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Presbytery Office Closed for the Holidays!
From Sara Holben and Bob Schminkey,
Happy Christmas everyone!

To celebrate the season, the Presbytery office will be closed from December 18 until January 4.
Both Tracy Keenan and Donna Scully will be taking well-earned time off to spend with family and to relax during these days. With new staff joining us in January, this time to recharge and celebrate the season will give them time to be well rested when new staff begins work.

We (Sara and Bob) are closing out the year by taking over the Presbytery office! While the office is officially closed, if you have any emergency or time sensitive Presbytery business that can’t wait, please let one of us know. We are the “on-call” staff over the holiday season and we promise we’ll respond to you as quickly as we are able.

Our contact information is available on the presbytery web page ( Needless to say, we have no holiday travel planned given the heightened level of pandemic concern.

If we don’t speak with you over the holidays, know that it has been out pleasure to work with you all over the past year. You are in our prayers as we move into 2021.


Come join us as presbytery in worship for December 27 – here is the link to our Presbytery’s YouTube channel:  A recorded worship service will be available at that site (after 12/20) that is especially for the 1st Sunday of Christmas – 12/27/20.
Our own Missional Presbyter - the Rev. Dr. Tracy Keenan is preaching on “Christmas Hangover and the Hair of the Dog” and Co-Interim Connectional Presbyters -  Bob Schminkey and Sara Holben – help to lead worship.  The Christmas Music is provided courtesy of:  Sally Waugaman (Westminster Pres. of Rehoboth Beach, DE); Alexis Ward (Trinity Pres. in Wilmington, DE); musicians from the Presbyterian Church of Dover; and a special anthem courtesy of Raquel Faiello Teare, professor of piano in Ohio and personal friend of Tracy Keenan’s.  Videography and editing by the Rev. Tom Davis, NCP Interfaith Peacemaker and all-around stalwart volunteer!
For those congregations requesting it, a direct link to the video will be sent to you after 12/20, along with a digital bulletin.  If you’d like to receive the direct link and bulletin, please contact Sara Holben via email.  
Guatemala Partnership of New Castle Presbytery

Taste of Guatemala: Virtual Chocolate Tasting
and Celebration

Thursday, January 28   7:00 – 8:30 pm (ET)

Join us for an evening filled with sweet bites, celebration and camaraderie! Registration is $52 per household. This includes: four hand-crafted Guatemalan/Nicaraguan chocolate bars from Triangle Roasters and Diego's Chocolates - delivered right to your front door, an interactive tasting with chocolate sommelier Estelle Tracy of 37 Chocolates, a virtual journey to visit with our partners in Guatemala and see their work in action, and a $20 tax-deductible donation. Makes a great "date night" or "family fun night." All are welcome!


And don't forget to "Give the gift of chickens"!

Each gift of $40 includes three chickens, delivery, training, and special feed for the first month—providing an indigenous family with more than a dozen eggs every week.

This makes a great holiday gift for friends and family, especially this year! Custom gift cards are available to honor a loved one. We hope you will support our sisters and brothers in Guatemala by making a donation today. To see this program in action, be sure to watch the video below and visit our websiteThank you! 

Presbyterian Church of Dover

Faith-filled Aging

Dover Presbyterian Church, will begin a 5 session new study, led by Pastor Bill Innes on the "Psalms, Poetry, Song, and Worship" per Zoom. (See course description below). The dates will be January11, 2020; January 25, 2020; February 8, 2020; February 22; 2020; and March 8, 2020. All sessions will begin at 10:30 AM. 
Please register with Marilyn Halstead via email or phone (410-259-4687).
“The Psalms: Poetry, Song, and Worship.
Psalms/Tehillim are rich repository of religious expression treasured by Jews and Christians alike.  We will look at the creation and structure of a psalm, the themes they express, how the book is organized, and hear Psalm settings from ancient sources through Leonard Bernstein and the Soweto Gospel Choir.  Each class is half teaching, half music, from Jewish and Christian sources."


June 22-25, 2021
Who: Rising 6th Graders to Rising 9th Graders
Cost: Approx. $400 per participant (Scholarships are available)
The New Castle Presbytery’s Youth Ministry Leader’s Team is planning a trip to a Massanetta Springs Middle School Conference “Rooted in Love” - June 22-25, 2021.  From Massanetta’s website:
Massanetta’s Middle School Conference transforms the faith journey of hundreds of middle schoolers from all around the country.  Every aspect of this conference is crafted with middle schoolers in mind.  Conference activities like keynote, recreation, encounter groups, and workshops are centered on the theme of the summer. We promise it will be one of the best things your youth does all year!
SPREAD THE WORD: There are still some details to come together, but for now, we are asking all our churches to spread the word and generate interest among our youth. A Google form has been created to help keep track of potential numbers of participants.  Please click on the form below and submit by January 15:
Remember: Our youth are not only those in the pews, but their friends and neighbors and family members too. So, let us all cast our nets wide and see who we may find and invite them to take part in something life-giving and life changing!
A NOTE ON COVID: We of course realize that COVID is still a major concern that may very well impact plans, but we are also hoping and praying that by summer 2021 the virus will be controlled and we can look forward to giving a great experience for our youth. Massanetta is also prepared for an online experience that we will also consider if need be. 
For more information on Massaneta and its Middle School Conferences, visit the website here:
Or – click here to see a new promo video:
Many thanks to Caitlin Gartland at the Chestertown church for serving as registrar for this trip. She is also hoping to organize a high school trip to Montreat next summer. For either trip, feel free to email Caitlin .
JOIN THE TEAM! A newly formed team is focusing on outreach to youth in New Castle Presbytery,  If you have an interest in the spiritual growth of youth of any age and would like to join our team, please email Mark Piedmonte-Silvoy (Buckingham) for more information.

