Presbytery of St. Augustine

Session Clerks Workshop

Workshop for Session Clerks Still Has Space

Session clerks, assistant clerks, moderators, and session members are invited to attend the Session Clerk’s Workshop on Saturday morning, November 16. First Starke will host the training, which will be presented by Sandra Hedrick, Stated Clerk, and Ed Kelly, Assistant Stated Clerk. Cost is $15 per person, which includes lunch and workshop materials. Currently there are 27 registrants for the Session Clerk’s Workshop, and there is room for more! Click here for the workshop flyer with complete details.

224th General Assembly Update and Overture Deadlines

The 224th General Assembly of the PC(USA) will be held in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 20–27, 2020. Our commissioners are ruling elders Bob Bell (First Perry) and Yvette Grant (Nueva Esperanza) and teaching elders Sandra Hedrick (Stated Clerk/Kirkwood) and Joe Medearis (Arlington/Peace). Our young adult advisory delegate is Emma Cottrell (Community).
The deadlines for submitting overtures to the 224th General Assembly are: February 21, 2020, if the overture involves an amendment to/interpretation to the Book of Order; April 21 for overtures with financial implications, and May 6 for all other overtures and comments. This means that most kinds of overtures would need to come to our February 1, 2020 presbytery meeting in order to be approved and submitted in time. All presbytery overtures also require at least one concurrence to come before the assembly. For more information about the overture process, please email our Stated Clerk, Sandra Hedrick. Click here to view our written overture submission policy.

Comfort My People

Comfort My People: Mental Health Ministries in Healthy Congregations

The Presbytery of St. Augustine has received a $10,000 grant to fund a year-long initiative that we are calling, “Comfort My People: Mental Health in Healthy Congregations.”

As a focus of our initiative, Susan Lee, LCSW, a member of Highlands United Presbyterian Church, will serve as a consultant/coach with congregations in our Presbytery.  Susan will be available to lead programs and intergenerational activities, provide workshops for congregational leaders, meet with resource people and identify appropriate referrals for mental health support near you.  More details will follow in November. 

As it develops, this work will focus on three areas with a goal of including as many of our 58 congregations as possible:

  • To expand mental health awareness, understanding of mental issues and advocacy for mental health services.
  • To eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, and especially serious mental illnesses.
  • To become more welcoming, inclusive and supportive faith communities for people living with mental health challenges.

If you’d like to help break down the stigma of mental illness, or for more information about implementing this new ministry in the presbytery, you can contact Chris Lieberman (Relationship Coordination Director) at  Or, call 502-475-8025.

This will begin with one person at a time and one congregation at a time as we share our stories and open ourselves to God’s power for compassion care.  We are inviting you to help educate, equip and empower one another to be who we are – Christ’s communities of care – to (and with) people living with mental health conditions and their loved ones.

Pam Parker gave one expression to this ministry of creating safe spaces in churches to honestly be herself in an article she wrote for the March 11, 2019 issue of Presbyterian Outlook.  In this excerpt Ms. Parker relates a stewardship presentation which turned into an opportunity to share a fuller part of herself in church – which is a true gift:

I am fortunate to belong to Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our co-pastors, Jim Rand and Brett Swanson, have nurtured a supportive community of faith. Our tradition is to have members speak for a few minutes in the weeks before we turn in pledges about why we give. I was asked to share my story one Sunday. After meeting and listening to Anne Lamott who was touring for her book “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope” I was preparing to share an optimistic, hope-filled testimony.  But that morning I woke to the news of the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Like so many others, I found myself asking: How can this happen again? Why?

I plunged from the high of Anne Lamott’s hope-filled words to the darkness of violent deaths. I had difficulty praying. An optimistic, hopeful account of why I give to my church was no longer possible. Instead, I shared that sometimes I give for my own hard times – for the awareness that when depression clouds my thinking, I know there are others in my faith community who will be praying for me. I felt safe sharing authentically and sincerely from my heart. Thanks to the trust our pastors have sustained for us, I know my ability to be open in my church has helped others.

Listen and learn

Depression is hard to understand if you have no experience with it yourself. It can manifest in different ways at different times. If you try to speak with someone who does not understand depression, the divide can seem unconquerable. It is not.

My favorite resource to share with people who want to better understand the struggles some face with depression is a podcast created by two sisters, Terry and Bridget: “Giving Voice to Depression.” They offer a comfortable range of topics shared with guests that present a wide spectrum of experiences with depression. As they say on their website:

“We’re not therapists or experts. But we battle depression and have lost family members and friends by suicide. It’s in their honor that we began this project. It is our hope and commitment to increase awareness and reduce the stigma and isolation of depression, one story at a time. These stories could truly save lives.”

Terry and Bridget understand only too well the connection between depression and suicide. Like them, I believe that sharing stories can save lives.


Terry Patterson

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Terry Patterson, former Executive Director of Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center, died on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. A Celebration of Life service will be held at Montgomery on Saturday, October 19, at 1:30 p.m. 
Terry (age 55), passed away at Our Lady of The Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA after a month-long battle with cancer and other health complications. Terry is survived by his three daughters: Samantha (Kyle) Kramer, Taylor (Daniel) Ramsey, and Hope Patterson. He is also survived by his mother Carol Patterson, father Eugene Patterson, sister Cindy (Jarrett) Reid, brother Robbie Patterson, and former wife and mother of his children, Susan Patterson.
Terry, who served from May 2014 to February 2018, was dedicated to the mission and ministry of Montgomery. He has been a mentor and friend to many within the presbytery and has touched many other lives as well in important ways. He attended Faith Presbyterian Church in Melrose and was ordained as a ruling elder there.
We hope that many can attend the service planned and stay after the service for coffee, light refreshments, and fellowship.

Trinity Presbyterian Church Celebrates 40th Anniversary November 10, 2019

Submitted by Tracy Martin & Del Smith

Is a church that is 40 years old an old church?  Well, if you compare this age with some European churches, such as the recently damaged Notre Dame in Paris, or even churches in nearby St. Augustine, 40 years is only a tick of the clock.  But in a city that has been a city for only 20 years, a 40 year old church is a venerable institution.

This year Trinity Presbyterian Church, located on the corner of Florida Park Drive and Palm Harbor Parkway, is 40 years old.  It all began in 1979 when the Presbytery of Northeast Florida (now the Presbytery of St Augustine) purchased 5 acres of land on this corner and dispatched the Rev. James Tinsley to knock on doors to find Presbyterians or potential Presbyterians among the new residents of the fledgling community.

The first worship service of the new congregation was held in November of 1979 in the YMCA building, which later became the Community Center. This space was shared with another new congregation that became St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.  Trinity was officially chartered on Palm Sunday, 1980.

Meanwhile, building was progressing, and the first sanctuary on the corner of Florida Park and Palm Harbor was dedicated on April 5, 1981.  This original sanctuary is now the church’s fellowship hall and is called Mehaffey Hall, named for Trinity’s second installed Pastor, the Rev. George Mehaffey who came to Palm Coast in 1985 and served for 10 years until his retirement in 1995.

During Dr. Mehaffey’s tenure much building was happening, both in congregational growth and in new structures.  The first addition to the church building occurred in 1987 with a wing that included a library, fellowship hall, and office.  The present structure was completed and dedicated in 1995, just before Dr. Mehaffey’s retirement, and includes the present sanctuary.

The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey DeYoe was installed as Pastor in 1997 and served until 2007; Rev. Dr. D. Ronald Watson served from 2009 until 2018, and is now Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Ocala.  The congregation is presently served by Interim Pastor Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Beebe. Dr. Jeffrey Beebe conducts services every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Trinity has long been involved in community concerns, from the Family Life Center, the Flagler Resource Center, to the Family Food Program.  Today Trinity also sponsors Scout Pack #281, and a Presbyterian Counseling Center.

Although Palm Coast was vastly different in 1979, Trinity continues to provide a special worship space and fellowship for the community 40 years laterSome of the founding members from 1979 still worship at Trinity today!

Past ministers and members will return to Trinity for a celebration Service on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 4:00 pm.

Trinity Presbyterian Church
156 Florida Park Dr.
Palm Coast, FL 32137

2019 Group photo, courtesy of Jennifer Kaczmarek, photographer  

Mental Health Ministry Grant Received!

The Presbytery of St. Augustine has received a grant from the PC(USA) that will begin in November 2019.  We will release more details in the coming weeks but here is a snapshot of our grant proposal.

Our initiative is called, Comfort My People: Mental Health in Healthy Congregations

Susan Lee, LCSW, a member of Highlands United Presbyterian Church, will serve as our consultant/coach in this presbytery-wide initiative to educate, equip and empower churches to reach out to and with people living with mental health conditions and their loved ones.

Our goal is to include as many of our 58 congregations as possible during our Year of Unity and Diversity:

  • To expand mental health awareness, understanding of mental health issues and advocacy for mental health services.
  • To eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, especially serious mental illnesses.
  • To become more welcoming, inclusive and supportive faith communities for people living with mental health conditions.

For more information, or if you would like to become involved in this ministry, please contact: Chris Lieberman, Relationship Coordination Director at

For more information about the PC(USA) Mental Health Ministry, including downloadable educational resources, visit:

Photo from the PC(USA) Mental Health Ministry website.

2019 Fall Stated Meeting Photos


The 2019 Fall Stated Meeting was held at MPCC on October 1, 2019. We began with worship! Our joy continued as we welcomed new friends, conducted important business, and concluded the meeting with a delicious fellowship lunch! Here are a few photo highlights. 

