Mental Health Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? Observed since 1949, May is a month to prioritize your self-care and take time to recharge.

  • Check out these tips from the Centers for Disease Control on Coping With Stress.
  • The National Institute of Mental Health has some Self-care tips.
  • The PCUSA Store has some great resources available to share with your congregation or have available for your community.
  • The Board of Pensions offers an annual Well-Being Retreat. This year it will be held in Montreat, NC from August 21-23. (Registration opens the week of June 12.)

A Stewardship Lesson from Long Ago

Something very remarkable happened under the leadership of Nehemiah. In short order the walls protecting Jerusalem were rebuilt and once again the returning exiles could live securely, worshipping in the newly restored temple.

Likely Nehemiah made several trips to Jerusalem from Susa in the Persian Empire some 2,500 years ago. On one such occasion he discovered his nemesis Tobiah had been solely appointed to care for “the vessels of the house of God” and other things. It is recorded that Nehemiah became angry with this arrangement and kicked Tobiah out of the chamber along with all his household furniture (Nehemiah 13:8).

Nehemiah then makes a striking move not to replace Tobiah with a person, but rather appoints four treasurers over the storehouses. What we call today assessing risk and implementing compensating controls to reduce the likelihood of any occurrences of failed stewardship was the very thing Nehemiah stridently implemented.

Next time I am invited to offer some thoughts on stewardship, I plan to offer some of the more dominant financial risks that smaller churches and nonprofits face. At the top of that list will be the over reliance on one person.

Bill McKnight, CPA
Presbytery Treasurer

Celebrate the Older Adults in Your Life

For over 50 years, Shenango on the Green has served older adults at our campus in New Wilmington. We are Lawrence County’s only continuing care retirement community, offering a complete spectrum of services and support.

Stone Creek Independent Living, the newest addition to the Shenango on the Green community.

Throughout all these years, we have been blessed with the thoughtful support of the congregations of the Shenango Presbytery. Your support of our SeniorCARE FUND provides charitable care to our care community residents who have outlived their resources. Your generosity provides peace of mind, and enables these residents to continue to live with dignity and quality care in our community.

Now, more than ever, your charitable support is extremely important.

We ask you to contribute your congregation’s support of our residents during the month of May – which is Older Americans Month. Will you please include the attached bulletin insert in your next church bulletin throughout May?

Photo by Marcus Aurelius on

Thank you for your support and the many blessings you and your congregation have shared with our residents of Shenango on the Green.

David Dix
Major Gifts Director
Presbyterian SeniorCare Foundation

Learn more:

Special Offerings

Does your church contribute to the PC(USA)’s Special Offerings? Would you like more information, and printable resources, that you can use to help promote these offerings throughout the year?

Together, Presbyterians have a massive impact around the world, just by contributing to the four Special Offerings through the PC(USA). Millions of people just like you are helping to make a difference and changing lives.

You can learn more about the Special Offerings here, and sign up to receive information packets with promotional materials, including worship resources, bulletin inserts, and curriculum materials. Keep reading to learn more about the individual offerings, and find links to specific resources for each.

The One Great Hour of Sharing Offering is typically received during the season of Lent. It serves the “least of these” among us by providing relief to those affected by catastrophic events, giving sustainable food resources to the hungry, and changing the structures that perpetuate poverty, oppression, and injustice. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing – Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People – all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope.

The Pentecost Offering is typically received on Pentecost Sunday. It helps the church encourage, develop, and support its younger members to build a life of faith with a foundation established during childhood. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The remaining 60% is used to support children-at-risk, youth, and young adults through ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

The Peace and Global Witness Offering is typically received during the Season of Peace culminating on World Communion Sunday. It provides tools and resources for the Church as we join together as active peacemakers at all times in all ways, like the reconciliation work in South Sudan, international advocacy at the UN, or a peace camp for kids in New Jersey. A gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize up to 25% of this Offering to connect with the global witness of Christ’s peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.

