New Castle Presbytery honors its past while looking to the future
June 16, 2017
New Castle Presbytery looked to its roots during an especially difficult time of church dismissals. However, by remembering where it came from while looking to the future, the presbytery better understood its calling.
In June 2015, the presbytery took action with respect to settlement funds received from churches dissolved by the presbytery so they could leave the PC(USA). In this time of ending and closure, it found a way to create new ministries and give hope to existing ministries in communities along Delaware and Maryland’s eastern shore.
“Tithing a portion of the settlement funds to ministry beyond the bounds of the presbytery was a natural commitment to make,” said Stated Clerk/Interim Mission Coordinator Bob Schminkey. “It is consistent with the missional theme and history of New Castle Presbytery.”
Ten percent of the total amount of the settlement funds was given to the PC(USA) to support Presbyterian mission co-workers. The gift is to be used where the need is greatest, and the funds were to be distributed in three equal payments in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, received the second payment from Winnie Wagner, moderator, and the Rev. Douglas Gerdts, presbytery treasurer, at a recent presbytery meeting.
“In many ways, supporting the church’s mission has changed,” De La Rosa said. “But in most cases, they remain the same. Your prayers strengthen us. Your financial support makes the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency possible and helps us to extend the love of Christ throughout the world. And we thank you for your abiding generosity and faith in the work we do on your behalf.”
New Castle earmarked the other 90 percent of the funds for new church development within the presbytery, specifically in areas of rapid growth and areas where churches had left or closed.
The congregations of New Castle Presbytery have many ministry connections around the world, including Peru, South Korea, Japan, the Congo, Guatemala, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi and Cuba, and the commitment to sustain the witness of the PC(USA) through the support of mission co-workers is not new to this presbytery. In fact, it is over 300 years old.
Francis Makemie (1658–1708), an Irish clergyman considered to be the founder of Presbyterianism in United States of America, was also the founder of many congregations within New Castle Presbytery that still exist.
“Because a missionary from Ireland came to begin a new ministry here on the Eastern Shore and in Delaware, we exist,” Schminkey said. “Because of these funds, we can continue to carry out Christ’s commission to his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations.”
Melody Smith, mission communications strategist, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: New Castle Presbytery
Let us join in prayer for:
New Castle Presbytery Staff
Jim Moseley, executive presbyter
Bob Schminkey, stated clerk
Bruce Gillette, chair of council
Winnie Wagner, moderator
Jeff Howard, vice moderator
Donna Scully, office manager
Tom Davis, interfaith peacemaker
Emma Blair, bookkeeper
Douglas Gerdts, treasurer
Laurie Hiller, parliamentarian
Pam Ruarke, disaster recovery
Terry Dykstra, mission advocate
Nona Holy, campus ministry pastor
Caitlan Gartland, campus ministry pastoral associate
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Most gracious God, we seek your help to multiply the resources of those who struggle daily to meet the needs of their families. It is your power that can overcome the challenges faced by the many communities. Give us the strength to stand beside them. Amen.