Rev. Bob Stoddard (Honorably Retired)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As you may know by now, I have for some time —fourteen years to be exact— been researching and writing a book on the early educational work of Congregational and Presbyterian missionary educators in Syria/Lebanon. I am therefore happy to announce that Sarah and Her Sisters: American Missionary Pioneers in Arab Female Education, 1834-1938 is now available both in hardback and Kindle e-version. The below flyer provides a summary of the book, a review by the President Emeritus of the American University of Beirut, John Waterbury, my brief bio and where the book can be purchased. [Please click through to read it].

Those curious about the history of Protestant missions in Ottoman Syria and Lebanon, the history of female education, female equality in the Middle East, or just early American interaction with the Arab World, will find this 360 page fully illustrated book of interest and relevant. General readers too are likely to find Sarah a ”good read.” One can only be amazed and inspired by the courage, tenacity and sacrifices of these women and how they bent the arc of Arab culture toward justice and female equality.  

Hard copies of Sarah and Her Sisters are now available for $35 plus shipping here.
The Kindle e-version is available here for $19.95 at:

I will welcome any feedback you might offer at Meanwhile, thank you for your interest in Sarah. Best wishes for a safe and joyous Christmas and renewed hope in the New Year.


Bob Stoddard

P.S. Sarah is in English, not Arabic as mistakenly stated on the Book Depository website

The application process for off-peak season rental of the Hayloft vacation house for 2021 (April through May and mid-September through October) will open for RULING ELDERS SERVING NCP COMMITTEES and NCP STAFF on December 18, 2020.  The registration process is facilitated by Coldwell Banker Resort Realty in Rehoboth Beach.   Should you wish to partake in the rental process this year, full details are available on the Presbytery Hayloft webpage.  
Please note the process will open at 9:00a sharp on December 18th by sending an email to the rental agent, Carla Riddle.   This will enable Carla to receive timestamped requests (with the date, hour and minute of receipt, not seconds) which will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Please note any email requests timestamped prior to the 9:00a start-time will receive last consideration.  The process opening on December 18th will be for any off-peak season weeks available, however “peak season” dates commencing June through September are reserved for New Castle Presbytery ministers and commissioned ruling elders only and they may email now if they have not done so already to request open weeks.  


NCP Health Ministry

Tis the season of giving! Happy December NCP friends!

Are you buying gifts for children this year? Many of us have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or friends with little ones that we love to spoil with gifts this holiday season. But in the spirit of Safe Toys and Celebrations Month, are you giving safe toys this year? To see if parts are small parts testerl enough to pose a choking hazard, use a. Or just see if it’ll fit through a toilet paper roll—if yes, it’s too small for kids under 3 years old. One of the most neglected safety concerns is toys which are so loud that they can cause hearing loss. These include cap guns, musical toys, toy phones, horns and sirens, and some squeaky rubber toys.

With so many people sending gifts they order online, it’s of utmost importance this year to read product descriptions, look at labels, and DO YOU RESEARCH before buying toys. Need some tips and tricks? Visit our NCP Health Ministry page today to read the full article

Please keep in prayer Rev. Susan Rothenberg and her family in the recent loss of her mother.  Susan has been an integral leader in NCP's Ignite Unglued Project over the last few years.  
REMINDER!  Join the Westminster Presbyterian Church-Wilmington via livestream for their Winter Concert, A Garland of Carols, on Saturday, December 12 at 4:00 p.m.  Locate the link on the church website at
UPDATE!  Pastors' Weekly Gatherings 

PLEASE NOTE:  There will be no pastor gatherings Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, however our Co-Interim Connectional Presbyters, Rev. Sara Holben and Elder Bob Schminkey, will be “on call” and will gladly be available to talk, if you desire. 
Simply contact them via cell or email. 

New Castle Presbytery will be closed in observance of Christmas and New Years on the following dates: 

Thursday and Friday, December 24 and 25 
Thursday and Friday, December 31 and January 1 

Staff members may also be observing vacation time, noted in their email responses, with alternate contact information for assistance.



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Visit NCP's Website here
REMINDER!  Pastors' Weekly Gatherings
ZOOM meeting times:
Tuesdays, 9 a.m. – General sharing time
Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – Lectio Divina and prayer
Thursdays, 1 p.m. – General sharing time

Pastors are gathering with Presbytery staff “online” through Zoom each week to laugh, share experiences, ask questions, and find support.  All pastors are invited to join us at one or more of these times.  A link to join the ZOOM meetings is sent each Monday.  Misplaced the email? 
Contact Tracy Keenan
or Sara Holben and we’ll send it to you again.

NOTE:We're here to serve you!
The NCP physical office is closed during this time, however the staff are available via email and cell phone during normal business hours: 
Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 
Friday closed  (limited staff available via email)

Thanksgiving - Thursday, November 26 and 27
Christmas - Thursday, December 24 and December 25 **
New Year's - Thursday, December 31 and January 1
**NCP Staff may take vacation as well during the last two weeks in December with limited availability

View the ABOUT tab and OUR TEAM on our website for contact information.

NCP Mailing Address:
1102 W. Church Road, Newark, DE 19711
General email:

PLEASE NOTE:  Email or call the Presbytery administrator before mailing important letters/packages for specific directions given limited physical office hours.

Send your articles, updates on your church during these times and more to Midweek Editor, Donna Scully, to be included in a future edition of the Midweek Musings!
During these non-traditional times, the physical office is closed until further notice.  NCP Staff are available via email and cell phone.  View contact information on the ABOUT tab of our website.

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