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Downloadable pdf versions available when indicated.


Opening The Doors...

  Opening the doors

Opening the doors

Traveling Together

  Traveling Together

Traveling Together

Proposed Docket

Click here for pdf version of proposed docket.

Elizabeth Presbyterian Church
Saturday, August 11, 2018
325 S. Banner St.
Elizabeth, CO 80107

Wifi login: Sanctuary        Password: meetandwalk

8:30 a.m.    Registration begins - Please sign in at the Registration Table

8:30 a.m.    Light Breakfast and Fellowship

9:20 a.m.     Announcements    
9:30 a.m.    Presbytery Assembly Convenes                    
Call to Order and Opening Prayer ~ Wanda Beauman        
Welcome to Elizabeth ~ Bruce Spear and RE Commissioners Pat Russell and Marc Grivas
Assembly Business:

    Welcome to new ruling elder commissioners and corresponding members ~ Wanda Beauman

Omnibus Motion ~ Wanda Beauman
Assembly at Worship             
In order that we might celebrate the diversity of our congregations, worship has been designed by and will be led by our host church. Therefore, you may experience something that is unfamiliar or different from how you experience worship in your home church.  Help us to celebrate this diversity in our Presbytery as we worship together today.    

General Assembly Commissioners ~ Olivia Hudson Smith
    Georgia Comstock – Mission Coordination
    Jason Whitehead – Peacemaking, Immigration and International

Treasurer's Report ~ John Boettiger

Interim Pastor Search Committee ~ Bruce Spear
Council Reports                                        

     Long Term Initiatives ~ Chris Wineman

     Leadership ~ Dee Cooper

General Assembly Commissioners                                         
    Claire Wineman – Mid Councils
    Ruth McCollum Huff - Church Polity and Ordered Ministry

Council Reports continued

        Finance and Property  ~ Keith Moore
Council recommends to the Presbytery to authorize Providence to pursue purchase of the property at 9037 Patty Lane, Parker, CO contingent on a plan of use that does not have negative tax implications for Providence.  
Council recommends to Presbytery that Providence be approved to apply for a PILP loan with the Presbytery as guarantor and to approve Council to act on behalf of Presbytery to approve the loan subject to the workgroup’s recommendation of approval of PILP’s underwriting.  

         Racial Ethnic Diversity ~ John Yu

        Immigration Task Force  ~ Dee Cooper

Partnership of Zimbabwe & Denver Presbyteries ~ Rob Habiger

Presbyterian Women ~ Starr Hildebrand

Committee on Ministry ~ Sandy Safford 

Stated Clerk Report  ~ Olivia Hudson Smith

Click here for pdf version of the Omnibus.


The Omnibus Motion is a process intended to speed action on routine or non-controversial matters.  Any item may be withdrawn from the omnibus motion upon request of any member of the assembly. Items remaining are adopted without discussion when the motion is approved. Items from committees or other reports will be recorded in the minutes as part of that committee or staff person’s report.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:          That the Presbytery vote to:

1.    Approve the Docket as distributed, with such changes as may be announced at the start of the assembly.

2.    Enroll the Corresponding Members that are introduced, and grant to them permission of the floor. Names and presbytery of membership of these persons must be written on the attendance roster or given to the Stated Clerk.

3.    Approve the minutes of the May 22, 2018 Presbytery Assembly as posted on the Presbytery website, except for making any changes in the attendance roll that may be required.

THE STATED CLERK RECOMMENDS that the Presbytery vote to:

4.    Affirm the Stated Clerk Report:  A document prepared by the Office of the General Assembly directed to Mid Councils as a summary of the actions taken by the 223rd General Assembly in St. Louis, MO, which is distributed electronically with the Assembly documents.    

Committee on Ministry

Click here for pdf of written report.

At its stated meetings on June 4, 2018, the Committee on Ministry received information and took the following actions: (*indicates items for Assembly approval)
Stated Clerk/Council – Olivia Hudson Smith
Olivia provided oral highlights of activity since the last meeting, including; the closing worship for the Presbytery Center – a Service of Celebration, preparation for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly with Presbytery Commissioners, meeting with Clare Lewis regarding PILP loans particularly a loan requested by Providence Presbyterian Church, preliminary discussion regarding an ecumenical proposal from Jenny Whitcher, Ph.D., the shredding opportunity being offered to congregations, and extension of the shared use agreement with Lighthouse Church at the former First Presbytery Lakewood.
Task Forces
Clergy Renewal Guidelines – Louise Westfall
The latest draft incorporating previously discussed changes was offered on final reading for approval. Page numbering will be changed and the date of approval will be added. Approved.
Church Policy Task Force – Report on second meeting of the Task Force which includes Heather Cameron, Carol Fisher, Pete Hulac, Diane Ritzdorf, Sandy Safford, and Paula Steinbacher, has taken place. The group is in the process of putting together a template which they hope to present at the August meeting for initial consideration.
Commissioned Lay Pastor Ministry Team – CJ Biewenga
In CJ’s absence, Sandy Safford asked for team member, Jim Emig, to move the committee’s request for approval of Commission-ready Lay Pastor Lyn Hull to officiate the sacrament at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church on July 1, 2018, as Pulpit Supply for Rev. Bill Davis. Approved.
TEAM D – Diane Ritzdorf
Informational Update: Church of the Hills is starting the discernment process for extending a call to Rev. Susan Boucher, Temporary Supply Pastor, if the way is made clear.
First Presbyterian Brighton has two viable candidates for which they will have neutral pulpits on June 10, 2018 and July 1, 2018. Background checks and Presbytery reference requested have been completed and shared.

TEAM A - Jon Sutterlin
Informational Update: First Avenue Presbyterian has paid off its PILP (Presbytery Investment and Loan Program) loan.
Committee on Ministry Report
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Stated Assembly Meeting

TEAM B -- Heather Cameron
Informational Update:The team complete three (3) triennial visits in May, including Calvary, Trinity, and Providence.

TEAM C -- Ken Furlow
In Ken’s absence, Sandy Safford moved that COM request the Assembly in August, to waive the language requirements for Rev. Ian Cummins, providing a path for him to be ordained/installed as a Minister of the Word and Sacrament in the PC (U.S.A.) should he receives a call to become an installed pastor at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church. To waive the requirements found in G-2.0607, Book of Order, the Book of Order requires a three-fourth (3/4) vote of the Presbytery pursuant to G-2.0610. The motion was made and properly seconded followed by discussion. Following discussion, it was moved and properly seconded to Lay on the Table the pending motion. Approved

Sandy Safford requested volunteers to be part of a Fit Interview with Terry Purvis-Smith for membership in Denver Presbytery.

~ End of Committee on Ministry Report ~

Click here for pdf version

General Assembly Commissioner Share

Cleve Dixon, Ruling Elder from St. Paul Presbyterian Church

Our Denver Presbytery Stated Clerk, Rev. Olivia Hudson Smith, has asked the commissioners from DenPres to make a presentation to the Presbytery Assembly at the August 11 meeting in Elizabeth, outlining our General Assembly experience focusing on “The future of the PC(USA) based on your experience as a commissioner”. However, a family event prevents me from being there.  I will attempt to do so in this written form. Sort of an adult version of the grade school essays “What I did on my summer vacation.”

The question I’ve often heard since I returned home has been, “Did you enjoy GA?”. I always hesitate. Over the course of the time I was in St. Louis I felt inspired, humbled, moved to tears, motivated, and connected. I was sometimes limp with heat and humidity, or shivering in drafty air conditioning, frustrated, outraged, exhausted. But yes, overall, I enjoyed it – just not every minute.

I was inspired by the power of the opening worship service – the sense of connectivity and the Holy Spirit in that room was powerful, and the first time during the week of GA that I felt my throat close up and tears of joy fill my eyes. Also inspiring were the varied experiences of work and fellowship with many other commissioners from home and around the country, and friendships that formed.

Perhaps the thing that struck me as the most inspiring were the interactions with the Young Advisory Delegates (YAADs), beginning with but not at all limited to our own YAAD from Denver, Claire Wineman – they were always as much or more passionate and informed, articulate, and committed to the future of our denomination as any pastor or elder I encountered. I truly saw they are not just the future of our church, they are a prophetic voice in our church right now! We fail to listen to them at our own peril.

Commissioners do not get to pick their committee assignment. We were randomly assigned to one of the fourteen committees of GA. I was put on Committee 11 – Social Justice Issues. If I could have chosen, it would have been at the top of my list, so that must have been divine providence at work. Motivated by the challenging times we live in and to be given a chance to guide the choices of our church on issues of justice was truly a blessing. Hard, challenging, sometimes personally convicting and humbling, but so important. Our assigned overtures ran the gamut of issues – racial justice and reconciliation, continuing to heal our fraught history with people of diverse gender and sexual identities, addressing US drug policy, confronting our nation’s addiction to guns and gun violence, and likewise standing up to racist nationalism. Space here won’t allow much detail. For that I refer you to which lists the 25 overtures and recommendations on Committee 11’s docket and what actions we took and the outcome in plenary. The one thing I found most hopeful for the future of our ability to confront these issues is that in a committee of 52 members of a variety of backgrounds I never heard voices raised saying that the status quo was acceptable on any of these things – there really was no conservative/ liberal divisiveness in any of our deliberations. Honest questions for clarity. Sometimes a maddening desire to parse words and phrasing ad nauseum. But nothing but an honest desire to find God’s will for his people – and that justice is at the very heart of the Gospel.

We didn’t all just sit in air-conditioned rooms reveling in a love of Robert’s Rules of Order. In addition to the work of the Social Justice Issues committee I was delighted to put action behind words in the Hands and Feet event joining in a march through the streets of St Louis on a sweltering afternoon to protest the practice of requiring cash bail of poor people who often are held indefinitely without trial for minor non-violent misdemeanors simply because they are unable to pay bail. Unlike those of us with resources they too often await trial in jail instead of at home. Often losing their jobs and being unable to care for their families. It is truly a horrid practice that recreates a modern version of debtor’s prison. The offering from the GA opening worship (and donations sent from congregations across the country) came to around $55,000 which was used to bail out dozens of people. Sounds like a lot, but it’s only a symbolic gesture in a long movement to end this unjust system. For more info see how the PC(USA) is engaging in communities where GA is held see:

My experience was obviously focused on social justice issues. But the GA dealt with many other issues through the other committee’s deliberations and actions Sunday through Tuesday, and in plenary sessions of the entire GA that were held Wednesday through Saturday. Things of note I’d call out – a resolution on guiding our investment in fossil fuels to press for emphasis on development of renewable energy, creation of a team to develop a plan to guide the denomination on how to provide family leave for pastors and staff, the report of the Way Forward committee working to find how we can evolve our denominational structures to serve the church in a changing age. Immigration. The Middle East. And lots more.

To answer Olivia’s question on the future of the PC(USA) I am very hopeful. We certainly have challenges at every level from congregation to presbytery, to synod and the Office of General Assembly. But seeing the number of people from across the nation and world come together to discern God’s will for our future I can only see that through our connected nature we should never feel all alone. And that we are all called to engage in the world where God has planted us, stepping outside the doors of our churches into our communities to be the hands and feet of Jesus, loving and caring for our neighbors.


Respectfully submitted, July 19, 2018

Cleve Dixon


Treasurer's Report

Click here for June Financials.

Proposed Revised 2018 Budget, click here.


Council Report

Click here for pdf version of Council Report.

At the stated meetings on June 5, 2018, and July 17, 2018 the Presbytery Council provided information and took the following actions:  (*indicates items for Assembly approval)

Jean Demmler, acting as Moderator pro tem (at the request of Presbytery Moderator, John Anderson) moderated the June and July Council meetings.

Treasurer’s Report ~ John Boettiger
John reported much of the information he provided at the May 22, 2018, assembly, adding that once the Presbytery begins to pay rent at the new office space, the monthly statement of activities will likely show a $5,000 to $10,000 deficit each month.  John and Keith met with the Colorado Trust and feel that the Presbytery will receive more accurate information regarding funding in the future.  They reported that the relationship seems to be solid. In May, there was an $11,000 cash surplus and in June, there was a $60, 000 cash deficit due to low per capita receipts.  The budget is on target half way through the year with expenditures at 50% or less in all categories.  The 2017 audit is underway and the plan is that it will be completed by the end of August 2018.  

Racial and Ethnic Diversity Work Group ~ John Yu/Amy Mendez/Ki Park
Amy reported that plans for the pilot event on Fearless Dialogue would begin in specific geographic location likely at Trinity targeting churches in the NW part of Denver.  The workgroup is looking at a date in late July or August. It was moved by Ki Park on behalf of the workgroup, that $200 from the Council line item be used to provide a main dish and drinks for the dinner at the Fearless Dialogue event.  Approved 

Mission and Ministry Work Group ~ Sandy Smith/Loye Troxler
In May, on behalf of the workgroup, Loye moved the funding request of $5000 payable in one lump sum for the newly formed covenant community, Advocacy for Faith Formation Covenant Community. Approved
Sandy offered that she recently received a partial application for a new Task Force focused on the youth triennium.  She shared correspondence thanking the Presbytery and workgroup for funding and support. 

Acting Head of Staff Report ~ Amy Mendez Pastor for Church Development and Multi-Racial Ministries Report
Amy offered a written report highlighting activities including leading a class at Iliff School of Theology on Hispanic new church developments, moderating the session at Bethel, and leading a bookkeeping training for the Neema African Presbyterian Fellowship.  As the acting head of staff, Amy expressed gratitude on behalf of the staff for Council’s support and presence at the Service of Celebration for the Presbytery Center.  

Stated Clerk’s Report  ~ Olivia Hudson Smith
Olivia offered a written report, highlighting two items of significance from the Colorado Council of Churches (CCC); help needed for collecting signatures for the “Great School, Thriving Communities” campaign to adequately fund public schools, and the opportunity to have speakers from the CCC while pastors are on vacation with the honorariums going to the CCC.
Olivia provided the Mid-Council summary of GA 223rd activities.  The GA commissioners are commended for their diligent work at GA. They will report at the upcoming Assembly.  YAAD (Young Adult Advisory Delegate) Claire Wineman wrote an article for five of the daily newspapers at GA and was a tremendous representative of the Presbytery.  Actions at GA represented the active social justice advocacy posture of the PC(USA), including the march with Black Lives Matter and other justice groups to end the cash bail inequity for economically poor people in St. Louis, an immigration rally, and the vote to start the process to include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in the Book of Confessions as a faith statement of the denomination.    

Communications and Administrative Manager Report ~ Beth Carlisle
Beth offered a written report, which included a reminder of the next Assembly, equipment and furniture conversations, availability of Mission Insite, and reminding those planning events to utilize the event planning timeline.  Any groups wanting to hold meetings at the Presbytery Center during the first three weeks of August should contact her in the light of the pending move. 

Leadership Work Group ~ Ki Park
Ki reported on behalf of the workgroup that they had reviewed the request to host the 2019 Vital Congregation National Event and determined that the workgroup will not take the lead, but recommends that Council engage to find people on the Presbytery with expertise in event planning and management to step forward to lead the effort. Council responded to this recommendation with some concern that our involvement with this national event might be too burdensome at a time when the Council and other leaders will be focused on the visioning process. Still, there is some enthusiasm to partner with the national staff on this important effort. The precise responsibilities of the national staff and our leadership (staff and volunteer) has not been made explicit.  A decision was made that John Anderson, Jean Demmler, Amy Mendez and Wanda Beauman, will consult prior to the July Council with the national staff to learn more what this engagement would entail.  A report will be made to Council at its July 17 meeting.  

