Leading a Church through Transformation: Our churches are in an era of decline. Pastors and lay leaders know they have to change, but how do they do this in the face of such stubborn resistance? Leading congregations through transformation feels dangerous because of the anxiety and conflict it evokes. Based on his 25 years of experiences and research on leading declining churches through healthy revitalization and growth, Rev. Dr. Graham Standish will explore ways of identifying a church’s DNA, reducing congregational resistance, cultivating creativity, and promoting congregational acceptance. Rev. Dr. Standish is the author of numerous books on congregational transformation. He is the executive director of Samaritan and runs its Clergy and Congregational Care program. The program is offered on October 24 and 31 and November 7 from 9 am to 11:30 am at Sewickley Presbyterian Church, 414 Grant Street, Sewickley, PA 15143. The cost is $60 and covers all three sessions. To register, please call Beth at 412-741-7430 x 1001.
Erie County CROP Walk: The annual Erie County CROP Hunger Walk is on Sunday, September 23, starting from the Beach 1 Parking Lot at Presque Isle State Park. The CROP Walk raises funds to address the problem of hunger and poverty, both locally and around the world. Last year more than $55,000 was raised. Registration begins as 12:30 p.m. and the Walk kicks-off at 2:00 p.m. Walk materials – posters, sponsor envelopes, yard signs, etc. – can be picked up at Lamb of God Lutheran Church (606 E. 38th Street) or Luther Memorial Church (225 West 10th); please call ahead to make sure the church office will be open. Presbyterian churches have long been leaders in the number of walkers and funds raised and, hopefully, this year will be no exception. If you have any questions, please contact CROP Coordinator Jim Haas at 833-2053.
Please join us in welcoming Josh Heikkila to the Presbytery of Lake Erie September 16 and 17, 2018. Josh is the West Africa Regional Liaison of the PCUSA World Mission. He is the Mission Co-worker in Ghana and also reaches out to Niger, Togo, Liberia and Nigeria. Josh has been a tremendous partner in helping to establish, maintain and encourage the Presbytery of Lake Erie’s Partnership with the Upper Northern Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. He again is reaching out to visit us in person, to share news from Ghana and the mission work of the global Church, and his new Wheels!
Our Presbytery, congregations and individuals have contributed to Josh’s support and to the Ghana Partnership. You are invited to hear how and where your support is making an impact. You’ll also get an update on our friend Ruth Brown, the new Mission Co-worker living in Saboba near the Wapuli Health Clinic.
There are Several Opportunities to Meet Josh.
He will be preaching at the First Presbyterian Church of North East,on, September 16 at 10:30 am. On Monday, September 17, there is a lunch gathering at Meadville First Presbyterian Church from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Also on Monday, September 17 there is a dinner gathering at the First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Please consider attending even if you can’t be there for the whole time. Meals are provided. Contact Donna Cammarata at 814-873-4860 or [email protected] to RSVP which helps for preparing, but last minute guests are welcome too. Also contact Donna if you would like to arrange another meeting time with Josh.Help grow and strengthen our Ghana Partnership in the Presbytery of Lake Erie by representing your congregation and sharing with them the stories and messages from Josh, our brother in Christ.
Erie County CROP Walk: The annual Erie County CROP Walk begins at 2:00 p.m on Sunday, September 23, at the Beach 1 parking lot. The CROP Walk raises funds to address the problems of hunger and poverty, both locally and around the world. Last year more than $55,000 was raised. Registration begins as 12:30 p.m. and the walk kicks-off at 2:00 p.m. Walk materials – posters, sponsor envelopes, yard signs, etc. – can be picked up at Lamb of God Lutheran Church (606 E. 38th Street) or Luther Memorial Church (225 West 10th); please call ahead to make sure the church office will be open.Presbyterian churches have long been leaders in number of walkers and funds raised and, hopefully, this year will be no exception. If you have any questions, please contact CROP Coordinator, Jim Haas at 833-2053.
