Denver Presbytery Delegates visit Zimbabwe Presbytery

Olivia Hudson Smith, Julia Henderson, and Rob Habiger represented the Denver Presbytery and the PZDP on a recent visit to Zimbabwe as part of the 12-year-old partnership between the Denver Presbytery and the Presbytery of Zimbabwe. The focus of their visit was the Central Fund, an initiative of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, to provide sustainable support for their pastors. Their visit included witnessing the construction of the first major project of the Central Fund, a greenhouse that will grow 2500 tomatoes and 1000 English Cucumbers. The plants have been seeded and will be set into the greenhouse in about four to five weeks. They meet with the Business Investment Unit of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, the body that is developing and overseeing the sustainable projects that make up the Central Fund portfolio. Their visit also included listening visits with the congregations chosen for a pilot program to provide stipend supplements to a small group of pastors. Olivia, Julia, and Rob also preached at three of the congregations included in the pilot program, making many new friends in Christ and renewing relationships made over the many years of the partnership.

A very special event was the memorial service for The Reverend Stan Jewell, held at Highfield Presbyterian Church in Harare, where he served in 2015.

Update on the Interim Presbytery Pastor Search Committee

Dear Friends,

While we are stepping into the heat of July, these are not lazy days of summer for the Presbytery of Denver. I write to update you on the progress of the transition planning for the retirement of Rev. Tom Sheffield and the calling of new presbytery leadership.  

Presbytery Council met on June 27 to adopt a three-phase approach to seeking new presbytery leadership: 

  1. Call an Interim Presbytery Pastor: Interim Presbytery Pastor (IPP) Search and Nomination 
  2. Reflect on our Past and Prepare for our Future: Conduct an Assessment and Affirmation of Our Context, Identity, and Leadership Model 
  3. Call an installed Presbytery Leader: Presbytery Pastor Search and Nomination 

This approach will provide day-to-day leadership during our transition as well as a careful process of discerning our needs for the future before hiring our next installed Presbytery Leader. A separate committee will be established to complete the work of each phase. The Council approved the Interim Presbytery Pastor Search Committee to guide the process of Phase 1. The Interim Presbytery Pastor they seek will serve for one year (with an option to renew for another year) and will not be eligible under any circumstance to apply for the Presbytery Leader position. Beginning its work immediately, this committee is comprised of the following individuals who have graciously agreed to conduct this important work:

  • TE Joel Adams, NorthWest Denver Missional Community 
  • TE John Anderson, Trinity Presbyterian Church (Council Member)
  • RE Wanda Beauman, Peoples Presbyterian Church 
  • TE Katie Robb Davis, Wellshire Presbyterian Church
  • RE Dietmar Fritsch, Eagle River Presbyterian Church
  • RE Lemuel Velasco, Divino Salvador Fellowship
  • TE Louise Westfall, Central Presbyterian Church
  • Non-Voting Personnel Committee Liaison: TE Bruce Spear, Elizabeth Presbyterian Church

The Council also approved contracting with Dr. Corey Schlosser-Hall, Executive Presbyter of the Northwest Coast Presbytery, to serve as a consultant throughout the three phases of our process. Dr. Schlosser-Hall is a credentialed leadership coach and serves on the faculty of the Presbytery Leader Formation Program of the PC(USA) where he teaches post-modern ecclesiology, visionary and financial leadership, and communications. He is also known by several of our Presbytery members to be a skilled organizational consultant and has previously led our presbytery leadership retreats. 

We will honor Rev. Sheffield at a celebration of his retirement to be held on Friday evening, October 27, 2017.  PLEASE SAVE THE DATE!  Yes, still another committee is forming to plan this event and details will follow later in the summer.

I thank the members of the Personnel Committee and especially its moderator, Rev. Bruce Spear, for their quick and responsive leadership. Please pray for the work of the search committee, and if you have questions or suggestions regarding the transition process, please contact either Rev. Spear at or myself at

Peace be with you.

Jean Demmler, Moderator
The Presbytery of Denver

Ministers and church staff - Selecting Benefits for 2018

Getting Ready To Select 2018 Benefits

Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing to review or update your Employer Agreement for 2018:

The Employer Agreement details the benefits selections for 2018 that will be available to your employees on Benefits Connect during annual enrollment in the fall.

Key considerations for building your Employer Agreement include who will be covered (and when); what benefits to offer; and how much you (and employees) will pay toward the cost of coverage.

Be certain that your benefit groups are set up correctly; read Importance of Benefit Groups below.

Key Dates

  • Late June: Web tutorials Considerations for Selecting Benefits: Building Your Employer Agreement and Creating Your Employer Agreement available
  • Early July: The launch of Selecting 2018 Benefits section, on
  • Mid-July: Guides for selecting benefits and completing the Employer Agreement available on
  • July 17-October 13: Employers log on to Benefits Connect to begin reviewing, modeling, and building their Employer Agreements for 2018
  • October 13: Deadline for employers to submit their final 2018 Employer Agreements on Benefits Connect
  • October 30-November 17: Annual enrollment for members to elect 2018 benefits

If you have questions about the Benefits Plan or the benefits selection process, call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

For more information, click here.