Important Message from the Savannah Presbytery

April 23, 2020

Dear Pastors, Clerks of Session, and Members of Savannah Presbytery,

With this week’s announcement by Governor Brian Kemp that churches may resume worship services this Sunday, we have come together to discern what guidance we might provide to the congregations of Savannah Presbytery.

On a Wednesday call with more than a dozen pastors from every district in our presbytery (representing both small and large churches), there was unanimous agreement that their congregations were not ready to take responsibility for the health risks that would come with opening our sanctuaries and meeting as a community.  Many of our church members and pastors are either over 60 years of age or have health conditions that leave them compromised, and thus more susceptible to the severe consequences of infection.  The federal guidelines informed by the CDC recommend that communities have a 14 day decline in COVID-19 cases.  Georgia’s rate is still on the increase. One of our churches has already had to experience the ramifications of notifying congregation members that someone who had been in worship with them before the stay-at-home order had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

We applaud the efforts that our presbytery pastors and church leaders are making to continue to worship and “do church” remotely.  We highly recommend that this continue and that church facilities remained closed.  During this time of waiting, sessions should continue to explore how the CDC’s suggestions for mitigating health risks (i.e. numerical management, social distancing, increased attention to sanitation, wearing masks in public) would alter their “pre-pandemic” practices for gatherings on the church campus.  A good resource for developing new and healthier practices is a blog article by Ken Braddy, the director of Sunday School for Lifeway Christian Resources, titled “24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return.”   (

Savannah Presbytery is a covenant community.  We value a reformed heritage that looks after the needs and well-being of the “least of these” within the context of the covenant community.  While we are not yet able to recommend a date in which we can once again worship as the Body of Christ gathered in one place, we look forward to rejoicing when all who are able can celebrate under one roof in our houses of worship.  We will listen to the advice of the CDC and maintain contact with all of our churches as we look forward to safely meeting together in the near future.

May God bless you and your congregations during this unfamiliar and anxious time.


TE Alan Baroody, Transitional General Presbyter
TE Eric Beene, Acting Stated Clerk
RE Doty Dunn, Presbytery Moderator-Elect
TE Jeff Garrison, Council Chair
TE Andy Meeker, Committee on Ministry Chair
TE Deanie Strength, Presbytery Moderator


Savannah Presbytery Update


          The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?
—Psalm 27:1

Throughout history the Church of Jesus Christ has not only survived, but has thrived during periods of adversity.   Such is the case for many of the congregations within Savannah Presbytery.  We are learning new ways to be the Church.  Most congregations are adapting to being a virtual church; worshipping via YouTube, Facebook Live, Skype, or email links, and holding session meetings and having Bible Studies using Zoom.  With the Spirit’s guidance and the creativity available through technology and social media Savannah Presbytery continues to function during the challenging times presented by the spread of the Coronavirus.

In accordance with the Governor’s order to shelter-in-place to curb the Coronavirus, the Savannah Presbytery Office will remain closed through April 13, or until such time as the order is lifted.  Alan Baroody, Transitional General Presbyter, and Liz Richardson, Office Administrator, will be working from home.  Their contact information is listed below as are the names and email addresses of the Technology Task Group.  If any church is having difficulty with issues around virtual worship or meetings, the TTG are available to assist.  Many other COVID-19 resources for Church Leaders and Members can be found on the denomination’s website at

May God’s grace and healing be with all who are suffering from the Coronavirus, or unemployed due to its spread, and may the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with all who are lonely or grieving.  As the Church of Jesus Christ we remain separate but together.

(During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place during COVID-19, there will be a weekly Zoom meeting for all Savannah Presbytery Pastors on Wednesdays at 11:00 am.

If you are a pastor and do not receive an invitation to this meeting please contact Alan Baroody at


Alan Baroody, Transitional General Presbyter:  (912) 270-4557;

Liz Richardson, Business Administrator:  (800) 616-3671;

Eric Beene, Stated Clerk:

Ann Henderson, Treasurer:

Marty Susie, Program Coordinator:

Technology Task Group:

Mark Giuliano, Chair –

Ada Owens –

Andrew Allen –

Ben  Beasley –

Gary Johnson –

Matt Chase –


Savannah Presbytery SOL

Savannah Presbytery invites all to experience our School of the Laity. Come with us to beautiful Epworth by the Sea on Saint Simons and stimulate your mind, fortify your soul and build relationships with other Presbyterians.

 There are no pre-requisites to taking a class, our June session provides an excellent opportunity to begin the full 2-year program which will change your faith journey!  Join others and grow together as a cohort-The Class of 2021! 

June 26th – 28th, 2020 “Intro to the Bible” *

Dr. Bob Bryant, Professor of Bible at Presbyterian College and favorite School of the Laity faculty member of many years, will be joining you for a survey of the entire Bible.  Together you will spend the weekend learning about the Bible, exploring where these texts came from, why these texts are included and other texts are not, what these texts have to say, and how these texts are meaningful for people of faith today.

Such an extended and focused period of time with the Bible in the company of others may be a new experience for some.  Regardless, it will be for all of us a time to grow in our relations with God and with one another.

*This course is a critical core class for those interested in the full 2-year School of the Laity program.  The 2-year program leads the students through seven weekend courses over a two-year period: Intro to the Bible, New & Old Testaments, Reformed Theology, Polity, Practical Ministry, and Worship & Sacraments.  Graduates are strengthening their congregations, the Presbytery, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).


Questions? Contact Marty Susie, SOL Registrar, at, or (912) 228-1353.

 Savannah Presbytery invites all to experience our School of the Laity. Come with us to beautiful Epworth by the Sea on Saint Simons and stimulate your mind, fortify your soul and build relationships with other Presbyterians.

 There are no pre-requisites to taking a class—so you can come and “dip your toe” into the experience of the School of the Laity this March! Everyone is encouraged to participate. 


June 2020 Session Promo

June 2020 SOL Registration Form

2020 SOL Save the Dates Brochure



Job Opening!

First Savannah is adding a new staff position of Communications Coordinator who will be responsible for website design and internet based communications.   Do you know a tech savvy person interested in part-time employment?  If so, here is the link to the job description: