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Synod News

Chaplain’s Corner – Acts of Kindness, December, 2016

A one-page PDF of this article is available HERE.

All through the year, people in churches across Southern California are knitting, stitching and quilting blankets for the patients at LAC+USC. Many of the blankets are created as a prayer for healing and blessing. The chaplains give these beautiful hand made blankets to patients in need throughout the year. However, once a year, in the week before Christmas, a team of volunteers come to the hospital and give a blanket to every patient who is in the hospital over the holidays. December 20, 2016 over 30 of us teamed up to go to each of the 600+ patients to offer them the gift of a prayerfully made blanket.

chaplainQ42016One of the volunteers, a high school student, told me that when he explained the gift to one patient, she burst into tears. Through her sobs she explained that she had spent the day in prayer, reviewing her life, and that she had taken the difficult first step and reached out and reconciled with a family member. She told the young volunteer “you walked in with that blanket, you are the one God has sent to me as a blessing!”

Another volunteer told of a patient whose mother and grandmother had made quilts just like the one she received. Her quilt had been made by a class of first grade boys. The patient exclaimed, “it gives me the comfort of those memories! Thank you!”

“It was a privilege to walk into the room, on behalf of the greater community of faith, and offer this simple gift made of prayer and love” a volunteer told me over lunch, “one of the patients I visited was unable to talk, but he wept as he wrote out his appreciation for the gift.” Every time I am amazed at how the Holy Spirit knits us together across the distances of geography, language and culture – a knitter prayerfully knitting blanket and a quilter prayerfully fashioning a quilt, a volunteer face to face offering the blessing, a patient receiving the blanket reminded of God’s care for them.

– Rev. Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder serves as Presbyterian staff chaplain at LAC+USC Medical Center. To find out more about this ministry and how you can be involved, please contact her at Elizabeth.GibbsZehnder@gmail.com.

Synod OrganizationAL Changes

Revised Synod Bylaws, amended Standing Rules, and an updated Mission Design, all approved at the November, 2016 Synod Assembly are now available and are posted in the Synod Documents column. For your convenience, the new versions are also linked below, in MS Word format:

PDF   Bylaws, revised Nov.2016

PDF   Mission Design, rev. Nov. 2016

PDF   Synod Standing Rules rev. Nov. 2016

Synod Assembly

The Synod Assembly meets twice yearly, usually in the spring and fall. The 2017 dates will be posted when available.

News from Synod Presbyteries

Mission Sampler

Assistance to Central American Refugees

Learn more about this ministry, funded by a Synod grant, in Doska's Corner, in an article written by the Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble, Pacific Presbytery's Mission Advocate.


New Hope Presbyterian Church featured on NBC News

The video, part of KNBC's "Life Connected" series, may be viewed HERE.
New Hope is a member of the Los Ranchos Presbytery; its pastor is the Rev. Chineta Goodjoin. Learn more about church: Website


Los Ranchos Presbytery: Mission Blog

A misson-related blog from Los Ranchos Presbytery shares news of mission opportunities within the presbytery, as well as within the wider church. Blog Link


Doska's Corner

Ruling Elder Doska Ross is Synod's Immediate Past Executive and Stated Clerk. Through January, 2017, she is overlapping service with the Rev. Mark Hong, the incoming Executive/Stated Clerk..

