Weekly Bulletin

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Update

2017 PDA Meeting Summary

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) annual meeting was held in Atlanta, April 21 – 24.  Members of the volunteer National Response Team (NRT) and National Volunteer Team gathered to expand the team’s knowledge of disaster ministries and response.

PDA members receive training throughout the year in areas such as natural and human-caused disasters, emotional and spiritual care, church damage, post-disaster volunteer work force housing, long-term community rebuilding, and refugee and immigration in disaster response.

In addition, in Atlanta, volunteers participated in sessions dealing with racism and privilege, and suicide awareness.  Guest speakers from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), a consortium of groups that respond during disasters were featured.

PDA is made up of 102 clergy and lay members representing 34 states and Puerto Rico.  NRT members commit to 1 month of service annually. In 2016, national volunteers spent approximately 2,377 days in 62 presbyteries in response to church damage, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, storms, human caused disasters and in the refugee ministry.

PDA enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to witness the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crises and catastrophic events. The organization gratefully receives support through your One Great Hour of Sharing donations.


Submitted by Rev. Pat Ashley
National Response Team, Member
Presbyterian Disaster Response

Easter Morning at Trinity Presbyterian

My first Easter Sunday at Trinity Presbyterian in Key West, my morning started at 6 a.m. in the sanctuary with my intercessory prayer leader connecting with me by phone as we prayed for a glorious day in the Lord.  I knew I would need extra help from the Lord since it was not to service as usual. The children of Trinity ministering the musical play He is Risen, a Resurrection message for members as well as visitors and vacationers, and my very 1st Sacrament of Baptism.  Of course the batteries went out in the microphone while I was praying and there was several dead pauses as we switched from one thing to the next — just keep smiling, just keep smiling.  Overall it was a wonderful sun shining Resurrection Day filled with the joy of obeying the word of our Lord Jesus, and confident of God’s promises while baptizing 3 teenagers Kenniah, Malik, and Ania who God is sealing and uniting them to Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection by the water of the Holy Spirit.  And this act of sealing all started with eating pizza at a parlor.  Salvation breaks out anywhere.  This will be a joyful memory as Trinity celebrates its 125th anniversary in December.   Trinity began as an African American Church founded in 1892 by the London Missionary Society; established as a Wesleyan Methodist mission church to the Bahamian immigrants.  In 1931, the Presbyterian Church took it over when the London Society felt it was too expensive to send missionaries from London and the Bahamas.   – Denise McLeod, TE

Join us in praying for Pastor Denise.  Make sure to say hello at the May Presbytery meeting.

Joyce Lieberman leaving OGA to lead Synod of South Atlantic

The Reverend Joyce Lieberman, director of constitutional interpretation and Associate Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly, has been chosen by the Synod of South Atlantic as its new executive/stated clerk. Lieberman will begin her new responsibilities on June 1, 2017, and will be formally elected by the synod at its stated meeting in September 2017. The synod is based in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We believe that the Holy Spirit actively and directly led us to an outstanding candidate to lead our synod into the future,” wrote the synod’s search committee in its announcement of Lieberman’s selection. “We feel confident that … Rev. Lieberman will serve our presbyteries, our leaders, and our churches exceedingly well.”


This Friday | A German Requiem, Miami Beach FL

I pray that your Lenten journey has been meaningful so far.  I wanted to invite you to our performances of the Brahms’ A German Requiem.  The next performance is:

A German Requiem
April 28, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
St Patrick Catholic Church
3716 Garden Avenue
Miami Beach, FL  33140

This is not the traditional Latin requiem.  The scripture texts which Brahms chose to use focus on comfort for those who mourn and hope.  The music is, of course, sublime and expresses the scriptures very powerfully.  I know you would be encouraged and blessed by the experience as a post Easter celebration.

Grace and peace,
Rev. Rosemary Noga Welton

This Sunday | Rev. Jim Goldsmith is Retiring – Community Pres, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea


On Sunday, April 30th, we are celebrating Jim and Dorothy’s 13 wonderful years at The Community Church, There will be a special service in the sanctuary from followed by lunch and music in the fellowship hall. We hope you will come celebrate with us and say your good-byes to Jim and Dorothy, after their many years of loving and dedicated support of our congregation. We are collecting a love offering to give to Jim and Dorothy at the party. If you would like to contribute towards their gift, please put your love offering into the offering plate clearing marked as “Love Offering”, or give your offering to either Debra Sadriwalla or Barbara Haley.

Rev. Goldsmith will continue to be the Chair of Missions & Outreach, providing leadership with our Presbytery’s SEED Grant ministry, various need-based drives, and so much more.

Encuentro de la Hispanidad Sinodal | Fecha límite de inscripción es el 30 de abril!

2017 Encuentro Save the Date (1)

Note: This event is held entirely in Spanish.