Pastors’ Retreat in Cuba

Pastor’s Retreat in Matanzas Presbytery in Cuba

After February’s mission trip to Cuba, plans emerged to offer a Pastors’ Retreat in Cuba, in partnership with the Matanzas Presbytery leaders. Retreat plans are being finalized, and pastors will receive event and application information soon! Here are the details you need to know now: 
DATE: February 10-17, 2020 (the dates may vary by a day depending on flight availability)
LOCATIONHotel Melia, Varadero and the Seminary in Matanzas
ANTICIPATED COST: $1200 per person (flexible depending on flights and individual schedules. This will include visas, flights, meals, rooms, transportation while in Cuba and translators.
ACTIVITIES: The trip is an opportunity for the pastors of the two Presbyteries to become acquainted. For many of the Cuban Pastors, it will be their only time away from their congregations during the year. For the American pastors, it is an opportunity to learn about Cuba and the possibility of a partnership between our Presbyteries. Hopefully, both will be able to see our churches from a different perspective as we share stories.
(Monday, February 10 — we may need to travel to Ft Lauderdale and spend the night, depending on flight schedules)
Tuesday, February 11 — fly to Havana, Cuba, ride buses to Matanzas. The night will be spent at SET, the Cuban seminary. Introductory discussion will include an introduction to the Presbyterian Church in Cuba, and how that context changes expectations.
Wednesday, February 12 — check into hotel. The Melia Varadero is an all inclusive beach resort. 
Wednesday – Friday – Retreat topics will include ‘self care’ for pastors, what do our churches have in common and what is different, how we can we work together to serve our Lord. Fellowship, worship and recreation time.
Friday, February 14 — check out from hotel. Some people may choose to fly home on Friday. Others may choose to visit some of the churches in the Matanzas Presbytery. Departures can be arranged on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Housing will be arranged depending on interests and schedules.
Please note that applications and non-refundable deposit of $200 were due October 10. No late applications will be possible due to the visa processing schedule. The second payment will be due December 1, with the balance due on February 1. REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.
Please contact Diane Watkins at for further information.

September Church Transitions

Rev. Tom Walker Retires from Palms Presbyterian Church

After 17 years as Pastor of Palms Presbyterian Church (Jacksonville Beach), the Rev. Tom Walker is retiring effective September 7. Tom and his wife, Jan, have relocated to St. Simons Island, GA, where they will “rest, renew, and maybe even find time to play a round of golf or two, enjoy long walks with our golden Obie, fish, and possibly write a book or two.” He will continue to serve at Columbia Seminary as board chair. Blessings on your retirement as the Palms community begins a new chapter in their life together as a congregation.

Rev. Bob Shettler Retires from First Presbyterian, Gainesville

First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville celebrated the ministry of Rev. Bob Shettler as he retired on August 25. After 14 years as Pastor, Bob and his wife Connie plan to enjoy their retirement in Gainesville. They are looking forward to spending time with their daughters and five school-age grandchildren. The presbytery wishes the Shettlers well in their retirement, as the congregation begins their search for their next pastor.

Rev. Larry Green Receives Doctorate and Expands Ministry as Clinical Director of Gainesville Community Counseling Center

The Rev. Larry Green recently earned a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University. His dissertation was entitled “Therapy with Same Sex Couples: A Qualitative, Narrative, Multiple Case Study Providing Insights for Therapists and Training Programs.” Congratulations, Dr. Green!
Dr. Green has now transitioned into full-time therapy and serves as the Executive Director and Clinical Director of the Gainesville Community Counseling Center (GCCC). The counseling center will be one of the programs housed in the Gainesville Ministry Center, located at the former Highlands Presbyterian Church. The GCCC offers individual, group, couples, and family therapy provided by one full-time and 2 part-time therapists. They will soon add horticultural therapy, music therapy, and art therapy. There will also be retreats for couples, LGBTQ youth, and young adults.

Community PC Has a New Pastor

Community Presbyterian Church Has a New Pastor

After a diligent discernment process, Community Presbyterian Church has called the Rev. Melanie Marsh-Baum as their new pastor (head of staff).  Rev. Marsh-Baum is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, a lifelong Presbyterian, and has deep roots in the Presbytery of St. Augustine. She was born and raised in central Florida, and grew up in Ft. King Presbyterian Church in Ocala. Melanie served the presbytery in numerous ways in her youth, including as a summer camp counselor at Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center, and on planning teams for presbytery events. She has served the national church as part of worship, keynote and drama teams for Montreat and Triennium Youth Conferences.
Melanie’s philosophy on life can be summed up in the quote by Jewish Rabbi Daniel Hillel: “I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing.” She looks forward to sharing her love of dance – as well as her love for PBS Masterpiece Theatre and all kinds of chocolate – with her new community of faith. 
Melanie is married to Darrell Baum. They have three young children, Violet (8), Lena (4), and James (almost 1), who are excited to make new friends and explore new adventures as they return to the place they call “our homeland!” 
Rev. Melanie Marsh-Baum will begin her service as pastor with Community PC on September 10th. Thanks be to God.
Welcome back to our Presbytery!