Blacknall Listening Lunch 

Sunday, February 11, 12:15 p.m. | Fellowship Hall

Please join us for a church-wide potluck lunch as we gather to listen to each other’s stories in order to discern what it means to join in the Spirit’s work as we seek the peace and prosperity of our city (Jer. 29:7). This conversation emerges from work with Durham C.A.N. (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods), a non-partisan organization drawing together people who care about the city in order to seek its welfare, with a current focus on affordable housing and jobs. Opportunities for further listening, discernment, and action will be presented during the potluck. Childcare provided.

10.29.17 Philippians 3

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Recommend Elders & Deacons

Recommendation Form

The Officer Nominating Committee (Goodie Bell, Brad Boswell, Sarah Coonley, Abby Demarest, Ken Ellzey, Nancy Grigg (chair), Alex Hartemink (co-chair), Barry Leonard, Mary Mathew, Tanya Moore, Anne Paulson, Allan Poole) is working this fall to prepare slates of candidates to stand for election to the offices of elder and deacon in 2018. Your voice matters in this process. We are soliciting recommendations from the congregation regarding qualified members who would serve effectively as an elder or deacon. Please click on the link above to read about leadership characteristics and submit your recommendation. You may also submit a written recommendation to the church office or to any of the committee members listed above. Forms are in the narthex.

What if we go together?- By Janet Stolp

My poem is an attempt to put into words, not only the posture and character of a good coach, but also to bring out the emotion that is often evoked during a session. It occurred to me that this emotion is often the glue that makes integrative health coaching so powerful. It is my belief that coaching is as much an art as it is a science.

I wrote the poem very quickly while serving as a nurse volunteer with Reality Ministry.  As I watched their caregivers offer their presence with kindness and love while allowing for autonomy and independence, they embodied our role as coaches. It is all about partnering with our clients.  For me, the poem is the result of allowing my inner creative voice to speak. This seems to come easier for me.

The metaphor of going through a tunnel is drawn from my experience during a past cycling adventure with friends on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The tunnel curves at one point so no light is present, making one feel precarious and insecure. The drips from the ceiling echoed through the darkness and the temperature was chilly. We all slowed and then stopped. We silently stood still at one point, then moved carefully, listening and feeling our way through the darkness. Even while with others, I felt very alone.

As I now read the poem through a coach’s lens it is my hope that the coaching relationship will come through showing a mindful presencing partnership, as well as the characteristics of curiosity, observation, noticing, and deep respect. And hopefully it also exposes some aspects of the process such as vision and values as well.

What if we go together?

It is dark. cold.
Through sobs and tears you tell me there is no… way… out.
I cannot see your face, but your desperation washes over me: slowing my own breath.
May I sit beside you?
What is this dank place that echoes hollow,… and moist?
How long… have you been here… alone,… in the dark?
May I hold your hand?

Just our breath…. in….out…
Drips from the ceiling.
What are you thinking? Feeling?
Where is it you want to go?
What does it look like? Feel like?
I hear you speak… of bright sunlight,
warm breezes,
and rest.

Your voice has changed… clarity,… calm.
I see your legs uncross.
How would it feel if we walked together?
How should we begin?
Would it help to wrap arms…
and rise…..catch our breath….
take a step…
take our time?

Is that a breeze? Do you notice it too?
Ahhhh …a very small light.
Our feet in rhythm….steady,…together.
A new smell… a new scent.
Smiling… laughter,…
What are you noticing?

Written by Janet Stolp, BSN, RN
Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach, LLC

Office of Deacon & Elder Descriptions


The ministry of deacon as set forth in Scripture is one of compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress. Persons of spiritual character, honest repute, exemplary lives, brotherly and sisterly love, sincere compassion, and sound judgment should be chosen for this ministry.

Ruling Elder

As there were in Old Testament times elders for the government of the people, so the New Testament church provided persons with particular gifts to share in discernment of God’s Spirit and governance of God’s people. Accordingly, congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit. Ruling elders are so named not because they “lord it over” the congregation (Matt. 20:25), but because they are chosen by the congregation to discern and measure its fidelity to the Word of God, and to strengthen and nurture its faith and life. Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. When elected by the congregation, they shall serve faithfully as members of the session. When elected as commissioners to higher councils, ruling elders participate and vote with the same authority as teaching elders, and they are eligible for any office.

Definitions from the Book of Order for the Presbyterian Church (USA)