Thank You Donors: August 14 was a red letter day for Presbyterian Churches in Erie County. Seven Presbyterian Churches participated in Erie Gives Day and nearly $225,000 was generated for ministry through gifts to these seven congregations. In addition to the money given, there will be a ‘match’ of money which will likely generate another $12,000 or $14,000 combined to the participating churches. A total of 36 congregations were among the 381 non-profits who participated in Erie Gives Day on August 14, 2018. By ‘Amount Given’ to churches the Presbyterian congregations were 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 13th, 23rd and 26th in gifts given. On the list of ‘By Number of Donors’ the Girard Church was second among the 36 churches with a total of 114 donors. Presbyterians, and many others, stepped forward to make a difference in the life of the Girard Church! And Wayside Church was third in total number of donors to churches. The Kingdom of God has been built through your gifts! Thank you!
Summer wouldn’t be summer without providing our children with the opportunity to experience Vacation Bible School. The Garland Presbyterian Church is a small congregation with about twenty families. But this small church has a big heart! Vacation Bible School at Garland was celebrated July 28-29. This year the theme was Jungle Safari 4 (God is Savior). Eleven children participated in this VBS program that was held over a weekend and included a picnic luncheon in the pavilion at the close of our Sunday program. All was a big success.
Music week at Camp Lambec ended with a wonderful concert on July 13! The second week of July ended with an outstanding musical concert at Camp Lambec! This was a wonderful event for those in attendance. Nearly 100 musicians, grades 3 to 12, played their instruments and used their voices to the glory of God in the Friday evening concert. Pray with the youth of our churches as they learn to love Jesus!
Camp Lambec Water Project Gifts are Flowing in and Showing the Giving Nature of Our Churches: In the summer of 2016 the Camp Board began working with the Department of Environmental Protection to reconfigure the piping from the pond (the permitted water source). This project is estimated to cost $100,000. Your presbytery wants to partner with your congregation to help, as well as double your money. Any money that is given by Lake Erie Presbytery churches now through August 31st will be matched up to $5,000. Mark the gift as ‘Lambec water project’ and send to the presbytery office. As of today the Presbytery has received $8,121.50 from churches and individuals. A check for $13,121.50 is already being sent. Of course the more money received the better it will be! Your gifts make a difference!
Seed Money Projects: The Harmonsburg Church used their seed money to host a workshop for the community. They did a “Make-It-Take It” soap and lip balm workshop. Sounds like a fun way to spend time with others and get to know new people. On June 29, the Waterford Church used their seed money to put on a free Outdoor Community Movie Night! Popcorn and water were provided and a group gathered on the church lawn to watch the movie “Sing!” The Rocky Grove Presbyterian Church used their “seed money” of $214 to host a fun day in October 2016 for area children called “Kid’s Treasurefest.” Fun was had bobbing for apples, painting and decorating pumpkins and “gobbling” up hot dogs, chips, cookies and Kool-Aid. Each child was given a bag full of goodies, including a 30-day devotional booklet, a teddy bear and invitation to join us in worship. Another event in June 2018, called the “End-of-School Event,” included contests of watermelon eating, “whipped cream” pie eating and digging for treasure (coins) in the sand. Lunch was again served and a bag of school supplies was given to each child.*If your church has not been featured please share your story with the Presbytery office. We love hearing about the great things the churches have been doing with their “Seed Money.”
Big Project Underway: Endeavor Presbyterian Church in Forest County has broken ground on a big project that includes an all access restroom for those with disabilities. Pastor Roger Snyder reports this long awaited project is underway. “We have installed the holding tank, including running electric to the warning/empty tank signal. We have also run the lines and electric from the well to the church! God is good, excuse me, I mean great! I have claustrophobia, but God was right next to me in the old, dirty, spider webby crawlspace that we have been running the plumbing through! I actually experienced “Though I work through the darkness of the valley of the crawlspace, I feared no evil… for God was with me!!!” Endeavor Presbyterian is one of the smaller churches in this presbytery – but they have a big heart for their community. There will be more to come on this project.
