From the Session

March 2018

There are two Associate Pastor Nominating Committees (APNC) hard at work. The APNC for Youth Ministries had their Ministry Information Form (MIF) completed and approved by the Presbytery at the beginning of February and is already receiving matches of candidates for this position. The APNC for General Ministries submitted their MIF to Session for its February meeting and it is now approved by Session and Presbytery. The next step is to post the position live on the PCUSA’s website.

The Session has commissioned a Task Force to oversee the transition in staffing. The members of the Task Force are Andrew Barnett, Doug Geer, Susan Dorshimer, Nancy Hellendhal and John Van Buren. Staff at Grace will be changing in 2018 and, with prayer and God’s will, we will be welcoming two associate pastors in the coming months. In order to prepare for a successful start, we are preparing a comprehensive onboarding plan as well as preparing office space for the new staff.

The Communications Team continues to search for a new coordinator of communications and prayers for this are needed. The Vista will be published quarterly by the members of the Team until a staff person can be hired.

The Adult Education Team, with the assistance of Pastor Judy, has been busy with the Lenten series and is now planning for a series of programs this spring. The first series will focus on mental health and this will be followed by a mini-series on addiction. Then we will be hosting speakers from "Heeding God's Call", an organization that receives funds from our Presbytery in order to assist in its efforts to end gun violence. Session supports the spring program and the opportunity for difficult conversations and growth as we serve in God’s name.

With blessings,

Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session

Session members:
Judy Alexander
Andrew Barnett
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Kathryn Limmer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Darlene Reeves
John Van Buren


February 2018

 

Summary Report from the Music Task Force

In the fall, the Session commissioned a Music Task Force to communicate with church
members to get a sense of a desired direction for our music program. The task was a first step
toward seeking a new Music Director; it seemed logical to know where we want to go and then
find a staff member to get there.

The Task Force members were Kathryn Limmer, Bethany Lipa, Russ Starke, Carole Young,
Chris Hoyler and Susan Dorshimer.

The task force found that there is a clear vision that music in many different forms, is an integral
part of the ministry at Grace Church. Music is essential and central to our worship, and its role
should be sustained and enhanced.

The following general steps are necessary to grow and enhance the music program at Grace.

  • Chancel Choir needs support for increased participation and new ideas
  • More music, more kinds of music and more opportunities for music participation should be available to all
  • New and different choirs/music groups, including all ages need to be developed
  • It is important to honor our traditions while challenging ourselves to grow and develop

This information will provide a general guide us as we look for a new Music Director. It is important for Grace Church to have a director who will involve the congregation and sustain and build our meaningful music program.


October 2017

With humble and grateful hearts, the Session of Grace Presbyterian Church is
excited to announce a plan to search for two called Associate Pastors.  This
bold step supports goals and strategies in our ReVision Plan.

We have already been planning to call an Associate Pastor to provide spiritual
and organizational leadership for Grace’s evangelism initiatives, for the Board
of Deacons and its various ministries, and for Adult Education. This Associate
Pastor will also be responsible for continued growth in church-wide fellowship
and intergenerational activities and will engage in pastoral care.  This is an
outgrowth of the position Pastor Judy Dwyer currently fills on an interim basis.

Today, Session proposes to turn the existing position for Director of Student
Ministry into an Associate Pastor position.   Over the past few years, two
search committees have worked hard to find a Director of Student Ministry, but
we have been disappointed with the number and the quality of applicatants. 
However, creating and sustaining a vital Youth and Young Adult Ministry at
Grace stands as a top priority in our ReVision Plan.  Session has wrestled with
the gap between our vision and goals and our inability to fill our Director of
Student Ministry position.  Through prayer, conversation, and discernment we
feel called to change the position from Director of Student Ministry to Associate
Pastor.  This will both increase the applicant pool and give us applicants with
greater maturity and training. Adding support for Mission to the duties of this
position will provide support for a ministry area that has been understaffed as
well as a vital link between our youth ministries and our mission efforts.

The position of Associate Pastor will require higher compensation than an
unordained youth director.  We are blessed to have already received a
generous gift that covers the difference in salary for several years between a
Director of Student Ministry (unordained) and a called Associate Pastor.  (Our
current budget includes salary for a Director of Student Ministry.)  This gift
enables us to call and install an Associate Pastor for Youth, Young Adults, and
Mission without adding that salary difference to our budget immediately.

The staffing model needed to fulfill the ReVision Plan will still require us to grow
in generosity, as it includes the newly-filled part-time positions of Director of
Children’s Ministry and Communications Coordinator. For our vision to become
a reality your faithful prayer and generous giving are needed so that we can
fulfill our Mission: To Know Christ and Make Him Known.

