by General Presbyter Melana Scruggs

Yesterday was a wonderful gathering of Peace River Presbytery at Trinity, Venice. Thank you to the host church for their hospitality, coordination, and food. We felt welcomed and comfortable.

We began the day with an opportunity to hear about the finances of the presbytery and about being a connectional church. Thank you to Charmaine Ponkratz and Courtney Ducharme for the wonderful leadership in the morning and after lunch. If you would like that information, it can be found on the website at this link.

The highlights of the business portion of the meeting were the dissolution of three Administrative Commissions that completed their work with churches and moving Conor Peters to the candidacy phase of the Preparation for Ministry process. We also recognized the retirement of the Rev. Mike Manperger who has served the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant for 33 years. We look forward to his continued work in the presbytery in retirement.

The Stated Clerk and General Presbyter shared some information about tax issues for churches and pastors and about terms of call. We are always glad to answer questions or to point you in the direction of someone who can.

During worship we not only hear the Word proclaimed and shared in communion, we had the opportunity to celebrate the merger of Palma Sola and Westminster churches to become the United Presbyterian Church in Bradenton. We pray for their continued witness and ministry.

We celebrated a new clergy member in the presbytery, the Rev. Dr. Julia Wharff Piermont, by the gift of a stole commissioned in honor of the Rev. Dr. Marg Towner, the first woman ordained in the Presbyterian Church. 

We received pledges for 2024 from churches during the offering. In 2023 we received pledges of $140K from 10 churches. This year we have received pledges of $261K from 14 churches. Several churches have increased their giving. We give thanks for the generosity and commitment that facilitates the work of the presbytery in mission and support of congregations!

The fellowship over lunch was a wonderful opportunity to connect with folks we don’t see very often. Thank you all for your commitment and participation in the life of the presbytery!