"The Church as a Refuge" with Dr. Diane Langberg

"The Church as a Refuge" with Dr. Diane Langberg

Leadership in the church of Jesus Christ is a holy trust from the Lord himself, who loves his people and is fiercely devoted to them. Any power that we have—at home, in the workplace, in society, or in the church—is ours only as it is received from God (Larger Catechism 129). That power carries with it unique temptations, alongside unique opportunities to bless others. This conference is designed for leaders in the church, to equip them more fully to protect and serve those under their care.

Read More

Phila Presbytery Statement on Racism, Anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy

At our 9/16/17 stated meeting, the Philadelphia Presbytery approved this statement, which the Fraternal Relations Team encourages each church to communicate to its members and community.

Statement by the Philadelphia Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in America
on Racism, Anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy

1.     As the Philadelphia Presbytery, PCA, is called to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, the recent demonstration on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville compels us to publicly denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy as sin.

2.     Racist ideologies and systems (including white supremacy and anti-Semitism) deny Scripture’s affirmation of the equal value and dignity of all people, who are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27-28). These ideologies expressly deny Jesus’ command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). Therefore, we reject and condemn every ideology and system that teaches or supports the supremacy of one race or the inferiority of another. We believe, without reservation, that racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy are sin, being abhorrent to God and deeply contrary to Scripture’s command to walk in both truth and love (3 John 1:4; Ephesians 5:2).

3.    Racist ideologies and systems set themselves against God’s intention to reconcile diverse people to one another in a united community, even as he reconciles that diverse community to himself (Ephesians 2:14-16). The Church is to be composed of people from every tribe, nation, and language (Revelation 7:9). Therefore, we reject and condemn every ideology and system that divides people from one another based on ideas of racial superiority or ethnic purity. We affirm our essential unity as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multinational people united in Christ.

4.    We recognize, with grief and repentance, that Christian churches, ministries, and individuals have promoted, participated, or passively benefited from our racialized society. Too frequently, many of us have stood silent and failed to confront attitudes and actions that have disenfranchised and suppressed minority people and cultures. We recognize our own complicity in this area. We depend upon the work of the Holy Spirit and the grace of other Christians to guide us in all truth as we continue to reflect and repent (John 14:26).

5.     With grief and love, we invite those who hold racist ideologies to repent and to conform their thinking and lives to the teaching of Scripture (Romans 12:2).

6.    We commit ourselves to both pray for and act toward a more robustly biblical ministry of reconciliation and restoration in Jesus Christ that reflects these beliefs.

7.     We stand committed to extend hospitality and comfort that comes with the good news of Jesus Christ who will reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20).

Phila Presbytery Chapel & Lunch @ Westminster Seminary

Phila Presbytery Chapel & Lunch @ WTS: Tuesday 10/18, 10am-2pm at Westminster Theological Seminary
The Candidates & Interns Team is leading chapel on 10/18, followed by a seminary-sponsored lunch in an effort to connect students will all of the churches in our presbytery — if you pastor a church in our presbytery and are in particular need of an intern right now, contact john@liberti.org. All members of our presbytery are cordially invited.

Read More

Letter to Emanuel A.M.E. Church, Charleston, SC

To our sister home of faith, The African Methodist Episcopal Church, to Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, and especially to the family and friends of The Nine who were so heartlessly slain on June 17th, we extend our love and prayers on behalf of the Philadelphia Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America.

We acknowledge and honor you for your long history of faithful Gospel witness, from the harsh days when Denmark Vesey and others who helped found Mother Emanuel were then hanged for alleged crimes against the slave powers, through the revival of your congregation in the fires of the Civil War, and down through your exemplary leadership in the quest for equal civil rights. Through our own blessed acquaintance with your very first A.M.E. congregation here in Philadelphia at Mother Bethel, we have known you to be a church faithful to the God of Scripture and courageous in the pursuit of freedom to worship him who has called you into the light of that beloved community of the children of God for which Martin Luther King, Jr. also gave his life.