Following the 10:30 AM Service on November 19, Session members will
be available for a Q&A in the Chapel.
A Congregational Meeting has been called for December 3rd following
the10:30 AM Service to elect the two search teams.

Together in Christ’s service, 

Mimi Satterthwaite, Clerk      Tom Erwine           Kathryn Limmer
Judy Alexander                     Doug Geer            Don Pizer
Andrew Barnett                     Rob Hudson          Darlene Reeves
Susan Dorshimer                  Philip Kuhl             John Van Buren

September 2017

ReVision Plan Update

We are excited to announce that Session supports the formation of an Associate
Pastor Nominating Committee and has charged the Nominating Team with this
responsibility. The need for a called and installed pastor arose from the work done
in the Mission Study and the desire to seek on-going pastoral support for the
Deacons, Evangelism, educational ministries and Communications. The Mission
Study revealed a desire for evangelism and spiritual growth at Grace within our
Congregation and in our communities. Session, through prayer, deliberation and
discernment, has concluded that a called Associate Pastor will support, among other
things, evangelism outreach.
The Deacons’ are working on several fellowship activities to be held throughout the
year. Stay tuned for announcements about these events.

Cedar Park Partnership

We are working together with Rev Dixon to find an opportunity for a joint
fellowship event; as we work to coordinate schedules, Pastor Sandy and Rev Dixon
are beginning to plan a joint Lenten Study in 2018.

Confirmation

The confirmation class, 2017-18, will begin with a new format in October. Pastor
Sandy, as Interim Youth Director, proposed a more experiential approach to
confirmation that includes a mentor, participation in high school youth group, fewer
confirmation classes, and participation in a mission project.

Save the date: 2018 Annual Meeting is scheduled for January 28th.

With blessings,
Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session
Session members:
Judy Alexander
Andrew Barnett
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Kathryn Limmer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Darlene Reeves
John Van Buren


August 2017

Staff updates
Session is delighted to announce that Kerith Gabriel joined the staff at Grace as Communications Director, a position that was developed as a result of the Mission Study.   Kerith started on August 23rd and he will be working at Grace on Wednesdays.  

Please join us in welcoming Kerith to Grace.

Andrew Cooper announced his resignation to the Chancel Choir and Pastor Sandy is working to fill this position as quickly as possible.  Session will continue to pursue creating a Music Task Force as described in the July Session Highlights. 

ReVision Plan Update

Stay tuned for updates on the ReVision Plan - year two.  A small group consisting of Tom Erwine, Rob Hudson, Philip Kuhl, and Kathryn Limmer will be working on how to roll out the next stages of the ReVision Plan.  

As announced in July, Christianity 101 will be offered this fall and Pastors Hull and Dwyer will lead classes during the Sunday morning Adult Education time. 

Several fellowship activities (new model for the Annual Meeting, a Winter Potluck, Bike with Grace and a softball game and picnic) took place in 2017 and the Deacons will be working on fellowship ideas for this program year.

The Evangelism Task Force continues to meet and will be incorporating costs associated with the proposed improvements at Grace before presenting their findings to Session. This is an exciting time at Grace.

With blessings,
Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session

Session members:
Judy Alexander
Andrew Barnett
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Kathryn Limmer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Darlene Reeves
John Van Buren
 


July 2017

Staff updates

Session is delighted to announce that Kelly Hudson will be the new Director of Children’s Ministry.  This is a new 20hour/week position with responsibility for our church’s programs for children, birth through Grade 5.  Kelly has her degree in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University and worked for three years as a first grade teacher in the Cheltenham school district.  She has been active as a volunteer with Sunday school at Grace.  Kelly’s official start date is September 13, but she will be leading Vacation Bible School in August. 

Please join us in welcoming Kelly to the staff at Grace.

The search team for the Communications Director has narrowed its search and an update on this will be forth coming.
The Search Committee for the Director of Student Ministries has not found a candidate at this time.  The Search Committee will continue its work while Pastor Sandy takes on some of the responsibilities of this position so that the middle and high school students can meet at their regularly scheduled times this fall.

Music Task Force

A Task Force will be created in August to envision the music needs of Grace for worship and evangelism. This Task Force will be charged with hearing from current participants in the music ministry and church members at large to get a feel for what the music program at Grace should look like over the next five years and then making a recommendation to Session before the end of 2017 on their findings.  Session believes this will then provide direction as to how to staff the music program at Grace.

Evangelism Task Force

An Evangelism Task Force began meeting this summer.  The members of this Task Force are Jim Still (chair), Laura DiGiulio, Molly Dorshimer, Carolyn Hirsh, Ned Hull, Pastor Sandy, Maris Lorenz, Thomas McAteer and Darlene Reeves.  This group is looking at how to make Grace more welcoming by reviewing the physical entrances and facilities on the main floor; how we reach out to visitors on a Sunday morning; and, developing areas that need support from a communications director.