Relations and Communications Work Group ~ Jean Demmler, Council Moderator Pro Tem Report                                                                      
Please see the Presbytery Moderator report above. Jean offered documentation of an email exchange with Kathryn Threadgill in which she responded to questions posed by Jean after the Relations and Communications workgroup meeting.  The task group to glean additional information will use the document.  A second part of the Vital Congregation initiative is whether the Presbytery will apply to be part of the two-year pilot program in addition to possibly hosting the west coast initial event.  Chris Wineman will communicate with Kathryn Threadgill to determine if this new initiative is a supplement to or substitution for New Beginnings.
Presbytery Moderator Report  ~  John Anderson
John entertained conversation and feedback regarding the last Assembly. The discussion included the length of worship and use of inclusive language.  John, Jean Demmler, and Amy had a Zoom conference call with Kathryn Threadgill of the Presbytery Mission Agency (PMA) regarding hosting a training in May 2019 for the Vital Congregations initiative.  After discussion including the report of the Relations and Communications workgroup regarding gathering of additional information concerning hosting expectations, it was moved that Council form a task group to gather additional information pertaining to hosting and that they report back to Council via email with their findings for an email vote.  Approved. The voluntary task group consists of Kenny Shaw, Bill Davis, Amy Mendez, and Michael McLane.  Beth will act as a resource.  

Personnel Work Group  ~ Bruce Spear
Bruce offered a written report that highlights annual reviews in the fall, supporting the relocation of the Presbytery Center, and the Interim Presbytery Pastor Nominating Committee is meeting the second week in June. Bruce reported that interim search committee received 19 personal information forms (PIF) on the second round.  Statistically, 53% were male, 47% female, 84% were white and 16% were non-white.  They have narrowed the pool to three (3) with whom they will conduct face-to-face interviews.  

Immigration Task Force  ~ Dee Cooper
Dee highlighted the Borderlinks event to be held on Saturday July 21, 2018 at Shepherd of the Hills.  The Task Force’s requested that given the current national response and crisis to the separation of families at America’s borders, the response written by Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II and GA 223 Commissioner Resolution 09-14 be distributed to congregations and available at the August Assembly. Jean Demmler will write an introductory letter for the distribution. 

Finance and Property Work Group  ~ Keith Moore
Keith offered a written report on behalf of the workgroup, highlighting that a one-year extension of the shared use agreement has been negotiated with Lighthouse Church raising the user fee to $3500.
Keith reported on Providence’s ongoing efforts to obtain additional property with the intent to build a worship space in the future.  Providence is interested in purchasing property at 9037 Patty Lane, Parker, CO, consisting of 5.239 acres with an existing structure of a walkout ranch home of five (5) bedrooms and three (3) bathrooms.  The land is located in unincorporated Douglas County and carries a county RR (Rural Residential) zoning. The property is part of the Cherry Creek Highlands H.O.A. and carries a covenant restriction to single-family use.  Providence is prepared to seek an exception to the restricted covenant in order to use the land to build a worship space on the site, believing that it may take as many as 2-years to overcome the restriction. Providence currently has in excess of $600,000 in its Building Fund accounts and proposes to use $325,000 as a down payment on the property.  Keith indicated that Providence plans to rent out the house over the anticipated 2-year period that they estimate it will take to address the covenant restriction.  The issue of taxes if the property is used for non-tax exempt purpose was raised.  Keith moved that Council recommend to Presbytery to authorize Providence to pursuing the purchase of property at 9037 Patty Lane, Parker, CO.  In response to the tax implication in using the property as rental income an amendment to the motion was offered: That Council recommend to the Presbytery to authorize Providence to pursue purchase of the property at 9037 Patty Lane, Parker, CO contingent on a plan of use that does not have negative tax implications for Providence.  Approved. *  
Providence is currently in conversation with commercial lending institutions for a loan and would simultaneously like to pursue a loan guaranteed by the Presbytery through the Presbytery Investment and Loan Program (PILP). 
Keith offered a second motion on behalf of the workgroup, that Council recommend to Presbytery that Providence apply for a PILP loan with the Presbytery as guarantor and to approve Council to act on behalf of Presbytery to approve the loan subject to the workgroup’s recommendation of approval of PILP’s underwriting.  Approved. *

Long Term Initiatives Work Group ~ Chris Wineman
Chris offered a written report.  He shared that earlier in the day he received news that the building permits have been issued to property owner of the new office space and the build out would begin soon.  He requested that Council review proposed New Church Development Guidelines for input and questions.  

Nominating Task Force ~ Bill Davis
Bill requested that they still need suggestion for a male to fill the open position of the Presbytery’s Nominating Committee. (Pursuant to the bylaws the position does not have to be filled by a ruling elder, but may be filled by a “congregation member”. 6.21). 

Respectfully submitted:
Olivia L. Hudson Smith, Stated Clerk

Finance & Property

Council recommends to the Presbytery to authorize Providence to pursue purchase of the property at 9037 Patty Lane, Parker, CO contingent on a plan of use that does not have negative tax implications for Providence.  

Council recommends to Presbytery that Providence be approved to apply for a Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program (PILP) loan with the Presbytery as guarantor and to approve Council to act on behalf of Presbytery to approve the loan subject to the work group’s recommendation of approval of PILP’s underwriting.  

Click here for flyer.



Leadership Retreat November November 9-10, 2018.  

Featuring: Rev. Jana Childers, PH,D., Dean of San Francisco Seminary, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Homiletics & Speech Communication.

Committee on Ministry 

Credo- Rev. Rolfe Granath

I believe in the Triune God; Father - Creator, Son – Savior, Holy Spirit – messenger.  I believe in the Incarnation – Jesus, full human and fully divine.   I believe in salvation through grace alone through faith.  The knowledge of God comes by way of revelation in the Scripture and the confirming witness of the Holy Spirit.   I believe the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments to be the trustworthy guide for faith and practice. I trust in the sovereignty of God in all things.

I believe in the depravity of the human soul which is separated from God by sin.  Reconciliation with God is available to all who believe, through Jesus, who is himself the way, the truth and the life.   I believe in a personal response to grace by faith.

I believe that God is at work in the world through the church; the people through whom God continues to bring reconciliation and hope to the world.  I believe the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are visible realities of the mystery of God’s grace and power always at work in our lives.  Through a singular Baptism we receive the once and for all sign of belonging to the community of faith.  At the Table we receive ongoing confirmation that we belong in the family of faith.

I believe in the great ends of the church; the maintenance of worship, the proclamation of the Word, the mission of hope, the creation of community, and instruction for growth.  Stewardship of the earth and our material resources is of great import to God and also for us.  I believe that life in this temporal frame is an invitation to build relationships of love and trust with each other and our God that extends into the life to come.   Amen. 



Stated Clerk Report

click here for pdf version

The Stated Clerk offers the following information produced by the Office of the General Assembly as her report to the Assembly:

Actions of the 223rd General Assembly
Directed to Mid Councils and/or Congregations
This list does not include authoritative interpretations or
proposed amendments to the Book of Order.
Please click the PC-Biz links for fuller context.

1.    Per capita rate: $8.95 in both 2019 and 2020.

2.    Translation services: Encourage all councils of the church to conduct all meetings related to the ministry of the church in their respective jurisdiction in languages common to their constituencies and to offer simultaneous interpretation in those languages as well as American Sign Language (ASL) and provide captioning services for the deaf and hard of hearing community. All pertinent documents should be sent ahead of time in the proper languages in a format accessible to people who are blind and vision impaired.  

3.    Establish a representative Vision Team as part of the denominational structure that is tasked with shepherding ongoing vision discernment work, including engaging in discernment practices in collaboration with the six agencies and the mid councils; bringing recommendations about that discernment to the agencies and/or General Assembly; and communicating the unified, dynamic vision to the broader church.

