Newsletter Highlights

226th Presbyterian General Assembly — “Live Into Hope”

Commissioners from all 170 Presbyteries along with hundreds of youth advisory delegates, institutional and ecumenical representatives, and interested observers from all over the globe are preparing to gather in Salt Lake City in late June and early July for the 226th General Assembly. This year’s theme comes from the much-beloved hymn by Jane Parker Huber, which celebrates the kingdom’s goals of justice and fairness for all people.

According to the “parity” principles of Reformed church government, half of the commissioners (those who are commissioned by a presbytery to vote) will be Ruling Elders and half will be Ministers of Word and Sacrament, including commissioners from our Presbytery of the Western Reserve.

A General Assembly (GA) is the highest governing council within our PCUSA denomination. A GA governs the church for two years, from the moment it is convened to the moment when the next Assembly is convened. A GA has also been described as a “discernment event,” and a worshipping body. Presbyterianism is a representative form of church government that depends on the gathering of commissioners together in one place in order to discern the will of God for the denomination. Discernment is required as new mission and ministry initiatives are proposed, and proposals to change and amend the constitution (The Book of Confessions and the Book of Order) are reviewed and debated for merit. Worship and prayer are an integral part of the biannual event. A GA also reviews the work of Synods and Presbyteries, mission agencies and mission co-workers, and Presbyterian-affiliated education institutions (secondary schools, colleges and theological seminaries).

This GA will be both virtual and in-person, in that committees will meet online and the large worship and “plenary” meetings will be in-person at the Salt Lake City Convention Center. The GA worship and plenary sessions will be live-streamed on the GA website, The first order of business will be electing two Co-Moderators who will serve the Assembly for two years while it governs the church.

Many of the proposed amendments to the current Book of Order that commissioners will consider are focused on the Rules of Discipline section as the church institutes mandated child safety and sexual misconduct policies and required boundary training for all councils (GA, Synods, Presbyteries and Sessions) and their members. In addition, overtures will be considered that require presbyteries to include paid family leave time in pastors’ annual terms of call, and rules that govern electronic meetings in all councils.

Watch the Sunday bulletin and the July/August Open Door for more news and information about the 226th GA.

A Message from the Pastor

by the Rev. Dr. James C. Butler

There will be work going on in the choir loft during July. The organ console will be moved to the center of the choir loft area behind the communion table so that Kaori Hongo can play and direct the choir at the same time. The current arrangement was created back in 1960 when the Holtkamp organ was brand new. It has not worked well since the organist and choir director positions have been filled by the same person. Look for a more thorough article about this exciting change in the July/August Open Door.

The Music Corner with Dr. Kaori Hongo

As we end the program year and begin the first month of summer, I would like to look at a composer who was born in June. During this time of year schools are having their commencements and graduations across the country. A very popular composition for events like these is Edward Elgar’s (b. June 2, 1857) Pomp and Circumstance Marches. Published between 1901 and 1907, these marches were composed when the composer was around forty years old. However, the composition which brought Elgar into the light of the world was the Enigma Variations. This forty-minute composition is a wonderful example of the “variation” form and shows his understanding and creativity with orchestration. Here are some other beautiful compositions by Elgar: Cockaigne, Dream Children, Introduction and Allegro for Strings.I hope over the summer days you can spend some time with the many masters of music and their wide range of creativity.

Congratulations to the Class of 2024!

Evan Greif graduated from North Olmsted High School on May 31. He was on the baseball team and golf team and he was a member of National Honor Society where he was treasurer his Senior year. He plans to attend Bowling Green State University in the fall and major in Sports Management.

Madelyn Jenkins graduated from Lutheran West High School where she was a varsity cheerleader and varsity captain of the track and field team. She was a high honors student all four years. She will be continuing her academic and athletic career at Kent State University where she will be on the track and field team.

Arabella Spear graduated from Lakewood High School and will be attending DuPaul University to study film production.

Chase Bavis, grandson of Linda and Larry Voglein, graduated last December from Ohio State University with honors in Sports Management.

Notes from the LPC Library Committee

We’re busily making room for new books — which means spring cleaning! You’ve probably noticed a cart outside the library doors with a sign that reads, “Free to a Good Home.” We’re thrilled so many treasures have found their way to new homes. There will be more books to come, so please stay tuned as work continues … and take as many books as you like.

Did you know your library has a wonderful selection of not only religious books, but also fiction, non-fiction, literature and poetry, history, digital items and children’s books? And some awesome reference books, too.

Come in and browse, find a comfy chair and read. Then check out a book or two, or three! Please read the simple Book Check-Out Instructions posted on the desk. And when returning books, simply place them in the box marked “Returns,” and we’ll do the rest. Happy reading to all!

Hand in Hand June Program

The Friday, June 14 Hand in Hand meeting will feature Sheryl Buckley. Her topic will focus on two chapters from her book, Mortal Dilemmas: What You Need to Know About Dying Before You Are Dying. She will talk about advance directives and how they sometimes fail by not achieving what we intended them to do, and the novel but important new question: Is this the illness which should be allowed to be our final one? This all-important information is something we all should know about, so we hope to see you in the Reed Room from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 14.

Staffing Changes

Martha Warholyk is stepping down from her Evening Receptionist position on the church staff. We very much appreciate her many years of faithful service. We are pleased to announce that Kim Hook is our new Evening Receptionist in addition to our Child Care Provider.

Have You Considered “Paying Your Portion”?

Are you aware that there is a price on your Presbyterian “head?” It’s true! The expenses of operating our Presbyterian denomination (Presbytery, Synod and the General Assembly) will cost every congregation in our Presbytery $38.00 per “head” (each member). Out of the $38.00, $24.95 goes to the Presbytery, $9.80 to General Assembly and $3.25 to the Synod.

Per capita is a fundamental way in which the nearly 9,000 congregations and governing bodies of the PCUSA are connected and allows its members to participate in the work of the wider church. It is the responsible way of sharing costs that equitably belong to the whole Presbyterian community. Please consider paying your per capita apportionment on top of your pledge amount. Simply note “per capita” on the memo line of your check or pew envelope. Thank you for considering this request.