When asked about Rev. Morse reaching his 50th anniversary of serving God and his people, PLE Head Presbyter Dr. David Oyler said “Pastor Steve Morse has a passion for the Gospel and a love of the church! He has lived nearly half of his 50 years of ordained ministry in Erie County. Called to serve the Westminster Presbyterian Church, he began his ministry there on September 1, 1993. In those intervening years he has served at Westminster, First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, Westfield, NY, and Eastminster Churches. In every situation I have found Steve to be a wise churchman in the very best sense of the word. He has the heart of a pastor, and is empathetic to those who are in need. He seeks to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel in his sermons and his actions. He deeply understands the covenantal connections of being bound together with other believers. Unceasingly Steve will extend his wisdom in the church he is currently serving and also with brothers and sisters in neighboring congregations. He has served in this presbytery with great energy, intelligence, imagination and love.”
Ruth Brown, mission co-worker of the PCUSA, visited the Presbytery of Lake Erie June 1-4. Ruth will be deployed to northern Ghana in the summer of 2018 to work with Community Health Evangelism. She visited with a number of church leaders across our presbytery, including this evening camp fire meeting at Garland, where she told of God’s work and where God is leading her into the future.
The members of the Hasson Heights Church in Oil City decided an auction would be a great way to help support the presbytery wide mission trip and to have a fun time.
The great auction at Hasson Heights Church, in Oil City was held on April 29! Following worship members, neighbors and friends gathered for a meal and then the auction got underway. There was spirited bidding, thanks to the leadership of the auctioneer and assistant. Hundreds of dollars were raised for the presbytery mission trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina in June. A great time was had by all!
Garden of Edin Tour:The First Presbyterian Church of Edinboro’s “Garden of Edin” is currently featured on the Synod website in celebration of the fourth season of providing for the community. This project continues to be very successful. Click on the link below for a feature story about how the garden started as an idea and is now supported by the whole community:
Seed Money Update:Lake City Presbyterian Church used their $214 to make some much needed upgrades to the church community recycling trailer. They are helping to save the environment one plastic bottle at a time. At New Hope Presbyterian Church, $214in “Seed Money” is helping to let their garden grow. They purchased garden boxes for their community garden.
Wheels for Joshua & Update on Ghana Partnership: The amazing members of the Presbytery have donated $6469.97 and an additional $3,740.00 from outside the Presbytery. This means that $23,949.97 has been raised for Josh Heikkila to purchase a vehicle to continue his mission in Ghana. Here’s another story about our developing partnership with our sisters and brothers in Ghana, click on Faith & Friendship. In addition, here is a great video about Ghana produced by Brian Miller of Harborcreek and now a resident of New York City about our most recent trip to Ghana, click on Ghana Mission
Habitat Summer Build: The Greater Erie Area Habitat for Humanity ‘faith build’ this summer will be the House of Renewal. The build will take place from June 5-23. Things will be a little bit different this year as this is a rehab project and we will work only half-days during the week (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday) and either half- or full-days on each Saturday of the build. If you know of individuals or groups within your church that are interested, please pass the word along. To reserve work slots please contact the Habitat Office at 814-454-7025 as soon as possible, about half the slots are already filled.
Welcome To The Memory Cafe: Wayside Presbyterian Church is offering what amounts to a very special time of fellowship on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. They have opened “The Memory Cafe.” This special fellowship time is for those with Alzheimer’s, related dementias and their care givers. The Memory Cafe is an opportunity for those with memory loss and their care givers to get together with others who are experiencing the same issues and concerns, and serves a support group. The Presbyterian Outlook has profiled this program at Wayside, to read the complete article clink on this link: Welcome To The Memory Cafe
Montreat Youth Conferences: The Presbytery of Lake Erie is taking groups to the Montreat Youth (high school youth currently in grades 8-12) Conference July 7-14 held at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, NC and the Montreat Middle School (youth currently in grades 5 -8) Conference July 17-22 held at Maryville College in Maryville, TN. For more information, including cost, please contact Katherine Randall at [email protected] or 814-558-4453. Even if you have just one youth, we’d love for them to join us! For more information; http://www.montreat.org/attend/youth-young-adults/ and https://www.youtube.com/montreatdotorg.