4.    Black congregations: Reaffirm COR requirements for inclusiveness as stated in the constitution (G-3.0103), paying careful attention to issues of inclusiveness and fair practices by the pastor nominating committees and committees on preparation for ministry; advise mid councils to follow the lead of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus in raising awareness of the declining nature of black congregations throughout the PCUSA and the lack of pastoral leadership, both current and future, for those congregations; direct the Office of the Stated Clerk to respond to the presbyteries that the National Black Presbyterian Caucus has identified as not abiding by COR Representation Guidelines; OGA to report within one year to presbyteries and synods concerning the progress on this resolution and a full report to the 224th GA (2020); advise the BOP to analyze and report on the viability of African American Presbyterian Churches and the challenges of supporting installed pastoral leadership.

5.    Strongly urge and recommend all synods, presbyteries, and congregations to create a Family Leave Policy that each member congregation can adopt, which includes at a minimum 12 weeks paid leave during a 12-month period for new parents for the birth or adoption of or to care for a child or other family member, such as seniors or those who require health assistance;  direct the PMA to forward the details of its Family Leave Policies and other pertinent information to the synods, presbyteries, and congregations in order to facilitate and expedite the creation of fair and equitable family leave policies.

6.    Encourage presbyteries to promote interfaith relations, dialogue, and understanding by creating committees, task forces, or something of a similar nature; encourage congregations to engage in interfaith conversations and partnerships in their communities; direct the Stated Clerk to encourage congregations to utilize the resources of the Office of Interfaith Relations to promote education about other religions and interfaith dialogue.

7.    Agreement Between the Episcopal Church and the PCUSA:… We agree that authorized ministers of our churches may, subject to the regulations of the churches and within the limits of their competence, carry out the tasks of their own office in congregations of the other churches when requested and approved by the diocesan bishop and local presbytery; We agree that The Episcopal Church will invite members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to receive Holy Communion in their churches and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will invite members of The Episcopal Church to receive Holy Communion in their churches. We encourage the members of our churches to accept this Eucharistic hospitality and thus express their unity with each other in the one Body of Christ; We encourage diocesan bishops and presbyteries to provide regular occasion for planning, discussing, resourcing for missional, educational and liturgical life together. In addition, to explore possibilities for new church development and redevelopment together. 

8.    The General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, in partnership with OGA and PMA, explore the possibility of developing a covenant relationship with Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (GMIM), in consultation with presbyteries having significant Indonesian and Minahasan-speaking members.

9.    Call upon congregations and councils of the church to develop ways for those who disagree on climate change to be in dialogue with one another, seeking together to find and represent the will of Christ; affirm the need for dialogue and discernment, not only within and among our congregations, but also all parties outside our denomination, seeking faithful individual and collective responses to address climate change, trusting that we share a common belief in the need to respond… Affirm that is both possible and practical to effect meaningful change; urge individuals, congregations, councils of the church, and institutions … to initiate, continue, and build upon steps to reduce our carbon footprint and to continue adoption of lower-carbon and zero-carbon technologies and lifestyles…. Commend congregations that have committed to the “earth care pledge” and encourage all congregations to consider joining the Earthcare Congregation Network of the PC(USA).  

10.    Call upon the whole church to raise a prophetic voice regarding the urgency of healing the climate of the earth, our home and God’s gift for the future of all life, human and nonhuman … Now is the time for clergy to speak from their pulpits about the moral obligation of our generation to protect God’s creation… Now is the time for congregations and for every person of faith to set a moral example through our own words and actions. As individuals and as communities, let us commit to making decisions of integrity in our energy choices, even as we commit to hold all our religious, political, corporate, and global leaders accountable to do the same.

11.    Inform presbyteries and congregations about the findings of MRTI’s research and engagement, and encourage Presbyterian bodies and members, as consumers and shareholders, to advocate for responsible implementation of the precautionary principle.

12.    Invite all our congregations to advocate for creation care by encouraging members and friends to regularly engage in respectful conversations with their federal elected officials to advocate for climate action. Congregations’ acts of engagement can include: approaching all conversations with the intent to build bridges of trust and respect; organizing ongoing calling, writing, and requesting visits with their elected officials, requesting climate action now; encouraging and supporting youth to independently engage with their representatives; educating their members and surrounding communities about climate impacts and solutions. Encourage congregations to learn about and consider including in their conversations the concepts of “Carbon Fee and Dividend,” a just and effective approach to carbon pricing… Invite congregations, presbyteries, synods, affinity groups, and the General Assembly to share their climate advocacy resources, successes, and encouragement.

13.    Direct the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency, through its Office of Environmental Ministries, to communicate with the more than 9,000 congregations of the PCUSA urging them to reduce to the maximum extent feasible use of products made of polystyrene [foam].”

14.    Encourage presbyteries, congregations, and individual members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to:  Continue to pray with the churches and people of South Sudan for an end to conflict, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid, a government led by servant leaders, forgiveness, reconciliation, accountability, and justice, leading to true peace and fullness of life for God’s people; Support the ministry and witness of our partners in the South Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and the ecumenical bodies in which they participate; Learn about the mission work of the PC(USA) in South Sudan and continue to support PC(USA) mission co-workers.

15.    Acknowledge that the Five Affirmations were one of the fruits of this church-wide discernment and commend them to all church sessions for reading and study: … Acknowledge that many churches have continued their own process of discernment and some have declared themselves “Peace Churches,” while others continue to study, pray, reflect, and explore this subject in their own church community; Recognize and commend those churches who have declared themselves “Peace Churches” and encourage all churches interested in peace to continue their own discernment and further encourage the Peacemaking Program to maintain a list of churches who declare themselves “Peace Churches” on the Peacemaking Program website when they are notified by said churches.

16.    Encourage churches to support relief efforts in Yemen through PDA.

17.    Urge PC(USA) congregations and individual Presbyterians to pray for and with the people of Madagascar; learn about the history of Madagascar and the FJKM, the current realities faced by the people of Madagascar, and the mission work of the PC(USA) in Madagascar; support the ministry and witness of the FJKM and of PC(USA) mission co-workers in Madagascar; and engage in advocacy with their respective legislators to support democracy, protection of human rights, adherence to the rule of law, good governance, ethical business practices, and good stewardship of natural resources. 

18.    Call upon all members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—in faithfulness to the God of justice, mercy, and compassion—to take actions in defense of God’s creation and our own security, which is inextricably bound to the security of the rest of the world, to take all actions such as might be effective in requiring full U.S. compliance with the obligation to achieve nuclear disarmament under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons… Join in ecumenical discussion at the highest level to develop a collaborative strategy with Christian and other faith communities to effect the total elimination of nuclear weapons from the earth. Make use of resources within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to educate members about the existential threat of nuclear weapons and effective actions that can be taken to address and eliminate that threat…

19.    Designate September 2018 as a Korean mission month to pray for peace in the Korean peninsula and for victims of division and conflict on both sides of the Korean peninsula, and to reflect on the past 130 years of Presbyterian mission to Korea including both the positive legacies and also the ways in which mission workers might have contributed to the Korean conflict… Plan events and programs for the Korean mission month and providing informational resources to local councils and congregations.  

