News

An Experience Hard to Capture—

Mission Trip to Nepal

We believe that God is a God who exceeds our expectations. This statement can be affirmed by the members of Plains Presbyterian Church. This past September, 16 individuals, including five youth, traveled to Nepal where they experienced “God with us.”

After a day and a half of flying, they boarded trucks and were driven four hours into the mountains of Nepal. The elevation combined with the switchbacks, made the journey hard, but they knew something great waited for them in Ilam—their home away from home. God was waiting for them in the mountains.

They spent the week working at Green Hill Academy, a private Christian school in the neighboring village of Nepaltar. At the school they worked with the International Children’s Network (ICN). ICN is a Christian-based organization that believes that when we combine the gospel’s message with education, we can change the world. ICN’s sponsorship program helps save many children—children whose families struggle with poverty—from human trafficking.

Life at Green Hill for Plains members was a blessing. They worked on the construction of a bio-gas generator which will help the fragile infrastructure of the school maintain power in a community with rolling blackouts.

Finally, they cut bamboo to help a local church planter build the church. Even though Christianity is outlawed in this Hindu nation, they could see pockets of God’s presence breaking through. The work was hard. The rain was constant. But God was with them each day giving them what they needed to serve and care for others in spite of the language barrier.

Through the miracle of this trip, Plains members witnessed God showing them how to live as Christ lived without needing to say anything. It was a ministry of presence and of love. It is hard to capture the miracle that happens when people across cultures join together, but for the group of mission workers, it did happen.

If you want more information related to their trip, please don’t hesitate to contact Plains Presbyterian, or better yet, come to the November presbytery meeting. Representatives of the group will be present and would love to tell you their stories and share their experience.

Putting On a New Face

Our Presbytery Center building is in the middle of a multi-year facelift and maintenance upgrade. Last year we were able to paint the facade of the building and trim the entry so that we are now a pleasant part of the historic Zelienople downtown scene. Recently we put infill shutters on the upper window spaces which had been blocked in years ago. This year we have painted the north side of the building and the rear. We are now in the final stages of putting a new roof on the building.

Along with these upgrades we have replaced some failing sidewalk concrete and removed the worn and weary chain link fence around our parking lot. Our plan is to place some attractive landscaping along the edges and to continue to find small ways to bring some green spaces into that part of the property. In 2020, we hope to re-point some of the brickwork on the south side and then paint that so the whole exterior of our building will be in good shape for another significant season of service. Since we removed the faded awning from the front, and will soon do the same in the rear, we will develop new signage.

The Administration Committee is grateful to the Coordinating Team for their support in this effort. We have also been able to partner with Main Street Zelienople to receive a very nice grant for the facade work. We hope that these improvements may be a blessing to the Zelienople community.

Welcome

SONYA-MARIE H. MORLEY, a native of Washington, DC, has joined the Beaver-Butler Presbytery as the new student pastor of Refreshing Springs Mission Church. In 1998, Sonya-Marie graduated from the George Washington University (Wash., D.C.) with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in psychology, and married her high school sweetheart, Nathaniel E. Morley.

By 2010, Sonya-Marie and Nathaniel had lost two sons within as many years. The ongoing journey of healing that followed led Sonya-Marie to a parent support group whose authentic witness of survival and healing helped Sonya-Marie rediscover the loving God who knows first-hand what it is like to lose an only begotten Son.

Sonya-Marie is a servant-leader and visionary who looks forward with humility and joy to bringing over 20 years of customer-facing service experience, including direct care and case management experience with diverse populations, to her work with the precious, powerful people at Refreshing Springs Mission Church.

Welcome, Sonya-Marie!

Protect Your Church from Increasing Phishing Scams

Phishing scams send emails, social media posts, text and ads that mimic reputable businesses like banks, online resources and credit card companies to trick people into sharing their financial and personal information and/or downloading malware. Scammers also pretend to be pastors from local churches emailing people for small financial assistance as not to raise any red flags. However, the damage to reputations and trustworthiness of pastors and their churches is tremendous.

Here are five simple tips to avoid Phishing Scams:

  1. Be cautious of all emails and messages sent to you. Be 100% sure you know who is sending you the email/message. Never click on link(s) unless you are 100% sure who it is from and you know it is 100% safe.
  2. If you are not sure of the validity of the email/message use another form of communication (like phone call, text, etc.) to reach out to that person and/or entity to confirm they sent you that email/message and that it is safe to click on their link(s).
  3. Scam emails/messages are always designed to get you to react quickly and impulsively. So pause, use your common sense, and check it out before reacting.
  4. If you know the entity and need to send personal or sensitive information always make sure it is to a secure website. All secure websites have https:// and a security “lock” icon. Never use public WIFI to send sensitive information, always do it from your personal WIFI account.
  5. If you receive any scam emails, before deleting forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.gov .

As our lives continue to connect with more digital technologies we will need to learn how to safeguard ourselves and our family in this new environment. As we navigate this fast changing technical terrain we will need to stay educated and rely more on our old fashion common sense.

Thank you to John Fong, Presbytery Digital Disciples Ministry & Communication Consultant, for providing this information.

If you need help or have questions, contact John.

Facebook Help Desk: http://bit.ly/AskJohnFong
Email: johnfong@elizabethpresbytery.org
Text: 732-318-7955

Hymnals Available…

Songs of Faith and Praise (blue)
Howard Publishing Co., Inc.
1994

The Hymnbook (red)
Presbyterian Denominations
1955

If you are interested in having them, contact Chris Ann Goossen at the Beaver-Butler Office: chrisanngoossen@beaverbutler.org or 724-452-7515 X 12.

Free Music

Cantata Books for Choirs

The Presbytery Resource Center no longer will be keeping choral cantatas in their music lending library. A large selection—over two dozen, mostly gently used and others well-loved—is available for free. The majority are Christmas themed with the remaining centered on Holy Week and Good Friday. The books are on display for easy perusal in the resource center while supplies last.