The Christmas Joy Offering is typically received during the Advent and Christmas seasons. You can respond to God’s perfect gift, Jesus Christ, by providing assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need and developing future leaders at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Christmas Joy Offering has been a cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s. The Offering distributes gifts equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. The Assistance Program provides critical financial support to church workers and their families. Presbyterian-related schools and colleges provide education and leadership development while nurturing racial and ethnic heritage. This has been a Presbyterian commitment for nearly 140 years.

Even though there are typical times throughout the year that these offerings are received, your church may choose to receive them at a different time. Just make sure to note on your check, or remittance form which offering the moneys are intended for when you send it in to the Presbytery Office (600 E. State Street, Sharon, PA 16146).

Information quoted from

5 Questions With Tod Bolsinger

Tod Bolsinger will be with us in a few short weeks to lead a special Sunday evening event for elders, deacons, and pastors, as well as a two-day pastor retreat. Our Director of Presbytery Advancement, Beth Creekpaum recently spoke with Tod about his ministry and his plans for the May weekend.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been a pastor of Presbyterian congregations for 27 years.  For the past 10 years, I have been a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary.  I also have a little consulting firm where I coach, consult, and speak.  I basically get up every single day getting to work with leaders, helping faith leaders thrive as change leaders.  It’s a great, great gift.

How did you go from pastoring a church to helping other leaders figure out how to lead?

Early on in my ministry, when I was 23, at Hollywood Presbyterian they asked me to be on their staff as the pastor for the college students.  Lloyd Ogilvie, my pastor, literally said, “Tod, I believe that you are called to train up the leaders for the next generation of the church.” And it became this really powerful call in my life so that all throughout my ministry, whenever I was pastoring or teaching, I was always doing leadership formation.  I love working with the session.  I love working with the staff.  I love developing leaders.

What is so important about this work that you’ve literally given your life to it and you’re flying out to see us?

So, it’s two things really.  One is, we live in a dramatically changed world and for those of us who were trained by institutions and seminaries, we were trained for a Christendom world that was more stable.  So, the disruption means that the places of our development as leaders that has been more disrupted has been around leadership development.  Somebody said, “Seminary didn’t prepare me for the world I’m in today.”  I really do believe that leadership formation is really important, in that it’s about the way in which God is continually at work forming us to be able to take people through change in a healthy way.

What should people expect when they come either to the all-leaders Sunday event or the pastor retreat?

We’re going to do a set of material that I do in a lot of places called, “How Not to Waste a Crisis”, and what is really is about is that when we hit crises, or inflection points, or disruption, it’s actually a moment to develop our capacity to lead better.  We’ll talk about the practices and principles of adaptive change and about the way in which we can learn to become leaders who can actually faithfully navigate change, holding on to what’s the most important and being prepared to learn and let go of what we need to.  What we’ve discovered is what’s really hard for most people is that dynamic.  When I get the pastors all together at the retreat, we’re going to talk about sabotage and resilience because what happens when you start leading people through change is they resist you and that’s really hard.

Shenango is affectionately known as “The Pie Presbytery”.  What is your favorite pie?

I LOVE pie. Boysenberry, warmed with ice cream. But truth is that I love every pie (except Coconut Cream).

If you would like to hear more of this interview, click here for the video.

Click here to register for the Lay Leader Seminar on May 7th from 3-5:30 PM at Northminster Presbyterian Church, New Castle. Cost is just $10 per person, BUT a church can bring 5 or more leaders for just $50. If cost is an issue for your congregation, please contact Beth.

Click here to register for the Pastor Retreat on May 8-9 at Villa Maria Conference Center.

Re-Imaging The Presbytery of Shenango:  Organized in a New Way

The old ways of Presbytery life together as Presbyterian Churches is coming to an end.  The old ways are coming to an end because the culture is changing.  The old ways are coming to an end because churches are changing.  And the old ways are coming to an end because Presbyteries are changing.

            In 2020 the Presbytery of Shenango began a bold vision of organizing life together as congregations and pastors in a new way.  The new way replaces the traditional Executive Presbyter and “corporate nature” of Presbytery organization, with an Executive Team and Ministry Teams.  This new way of being a Presbytery emphasizes shared leadership, creativity and efficient use of resources.