20.    Invites its congregations to pray for the peace of Nicaragua. Pray for an end to the violence, and that our loving and merciful God guide and enlighten Nicaraguans in the construction of the path of peace, nonviolence, justice, and hope. Asks congregations and presbyteries to inform themselves about the tragic situation in situation in Nicaragua through reports from international organizations such as the Organization of American States and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

21.    Call upon synods, presbyteries, and individual churches to understand, condemn, and work against the ideology of white supremacy undergirding these racist immigration policies. Strongly encourage congregations to learn about the impact of these immigration policies on the lives of church members as well as members of our local communities, making use of resources listed below:

22.    Direct PMA to work with mid councils to facilitate an assembly-wide inventory documenting the physical needs of Native American churches and chapels and creating an ongoing fund for urgent and immediate repairs and improvements. The property assessments shall be done during that time between the meetings of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) and the 224th General Assembly (2020). The comprehensive report shall be comprised from the on-site inventories and shall indicate what repairs need to be completed for congregation use.  Inventory—Intentionally working together, evaluation teams would use survey forms that allow for both check-offs and narratives of the situation of each church. Teams shall be led by individuals with the appropriate professional certification, licensures, or degrees appropriate to the work and may also include synod and presbytery staffs, Native American ministries committees, Native American Consulting Committee, Native American congregations, and special task forces…  Repair—A means must be established to match identified projects with teams of volunteers capable of making the repairs, including Presbyterian and non-Presbyterian groups looking for such mission work. This is an invitation to the PC(USA) itself to marshal its churches and volunteers to furnish their labor, materials, and funds for mission work projects, especially to start with the most pressing and immediate needs. 

23.    Direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency to report to the 224th General Assembly (2020) on its efforts to strengthen the mission and ministry of small congregations, including the progress of implementing the Vital Congregations and Christian Formation initiatives. PMA currently supports the ministries and missions of small churches through a wide range of ministries that have been designed to partner with small congregations as they live into the challenges and opportunities of the present moment…

24.    Recognize the 10th anniversary of the “Comfort My People: A Policy Statement on Serious Mental Illness” … Establish a $250,000 grant to be used to implement the provisions of this overture. The funds will be used to develop plans of action and resources that will be used by presbyteries, congregations, and seminaries of the PC(USA) to further educate these entities within PC(USA) regarding serious mental illness issues with the intent to provide a foundation for action within the denomination, and that the materials developed include help for congregations interfacing with mental illness found in the homeless population surrounding the church… While it is acknowledged that all of the recommendations within the “Comfort My People” statement are worthy of implementation, this overture focuses on those action items that are foundational to any development of long-term policies and plans for action within the PC(USA). Grants to be awarded will therefore focus on the following recommendations: [a.] Presbyteries: Recommendations 6.a.–d., g, 10. (pp. 8, 10). [b.] Congregations: Recommendations 9.a., d.–k., o., q., t. (pp. 9, 10). [c.] Seminaries: Recommendations 14.a.–e. (p. 11). Conduct a review and evaluation of the actions that have been taken since the policy statement was approved, with a report to be presented at the 224th General Assembly (2020): Survey of presbyteries, congregations, and seminaries to evaluate how these organizations have responded to the policy statement’s recommendations. Based on survey results, recommend specific activities designed to focus and implement measures to enhance mental health initiatives in presbyteries, congregations, and seminaries.  

25.    Direct PMA to develop resources that aid members, congregations, mid councils, and the national church on the following areas of theological understanding: Describe the Christian ethic presented by Scripture and the PC(USA) confessions for properly respecting people and communities from different cultures and worldviews; Present framework for understanding how the PC(USA) strayed from those understandings such that it became complicit in a prevailing worldview of oppression and collusion through policies based on the Doctrine of Discovery, and Describe the potential challenges and promises this theological exploration presents as we consider a multicultural church in a multicultural world that includes indigenous peoples...
An investigation of the recent history of the national church with its Native American congregations and ministries to explore if there are any immediate actions that should be taken as a part of reconciliation… Direct the Stated Clerk to issue a call for the engagement of mid councils and their congregational members to start a flow of ideas and information back and forth between mid councils and congregational members, directed at understanding how the Doctrine of Discovery has been present in our history and our theological positions, and continues to be present today.... Direct the PMA to form a coordinating council for the purpose of encouraging, monitoring, and sharing the ongoing responses by the national church, mid councils, and congregations to the call to action issued by the Stated Clerk… The council will also have the purpose of making recommendations to the 224th General Assembly (2020) on how the national church, mid councils, and congregations can support Native Americans in their ongoing efforts for sovereignty and fundamental human rights… Direct the PMA to develop resources for congregations and members in areas of practical understanding and response to the needs beyond the doors of the church… Examples of strategies for pastoral ministry and social advocacy aimed at increasing resilience, bringing healing, and changing systems that prolong oppression.

26.    Urge the session of each congregation, as well as each mid council, COTE-member seminaries, Presbyterian Women’s groups, and other organizations to confess their complicity and repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery… and to review the existing study resources on the Doctrine of Discovery (posted on the Facing Racism website:, and to lift up histories of Indigenous peoples and current issues facing Indigenous peoples.

27.    Encourage synods and presbyteries to oppose legislative, judicial, and administrative efforts at the state and federal levels to limit the protection of persons based upon race, ethnicity, sex, gender, physical limitations, sexual orientation, gender identity, [religion,] or gender expression in the guise of religious freedom.

28.    Encourage each congregation to develop a referral plan for cases of problematic drug use, to gather insight into the structural violence that underpins current drug policies, and to understand how to support healing and advocate for constructive change: Each presbytery is encouraged to designate a drug policy facilitator to support congregational engagement and awareness of advocacy and treatment options. The Presbyterian Mission Agency is similarly encouraged to assist presbyteries in identifying facilitators, drawing on earlier health ministries contacts, and the Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association (PHEWA) networks of mutual support. Facilitators are urged to visit congregations in their presbyteries to support their deeper reflection, learning, and engagement, and to assist interested congregations in the following processes… Survey congregation members’ experiences (or absence of experiences) of drug use, drug enforcement, incarceration, treatment, and recovery, and determine the best ways for members to learn from their communities and obtain reliable information.  Hold congregation and community forums on changing drug law so that that they are made more just, effective, and compassionate. These should include listening to people of color and seeking economic diversity… Help Presbyterian congregations develop a referral process for problematic drug use, including non-punitive treatment and recovery facilities, harm reduction programs, and police and non-police options in their communities... Encourage churches to host addiction recovery groups and to engage in constructive dialogue about treatment, prevention of abuse, and harm reduction. Congregations, 12-step programs, and counselors are also encouraged to explore how both drug use and recovery relate to the quest for meaning and joy in life, found by Christians in Christ and God’s reign.

29.    Direct the Stated Clerk to commit the PC(USA) to complete transparency on the number of charges of sexual misconduct at all levels of congregational and denominational life and to encourage mid councils, while respecting confidentiality, to voluntarily submit the number of sexual misconduct allegations and charges within their bounds to the Stated Clerk to be reported to each General Assembly. Direct OGA and PMA to provide and, where necessary, develop pastoral, Trauma-Informed Clinical Care (TIC)- based and theologically-grounded resources for healing victims and their families, congregations, and presbyteries from sexual misconduct within the church…

30.    Commends the congregations and pastors of greater St. Louis for the Christian witness in their community ministries of justice and service, and commends all those who have engaged in conversations and education about the tensions of race and class that contribute to the need for those ministries. Urges greater experimentation in the use and transformation of church properties in ways that preserve Presbyterian and ecumenical ministry and witness in poorer and gentrifying communities… In specific learnings from the pastors and others who have shared information and reflection on their congregations’ ministries in and around St. Louis, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) encourages other congregations to consider as examples…: those presbyteries that have developed overall visions for urban ministry and employ policies or principles to determine the use of funds from property sales in racial ethnic communities, are commended for those efforts…