Seed Money Put To Good Use in Fairview and Oil City: The Church of The Cross in Fairview has used their $214 in “Seed Money”to invite and welcome new comers to their church. They purchased a banner to create a warm and welcoming invite to those within the community. They also purchased gift card and bread loaf ingredients to give to those who ventured into see what they had to offer. In Oil City, Second Presbyterian has used their “Seed Money” of $214 to sponsor a child from Haiti. They reached across the world to help make a difference in a child’s life.
Great News On Sacrificial Giving For 2017: You are wonderfully faithful givers! You give of your time! You give of your compassion! You serve the cause of Christ in your community! And you also give to global witness through the Presbyterian Church. Some love statistics. And some of you don’t love statistics. Statistics do not tell the entire ‘story’ – but they do paint part of the picture. There is much to celebrate in your faithful ministry to the global church. Below you will see some of the story of your giving in 2017:
Number of churches contributing Amount given
One Great Hour of Sharing 43 $29,086
Pentecost 15 $ 2,701
Peace and Global Witness 12 $ 1,145
Christmas Joy 23 $ 9,661
Hunger 1 $ 2,272
Theological Education Fund 7 $ 2,050
Special Offerings 6 $ 2,273
Special offerings include additional gifts for hurricane relief, etc. Great job! In addition to your faithful support in your local congregation, you provided nearly $50,000 ‘off budget!’
Annual Statistics Report
Thank you to all of you who have spent time this winter compiling statistics for this annual report. Thank you to treasurers, church secretaries, Clerks of Session, pastors and others! Your work helps to paint a larger picture of God’s faithful work in each congregation. Of course, numbers do not tell the entire story but they are one indication of faithful witness and work in our communities. Thank you! Here are the highlights:
- A total of 14 churches had a net gain in membership.
- The Linesville Church had the largest net gain in membership – increasing from 49 to 57 members – for a net gain of 8.
- The Endeavor Church had the largest percentage increase in membership – 80%! An increase from 5 to 9 members.
- There were 66 infant baptisms and 5 adult baptisms celebrated in the Presbytery of Lake Erie in 2017.
- Six of the 58 congregations average more than 100 in worship on a typical Sunday.
- Giving from all sources was just about identical to 2016.
The relationships you build and the discipleship you encourage helps to build the Kingdom of God. May God be praised!
Plan Now for the June Work Mission Trip: Volunteers are needed for this year’s Presbytery of Lake Erie Work Mission Trip. The destination is Fayetteville, North Carolina from Sunday, June 17 through Saturday, June 23, 2018. to aid with hurricane recovery efforts. Congregations throughout the Presbytery are asked to prayerfully consider how they can support this effort. Click here for more info, June 2018 Presbytery of Lake Erie Work Mission Trip
Seed Money at Work in North Shenango and Girard: North Shenango Presbyterian Church used their $214 to start a Whiffle Ball League. What a great way to engage your community to get together and have some fun. Girard Presbyterian Church used the “Seed Money” of $214 to bring the community together for a Trunk- or-Treat Fun Fest. Families were invited to a fun and safe place to enjoy fun, food, and fellowship.
One Great Hour of Sharing: The season of giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) is rapidly approaching. As your church considers faithful giving to this special offering in the Easter season it may be helpful to learn about how your neighboring churches participate in this offering. In Lake Erie Presbytery:
- 43 out of 58 congregations received this offering in 2017 (an increase from 41 churches in 2016).
- Lake Erie Presbytery gave slightly above the national average per member OGHS. The denominational average was $3.76. Lake Erie Presbytery, on average, gave $3.80 per member.
- The Mill Village Church gave the highest amount per member; Tidioute was second; Kane third.
- A total of 8 congregations – Fairview, Harmonsburg, Kane, Mill Village, Port Allegany, Ripley, Tidioute and Tionesta – all gave more than $10 per member.
As your church prepares to receive the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering you are encouraged to use the materials provided by the denomination and be creative! Your gifts make a difference!
