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM in the Knox Room, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary for a time of learning and reflecting on the example of Celtic saints and its meaning for us today. For more information, visit http://www.pts.edu/JIJO_2015.
History of Gospel Workshop & Concert
Join the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry April 10th and 11th at Eastminster Presbyterian Church for a workshop and concert exploring the history of Gospel music. George W. Russell, Jr., Professor of Harmony and Piano at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, will lead the workshops and perform a concert at the end of the event. Tickets for the workshops are $10, tickets for the concert at $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information, call the CUBM office at 412-247-9010.
News from the Churches
Love & Respect Event
How many of you want a better marriage? How many of you yearn for a more complete understanding of your spouse? Love & Respect is a revolutionary view of marriage based off of Ephesians 5:33 “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Join Northminster Presbyterian Church (2434 Wilmington Road, New Castle) on March 12th at 6:15 PM for an opportunity to walk away with a better understanding of your spouse, better communication skills, and a better grasp of what the Bible teaches about marriage. Childcare available. Questions, call 724-658-9051.
Indoor Yard Sale
The Presbyterian Women of Unity Church, 1857 Mercer W. Middlesex Rd., Mercer, PA are holding an “Indoor Yard Sale” on Friday, March 13 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM and Saturday, March 14, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Lunch will be available. Proceeds go to missions. If you wish to donate unwanted items for the sale, PW is at the church on Wednesdays from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Any questions? Contact Mary Alice Marsh at 724-662-2491.
Music Director Wanted
Coolspring Presbyterian Church is looking for a Music Director responsible for 1 Sunday service and Choir. Piano and/or organ experience. This is a paid position. Please call 724-475-3712 and leave a message with your contact information if interested.
Shenango Presbyterian Church is looking for an organist/choir director. This is a paid position. Please contact Amy Na at the church office at 724-654-2322. Come and worship with us!