Savannah Presbytery Transition Team News

The Transition Team has been working hard since March to carry out the task of helping to create “a sustainable vision for the future ministry of Savannah Presbytery.” Our team has been very busy creating job descriptions, examining the presbytery’s teams, identifying needs for personnel, and, in the last few months, receiving Personal Information Forms (PIFs), and prayerfully considering candidates to serve as the Transitional General Presbyter and Stated Clerk. Rev. Joyce Lieberman, our Synod Executive, met with the Transition Team in late July to offer guidance and support as we began the process of discerning who would be the best “fit” for our presbytery. Those candidates whom we discerned to be our finalists were interviewed via ZOOM.

During these initial interviews, there was concern among candidates about taking on both the Transitional General Presbyter and Stated Clerk roles. As is the case with any transitional work, there are a lot of added tasks which rest outside the scope of an established “called” position. Given the candidates’ concerns and considering our own growing understanding of the scope of the transitional work, the team decided we needed flexibility to separate the two positions if needed. A motion was made to that effect and was approved by Council.

After the initial ZOOM interviews, the team reached out to the candidates’ references and then invited two finalists to come for in-person interviews. After these interviews, the committee sensed very clearly that God was calling the Rev. Dr. Alan Baroody to lead our presbytery during this transitional period. Many of us know Alan from his years of faithful service in and to our presbytery. The Transition Team was impressed with his experience in transitional work, his pastoral gifts, and his ideas for helping to develop a vision for the future of our presbytery.

In consultation with Alan, it was decided that he would serve as the Transitional General Presbyter only. Alan was presented to Council by the Transition Team at the stated meeting on September 30th and was unanimously approved. He begins his ministry with us on November 1st. The Rev. Eric Beene, who was in attendance as Interim Stated Clerk, agreed to continue in that capacity until May 2020.

The Transition Team and Alan are looking forward to working with consultant David York to set up listening sessions in each district to hear more about your hopes and suggestions for our presbytery’s initial priorities.

Meet Our Transitional General Presbyter

The Rev. Dr. Alan Baroody

A little over five years ago, Alan and his wife, Suzanne, moved from Midway to Addison, TX (near Dallas). While in Texas, Alan’s focus has been on transitional ministries and church consultations.  He served as Interim Head of Staff at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Denton, TX and Interim Pastor at Woodhaven Presbyterian Church in Irving, TX. Before moving to Texas, Alan served as Pastor of Jekyll Presbyterian Community Church for five years and over thirteen years as the Executive Director of the Marylou Fraser Foundation for Families (The Fraser Counseling Center). Additionally, Alan has served on Committees on Ministry in three presbyteries for 20 of the past 24 years of his ministry.

After forty-two years of ministry, he was Honorably Retired at the September meeting of Grace Presbytery. Two days later, he accepted Savannah Presbytery’s invitation to serve as our Transitional General Presbyter. Retired for two days, Alan says he’s “thrilled to have ‘failed’ retirement so that we can begin our work together here in Savannah Presbytery. As far as I can tell, there is no place in the Bible that addresses retiring from following Jesus!”

Alan is looking forward to visiting with all the churches in our presbytery and exploring ways in which we, as a presbytery of primarily smaller congregations, can help each other in furthering the work of God’s kingdom in our midst. “We are a denomination and a presbytery in transition. We need each other’s gifts and need to learn how to better connect and support one another in mission and ministry.”

Alan’s wife, Suzanne, is a ruling elder in the PC(USA). She is also a licensed professional counselor and works as a Military Family Life Counselor at various military installations, both in the U.S. and around the world. Both she and Alan serve as volunteers on Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s National Response Team.

Alan and Suzanne have four adult children and two grandchildren. For recreation, Alan enjoys reading mystery novels, sailing, hunting, fishing, camping, and amateur radio.

Educational and Professional Background: Master of Divinity, Princeton Theological Seminary; Master of Theology in Pastoral Counseling, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond; Doctor of Ministry in Family Systems, Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary; licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Supervisor; Board member of the Soul Repair Center of Brite Divinity School (research and education on Moral Injury); Served churches in South Carolina, Texas, and Georgia; Directed Christian counseling and outpatient services in Colorado and Georgia.

Save The Date!

Savannah Presbytery Presents the 41st Faith Enrichment Conference on February 7-8, 2020 at Epworth Center on Saint Simons Island, GA.

The Keynote Speaker for this event is Dr. William P. Brown.  Save the Date and enjoy a weekend of faith and joy!

2020  Faith Erichment Conference Flyer

An Important Message From Your Board of Pensions

We have recently opened registration for our Growing Into Tomorrow…Today retirement planning seminar and our Getting in Shape Fiscally seminar at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA on October 15-16 and October 17. Members in your presbytery within 4-hour driving distance will have already received email invitations to register for one or both of these seminars.