31.    Cross-sectional task force to develop and publish priorities and guidelines for congregations, mid councils, and GA entities for the “Decade of Intercultural Transformation” and recommend appropriate resources to deepen understanding and skills for resisting discrimination based on race, class, gender, sex, or sexuality. Promote awareness of resources currently available that deepen understanding of intersectionality and skills for resistance including those less frequently discussed, such as interfaith competencies so essential in these times… Include members of diverse intercultural backgrounds on committees on preparation for ministry, guiding candidates for ministry. Encourage synods and presbyteries to institute dismantling racism programs and encourage all staff and clergy to take the training every three years in like manner of PC(USA) mandated sexual abuse policy. Provide regular white privilege recognition, cultural humility, and antiracism trainings at presbytery gatherings.  Direct GA to focus on planting new congregations, and raising indigenous leadership for all levels of the church from within communities of color, with special emphasis on the Latin, African American, Native American, and immigrant communities. Remove barriers and create pathways to full inclusion in the PC(USA) for congregations and pastors coming from historically non-white traditions. Strongly encourage mid councils and congregations to hold white privilege recognition, cultural humility, and antiracism trainings throughout the church and commit themselves to disrupting racism and intersectional inequality, including intercultural and intracultural realities. Strongly encourage the OGA, PMA, and the mid councils to promote integration of the Confession of Belhar into their study life and worship to celebrate its implementation. Direct PMA and OGA to equip congregations and mid councils to form intercultural coalitions, networks, new worshiping communities, and congregations across the church that worship, work, share meals, study, share communion, and advocate for racial and intercultural justice, with a respectful awareness and appreciation of each other’s ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic status, able-bodied-ness, gender and sexual identity and expression, and languages. Urge the session of each congregation, as well as each mid council, seminary, PW groups, and other entities, to take action to be intercultural in their life, work, and worship. Direct OGA to encourage, assist, and support presbyteries’ committees on ministry and committees on preparation for ministry… 

32.    Encourages congregations of the PCUSA to welcome transgender and gender non-binary people into the life of the church and to continue to grow in compassion and knowledge about the full expression of our individual and respective gender identities. Directs the PMA to consult with existing LGBTQ[IA]+ focused advocacy organizations to develop and/or adopt educational resources to support congregational and denominational learning, and encourages synods, presbyteries, seminaries, and congregations to do the same.
Transgender inclusion is lived out in our congregations and Presbyterian institutions in the following ways: Welcoming statements that specifically name transgender and gender non-binary people as included within the life of the church. Policies that are inclusive of transgender and gender non-binary people. Available facilities such as bathrooms that are either designated as gender neutral, or allow for transgender and non-binary people to use the facility that matches their gender identity. Worship, liturgy, and hymns employ language inclusive of all gender identities. Transgender and gender non-binary people’s pronouns are respected and used appropriately.

33.    The assembly calls on the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency (through its Office of Public Witness), and all who represent the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to actively work for the protection of human and civil rights, both in the United States and around the world, especially the rights of marginalized and oppressed groups, including people facing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity… The assembly encourages all congregations and councils of the PCUSA continually to seek to expand their welcome so that all might know the Good News of Jesus Christ and encourages all other communions to do the same. 

34.    This is the time for us to act and intervene in the gun violence epidemic. We will stand in prayer during the 223rd General Assembly (2018) to share this overture, to take action, and to pray with presbyteries and synods, to share it in any way possible, and for every General Assembly commissioner, and to encourage every General Assembly commissioner and observer to continue to pray when they go home for a movement of the Spirit to engage our churches in study and action to prevent gun violence. May every congregation know that the whole church has prayed for them and for us to take transformational action in this gun violence epidemic. In love, may our churches help our country and enact sensible steps to prevent gun violence from murders, suicides, accidents, family disputes, and mass shootings.  Encourage congregational and presbytery leaders to work with teen and young adults especially in proposing local and state legislation prior to and in preparation for the 2018 and 2020 elections, to hold elected officials accountable, and to ensure accurate historical treatments of gun violence are included in high school curricula; and to create opportunities for study of this issue in the local churches and at the presbytery level with an emphasis on the use of resources from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship; to strategize with ecumenical partners… Commend congregations, colleges, camps, and office facilities in the Presbyterian family that have voted to post signs on their buildings similar to the “No Guns in God’s House” signage called for by the 221st General Assembly (2014) as a witness against the proliferation of guns in our society, and all other congregations that have studied, prayed, and acted on this issue in other ways, and pastors who include the mission of reducing gun violence in creating liturgies and in their preaching, and all Christian educators who offer gun violence prevention resources for study groups and libraries..

35.    Resolves to stand against any invocation of ‘religious freedom’ in the public sphere that deprives people of their civil and human rights to equal protection under the law, or that uses ‘religious freedom’ to justify exclusion and discrimination;  Directs the Office of the Stated Clerk to send this resolution, with the rationale, to every congregation and presbytery, encouraging Presbyterians to distinguish between the historical understanding of religious freedom to practice one’s faith and current efforts to discriminate against, exclude, and marginalize vulnerable people in the name of ‘religious freedom.’

36.    Honest Patriotism: Members and congregations of the PCUSA are encouraged to be active in civic life, engaging in critical and constructive discourse and prayerfully considering the import of the Gospel message to our body politic. All councils, from local to national, are encouraged to be open and transparent in their decision-making processes. At the same time, church procedures and expectations of staff and volunteers should not infringe upon the privacy and autonomy that support freedom of Christian conscience. All councils are encouraged to seek out and learn from diverse perspectives, and to examine their current practices so as to ensure no voice is silenced, however unintentionally. All councils are encouraged to make whatever accommodations necessary to ensure the full and active participation of members in the decision-making process of the church. These accommodations may involve, but are not limited to, the dissemination of relevant materials, the translation of said materials into appropriate languages, and the scheduling of meeting times for deliberation. All councils should consider part of their leadership to include a convening function designed to bring together leading thinkers in public conversation and constructive debate to engage members across the larger church in discerning what mission and discipleship entail.

37.    Approve the following resolution: The 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the PC(USA) strongly condemns the unjust, racist disparagement of people and entire nations lately, promoted by politicians and government officials at all levels in the mistaken effort to place “America First”… Encourage PC(USA) pastors and congregations to publicize this resolution in their communities and with officials of local and state government.

38.     ACSWP shall work collaboratively with mid councils both to obtain feedback regarding work in progress and to disseminate General Assembly policies, working (as with pastors and presbytery leaders in Detroit and St Louis) also to help the voices and learnings from their local and regional prophetic engagement be shared with the larger church and society.  

39.    Suicide prevention: Encourage the leadership of each congregation to acknowledge the challenges caused by suicide deaths by addressing them in prayers, sermons, educational events, and conversations. Provide support for those who are suicidal or have attempted suicide. Engage families of those who have lost loved ones to suicide, responding faithfully to the impact of grief, loss, stigma, and isolation, all of which burden suicide survivors (those who have lost family, friends, or other loved ones to suicide). Acknowledge the church’s role in contributing to the stigma and silence that envelops the topic of suicide. Recognize and share the Gospel message of life, hope, and resurrection… Learn how to recognize signs of suicidal intention and know local treatment and prevention services as well as how to make a referral. Participate in events like National Suicide Prevention Month in September, the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day in November, and the Faith Communities events of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Encourage church members to participate in training such as Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Soul Shop training for faith leaders. Create partnerships with government agencies, legislators, law enforcement, schools, funeral homes, and national and local suicide prevention organizations to provide practical and spiritual help for individuals and families coping with mental health disorders and with loss to suicide. Host Suicide Survivors groups, suicide prevention trainings, and participating in community awareness of suicide loss and prevention.

40.    PC(USA) congregations take the following actions, as appropriate, to address the impact the opioid crisis and other substance use disorders have on our churches and communities: Encourage the leadership of each congregation to acknowledge the challenges caused by the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders by addressing it in prayers, sermons, educational events, and conversations. Engage people with substance use disorders in ways that hold them accountable with compassion and grace. Engage families of those with substance use disorders, responding faithfully to the impact of grief, loss, financial strain, and other factors that addiction has on families. Recognize and share the Gospel message that is inherent in stories of recovery. Engage in practices that reflect the radical hospitality of Christ in the spirit of the Good Samaritan parable, including offering space for healing for recovery groups, transportation to services, and connections to people in the community. Partner with local treatment and prevention services for ongoing referral and training on how to recognize signs of addiction. Celebrate hope in Christ and affirm that recovery is possible. Participating in events like National Prevention Week in May and National Recovery Month in September. Train on the use of Naloxone (Narcan) and make it available in the church building for emergencies. Create partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, law enforcement, and funeral homes to provide practical and spiritual help for individuals and families coping with substance use disorders. Host NA, AA, or other spiritual recovery programs. Host Nar-Anon or Al-Anon spiritual recovery programs for those affected by the disease of addiction for families and friends. Partner with local jails and recovery home operators to offer opportunities for spiritual and social connection after release for people recovering from a substance use disorder.

