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Mid Council Relations Newsletter

OGA Survey, Tom’s retiring! … and more …

August 5, 2019

From Tricia Dykers Koenig, Associate Stated Clerk
Associate Director for Mid Council Relations, Office of the General Assembly, 502.322.0903, 502.569.8360

The Office of the General Assembly invites you to celebrate the faithful ministry and 40th ordiversary of the Reverend Dr. Thomas D. Hay, Associate Stated Clerk, who will retire from his service to the General Assembly as the Director of Assembly Operations, on Friday, September 6, 2019, 2:00–3:30 pm eastern time, at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

We welcome and look forward to receiving your congratulatory expressions, notes of appreciation, and words of encouragement. Please feel free to be creative!

Video greetings may be submitted by uploading your video to a service like YouTube, OneDrive, Dropbox, Vimeo, and sending the link to us.

Please send your RSVP and submissions by August 23, 2019 to or by mail to Kris Valerius, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville KY 40202-1396.

Room blocks are available September 5–8, 2019 at:

  • Hampton Inn Louisville Downtown, $135 USD per night (includes, breakfast, parking, and airport shuttle), book online or call 502.585.2200.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites Louisville Downtown, $119 USD per night, book online.
Book by August 13, 2019 and reference the group name TOM HAY RETIREMENT.

OGA Priorities Survey

As one component of the Office of the General Assembly’s strategic planning process, we are conducting an online survey to help us learn about Presbyterians’ current understanding of the work we currently do, as well as thoughts about our priorities going forward. Note that the survey is both for those who are familiar with OGA as well as those who may have little or no knowledge—part of the purpose is to discover how well OGA is understood across the church.

Please complete the survey yourself and share it with your members and congregations with encouragement for them to participate. Here’s the link to share: The survey closes on August 19.

ASC/AMCL Conference: A message from the planning team

Come, explore, and learn at the annual ASC/AMCL conference from October 20–21 in Baltimore, following the Mid Council Leaders Gathering event. We’ll be exploring, “Transition at Play—Choosing Joy in the Midst of Change,” as we partner together in these interesting days in the life of our church and our world.

Registration, which is a part of registering for MCLG, will open next week and close September 6. There will be workshops, introductions of new people in our midst, and opportunities for rest and renewal. If you also attend the MCLG event, travel is covered by funding for that. There will be presbytery staff, synod staff, stated clerks, and our partners from the BOP, OGA, and PMA present as we learn together in these days of change. The conference fee is $200. We look forward to seeing you there!

Read more details …

More on MCLG

As mentioned above, registration for the Mid Council Leaders Gathering opens next week. You should use the registration link on the MCLG page only if you are not one of the two persons designated from your council to receive the subsidized fee. If you are a designated primary attendee as reported to BOP/OGA, you will receive an email with a personalized registration link, so do not use the public link.

When you register for MCLG and/or the AMCL/ASC Conference, you will have an opportunity to pay your annual AMCL and/or ASC dues.

Moderators’ Conference

Reminder: The conference for presbytery and synod moderators[-elect] will be held at the Brown Hotel in Louisville November 21–23, beginning with a reception Thursday evening and concluding late Saturday afternoon. Most participants should plan to stay over Saturday night and depart Sunday; if your moderator is a pastor, perhaps you might offer to fill the pulpit that day.

Please pass along the details to the appropriate person in your council, noting that presbyteries eligible for scholarship aid must arrange for the reduced fee prior to registering. Expect registration to open in early September.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope

Stewardship Kaleidoscope: September 30–October 2, San Diego, California

Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the PC(USA) annual stewardship conference, will feature keynote leaders Melissa Spas (from the Lake Institute) and Eric Law (Author of Holy Currencies: 6 Blessings for Sustainable Missional Ministries). Diane Moffett (Executive Director of PMA) will be preaching. There are also more than thirty workshops. Find flyers available on the website that can be used to promote this conference with your congregations. There are still scholarships available.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Overtures to the 224th General Assembly (2020)

This year begins a new process for submitting overtures to the assembly, with all files submitted in PC-Biz via the Stated Clerk’s Portal. Keep an eye out for more information on how to access the submission form in early September. If you have any questions, contact Kate Trigger Duffert.

Rejoicing Together

Join the rest of OGA in celebrating with the Office of Immigration Issues that an immigrant pastor has finally received his green card after two years. Alleluia!

Regarding: Ruling Elders

re: RE

Did you know that the archive of “Regarding: Ruling Elders” resources is available in Spanish, Korean, and English via the Equip PC(USA) site? This is one of the first of what will be a growing collection in E4U: Self-Enrollment Training Opportunities that will require no permission to access.