We have been profoundly shocked and grieved that an evil enemy would invade the sanctuary of your Bible study hour to perpetrate a hateful and vengeful act aimed at you because of your courageous championing of the dignity of all African Americans. Yet in this dark hour, we have witnessed, along with the watching world, a brilliant light of Gospel witness from the hearts and lips of survivors and family at Mother Emanuel who have shown us all a picture of grace and forgiveness. It was none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who said, ...if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:15)

Therefore, along with a grieving nation and united body of faithful believers, we honor those who fell in the midst of a hallowed congregation:

·         Rev. Clementa Pinckney, your beloved senior pastor

·         Cynthia Hurd

·         Susie Jackson

·         Ethel Lance

·         Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor

·         Tywanda Sanders

·         Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr.

·         Rev. Sharonda Singleton

·         Myra Thompson

Be assured of our ongoing love and respect as you lay these faithful shepherds and stewards of the mysteries of faith to rest and memorialize their service among the congregation and the whole community of Charleston. They will be remembered, as the others in that long list of heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews, in the words of its author, ...the world was not worthy of them... therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 11:38 & 12:1-3)

We trust that the great Author of our salvation, now our great Intercessor at the throne of God, will give you peace and assurance of his blessing, now and forevermore.

Amen.
 

In the love of Christ, 

The Fraternal Relations Team and The Coordinating Team of the Philadelphia Presbytery
Presbyterian Church in America
http://www.phillypca.com
Glenn N. McDowell, Moderator

Presbytery Retreat 2015

Below is a message from Suler Acosta regarding this year's Presbytery Retreat:

Our annual retreat is fast approaching. On March 18-19, we will be meeting again at Camp Andrews for two days of refreshment, fellowship, and prayer. Our focus this year is on Prayer. We won’t simply be talking about prayer and practices in prayer, but we will actually be spending time in guided prayer. Our time will be a prayer retreat where we spend time praying for each other, for our presbytery, for our churches, for the city, and for the glory of Christ.

On behalf of the Shepherding Team, I want to invite you to our annual presbytery retreat on Wed-Thurs, March 18-19, 2015 at Camp Andrews. If you were there last year, you know how wonderful it was. If you couldn't make it, now's your chance to get on board to a great time of fellowship. This is for Teaching Elders, Ruling Elders, Interns, Seminary Students, and Candidates.

Our presbytery is changing in a good way. We are seeking to create a culture in our presbytery where we encourage each other, where we trust one another, where we can pray for each other and have real friendships with one another. Many of us desire to be in a presbytery where we see one another as brothers and friends in Christ first, and presbyters second. This retreat is aimed at fostering that kind of change.

I want to encourage you, no, I want to urge you, especially if you are not in a church setting as a TE, to come to this retreat and be a part of the attempt, not really to start a new culture, but to love each other, pray with and for one another, EAT together, sing together, play some sports, have a few drinks, and listen to one another-to be what God is calling us to be-pastors and elders who mutually care for each other!

If you register, you will need to bring some sheets for your bed, pillow, towels, and toiletries along with your Bible and notebooks. The cost is $100 per person. Please let me know if you will be able to come to this. Please don't let costs prohibit you. We want you to come and join us. I pray you can come.  Thanks for considering this and letting me know by February 21.

If you want to come, you can send in a check for whatever you can afford to "Philadelphia Presbytery" and in the memo, "Presbytery Retreat". You can mail it to me at my new address.
                       
City Church York
Attn: Súler Acosta
521 W. King Street
York, PA 17401

Under Grace and for Jesus’ Kingdom,

Suler D. Acosta | Pastor, City Church York
717-478-1198 (cell)  |  suler@citychurchyork.com

"Solemn Assembly" Announcement

Below is an announcement from Glenn McDowell, our moderator:

Fellow Shepherds in Presbytery, I sent a letter to many of the pastors in our presbytery on December 17 inviting them to a solemn assembly at Epiphany Fellowship on January 7, 2015 - seeking God for healing and greater unity in the Church across racial and cultural lines.  Many of you came. Here is a picture from that time of worship, prayer and public repentance.