El Caucus Hispano Latino del Sínodo del Atlántico Sur les invita al encuentro anual de la hispanidad sinodal del 27 al 29 de mayo, 2017, en Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, GA.  Acompáñanos, adultos, jóvenes y niños, en un fin de semana de adoración, estudio, confraternidad y refrigerio espiritual bajo el tema “Permanece: Una invitación a repensar nuestra espiritualidad” (basado en Juan 15). Para más información, escríbenos a hispanidadsinodal@gmail.com. ¡Te esperamos!

The Hispanic Latino Caucus of the Synod of the South Atlantic invites you to the annual gathering to be held on May 27 to 29 in Epworth By The Sea, St. Simons Island, GA.  Join us, adults, youth and children, for a weekend of worship, study, confraternity and spiritual refreshment.  This years theme: “Abide in Me: An invitation to re-think our spirituality” (based on John 15).  For more information write to us at hispanidadsinodal@gmail.com.  La fecha límite es el 30 de abril.

Recuerden regar la voz y… ¡Nos vemos en mayo!

Panfleto de Encuentro

Hoja de Registro

Documento Permiso Para Jovenes y Niños

También para los Jovenes:

Housing Needed for Korean Family – Rev. Kennedy McGowan

To our sisters and brothers in the Presbytery,

A family from South Korea, Justin and Rachel Kim and their two children, have been visiting our congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, over the last couple of weeks.  Justin is a professor at Hannam University, a large Presbyterian university in South Korea,  and is taking a year’s sabbatical to study in the United States.  His wife, Rachel is the head pianist at their 5,000 member congregation in Korea, and they have two children, ages 8 and 10 also.

Since arriving in the States, they have been staying with family in South Florida but are now looking to secure an affordable rental for their family.  Their needs are simple, and their budget is tight, so I am putting the word out to folks in the Presbytery who might know of something or who might know of folks who own rental property who have something available or winter visitors in their congregations who might be willing to offer their place at least for the six months or so that they are away from South Florida.  While the Kims will be in South Florida until the end of January, they might be able to take a place for six months also.  This is a great opportunity to help a wonderful Presbyterian family who are serving our sisters and brothers in the church in Korea.  If you have any information, please contact the office 954-923-8209, and we will put you in touch with the Kims.

Thanks so much,


A Fellow Presbyter

Honorarium to Visiting Missionary

PC(USA) supports missions around the world.  The churches of The Presbytery of Tropical Florida participate in this outreach efforts in many different ways.

Times have changed and tax rules and regulations have changed significantly in the last years.  To keep up with those changes you need to be reading this newsletter and other sources of information.

Please read the attached article.

The attached article is from Church Law & Tax, April 2016.  HERE

The Article is titled:  Can We Give an Honorarium to a Visiting Missionary?  and it is by Frank Sommerville an attorney and CPA specializing in non-profit.

Susan Carpenter, Financial Administrator


The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as specific legal advice.


Charlie’s Little Book by Rev. Charles Denison

What did Bill Belichick say at half time that fired up the losing team, down 21-3 to tear out onto the gridiron and come back to win?

Back around 1944 a basketball coach faced a similar problem.  At stake, the Indiana State championship.  His small town had down the impossible to get here at all.  But now they were down by 53 -29.  They were getting killed by a big city powerhouse team.  They were bigger, better, taller and tougher.  So coach unfolded a telegram.  He said, “It’s from a GI who used to play for us.  He’s in Iwo Jima just now.”  He began to read, “Hi you guys….”

He gave the paper to his assistant coach.  He was too choked up to read. “Well, you might think it’s tough where you are.  You might face some kind of tough situation.  You should see Iwo Jima.  We haven’t slept in over a week, wet and hot all the time, and getting slaughtered by the Japs.  So, I’m fighting for you – you win one for me.”

His team tore out of their locker room and never lost the fire that telegram lit.  they won the game, 101-97.  After the game, the locker room was pandemonium.  After the celebration subsided, coach yelled enough to get his team together.  “Boys,” he said.  “I lied.  There was no telegram.”

Some young men looked down, but the thrill of victory still held them.  “There was no telegram.”  Stunned silence.  “I lied for a reason.  I wanted you boys to learn something.  Something far more important than winning a State championship.  I wanted you boys to see how this works. I wanted you to see what you could do — when you are MOTIVATED.

That’s one of the stories in my new book.  From the chapter on motivation.  I’d like all of you to get a copy of Charlie’s Little Book.  It’s a short, 125 page reflection on life.  I wrote a song (Dad’s Last Dance) for my daughter’s wedding, so for my son’s wedding, I wrote him a book about life.  Chapters include Grace, Afterlife, Kindness, Courage, Love, etc.  It’s called, Charlie’s Little Book.  And it’s free.  Go to www.smashwords.com and download it.  It will ask you to pay whatever you might think it’s worth!

Let me include the intro as an attachment, if you’ve got a minute, try it out and see.  A light hearted combination of story and wisdom won the hard way.  It could be a great source for lots of illustrations and sermon ideas, if you like heartwarming, inspiring stories in your sermons.

God bless us all!

Rev. Chuck Denison
Past Tropical Florida Minister

Watch and Pray

The parade of Palm Sunday is over and the march towards the Triduum continues.  While on Palm Sunday and Easter Day you may need to print extra bulletins to accommodate the visitors, such is not the case for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  We do not expect the crowds those days.