            The Executive Team is made up of 7 members (note below).  The Moderator, Vice Moderator and Stated Clerk are elected by the Presbytery.  And as before, the Moderator and Vice Moderator are volunteer positions of leadership, and the Stated Clerk is a part-time paid position of leadership. 

The 4 Director positions are employees of the Presbytery, and are part-time paid positions of leadership.  The Directors share the basic leadership responsibilities of an Executive Presbytery at less than 1/3 of the cost.  The Directors oversee the areas of Operations, Presbytery Advancement, Congregational Support, and Pastoral Support.

            In addition, each of the Directors has 1 or more teams of lay leaders and pastors to help in the specific responsibilities of leadership.  This replaces the numerous committees in the Presbytery previously.  This is “right-sizing” Presbytery leadership and organization for our changing days.

            One thing that hasn’t changed is work of Autumn Imhoff as Office Administrator, Shari Getway as Financial Secretary, and Bill McKnight as Treasurer.  Autumn and Shari work remotely.  You can contact Autumn at 724-528-1610 or, and Shari at 724-981-2211 ext. 3, or  Please contact Autumn with any questions about Presbytery, and Shari with any Presbytery financial questions. 

And please contact Rev. Dr. Glenn Hink, Director of Operations, 724-981-2211 ext. 2 or, with any questions about the “Reimagined Way” of the Presbytery of Shenango. 

Shenango Presbytery’s Mission Funds

“Congregations Do Mission… and Congregations Do Mission Together”

Congregations have always “done mission”. Congregations are the communities that dream dreams, organize volunteers, and raise support. The Presbytery of Shenango mission funds encourage congregations to lead in mission.

We invite congregations to “do mission together” by financially supporting seven funds that represent mission visions shared by all our congregations together.

Mission Funds

Mission Interpretation: This fund helps with the expenses of missionaries coming to the Presbytery of Shenango. This would include travel expenses, visas, hosting costs, etc. Visiting missionaries help our presbytery hear the stories of what God is doing in other parts of the world and how we can be involved.

Travel Grants: This fund supports individuals and congregational groups going on mission trips. Specifically this helps with airfare, van rental, gasoline, etc. This fund gets individuals and groups to different places to share in mission.

Education Funds

Continuing Education Scholarship: This fund provides grants for Shenango pastors and congregation members to attend conferences and seminars. Continuing education costs often significantly exceed the funds provided by congregations. This fund helps pastors and congregation members research theological interests, develop new skills, and relax and practice good “self-care”.

Seminary Aid: This fund provides grants for seminary students under the “care” of the Presbytery of Shenango with tuition, books, and required testing.

Congregational and Pastoral Support

Pastoral Aid: This fund is available for emergency financial aid to pastors. It is intended to help with health emergencies, legal fees, and accidents that create a significant financial hardship.

Church Development: This fund is available for emergency financial assistance to congregations. It is intended to help with “start up” costs of new ministries, exploring new visions for congregational life and mission, and minor emergency facility repairs.

Church Aid: This fund helps the Presbytery cover the costs of congregations closing. When a congregation closes there are often costs associated with property care, realtor fees, legal fees, and taxes. If the congregation is not able to cover these costs, the Presbytery steps in to help so all is done well to honor the history of the congregation.

These seven funds are just the beginning of “mission together”. Congregations are encouraged to dream, organize, and raise support for missions in their communities and in the world. And congregations are encouraged to reach out to other congregations for mission partnerships. These missions are led by congregations who hear God’s call to this mission work.

These missions include our longstanding work in Sudan and the Dominican Republic. They could also include missions like “backpack food missions” for local kids, housing ministries, support ministries to single moms, and thrift stores. The idea is to find a need, listen for God’s call, find partners, and make a difference. It’s how congregations “do mission together”.

To Support Our Mission

Undesignated financial giving will support all seven of these funds, with the level of support dependent upon the level of need. Each year the Presbytery Mission Team will establish the level of support each fund with receive from undesignated contributions (i.e. 5%, 15%, 25%).

Designated financial giving will support the particular fund or funds that are chosen, and only that fund(s).