December 27, 2016

Report to the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii


As some of you have heard by now, I will be retiring at the end of January, 2017, as the stated clerk and executive of the Synod of Southern CA & HI. Teaching Elder Mark Hong from Los Ranchos has been elected as my successor. Mark and I will be overlapping our service during the month of January. I know you will enjoy working with Mark!
       What a busy and fulfilling six years it has been! It is challenging to find the words to express my joy and deep sense of privilege as I look back on these years of my service. Of course, there’s also the frustration, fear, and disappointment that have shown up at times, but far outweighed by the excitement, laughter, challenge and fun of this call. It has been an honor to work with Leon Fanniel, David Suarez, Fried Wilson & now Narcissis Tucker on the staff, and I am grateful beyond measure for their support of me!
       I believe I was called mostly because of my Stated Clerk background. When I arrived, I knew that one of the biggest and most time-consuming of my challenges would be working with the Hanmi Presbytery. As I began to get acquainted with and work beside these loving and faithful people, I came to understand that the Korean American Presbyterian community was caught between who they had been and how they had been raised in Korea, and the expectations being thrust on them from the PCUSA in their new home in the US. These were immigrant congregations whom we were expecting to be able to change very quickly to a new way of being Presbyterian. They were caught, with no easy or obvious way out.
       The decision to ask the General Assembly to dissolve Hanmi Presbytery came slowly, but it seemed at the time the best way for all of us together to make a shift into a different, hopefully a better, future. I still regret the pain and hurt caused by this action, and I still pray that the whole church will be able to see the benefit over time. I am so grateful for the work of the administrative commission members with whom I have worked since my arrival. These are very special people whose love for the PCUSA overcame their own individual interests as they dedicated their intelligence, energy, and hundreds of hours to this incredibly detailed work. Thank you, also, to the members of this synod who served on the transfer teams! Your commitment and faithful service have been amazing!
       The other large challenge I came to understand in this work was how to repair the relationship of the synod with the presbyteries, beyond Hanmi. I was determined to visit as many presbytery meetings as I could fit into my schedule, and at the end of this year, that number will be about 110! When I first showed up in presbytery meetings, people would often ask “what is the synod?” Or they’d comment “no one from the synod has ever visited with us before.” Another question might be “is this presbytery in trouble – is that why you keep showing up?” Eventually I hope most of you came to understand that I was there simply because I cared about what the presbytery is doing and I wanted to meet the people who are helping the presbytery do its work of ministry and service.
       In my six years, the leadership of the seven presbyteries has changed pretty drastically. I’m eager to confirm what you know - that these leaders are committed, competent, and caring folks who will continue to serve you and the larger church well. I am happy to know the presbytery execs are part of the Synod’s Commission of Assembly (our trustees) and I appreciate their willingness to continue to contribute to our partnership. I’m especially grateful for those who have supported the synod’s work since my arrival.
       Over the course of these last six years we’ve all seen the slow changes that have appeared in our presbyteries - less anxiety, more hope, more talk of possibility, less of worry. We’ve seen that the country and the world have come a long way since I was called in 2010, and I believe that the synod is also on more solid ground today. Certainly, our future is not in question as it has been in recent years, with the GA’s action last summer to stop the merging of the synods.
       So, it is time for new synod leadership that will help you determine what the synod’s future should look like and how to get there. What challenges is the synod in a good position to be able to tackle? White privilege? Immigration? Homelessness? Child refugees? Racism? What is God calling us to be and do to serve this part of God’s world? I know you will rise to the challenge of these questions under Mark Hong’s leadership and I will be looking on with great love and interest as you move forward.

Thank you so much for the privilege of serving with you these last years! I wish you well and end with this:

1 Cor. 15:58 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

Grateful for this opportunity,
Doska Ross


Mission Funding


Please download the Partnership Grants Protocol bulletin, linked below, to learn how the synod, in partnership with PC (U.S.A.) may be able to assist your congregation.

PDF Partnering Grants Protocol




Please use the scroll bars to access the full text, including the link at the bottom.

Every World Communion Sunday (the first Sunday in October) is an opportunity for taking the Peacemaking Offering, a quarter of which goes to the Synod committee responsible for peacemaking awareness and events, a quarter to the local presbytery (if still organized for such gospel-based witness), and a half of the offering to G.A. In its 34th year the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is surely among the finest ventures of Christian discipleship our church has been involved with.

PDF Application guidelines for Synod Peacemaking funds are available at this link.



Presbyterian Disaster Assistance



Assistance in various forms, including funding, may be available from PDA in times of crisis in the local area. For example, PDA assistance was available during the 2016 wildfire emergencies within the Southern California area.


Churchwide Events, Resources, Education & News

PresbyterIan Mission WEBSITE

The Presbyterian Mission website has a new look, and many new features. You'll find it HERE.

Interfaith Event

Beyond the Veil
"Beyond the Veil: Life After Deat
Guilbord Center event at St. John's Cathedral
February 25, 2017;
10 am
- 3 pm
Details Link


CRE Online Courses from Dubuque Theological Seminary

Please use the scroll bars to access the full text.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary regularly updates its online course offerings on its website.
Application and course information for our CLP/CRE program can be found at HERE , and then click on “CLP/CRE Info” in the “Welcome” box under the news feed. The current tuition rate is $390.00 per course.

As always, current students can register by going online at HERE or by contacting Carla Gibbons, Distance Education Coordinator (CGibbons@dbq.edu or call 563-589-3630 / 1-888-207-8218), to pay by credit card or check.

In addition, please check the school's continuing education website.


new theological Seminary of the west

The school is located in Pasadena. Course information and other news is available on the website HERE.



Synod staff

Phone: 213.483-3840
FAX: 818-891-0212

Synod Executive & Stated Clerk
MARK HONG   ext. 109    

Business Manager
FRIED WILSON     ext. 110
( Email)

Full Charge Bookkeeper
BARRY PETERS   ext. 107
( Email )

REPL Coordinator
( Email )

synod officers 2017

Moderator—RE Janice Takeda

Stated Clerk: TE Mark Hong

Vice-Mod.— RE Susan Skoglund

Treas.—RE Bill Hughes

CoA Moderator— RE Maurice Caskey


Synod documents

PDF   Bylaws, revised Nov.2016

PDF   Mission Design, rev. Nov. 2016

PDF   Standing Rules rev. Nov. 2016

PDF Synod Assembly documents,
Nov. 2016


     Rev. Narcissis Tucker Bishop
             213.483-3840 ext 112  

Our Synod Gives Scholarship Money to Racial-Ethnic Pastors-in-Training! 
Scholarship opportunities will be posted in early February for the spring scholarship window.




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No positions are available at this time.