Featured News

Mission Trip to Tulcea, Romania

A message from Kristen Harris, NOROC Mission Co-Worker Three folks from Palo Duro Presbytery are headed to Tulcea, Romania in a few short weeks! They are participating in this summer’s adult service-learning trip through NOROC. The rest of the group of 15 hails from Shenandoah Presbytery and Grace Presbytery. Photos are from last year. I [...]

Festival of Faith at FCPC, Abilene

First Central Presbyterian Church Festival of Faith September 15-16, 2024 400 Orange Street Abilene, TX The PDP community is welcome! Anna Carter Florence Guest Speaker "A is for Alabaster: An Alphabet of Scripture Stories for Sunday School Dropouts (and Others!)" Anna Carter Florence is the Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Theological Seminary in [...]

Cursillo-like events are available

OKLAHOMA PILGRIMAGE JUBILEE October 15 - 17, 2024 Canyon Camp, near Hinton, Oklahoma Jubilee is a unique spiritual renewal experience designed to foster and support an individual's long-term commitment to living the Christian life.  This weekend is open to Christians from all denominations.  Led by lay members and supported by clergy, its purpose is to inspire, [...]

Save the Date for SCRAPCE Fall Event

Save the date for the SCRAPCE Fall Event, Stumbling Towards the Light: Changing the World with David LaMotte  to be held September 30 - October 2 at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2024 theme is based on David's most recent book, You're Changing the World--Whether You Like It or Not. Join us as we explore [...]

Buffalo Gap Camp Registration

Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Encampment hosts Palo Duro Presbytery-sponsored summer camps.  (You don't have to be Presbyterian to attend!) Camp is a great place to unplug from the outside world and focus on enjoying God's great outdoors, Christian fellowship, and His love for us all. Mini Camp, Elementary Camp, and Middle School Camp are offered. Register [...]

“The future of the PC(USA) is pastor-less, and that’s OK.”

A church can be viable without a pastor, writes Catherine Neelly Burton.  Once we embrace this, churches can go about their work of being Christ's body. Read the full article. This article was published on January 3, 2024, in The Presbyterian Outlook. Catherine Neelly Burton is the mission and ministry connector for the Presbytery of [...]

Fire Disaster: Cash – Confirm – Connect

Palo Duro Presbytery:  Thank you for your prayers and your envelopes of donations.  Thank you to PDA for a $7500.00 grant.  Thank you to the Synod of the Sun for an initial grant of $15,000.00 (approved and in the mail). Thank you to the Palo Duro Presbytery for the many checks that add up.  The [...]

Thirty Years for Rev. Dr. Cliff Stewart and FCPC

We join First Central Presbyterian Church who surprised Rev. Dr. Cliff Stewart with an ice cream celebration on his 30th Anniversary as their pastor yesterday. Intellect, theologian, story-teller, pastor, ice-cream fanatic and one of the hardest workers for Palo Duro Presbytery. We love you, Cliff.

Our CP Amendment Approved

Our CP Amendment Approved Many of you know and understand the process of changing the PC(USA) Constitution. Some may discount the effort, but for me, it is the very nature of Presbyterianism. Representational Democracy from the pews is a way to lift up Christ and Christ’s Church, the believer connected to the believer leading the [...]

Order of Worship – PDP 154th Stated Meeting

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Critical Incident Chaplaincy – Next Training TBA

All church elders and leaders are welcome. Next Training: TBA Contact now?  Contact Pastor Joe Gambill at 940-232-0022 or gambill@mail.com. More Program Details?  www.EmergencyChaplainNetwork.com Call Joe or the Palo Duro Presbytery office at 806-797-2417 for details. (Van Goh's "Man in Sorrow", 1890)

Carry Your Cross, 153rd, CC, Castle

You Are Carrying Your Cross One of the saints that served and thrived in Palo Duro Presbytery, the great Rev. Dr. and Professor Fane Downs who died in Kerrville before the Pandemic, had this cross on her desk that was passed along to me. By the way, please read her obituary from a few years [...]

Order of Worship – September 19, 2022

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Presbytery Meeting & Critical Incident Chaplaincy Sign Up

What?  Not too late to attend our training.  All church elders and leaders are welcomed. Registration Deadline: September 15, 2022 Contact now?  Contact Pastor Joe Gambill 940-232-0022 or gambill@mail.com and based on your feedback he will set up an initial introductory meeting to plan the formal, in-person crisis training to meet everyone's schedule.  We have a small group ready [...]

Open House and Dedication You’re Invited

Open House August 14 at 4pm Days of Grace Chapel, Colorado City PDP Mission in our backyard.  Join the excitement.  Days of Grace Kids Care in Colorado City is now open for full day child care. After 18 months of renovations and with a fully trained and licensed staff, Days of Grace Kids Care, Inc. will [...]

