This past Thursday, May 26, 2022, we had our first in-person presbytery meeting since February 2020. Many thanks to Venice Presbyterian, its pastors, leaders, and volunteers for the wonderful hospitality, beautiful worship, and delicious lunch! I was surprised at the amount of emotion I felt as the whole presbytery began to sing the first hymn together. We have not been able to sing during a Zoom meeting and the harmony and joy was palpable. Chris Romig shared the Word from Acts about the Ascension of the Lord and reminded us that Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them before they went out. Prayer is powerful and can infuse our action with greater results.

The business portion of the meeting was full of celebrations – the retirement of John Foulkrod, the move to candidacy of John Frazee, the thanksgiving of 20 years of service to the presbytery by Alesia Sharpe, and the birthday of the Stated Clerk. We commissioned those who have been elected to serve at General Assembly – Ruling Elder Linda Getzen, Ruling Elder Clint Belk, Teaching Elder Cori Rigney, Teaching Elder Rex Childs, and Ruling Elder Carson Brown, who serves as Young Adult Advisory Delegate. Please pray for them as they take on this responsibility in another unusual Assembly. They will each spend several days in Louisville meeting with their committees and then come home and await the online plenary meetings that take place July 5-9.

During lunch there was a great time of fellowship. Many changes in pastors have occurred in the last two years and some people had never been in an in-person presbytery meeting in Peace River. It was a joy to see people getting acquainted and re-acquainted.

We were fortunate to have the Rev. Carlos Ham with us from Matanzas Presbytery and the Seminary. After lunch he shared with us how the people of Cuba and the church have fared during COVID. The church has been a vital part of the resilience of the people during this pandemic. We are thankful for our partnership and the opportunity to learn about the ways the Cuban people have found to care for one another in such a time of need.

Thank you all for the ministry you do in your churches and communities to share the love and grace of Christ in worship and work. The presbytery is here to support you in that mission. We are better together.

Pentecost blessings,