41.    Urges its members, congregations, presbyteries, and national staff units, to reach out in open, truthful dialogue with our Jewish colleagues, engaging the issue of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Challenges dialogue partners to build on common values for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine. PMA to consider preparing study resources and urge presbyteries to provide opportunities for study to further educate church members about truthful, open interfaith dialogue.

42.    Call on congregations and presbyteries, nonprofit organizations, the United States government, and agencies of the United Nations, to provide robust financial support for organizations engaged in alleviating the suffering of Syrians, especially those displaced inside Syria and those now living as refugees in neighboring countries.

43.    Urges members, congregations, and presbyteries to continue to support peace and reconciliation efforts, and to include the people of Iran, as well as our mission partners, in their prayer, study, and witness.

44.    Living by the Gospel: A guide to structuring ministers’ terms of call: Board of Pensions to annually update and distribute, at the Board of Pensions’ expense, the document to all mid councils, committees on ministry, committees on preparation for ministry, and pastor nominating committees.  In an effort to promote awareness of gender disparity in clergy benefit and salary packages, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) urges COMs, within twelve months of the close of the assembly, to study and adopt the theology of benefits in the document Living by the Gospel; conduct a review of the last five years of salary and benefit statistics by gender in their own context and share the findings with Clerks of Session, CPMs and candidates for ministry; share these statistics annually at presbytery; provide a copy of Living the Gospel to PNCs and incoming committee members; and, in situations where a pastor is not receiving benefits, or when his or her salary is below minimum, require the session to provide a full written explanation to the COM.

45.    Encourages PMA and PILP to consider forgiveness of mortgage grants established in 1968 or earlier only to congregations closing and turning over their assets to their presbyteries, potentially including the total amount of the grant as well as any accumulated interest.  Request the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Inc., to inform all affected congregations and their presbyteries as this decision effectively provides debt relief to presbyteries closing congregations and thus may affect presbytery mission strategy as well as the decisions of congregations.

46.    The Assembly calls for an examination by members, congregations, and presbyteries of what it means to be a people “Reclaiming Jesus,” the Jesus of the scriptures. We commend for study, comment, and prayer the resources that the “Reclaiming Jesus” movement gives, including the Reclaiming Jesus statement and its summary, its Bible studies and Civil Discourse Curricula.

Highlands Camp Joint Committee

Click here for pdf of written report.

Highlands Summer Camp 2018 “This Changes Everything!”
Summer Camp Facts and Figures:

  • 179 Summer Campers

Campers came from:

  • 12 Congregations in the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks
  • 15 Congregations in Denver Presbytery

Through your generosity, Highlands provided $5255.00 in scholarships for campers.

  • Congregations provided over $14,000 in scholarships for campers.
  • 1 Mission Work Camp
  • 17 Partnership Day Camps

Partnership Day Camps reached 459 children and youth.

Tiered Pricing:
53% of Campers pay Tier 1 rates (a rate subsidized by your donations)
12% of Campers pay Tier 2 rates (these rates are partially-subsidized by your donations)
35% of Campers pay Tier 3 rates (which most closely represent the truce cost of camp)
We are grateful to the following volunteers for helping out with summer camp!
The Importance of What We Do . . . Each summer there are moments that shape the summer and define our ministry. Each summer there are moments that remind me of the importance of what we do . . . and why we do this. Let me share the stories of two young ladies who were at Middle School Camp this summer. At lunch one afternoon, the volunteer director came to me and said that following the labyrinth walking experience, most of the girls in Middle School Camp had broken down in tears and shared some very hard stories of what was going on in their lives. She said to me “I’m in over my head.” We agreed that I would come to the girls’ cabin during FOB and we would have a conversation with the girls about the experience. She shared with me some of the things that were going on in these girls lives. I arrived with a bag a candy, and we began to talk. We talked about the experience and moved into a conversation about who were the “safe people” in our lives that we could turn to if things were difficult and overwhelming. These girls shared some pretty tough stuff; and also shared what an important place Highlands is to them. Following this, I invited the girls to tell me their “Highlands Story” and I would video tape it. This led to one taped story, and two very deep and important conversations. Lynn Dillow Cindy Moorman Geoff Noble Pam Hastings Marty Jewell Joseph Moore Meredith Seidel Mark Hutton Bill McNeill Emma Moore Ashley Safford Peggy Marshall Erice Shepard Susan Bailey Brittany Bailey Carol Moos Mark Sears Michael Winters Annely Nobel Buddy Jones
One young lady had been making the first attempts at cutting herself at home before she came to camp. When we talked she told me that her best friend had made her promise not to kill herself. She admitted that she has thought about killing herself. This beautiful young lady had so much pain in her life, that cutting seemed to her to be a helpful solution. Ultimately, I worked with Danny to make a child protection report in her home county. I also talked with her pastor and her grandmother. I also had continuing conversations with this young lady. I believe that she is safer now that her secret is in the open, and she has the beginning of some resources to support her and her family, and folks who will check on her. I will check on her later this year, and hold her in my prayers. I invite you to hold her and other young folks in your prayers. The world is a tough place for many of them! A second young lady confessed that she thought perhaps she “liked girls”. This young lady went through the beginning of the week with her hair covering her face . . . hiding. Throughout our conversation, she hid her face. When I said to her “Do you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that Jesus loves you more than you can imagine?” she laughed. She was so startled by my response to what she so fearfully told me that it caused her to laugh and then she said “Is that really what you are going to tell me?” “Yep, that’s what I’m going to tell you.” We talked for a long time. She asked many questions . . . some of which I could hardly answer. But I could assure her of God’s love . . . and that was what she really needed to know. She even brushed her hair out of the way at one point, and let me see her beautiful face. Highlands is a safe place. Highlands is place where children and youth and families can explore hard things, ask hard questions and be assured of God unwavering love. Summer can be overwhelmingly busy and complicated . . . full of inspections and paperwork and expectations. But these two conversations changed everything for me. I believe these young ladies are changed and loved and safer because of their time here . . . and that makes everything else worth it. God’s Grace Changes Everything!
We LOVE Partnership Day Camp!
Our staff love coming to your congregation, reaching out (with you) to your community, and sharing the Good News that “God’s Grace Changes Everything!” We are so grateful for the amazing hospitality shown to our teams! Delicious food, comfy beds and special events shaped their weeks as they partnered with you! Thank you!
This summer we partnered with 16 congregations and provided materials and training for Weldon Valley Presbyterian Church who then moved ahead with a program on their own. It was a great Summer. These congregations reached out to over 459 children and youth! Large or small . . . Partnership Day Camp shares the gospel in your community!

Applications for 2019 Partnership Day Camps will be available in October!
We will send applications to congregations and post them on our website.

So Many Ways to Support the Ministry of Highlands! A Financial Update . . .
Finances at Highlands involve seasonal fluctuations of generated income and reflect donor interests in particular needs and projects. For the first third of our year (January to Memorial Day) our guest usage was below budget. Staff has done an excellent job of limiting spending to match this reduced and seasonal income. Our projections for guest groups from Memorial Day through the end of the year are on budget, and still have some opportunity to grow.