It is notable that all eight of us with host Pastor Eric Mason on the platform were ordained in the PCA Philadelphia Presbytery. 

I now invite you all to a follow-up gathering for pastors and elders at Epiphany Fellowship. 

  • We’ll meet Tuesday, March 10 @ 1pm.  Pastor Eric Mason will be hosting us at Epiphany Fellowship. The primary focus of this roundtable will be to discuss & plan the next steps following that week of solemn assemblies related to racial reconciliation.
  • Could you confirm to me that you are coming at gmcdowell@liberti.org ?
  • meeting at Epiphany Fellowship’s building
  • 1632 W. Diamond St., Philadelphia, PA 19121.

Integration of Spirituality and Behavioral Health Summit

Below is an update and announcement from TE Lin Crowe regarding the Integration of Spirituality and Behavioral Health Summit on March 6, 2015

 

Dear colleagues:

The attached invitation to a March 6th Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health summit seminar on the integration of spiritual & behavioral health in clinical practice is of enormous significance to us who live and labor in this city. Philadelphia leads the nation in forging pathways for the introduction of spiritual & pastoral care in the treatment of persons with mental health and substance abuse addictions.

Commissioner Arthur Evans has blazed a new trail into the stagnant “church/state stalemate” that has prevented much useful biblical & pastoral insight to be provided to consumers of the behavioral health system (mental health hospitals, community clinics, public health centers, drug rehabilitation programs, etc.). The latest research and scientific studies support Philadelphia’s bold foray into the arena of spiritual care in public health.

This half-day seminar with one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field will either introduce you for the first time to an exciting arena of ministry opportunity among Philadelphia's more than 100,000 clients in its treatment centers, or bring you up-to-date on the latest studies undergirding the application of spiritual supports to clinical behavioral health. At the voluntary request & approval of a client in therapy, a pastor, rabbi, imam or other spiritual guide can be included in the course of treatment. This is a new day for the development of successful partnerships for the common good of our people and for the application of centuries-old modalities like prayer, scriptural memory & mediation, and spiritual guidance.

I encourage you to study the attached invitation and register to attend. It is a free event, but space is limited and advanced registration is required.

Best regards,

Lin Crowe


The Integration of Spirituality and Behavioral Health Summit 

Why it Matters

Dr. Arthur C. Evans, Jr, DBHIDS Commissioner
Dr. Ken Pargament, Bowling Green University Professor and leading expert on faith and health


The City of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services is bringing together the highest level of leaders and experts nationally and locally from the academic, faith and behavioral health community, to introduce the integration of behavioral health and faith in the clinical community.

March 6, 2015
8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 
Community Behavioral Health, 11th Flr Conference Rm
801 Market St, Philadelphia, Pa 19107

Candidates and Internships Team

Candidates and Internships Team

The ordination process in the PCA involves four steps: Candidacy (or "coming under care"), Internship, Licensure and final Ordination. The Candidates and Interns Team oversees only the Candidacy and Internship phases. You'll want to interact with the Licensure and Ordination Team once you reach the point of taking those exams.

The C & I Team walks with candidates for Gospel ministry from the time they come under care all the way until their ordination, in partnership with the candidates' local churches. During that time, a candidate will usually meet with us at least four times: to become a candidate, to propose an internship, to have a completed internship approved, and finally to have a family interview prior to being cleared for ordination trials. See below for applications and directions regarding each of these steps.

1. Under Care/Candidacy Application

2. Internship Proposal Application

3. Internship Completion Application

4. Family Interview (must be completed before ordination trials begin!)

Note: The C & I Team meets approximately six weeks prior to each meeting of presbytery, and applications are generally due a few weeks prior to that time. For specific application due dates and team meeting dates, contact john@liberti.org

Read More

City Line Church

City Line Church

City Line Church is a diverse community drawing from a wide range of vocations, ethnicities, life stages, and religious backgrounds -- but what brings us all together is God’s invitation in Jesus Christ to come as we are. We meet on Sundays at 9:00 am at 404 Levering Mill Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004. More info at citylinechurch.net.

Read More