Please feel free to share information of the seminars with your members and join us in promoting the importance of holistic retirement planning and financial health.

Devin Johns
Program Administrator
PC USA Board of Pensions
For information:

GISF – Decatur ; GITT – Decatur

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Savannah Presbytery News

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and grace to the congregations and members of Savannah Presbytery! 

The Presbytery Council recently met and will meet again on Thursday, August 1.  Please continue to pray for us.

Note that the Presbytery office will be closed June 27 through July 8.

The Work of the Council

  • Rev. Deanie Strength (Moderator-Elect) will assume the duties of Council Moderator until the Winter Stated Meeting when she will begin her term as Presbytery Moderator.  At that time, the Nominating Committee will present nominees to the Presbytery for a new Moderator-Elect and Council Moderator.  Rev. Ozeas Silva will continue to serve on the Council as past moderator.
  • The Council is being guided by the Savannah Presbytery Operations Manual (See www.savannahpresbytery.org/administrative-resources/cpm/
  • Any manual changes recommended by Council shall be presented at the October 2019 Stated Meeting of the Presbytery.

Have a Stated Clerk Question?

  • Committee on Ministry Chair, Rev. Andy Meeker, is available to help with matters traditionally handled by the Presbytery’s Stated Clerk.

Presbytery Office Operations

  • Office hours are:
    • Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am – Noon; 2-4:30 pm
    • Fridays 9:30 am to Noon
  • The Presbytery office will be closed June 27 to July 8, 2019 while our Business Administrator, Liz Richardson, is on vacation.
  • If you need assistance, please contact Rev. Deanie Strength (Council Moderator), Rev. Andy Meeker (Presbytery Moderator), or another Council member.
  • When you plan to visit the Presbytery office, please arrange your time with Liz.  She is often engaged in data entry which requires timed sessions on the computer.

Financial Operation of the Presbytery

  • As the Presbytery’s Business Administrator, Liz is carrying out all of the financial applications and business matters of the Presbytery.  We have relied on her expertise now for over 12 years and we appreciate her flexibility in this time of transition.
  • Liz is receiving support from the Stewardship & Finance Committee (which recently completed an internal audit).
  • Signing checks for the Presbytery are: Doug Alexander, Frederica (Stewardship & Finance Committee); Jay Martin, Frederica (Church Treasurer); and Bob Harper, St. Simons (Church Treasurer).
  • This temporary structure will remain in place until a Transitional GP/SC is in place.  At that time, the Personnel Committee will seek a Treasurer from the Presbytery congregations in Glynn County using the job description developed by the Transition Team.  (See http://www.savannahpresbytery.org/administrative-resources/transitions/ )

Work of the Transition Team

  • The job description for a Transitional General Presbyter/Stated Clerk has been posted on the PCUSA Church Leadership Connection website. (See http://www.savannahpresbytery.org/administrative-resources/transitions/ )
  • The team is being contacted by interested persons and will meet at the end of July to begin its considerations.
  • The Transitional GP/SC will be hired from outside of the Presbytery for a term of 1 year with the option to extend.    This person will work out of the Presbytery office coordinating with the Transition Team, Council and Personnel Committee to discern the way forward for Savannah Presbytery.
  • Listening sessions in the districts will be conducted by consultant David York when the Transitional GP/SC is hired.

 New Staff Support for the Presbytery’s Education Programs

  • Marty Susie will serve as program support staff person to the directors of the School of the Laity, the Faith Enrichment Conference, and Summer Camp for a trial period of four months.  Marty is the Christian Educator at Wilmington Island Presbyterian Church and is also a long-serving member of the Education & Training Committee, a graduate of the School of the Laity, a former Summer Camp director, and a participant in many of the Leadership Development Conferences (now called “Faith Enrichment”).  She is leading the Presbytery’s group to the Youth Triennium this summer.
  • After a recommendation from the Education & Training Committee and with approval by the Council, Marty will be paid a monthly stipend to oversee event publicity, registration and other details.  At the conclusion of the trial period, the position will be evaluated.  We are excited that the programs we value so much will receive her attention.
  • The following directors will continue to develop the programs and speakers for our educational events:

 School of the Laity                                        Rev. Jamil el-Shair, Midway First

 (October 5-6, 2019)

Faith Enrichment Conference 2020      Rev. Jeff Garrison, Skidaway Island

 (February 7-8, 2020)                                         Rev. Chris Noyes, First Brunswick

Summer Camp 2020                                      Program – Nat Scott, St. Simons

(July 20-24, 2020)                   Registration – Marty  Susie, Wilmington Island 

Updates to the Online Presbytery Directories

  • By the end of the summer, the Council hopes that we will have updated directories.  Please assist Liz by sharing the appropriate information when it is requested.

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