Do you know a group looking for retreat and meeting locations? We’d love to host your non-profit organization at Highlands!
Our Summer Holiday special generated over $15,000 in new business . . . and you could still join us for Labor Day Weekend at our lowest rate of the summer! We will be offering activities on Saturday and Sunday for those who come to spend the last holiday of the summer with us!

Do you know someone looking for a family reunion location for 2019? We are now booking our 2019 Summer Dates . . .and Highlands is a great place for your family reunion!

Donors have provided over $16,000 towards our $22,000 Matching Grant, and there is still time for you to give and help reduce our debt and interest payments! Our Annual Minimum Principal Reduction payment is due in January, and this matching gift reflects only a portion of this $116,000 payment. We are grateful for your support for debt reduction! Funds raised from the 2018 Christmas Auction on Saturday, December 1st, will be used to meet this payment. Are you an artist? We’d love to have your work to add to our auction and support our ministry!

Our Go Fund Me campaign “Let’s Build a Boat Shed” generated more gifts from individuals directly to Highlands, and this campaign is now fully met and exceeded! We raised well over $3800 and this fall we will be building a boat shed for canoe storage at the pond! We are delighted that moving canoes will not be on the list for our Fall Work Day on September 15th! We hope you’ll come help anyway!!
Financial Support Also Includes Gifts of a Life-time!
In November 2017, Rev. Jane Hays passed away. Jane and Bill Hays have been long and generous supporters of Highlands. We now know that Jane made provision for Highlands in three separate trusts. These trusts will be disbursed over time as the estate is settled. One trust may not settle for many years. The Highlands Committee has been hard at work planning for the wise use of these gifts, in ways that help us to support our Vision and Strategic Plan. Recently they adopted this plan for gifts from the Estate of Jane Hays:

  • Use 50% of this gift for the elimination of debt; as part of a Capital Campaign to eliminate our debt by our 75th anniversary in 2021. These funds may be used as direct debt reduction and/or matching grants. Our intention as wise stewards is to invite our partner presbyteries, congregations and individual donors to join us in eliminating our debt, by multiplying this gift.
  • An expression of Joy: Use 10% of the funds received from the Estate of Jane Hays to meet immediate needs at Highlands. This may include equipment, salaries, unmet budget items, etc. The staff of Highlands will work with each sub-committee to make recommendations for expenditures as an expression of our joy and gratitude for this gift.
  • Establish a Program Fund to nurture existing programs, such as Partnership Day Camp and residential Summer Camp; and to develop new programs using 12% of this gift. The principal and income from the Program Fund may be used for salaries, honorariums, materials, equipment or other needs to enhance existing programs and develop new programs for all ages. The Program Sub-Committee shall make recommendations to the Highlands Committee for the use of these funds. The Highlands Committee shall determine and direct the use of this Fund in accordance with this paragraph.
  • Establish a Maintenance Reserve Fund using 28% of this gift. The principal and income from the Maintenance Reserve Fund shall be used for capital maintenance and improvements at Highlands. Expenses related to routine maintenance are included in Highland’s annual budget and are not intended to be the subject of this Fund. The Maintenance Reserve Fund shall be used for major repair and/or capital improvements. The Operations Sub-Committee shall make recommendations to the Highlands Committee for the use of these funds. The Highlands Committee shall determine and direct the use of this Fund in accordance with this paragraph.
  • We believe that this plan will enable us to meet these steps in Strategic Plan:
  • Nurture the renewal and transformation for all. To continue this work and to create new opportunities for renewal and transformation, Jesus calls us now to:
  • Nurture young adults in ministry and leadership development by the development of skills, providing ministry leadership opportunities and developing a young adult internship program.
  • Continue to enlarge the Day Camp ministry to a total of 16 churches in order to reach children with the Gospel in local community and congregational settings.
  • Continue to develop new opportunities for youth and adult retreats that serve the needs of area congregations.
  • Provide open and restorative hospitality for each. To continue this work and to offer hospitality in new times, Jesus calls us now to:
  • Revise and redesign the Highlands website, including a virtual tour.
  • Develop strategies to increase midweek business
  • Evaluate all staff housing on a regular basis. Recommend needed renovations.
  • Serve the needs of presbyteries, congregations and all God’s children of all ages. To continue this work and to serve the whole church in new ways and times, Jesus calls us now to:
  • Continue to collaborate with the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks and the Presbytery of Denver, the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, the Synod of the Rocky Mountains and new partners to bring high quality educational and retreat opportunities to Highlands.
  • Develop appreciation and care for God’s creation. To continue this work and to enlarge the ways we care for creation, Jesus calls us now to:
  • Enhance and maintain the facilities and operations of Highlands to support the program and ministry at Highlands.
  • Live as servants of Christ, who are grateful for the past, faithful in the present and hopeful for the future. To continue this work and to work hopefully for the future, Jesus calls us now to:
  • Review the master plan and make recommendations for changes and implementation.
  • Plan for ways to eliminate the debt by 2021 (the 75th Anniversary)

Things you won’t want to miss . . .
Fall Work Day: September 15th
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. +
This is a great opportunity for families, youth groups and others who love to help out!
R.S.V. P. to
+ We will wrap up the day with lunch at 1:00 p.m. and we would love to have you join us!
Fall Arts Camp
October 19-21, 2018
An Art Experience for Adults!
Come and explore Fused Glass, Precious Metal Clay and Embossed Metal Art
You’ll also have studio time for additional projects!
Registration for this weekend is already 50% filled.
If you want to be a part of this weekend filled with creative art, faith and friends sign up now!
Register online at

The Presbytery of Denver with the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks
& the Omaha Theological Foundation Invite you . . .“Opening Doors . . . Traveling Together-In Love”
November 9-10, 2018

Keynote Presentations by Dr. Jana Childers The Rev. Dr. Jana L. Childers, Dean of the Seminary and Vice-President of Academic Affairs is also Professor of Homiletics and Speech-Communication at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a Presbyterian minister who served congregations in Kansas and New Jersey before joining the seminary faculty. Interests in the arts, spirituality and worship supplement Jana’s “central and great love” – preaching. She is the author and editor of a number of books and articles on preaching including Performing the Word: Preaching as Theatre and the award winning, Birthing the Sermon: Women Preachers and Creative Process.

Pastors, elders and church leaders are invited to this overnight event.
Congregations are encouraged to send their Worship Committees! Cost $90.00
Mark Your Calendar and Save the Date!

Annual Highlands Christmas Party & Auction
Saturday, December 1st
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
We welcome donations from artists and craft folk. Your creativity will support the ministry of Highlands

Looking ahead. . .Events for Youth!
Highlands Middler Retreat (Grades 5-8)
March 1-3, 2019
Join us for a winter weekend of fun in the mountains!
Details to come!

Respectfully submitted,
Maria Shupe, Executive Director


Click here for pdf version of report.

We Are Moving

Our new location passed final inspection! In order for us to move, our offices will be closed the week of August 13-17, 2018. Our offices will be moving from the Grant Street Property to our new location at 4800 Happy Canyon Road, Suite 140 in Denver. If you have a regularly scheduled meeting during this week, please contact Beth at the Presbytery Office to check the location of your meeting.

Open House
We have scheduled an open house for all to come and visit our new location on Friday, September 14, 2018 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come when you can to, 4800 Happy Canyon Road, Suite 140 in Denver. Tours and refreshments will be available. See you there!

Scheduling Meetings
Our new location at 4800 Happy Canyon Road, Suite 140 in Denver, will be much more efficient for our work as a Presbytery; however, we will not have “extra” meeting space available for drop-in meetings. Therefore, if you need meeting space outside a regular monthlymeeting, please use our on-line meeting scheduler at or contact Communications & Administrative Manager, Beth Carlisle at or 303.777.2454. Thank you for making this transition go smoothly for all.

Treasure Sale
After our move, we will have some books, chairs, tables, desks, file cabinets and other miscellaneous items available to our churches for their use. Watch your email and our website for the date of this “sale” coming in September.