The Warm it Forward Project: First Presbyterian Church of Bradford has initiated a multi-generational, community-wide project, called “Warm It Forward.” This project provides hats, gloves, mittens, coats, scarves, and blankets to our neighbors. We appreciate the partnership of other groups, as we work to broaden this effort across our community and raise awareness of homelessness and poverty. Articles of warmth are placed on a clothesline on our church lawn during the coldest months and anyone in need can pick-up what they need.
What “Seed Money is Doing in the Presbytery: The First Presbyterian Church of Mill Village has used their $214 to purchase supplies for their youth group. They have 20 kids participating in youth group this year. In Erie, Eastminster Presbyterian Church used its “Seed Money” of $214 to purchase vegetable seeds for the community garden hosted by the church. The garden is being worked by Bhutanese refugees who live in the nearby John E. Horan Garden Apartments, which is owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Erie.
Maintenance Person Wanted: The Board of Directors of the Camping Association of the Presbyteries of Northwestern Pennsylvania (CAPNWP) is seeking to hire a maintenance person for Camp Lambec in North Springfield, PA. Must have skills to do plumbing repairs, electrical, building repairs, maintenance on equipment, mow grass and weed-whack, operate water treatment system and follow all DEP and/or Health Department laws and regulations regarding the use and testing of Camp Lambec’s drinking water. The position runs March through October. Interested persons should call CAPNWP Board Member Bob Meanor at (724) 375-5926 between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Save The Date: Spring Gathering of the Presbyterian Women of Lake Erie This Gathering is on Saturday April 28, 2018. The theme this spring is “Arise, Shine, Your Light Has Come!” The keynote speaker is the internationally acclaimed storyteller- Tracy Radosevic! The Gathering will be at Wayside Presbyterian Church. Please mark your calendars now to SAVE THE DATE! Tracy is a dynamic, energetic, internationally acclaimed storyteller, educator,and retreat facilitator. Since 1991 she has traveled all over the United States, as well as to several foreign countries, bringing her special brand of humor,insight, and faith to audiences of all ages through the power of narrative. She will be performing many biblical stories for us, all centering on our theme”Arise, Shine, Your Light has Come.” If you have any questions contact Moderator Karen Haas at 814-833-2053.
Wilderness Canoe Trip/Study Leave: Greetings! Howard Gaston, former pastor at Oil City, Second Church, is again leading a wilderness canoe trip/study leave experience in late September 2018. Over the years several pastors from Lake Erie have participated in this week long venture in Christian community. Check out the details. Consider participating. If you would like to know more you could contact Howard Gaston or speak to Jamie Fowler who has participated in this trip several times.Click on this link to learn more about this opportunity Pastor’s Canoe Trip
Most of us are going to remember the winter of 2017-2018 for many years to come. Head Presbyter – Dr. David Oyler – has written to the Synod about our record snowfall in December and other delightful facts about Erie this winter. Really its not as bad as the national media would have us all believe. As Dr. Olyler explains we are more than capable of maneuvering around with 56 inches of snow on the ground. Click this link for the complete story http://www.syntrinity.org/featured/churches-persevere-despite-massive-snow-in-erie-pa/
Wheels for Joshua, PCUSA Ghana Mission Co-Worker: Lake Erie Presbytery is taking the lead in raising funds to provide a durable and reliable vehicle for Josh Heikkila. Josh travels extensively in Ghana and to neighboring countries of Niger, Togo and Nigeria in his work and ministries. The Presbytery is committing an initial $5,000 and will match funds contributed within the Lake Erie Presbytery (up to $5,000). Funds will be matched between now and March 31, 2018. Josh continues to be a vital partner in the Lake Erie Ghana Partnership. Will you go the extra mile to help Josh go the extra miles? Please consider contributing and/or creatively raising funds for this mission. Contributions may be sent to: The Presbytery of Lake Erie, 2816 Elmwood Ave, Erie, PA 16508 – mark for VEHICLE for Josh Heikkila. Or go to the Donate Button on the home page of this website to make a contribution online.