Be heartened.  The progression of these days and this week is not only about attendance numbers.  It is about going the way of the Passion of our Lord and Savior.  In reading the gospel narratives, there is this realization that the throngs of the parade of Palm Sunday give way to the smaller circle of disciples traveling with Jesus.  Our worship life rehearses that pattern as we make our way to the Upper Room, to dark Gethsemane, and then to Golgotha. 

Some years ago I used this sung chant that was simply, “Watch and pray.”  Those three words were sung again and again—they became this haunting intonation that gave breath to the call to be present to the journey of these holy days.  I pray for you as you “watch and pray,” and as you enable your congregations to “watch and pray.”

While numbers do matter, there is significance to living fully this journey.  As I think about our use of a corporate Prayer of Confession in our worship services, I have always considered that we offer that prayer for ourselves, for our community, and even for the whole world.  Consider the upcoming worship services that you will be doing in that same vein.  In these days we offer ourselves, our communities, and even the world to God as we recount God’s salvation through Christ our Savior. 

As you prepare to lead your people in worship services this week, know I am praying for you and offer you this prayer from our Book of Common Worship:

Ever-present God,
Without your Word we have nothing to say;
Without your Spirit we are helpless.
Give us your Holy Spirit,
That we may lead your people in prayer,
Proclaim the good news,
And gratefully praise your name;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

May you be blessed this Holy Week as you “watch and pray.”  -Daris Bultena

A Note From the Moderator

It has been around seven weeks since our last presbytery meeting where we came together in worship, education, fellowship and business, received in loving hospitality by The Sanctuary Church (Second Ft. Lauderdale) and their pastor, R.E. Dwayne Black. The Rev. Dr. Daris Bultena, our new General Presbyter, opened the meeting and the Rev. Dr. Frank Yamada, president of McCormick Theological Seminary, gave the homily for the occasion. It was a day filled with activities and fellowship. We celebrated the years of service of Rev. Diane Shoaf and Rev. Dr. Ken White in a retirement service, presented Rev. Angel Ortiz with the PTF membership certificate, and we honored our outgoing moderator, Rev. Jennifer Young-Thompson, for her service during the year 2016. Our thanks to all those who in some way or another worked to make the presbytery event possible.


Presbytery of Tropical Florida Has a New Stated Clerk!

Sisters and Brothers of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida,

It is with joy that I share with you the news that a recommendation will be coming to the May 20 meeting of the Presbytery to hire Ms. Linda Windy Johnston as our next Stated Clerk.

Ms. Johnston is a Ruling Elder and member of the Miami Shores Presbyterian Church.  She is an attorney with an extensive legal background.  Most recently she has served as the chair of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery.  To this work she brought a dedication to process and a commitment to following our rules.  She will bring that skill and attention to her work with the Presbytery of Tropical Florida as our Stated Clerk.

Her deep love for the Presbyterian Church (USA) was expressed in her interview and by those who served as her references.  Windy’s election to this office will take place on May 20th and her initial term is one year.  The HRC is happy to have completed this search and is thankful for all those who applied for the position.

We are confident that the Presbytery will be served well by Windy’s mission-mindedness and her wonderful balance of confidence and humbleness as she lives her faith by joining us in doing the missional task of “empowering congregations to be vibrant Christ-centered communities.”  Join me in bidding Windy Johnston a Tropical Florida welcome to this ministry.

In Christ,
Daris Bultena
General Presbyter

Get Ready for Wild Weather!

Tornadoes, lightning, floods, rip currents and early season heat – spring is three months of danger that can imperil the unprepared. It roars in like a lion, rampaging across the United States throughout March, April and May. And there’s one hazard that can strike the coasts at any time – tsunamis. Spring hazards include: severe weather/tornadoes, floods, lightning, tsunamis, rip currents/beach hazards, heat.

Nobody knows the hazards of this dynamic season more than NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS). We ask that you get weather-ready for spring with just a few simple steps:

  • Know Your Risk
  • Check weather.gov every morning. Don’t leave home without knowing the forecast.
  • Take Action!
  • Assemble an emergency supplies kit with 72 hours’ worth of food and water.

In an emergency (such as after a tornado or some other hazard event), you may be stuck at home without electricity for three days or more.  Make sure that you’re prepared. Also, ensure that everyone in your life knows how to stay in touch with an emergency communication plan. This plan lists meeting places and alternate ways of communicating in case of emergency. Visit Ready.Gov for tips on planning and preparing for severe weather.  Be A Force of Nature – Inspire others by sharing your weather-ready story on social media with the hashtag #SpringSafety.  It can be a simple as posting a photo of your emergency supplies kit or letting your friends know how to reach you during an emergency.  Together, we can build a Weather-Ready Nation, one that is ready for any extreme weather, water, or climate event.  Visit NOAA’s Weather Ready Nation Spring Safety webpage for additional awareness materials (including tsunamis which can strike the coasts at any time): http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/spring_safety.html


Barbara Hassall