Eastminster Presbytery Vital Congregations Retreat

Worship, prayer, Bible study, fellowship, conversation, learning, and breaking bread together marked the experience of the Eastminster Presbytery Vital Congregations retreat at Loyola Retreat House in Green. The participants renewed Baptismal vows, shared the Lord’s Supper, and read Isaiah 43:10-21 in an interactive study. We divided into 7 groups, each group discussing one of the 7 Marks of Vital Congregations. Each church was gathered into groups to talk about how Vital Congregations may be implemented in their context.

This is a season of preparation. Seven churches have committed to the initiative which is set to launch in January 2020. Other churches have until December 2019 to make a commitment.

If your church is interested, but not ready to make a commitment: The churches, pastors, and church leaders which participated in the initiative will share learnings, experiences, and leadership for congregations who want to participate. This second wave will launch sometime in 2022.

The material talks about Pastor Cohorts, will others be included? Eastminster is sending 2 facilitators (Francie Fischer and Jamie Milton) and 2 presbytery leaders (Cathy Ulrich and Diane Eliser) to the Facilitator Training in August 2019. The plan for the Pastor Cohorts will be developed in light of the training. Currently, the plan is for the cohorts to include all pastors and church leaders who have committed to Vital Congregations, AND the pastors and church leaders who are interested. In addition, there may be separate cohorts for pastors and church leaders.

Not certain about the process and what measuring sticks are used to determine progress: The Vital Congregations l is very clear that the implementation of the initiative will be unique to each congregation. The pastor and church leader cohorts are designed to provide support in this new thing God is doing in Eastminster Presbytery. This is a process of worship, prayer, Bible study, and willingness to be led by the Holy Spirit. We are in this together. It is our experience that there are no measuring sticks for the Holy Spirit.


Other events:

Eastminster Presbytery is tentatively planning a Fall retreat.

Each stated meeting of Presbytery will contain information about Vital Congregations.

General Assembly has planned the following events:

  • Big Tent, August 1-3, Baltimore


  • Gathering for 1001 New Worshiping Communities and Vital Congregations, October 14-16, Kansas City


Looking for resources:

The following materials may be accessed:

Some materials may be accessed through the DropBox established for Eastminster Presbytery. Please contact:

Jamie Milton pastorjmilton@gmail.com

Francie Fischer francesefischer@gmail.com

Cathy Ulrich cathy@eastminsterpresbytery.org

Diane Eliser diane@eastminsterpresbytery.org

to obtain the link to the DropBox.

Eastminster Presbytery is a regional governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) located in Northeast Ohio; and is part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and  Synod of the Covenant

Per Capita for 2019


$8.95                              General Assembly  PCUSA

$3.25                                   Synod of the Covenant

$19.80                         Eastminster Presbytery

Standard mileage Rate     2019

  • Business: 58 cents (.58), increase compared to 2018 - 54.5 cents

  • Medical or Moving: 20 cents

  • In service of charitable organizations: 14 cents