‘Unglued Church Project’ Begins in January! Your Committee on Ministry is inviting your congregation to participate in a strategic conversation. It is called ‘Unglued Church Project’. It is particularly designed for congregations who find themselves saying ‘My, things are not as they once were.’ (That probably includes every single congregation.) It will involve focused conversation, uniquely designed individually for each participating church. It is not designed to sell a predetermined conclusion. The startup for Unglued Church is Saturday, January 20. Want to know more? Check with your pastor or Clerk of Session as they have more information about this splendid opportunity to engage the future.
Communion Ware Wanted for Mission Work in Columbia:Does your church have any old communion ware (for bread and cups) and any robes and stoles for the pastors’ just collecting dust in closet? Fairview Church of the Cross is looking to help a mission group going to Colombia to assist the Presbyterian Church. They have recently asked for these items that could be most helpful in their circumstances. They are unable to afford such items, therefore any help is greatly appreciated. If you can help call the Fairview church of the Cross church office at 814-835-3663.
Seed Money At Work in Adamsville and Belle Valley: The Seed Money given by the Presbytery in the amount of $214 was used by the Adamsville Church to enhance their worship services. They took the money and purchased new computers. They are now able to use this screen during worship and offer more exploration and discovery, new resources and discussions of faith. At the Belle Valley Presbyterian Church, they used their $214 to spread the word. Each member was given a $5 gift card to take someone out for coffee. They took this time to have a meaningful conversation and to share one’s faith.
On Sunday, November 19, 2017 four young people completed Confirmation class and joined the First Presbyterian Church of Waterford. The four confirmands helped lead worship. Our new confirmands are pictured on the right. Congratulations!
One of the key partners in the initial stages of the Lake Erie/Upper Northern Presbytery partnership has been the Rev. David Bindati. His tragic and untimely death in late 2016 had an impact on many. However, the partnership continues with his family. Here his widow receives a check from their friends in Lake Erie Presbytery to aid in the raising of her family. Your gifts build bridges!
Please pray for those affected by the recent hurricanes to hit the United States. Are you wondering what you might be able to do to help? The Presbytery Disaster Assistance fund is already making plans to help the Presbytery communities that have been devastated by these hurricanes. Donations can be made on this website. Just go to the home page and find the DONATE button give or you can mail a monetary donation to the Presbytery office at 2816 Elmwood Avenue, Erie PA 16508.
If you would like to learn more about hurricane relief efforts through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance click on this link: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/compassion-peace-justice/pda/
Mission Trip Opportunities!
The Mission Committee of the First Presbyterian Church in Meadville is sponsoring a mission trip to La Gonave Hospital in Haiti. We’re looking for a surgeon, a nurse anesthetist, nurses and others willing to work. The trip will be led by Helen Jacobson, who has worked at the hospital as a nurse practitioner for 14 years. It will be a week-long trip in November of 2017. Does such an endeavor interest you? Do you know someone else who might be interested? If so, please contact Mary at the Meadville First church office at 814-333-2161.
Friends in Christ,
With gratitude to God, and in light of the promise of the resurrection, I am compelled to inform you of the death of Rev. Stephen Cahoon on October 21, 2017. Steve served the Harborcreek Church from 2008 to 2013, at which time he went on medical disability as he addressed health issues surrounding Parkinson’s disease. While at Harborcreek his wife taught in the Harborcreek Church Preschool. In most recent years he and his wife Marie have lived with their daughter in northern Virginia.
Steve was ordained in September 1987, having just achieved 30 years of ordained ministry. The majority of his ministry was celebrated within the bounds of Beaver-Butler Presbytery prior to his arrival at Harborcreek. Steve is survived by his wife Marie and his three adult children – Ken, Katie and Karen. Steve and Marie resided with their daughter Katie and her husband Chris who became parents to Steve’s first grandchild earlier this year. Alan is six months old.
A service to honor Rev. Steve Cahoon’s life is tentatively scheduled for December 2. As more information is available it will be shared with Steve’s colleagues in Lake Erie Presbytery. Thanks be to God for the life and ministry of Rev. Steve Cahoon.
With our Deepest Sympathy, Presbytery of Lake Erie Staff
Condolences can be sent to Marie Cahoon at: 92 Eisentown Dr. Lovettsville, VA 20180