Revision Plan Update

Christianity 101 will be offered this fall in several settings.  Pastors Hull and Dwyer will lead classes this fall during the Sunday morning Adult Education time.  Over the course of the year classes will be expanded to include a study of both Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and the Protestant Reformation.

With blessings,
Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session

Session members:
Judy Alexander
Andrew Barnett
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Kathryn Limmer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Darlene Reeves
John Van Buren
 


May 2017

Terms for elders Sara Vernon Sterman and Sandy DiGiulio expired this year and we are grateful for their years of service on session. We welcome new elders, Judy Alexander, Darlene Reeves and Katherine Limmer who will be installed on June 11th.
Team and Committee assignments:
Adult Education - Rob Hudson
Children's Education - Judy Alexander
Evangelism - Darlene Reeves
Mission - Doug Geer
Nominating - Tom Erwine
Personnel - John Van Buren
Property - Andrew Barnett
Stewardship & Administration - Don Pizer
Student Ministry - Philip Kuhl
Worship - Susan Dorshimer
Clerk - Mimi Satterthwaite
Assistant Clerk - Kathryn Limmer

Search teams update
There are currently two search teams in place at Grace: one for the part-time position of Director of Children’s Ministry and one for the full-time position of Director of Student Ministry. Both teams have received several resumes. The Youth Director search team has also begun to interview candidates. Please keep these teams in your prayers.

300th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Presbytery
The Presbytery of Philadelphia is marking its 300th anniversary this year. The year's events will culminate in a celebration at Enon Tabernacle on Saturday, Oct. 7 (save the date!!)  As part of commemorating this anniversary, the Presbytery is seeking to raise $300,000 to support eight mission initiatives in our midst that are striving to interrupt the “school-to- prison pipeline” among young people.  The Session discussed how Grace might participate.   Please take a look at the Presbytery’s website for more details: http://presbyphl.org/300-mission-campaign/

Revision Plan Update
Christianity 101:
Rob Hudson and the Evangelism Team have selected a curriculum and text for teaching Christianity 101. Pastors Hull and Dwyer will lead the classes this fall.  Classes will be offered during the Sunday morning Adult Education time this September.

Evangelism
Session received a report from Pastor Sandy regarding evangelism at Grace. Pastor Sandy has been meeting with Jim Still, a long-time member of Grace, to develop a plan for evangelism at Grace. After much thought and prayer they have drafted a plan with a broad view of evangelism from how we welcome visitors and incorporate new members to how to make our facilities easier to navigate to person-to- person growth (beginning with Christianity 101.)

With blessings,
Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session

Session members:
Andrew Barnett
Sandy DiGiulio
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Sara Vernon Sterman
John Van Buren


April 2017

Youth Ministry Update
A Search Team (Patty Cline, leader, Jessica Barnett, Josh Jablonski, Sandi Kuhl, Tom Stoudt) for the Director of Student Ministries, has been established and they have already started receiving resumes.  Session is grateful to the advisors for the Middle and High School students; we are blessed to have them step up in their roles as leaders in the youth program making it possible for the remaining weeks of regularly scheduled activities to take place as planned.  Plans for the summer mission trips are well underway.  Kathleen Geer is handling registration for the trips and Pastor Sandy is working on recruitment of adult leaders.  Please come out and support the youth mission trips by attending the (adult only) Grace Presbyterian Spring Social on Friday, May 05, 2017 from 6:30 PM - 11:00 PM at the home of Kip and DeAnna Schaefer.

Revision Plan Update

Good News for Sharing:
Rob Hudson and the Evangelism Team are working on selecting a curriculum and text for teaching Christianity 101.   The Team is also ironing out the details of when and where the teaching will occur.    Session supports this effort to help us grow as disciples within Grace as well as outside of Grace.

Session and the Evangelism Team are excited about the Deacons’ new Parish Plan that offers an opportunity for Deacons to connect with all members.   Check your snail mail for a post card and listen to your voicemail as the Deacons begin reaching out to you in the Grace community.

Improving Communications:
A Communications Task Force, comprised of Philip Kuhl, Don Pizer, Lil Swanson and John Van Buren, has been established to develop a position description for a part-time communications position and assess if this is feasible at this time.  An outcome of their conversations was a recommendation to hold a Communications Workshop (date to be determined.)  Participants in the workshop will include Office Staff, Team Liaisons and others involved in creating content.

With blessings,
Mimi Satterthwaite
Clerk of Session
 
Session members:
Andrew Barnett
Sandy DiGiulio
Susan Dorshimer
Tom Erwine
Doug Geer
Rob Hudson
Philip Kuhl
Don Pizer
Sara Vernon Sterman
John Van Buren