This Month in Per Capita …

Just a few of the ministries enabled by your per capita giving that are taking place this month:

  • Big Tent
  • General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission meeting
  • Collecting and analyzing information from the Church Leadership Connection survey as in one step in the project of overhauling CLC
  • Polity training for various Korean-speaking councils

Get to Know [Your Area]

The Pastors in Transition Workgroup of the Presbytery of Detroit is hosting a bus tour of city churches and ministry opportunities for its members. The bus will travel to several congregations to have conversations with the pastors, as well as affording the chance to see different areas of the city, learn about a new public school program, and speak with a seminary president. Lunch will include conversation, reflection, and prayer.


The Spiritual Leader Development Commission of the Presbytery of Baltimore is encouraging pastors to take advantage of coaching, including offering financial support.

Great Ends of the Church Hymn Festival

Intrigued by Brad Munroe’s Six Great Ends of the Church project? Mission engagement advisor and frequent PC(USA) event musician, Bill McConnell, has offered a way to celebrate in song, “Singing the Great Ends of the Church.”

Parent Loans

Parent Loans

With zero fees and 6 percent interest, the PC(USA) Parent Loan could save families more than $500 in the first year on a $10,000 loan, compared with Federal Parent Plus Loan fees and interest. And while assisting with college expenses, it also gives back; interest paid on PC(USA) Parent Loans help fund Presbyterian student loan forgiveness for pastors. Please help spread the word throughout your mid council, and help your folks apply by September 1.

Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence

Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence

How does gun violence affect individuals, families, and communities? What can we do to reduce it? With both stories and statistics, Trigger addresses these crucial questions.

Anyone who has Amazon Prime now has free access to David Barnhart’s documentary—one of the films from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Story Productions. Those without a Prime membership can rent or buy Trigger from Amazon. Please consider leaving a review on the Amazon site to broaden the reach and impact of the film.

We can’t wait until tragedy strikes our own community to act. Presbyteries and congregations may wish to host screenings that can spur discussion and action. Here’s a poster to aid in publicity and a study guide and action guide to go deeper.

<i>First Reading</i>

“First Reading”—A Podcast Resource for Preachers

You might want to alert the pastors and educators in your presbytery: Rachel Wrenn and Tim McNinch (Old Testament PhD students at Emory University) have designed “First Reading” to help preachers and other lovers of Scripture get a handle on the richness of the Old Testament readings in the Revised Common Lectionary. Each week, they provide some literary and historical background, discuss Hebrew linguistic tidbits, help in hurdling any preaching pitfalls in the text, and offer a couple of potential preaching angles to spark ideas for sermons. Weekly episodes are generally about ten minutes, but once each month, Rachel and Tim invite leading Old Testament scholars to join them for a deeper dive (about forty-five minutes). Episodes air on the website and in the Apple podcast app (and other podcast repositories) two weeks ahead of the lectionary date. Find “First Reading” here or subscribe wherever you get podcasts.

Where Are the Co-Moderators?

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri

  • August 1–5, Big Tent and after-meetings
  • September 3–5, Columbia Seminary Convocation

Cindy Kohlmann

  • August 1–5, Big Tent and after-meetings
  • August 6–8, Presbyterians for Earth Care, Stony Point
  • August 16–18, Presbyteries of Homestead and Missouri River Valley
  • September 2–4, Presbytery of Eastminster
  • September 4–9, Western Colorado

Ministry Position Openings

Manager for Call Process Support—Office of the General Assembly

With Jihyun Oh’s appointment as director of Mid Council Ministries, one of her first tasks is to search for her replacement as manager for call process support; and one of the new manager’s tasks will be to continue working with the project of redesigning the Church Leadership Connection. Please share the position description and bring it to the attention of persons who would be assets on the staff of the OGA.

Interim General Presbyter—A message from the Presbytery of Cincinnati

The Presbytery of Cincinnati is seeking an interim general presbyter to guide us into our vision of strengthening and supporting our churches and communities. The full position description is attached or can be found on the presbytery website. We will accept applications at through August 23. Please feel free to email with any questions or for further information regarding the position.

Your council’s position listed upon request.

224th General Assembly (2020) Deadlines

The 224th General Assembly (2020) will be in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 20–27, 2020. Deadlines for the assembly are:

  • 180-day:  December 23, 2019 (report Commissioners and YAADs to OGA)
  • 120-day:  February 21, 2020 (amendment to/interpretation of Book of Order; reports to the assembly)
  • 60-day:  April 21, 2020 (overtures with financial implications)
  • 45-day:  May 6, 2020 (all other overtures, comments)
  • 30-day:  May 21, 2020 (consultation with affected entities)

Conference Dates

Are you doing something in your presbytery or synod from which others might learn? You have a standing invitation to send me articles to share.

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