225th General Assembly

Overture: Regarding Clarifying the Intent of G-2.1001 on Use of Commissioned Pastors RECOMMENDATION The Presbytery of Palo Duro overtures the 225th General Assembly (2022) to direct the Stated Clerk to send the following proposed amendment to the presbyteries for their affirmative or negative votes: To clarify the intent of G-2.1001 on the use of commissioned [...]

Buffalo Gap, Charlie Bazan Commissioning, and Jacksboro Parish Update

Register for Buffalo Gap Camp Now UNPLUG from the outside world and focus on enjoying God's great outdoors,Christian fellowship,and His Love for us all. Click on the link below.  We are longing to reach each church in Palo Duro Presbyter that may have one kid or one church friend's kid.  We can make a way for anyone [...]

Descending Theology: The Resurrection

"Descending Theology: The Resurrection" by Mary Karr From the far star points of his pinned extremities, cold inched in—black ice and squid ink— till the hung flesh was empty. Lonely in that void even for pain, he missed his splintered feet, the human stare buried in his face. He ached for two hands made of [...]

April 8 NOROC update

Update as of April 8th: Thank you, God above.  The forty churches that makeup PDP have doubled their sacrificial giving to NOROC to a total of $61,000.00 Where do you see Christ?  Matthew 25: 35-36  “…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a [...]

Disaster Assistance Update

Presbyters, may I update you on our disaster assistance with the tragedies in the Ukraine and Jacksboro?  I have fielded a few phone calls from church members that asked, “What and when were we going to respond to Ukraine and Jacksboro?”  Oh my.  Please help me get the word out and share this with your [...]

Ukrainian Help Now

PDP Urgent Request:  Please  prayerfully share this with your church.   Palo Duro Presbytery and our Mission Partner NOROC already has an organization and feet on the ground in areas acrosss the border with Ukraine receiving refugees.   How may I help today?  PDP’s mission partner NOROC (New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children) is in place, and [...]

Worship Resources: Ways to pray with & support young adults

Presbytery and Synod Colleagues, I hope this email finds you, your congregations, and pastors safe and well as we all continue to navigate the pandemic. I admit, never in a million years did I think we would approach a 2nd Fall and start of school with rising Covid-19 cases. The usual excitement that students feel [...]

Pray without Ceasing

More than a while ago, I was mentored as a hospital chaplain serving the Neonatal ICU by a magnificent woman, an Episcopalian Priest named Dorothy Robinson, in the old Children’s Hospital at the now defunct Breckenridge Hospital in Austin, Texas. One time we were running together down the hospital halls to respond to a code [...]

Podcast with James Myers with Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Camp

Bible Study Anxious To Talk About It

Common Life Ministry Team shares the opportunity for a Summer Book Study Join us in a Summer Book Club Study with a celebrated book from one Austin Seminary’s own Dr. Carolyn Helsel.  Certified Christian Educator SarahLee Morris is going to facilitate the conversation.  The details of when/where/how will be based on the feedback to her about best [...]

2021 Buffalo Gap Summer Camp

2021 BUFFALO GAP SUMMER CAMP Come “Journey Together” at Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Encampment’s Summer Church Camps in June of 2021! We have camps for those that have finished 1st grade all the way through recent high school graduates. Visit www.buffalogapcamp.org/summer-camps/ to learn more and to register. Do you need financial assistance to be able to [...]

Blessing Box

What’s Right About Our Church First Presbyterian Church, Sweetwater, Texas? Over the years, the neighborhood where our church is located has gone the way of older sections of town in just about every city in our nation. What was once a thriving and highly sought-after apartment complex across the street from our church is now [...]

Isolation and Hope

Reflection from a COVID ICU Survivor:  As we contemplate what church looks like after the pandemic, I want to share my thoughts about life, death and godliness as one survivor.  Six months ago, the devastating virus and I became too familiar: 10 days of hospitalization, three in ICU and six hours away from intubation 2 months tethered [...]

Online Worship & Community Building: During COVID & Beyond

The Synod of the Sun is offering a unique and timely opportunity to streamline and enhance your church's communications approach. Featuring church communications specialist Christen Green Kinard of Digital Congregations, participants will learn better and more effective ways to reach your current congregants, your members on the fringe, and potential visitors now and in the [...]

PDP Prayer Request

Dear friends in the mission of Jesus Christ, We are feeling so poorly. We are overwhelmed with COVID; the worries of the world intensify our distress. The virus is having its impact on the bulk of our church members directly or indirectly in Palo Duro Presbytery. The ministers are suffering too. We're struggling for breath [...]

SEEING & Being Seen

As the year 2020 draws to a close, our Christmas season may look different this year. Empty rooms. Perhaps there will be fewer holiday parties. Family gatherings may be smaller and our Christmas Eve services may look entirely different. Some of these changes may not be welcome but this “slow down” offers an opportunity for [...]

Lean Into Easy And Light

This Thanksgiving I’m feeling a bit like this plump turkey. Better not because I know this bird’s fate. I have to lean instead on Jesus and Matthew 11:30, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” These words, of course, are at the end of a well-quoted phrase that begins with “Come to me [...]

Jesus says, “Why fearful?”

Are you like me? We have several who come to the office asking for financial help. This last week someone walked up to me in the park and asked that I simply pray with him. This stranger called himself a sheep; I feel often like a goat myself for my stubbornness at not having more [...]

Just Us, Justice

A Prayer Reflection: Contemporary Anne Lamott, suggests the only three prayers that you really need are ”Help”, “Wow” and “Thank you”. These 3 words are about all I can muster these days. Our Biblical stories tell us time and again our heritage as the people of God. From our holy scriptures we have stories, and [...]

Abuse Prevention and Boundary Awareness Training

Abuse Prevention and Boundary Awareness Training Photo Credit: Tatiana Doronina Abuse Prevention and Boundary Awareness Training ACTION TO DO:  Coordinate with Julie Johnson * Email her to schedule Julie Johnson mindocs@midplains.coop Palo Duro Presbytery is offering two options to complete this mandatory training this year.  One option will provide access to online training that would [...]

A Little Breakfast Gem

Last night over dinner my seventeen year old daughter told me she was having a ‘great pandemic’. It is the second day of her senior year. I didn’t know how to take that. She didn’t quite like the quarantine with her parents for the past five months, but she felt closer to her friends. She [...]

Anti-Racism Capacity Building Series

Register please if you have not. It begins tomorrow. It is a free webinar. However If you would like to contribute toward the cost, please send $5 per person to Palo Duro Presbytery. Do register by sending an email to the pdpcyndi@gmail.com with “I’m in”. Everyone will get the curriculum for each one the day [...]

Lamentations Hope

Can you see this agapanthus popping up just like a disciple looking above and longing to know Christ?  Lamentations 3: 25  “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”  Wednesday I co-led a Bible [...]

A Lament Collection

Church is a collection of people looking above to worship God in Jesus Christ. Thinking as I stared at a collection of different succulents, lament and sadness overwhelm. Dee Lowe; pandemic; masks; empty churches; marching; riots; unemployment; division. And then it hit me that a good thing to do would be to ask one of [...]

Book of Order

The 2020-21 Book of Order #fancy-title-476 {font-family: "Open Sans Condensed"} The Book of Order has four sections: The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity Form of Government Directory for Worship Rules of Discipline Download Book of Order

Written in the Palm of God’s Hand

A key Jewish identity is that God gives a name an everlasting memorial, that each Jew is written in the palm of God’s hand never to be forgotten. “Yad Vashim” Hebrew from Isaiah 56:5. This is stunning. Solely by Jesus Christ and his righteousness, we see ourselves in this verse too. Our identity is in [...]

Worship Online

Abilene, TX First Central Presbyterian, Abilene, Texas. This is recorded already. Two ways to access: Go to the webpage which is www.fcpc.net. Go to the top of the fcpc web page. At the very top you will see a box that says “worship on line” - click on that box and it should work or [...]

The Engine Is Running Hot

I spent too long looking for one of my favorite poems that I collected and put away a few years ago.  It’s written by an unknown author from Ghana, West Africa from the point of view of an anxious bus driver; the bus is full and the engine is fragile.  It just felt right for [...]


PRESBYTERY CHANGE Sept. 25:  JUST US With the Pandemic, we’re planning an amended and shortened Zoom Presbytery Meeting Friday September 25, 5-7:00 PM, Worship, consent agenda, critical business Zoom – details to follow

“Lord, I will follow you, but….”

PDP Newsletter:   "Lord, I will follow you, but..." We have Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent on our minds.  It’s here already, and I have this phrase on my mind from Luke 9:61.  I was thinking about the great conjunction “but” in the Bible.  There’s the greatest example, I think, in Romans 6:23, [...]

Instant in Season Or Not in Season

II Timothy 4:2: Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season. I’m so tired after Presbytery. It was an inspiring time. So, I needed this little quiet time gem today. I spent time with Paul’s last words to Timothy …and to us. I’m always taken with last words spoken. Seems Shakespeare was too: [...]


Colossians 3:3, “Your life is hid with Christ in God.” It hit me. I read this verse on a chilly morning as I thought about an Advent sermon in Santa Anna. And suddenly I received a parcel, a Christmas Parcel. For me, there’s nothing more exciting and special than sending or receiving Christmas parcels. It [...]

Christ Nearby

Galatians 6:14 “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” This is the Durrow Cross from the 8th c. What do you see when you look at a cross? They are [...]

Co-Moderators announce plans for new conference

Co-Moderators announce plans for new conference for commissioned lay pastors/ruling elders The Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) believe it’s time to take a deep dive into training commissioned pastors. Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann have announced a new training conference to be held next [...]

Noble Things are Difficult

With me in tow, my grandfather who had a trace of southern brogue would often empty one pen of cattle to go through a gate to another saying, “Enter ye in the strait gate…because strait is the gate and narrow the way.” I didn’t know if he was scolding me or entertaining me. Now I [...]


Weight Weight. Heavy.   All of our teachers and students are back in their routine.  It’s all that is on my mind.  My daughter is driving herself for the first time to daily 5:30 AM swim practice; I’m tortured.  My neighbors are both giddy and afraid with the thousands of students who have come back to [...]

Grow Up in Every Way

Ephesians 4:15a “grow up in every way.” We are worshiping together all over the world in the liturgical calendar we call “Ordinary Time” marked by the color Green. I learned in Sunday School that it is a time of “the unfolding of the new creation.” We purposefully invest time and resources in becoming new creations. [...]

Be Ready

Luke 12:40 “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” In the next several weeks we will say goodbye to three of our co-laboring friends. We know already that Carl McCormack is retiring June 30th, and Travis and Sydne Allen have announced [...]

A Time of Rest

Whew! You made it through Easter. It was glorious. There’s nothing better than a post-Easter nap and time off. I send this note with a prayer for all of us who lift up Christ that we find rest body and soul. So, I pass along a little note written and then spoken over the BBC [...]

a little quiet treat for you

I came upon this little, powerful poem.  I share it with you who come today to the Church after a busy Ash Wednesday and the kick off of the Lent Season.  Peace of Christ to you.  I hope it energizes you and take your breath away if but for a moment.  Scott Knoxville:  1915 by [...]

Lord, I will follow thee

Luke 9:61, “Lord, I will follow thee, but first let me go…bid them farewell, which are at my house.” I feel both the emotion and the logic in this sentence, don’t you? Most of us aim to be logical, common sensical and emotionally intelligent. We have the goal in sight before we plan and work [...]

Highlights from the 142nd Stated Meeting of Palo Duro Presbytery

God above was worshiped in community in the beautifully renovated sanctuary of First Central Presbytery in Abilene, Texas. The collection plate from the worship service was donated to the Kenya Water Well (also known lovingly as the Bore Hole Water Project) and Mother Esther's Schools and Rescue Centers in the amount of a cool $1,000.00. [...]

“All My Springs of Joy are in You”

"All My Springs of Joy are in You" Psalms 87:7 On the coldest week of the year, I send you a vase of Forget Me Nots beautifully painted to encourage you and bring a smile to your face.  Are you a little tired?  I am.  But I’m also energized.  You can be both, right?  It [...]

“Sticking My Neck Out”

“I have appeared to you for this purpose.”  Acts 26:16  These are words about Paul’s encounter with the risen Lord.  Jesus says in a very deliberate, non-coincidental way to Paul and each of us -  Your whole life is to be led by Me; you are to have no aim but mine.  Mine.  When we [...]

Better than Butter

I sat with a friend in a hospital waiting room yesterday, and we talked about our favorite Christmas memory. It’s a parlor game this time of year all over the world. I’m a bit surprised that most favorite Christmas’ have heart break or pain associated with them. As I look back, I think about those [...]

Crescent Moon

May I share an excerpt from "A Prayer Journal" by Flannery O'Connor.  I got caught in an airport this last weekend, and thank God I found this book.  In the middle of DFW, all around me people praying.  Snow storm.  Broken planes.  Delayed and canceled flights.  The tiniest airport chapel was crowded.  Prayer in this [...]

Mother and Child

Deuteronomy 10:20 "You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him and cling to Him, and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise." Walking about Highland Mall in busy Christmas foot traffic I saw a scene like this, a tired child clinging to his mother. It was repeated every few [...]

NOROC Christmas Wish List

Greetings from Tulcea, Romania!  Are you looking for a special giving opportunity this Christmas season? Would you like to see your Christmas gift put to really good use? Here is a way to make that happen!  We are having an incredible experience here and look forward to sharing it with you over the next couple [...]

Fresh Mown Field

Advent Joy begins this week. May I share an Advent verse: "He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. He will be like rain falling on a fresh mown field, like fresh showers water the earth." Psalm 72:6 I see the Messiah Jesus in Psalms, and I [...]

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