Presbytery Mission Fund support can be given regularly or as a one-time gift. If sending a check, please be sure that the appropriate mission fund is listed on the memo line and mail to 600 E. State Street, Sharon, PA 16146. (Undesignated funds should just be listed as “mission fund” on the memo line.) Online giving is also available on our webiste via PayPal by clicking this link.

To download a copy of this post in brochure form with further information, click here.

Top Ten Security Tips for Churches

Would your church be ready to face a security threat or natural disaster? Are you stumped as to how to get started in preparing your congregation? These tips will guide you toward a plan of action.

  1. Identify a response team in your congregation.
    Do you have medical professionals in your congregation? Law enforcement? Military or security professionals?
  2. Obtain training.
    There are a lot of great resources out there now to train your team on handling a potential threat. Check with your insurance company or other local congregations to find out if there is training available in your area.
  3. Conduct background checks of all employees and volunteers.
    If you need information on these checks, contact the Presbytery office.
  4. Communicate effectively.
    Consider investing in two-way radios. Determine staff or members who will call
    9-1-1, speak with authorities, media, etc.
  5. Create a single entrance and easy, marked exits to your facility.
    Having one accessible entrance is easier to monitor on a Sunday morning. Make sure that there are multiple exits that are easily accessed by your members.
  6. Make sure the exterior of your building is well lit and easy to monitor.
  7. Contact local law enforcement and be aware of potential threats in your area.
  8. Create an emergency plan that addresses all relevant emergencies (ie: member health emergency, active shooter, fire, natural disaster).
  9. Identify trouble spots in your building and on your property.
    Work with your insurance agent, fire marshall, and local law enforcement to identify safety and security risks to help you create a safer environment for your ministry.
  10. Talk with the congregation about your new safety and security protocols.
    Chances are some things will have changed with your new emergency plan in place- locked entrances, medical equipment availability, etc. Make sure your congregation is informed of these changes.

For more information:

  1. Church Safety and Disaster Preparedness – the Synod of the Trinity has a collection of resources from various sources that can help you.
  2. Safety Resources – Church Mutual Insurance offers helpful resources on everything from playground safety to severe weather preparedeness to armed intruder preparedness.

Virtual Visit: The Presbyterian Historical Society

How well do you know your Presbyterian heritage?  Many of us grew up in the Presbyterian church, some are brand new, but all of us could learn something new about our history from visiting the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia. 

“Organized in 1852, the Presbyterian Historical Society is the oldest denominational archives in the United States and serves as the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessor denominations. PHS exists to collect, preserve, and share the story of the American Presbyterian and Reformed experience with Presbyterians, the scholarly community, and the general public.”

The Presbyterian Historical Society


PHS provides many services to assist congregations and individuals including:

  • Reference inquiries
  • Genealogy and family history research
  • Minister/missionary biographical research services
  • Attestations of baptism, marriage, and membership

In addition, congregations, presbyteries, and GA agencies are able to deposit their records at no charge in their climate-controlled archives.  Read more about their services, including digitization, here.


The on-site collections contain over 250,000 titles and more than 30,000 cubic feet of official records and personal documents (including photographs, diaries, and correspondence), as well as holding the archives of many ecumenical organizations.

You can search the collections online utilizing two online catalogs: Calvin and Sheppard. There are also many other research tools available, including subject guides and church surveys. Please note that in-person research is available by appointment only, so plan accordingly.

Online Exhibits

If you aren’t able to travel to Philadelphia, don’t worry.  The Presbyterian Historical Society offers online and print-on-demand exhibits that you can view from the comfort of your own home or display in your Sunday School classroom.  There are even online histories and publications that you can use to learn more about our denomination in America and the world. Learn more.

A few of the online exhibits:

A few of the print-on-demand exhibits:

  • Presbyterian Women Through Time
  • Make Known the Gospel to All the World
  • Presbyterians and the Civil Rights Movement

Visit Their Website

Check out the Presbyterian Historical Society’s website today to learn more about what they do, how they can assist your congregation, and what part Presbyterians have played throughout history.