Reflections Bonclarken 2018

I am Lucas, and this is my second year on the Presbytery Youth Council. I have been to Bonclarken five times. The first three with my church, and the other two as a PYC leader. On our planning retreat, we talked about issues that we dealt with when we were in middle school and eventually came up with the theme, “Perfectly Imperfect.” Our keynoter shared her vision for the keynotes talking about how we are all made imperfectly for our own purpose by God. This year [due to Hurricane Florence] we really didn’t have a lot of planning time. We had one meeting where every team had to get all their planning done. I was placed on the Recreation team, and we wanted to design a small group rec event with a variety of games which gave everyone opportunities to get involved and have fun. We also tried to pick games that require teamwork. I think the keynotes were very relevant to many people and connected with them. What was the most powerful thing, to me, was the worship service on Sunday morning.

Every church group had their youth group involved in one aspect of leading worship. I believe this allowed a lot of the youth to really think about, and reflect on, the things they heard throughout the weekend. They wrote some amazing Prayers, a Call to Worship, Call to our Offering, etc. It really showed that they were hearing, and what the PYC was hoping they would hear. Thank you all who support PYC: All our churches, ministers, and youth leaders are appreciated because none of our work is possible without their support.

Lucas Conti
Senior at Ft. Inn Presbyterian

My name is Ella Casto-Waters, and I’m an active member of First Presbyterian Church Greer. I’m also serving my first term on the Presbyterian Youth Council. I’ve attended the Foothills Presbytery Middle School Retreat at Bonclarken three times: twice as a youth and once as a PYC leader. Each time I’ve been to Bonclarken I’ve had a great experience that has helped me grow in my faith. The PYC started planning this retreat back in August at our leadership retreat. We gathered and discussed our middle school experiences and what themes represent those experiences. Together, we decided on “Perfectly Imperfect.”Lauren Slingerland was the keynoter for the weekend, and we were fortunate enough to have her at our planning meeting. Lauren thoughtfully contributed to our discussions and brilliantly turned our ideas into worship services. At our last meeting, Lauren worked with us to make props and visual aids for the different keynotes. Everything came together beautiful. Every aspect of the retreat was well thought-out and put together. The small group manual was extremely well-written and included activities that were directly related to the scriptures of the weekend. I was impressed by how natural the connection between keynote, small group, and recreation seemed. My favorite part of the retreat was watching the youth lead worship on Sunday morning. It was such a joy to listen to the kids’ interpretations of the theme and what they were taking away from the weekend. Retreats like this past one at Bonclarken are made possible because of the support from Foothills Presbytery. So, thank you. To the churches and individuals that support the ministry of the Presbyterian Youth Council: thank you. Your commitment to our organization means so much to us and to the youth of this Presbytery.

Ella is a Sophomore at Greer High school



What is Christmas Joy?

What is Christmas Joy?

In the lead up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot.

As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ.

Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.

During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership; past, present and future through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions. We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity.
For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift.

To learn more about the Christmas Joy Offering, please visit:

2018 Webinars: 
  • Tuesday, November 6th at 12pm EST for Mid-Council Leaders (Register here)
  • Tuesday, November 13th at 12pm EST for Congregation Leaders (Register here)

Call to Health

Why Call to Health?

We are each called to wholeness — to live life abundantly.

Our health is central to this call; so, too, are our spiritual, financial, and vocational gifts. When these key dimensions of our lives are in balance, we are better able to serve others and share God’s love with the world. That’s why Call to Health promotes wholeness in each of us.  READ MORE…


Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019

Get READY for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium – a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.


DATE: Tuesday, July 16th- Saturday, July 20th, 2019
LOCATION: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
AUDIENCE: High School Age youth and accompanying adult advisors (Entering freshmen through graduated seniors; adult advisors must be 21 yrs+)

Click here: 2019 Foothills Triennium Delegation Application

Find more about registration, event plans and travel information on their website, Presbyterian Youth Triennium . All participants must be registered through a local presbytery or church delegation.

Stephen Price, Director of Youth & Young Adults at Central Presbyterian Church in Anderson, SC
cell: (864) 978-9607
church/work: (864) 226-3468

Foothills Presbytery Necrology Report

At Foothills, we have traditionally had an annual recognition and celebration of the deaths of ruling elders, teaching elders, and teaching elder spouses.  A few years ago we moved this to our November presbytery meeting in honor of All Saints.

We ask presbyters to give prayerful recognition of the life and service of those ruling elders, teaching elders, and teaching elder spouses whose lives on earth have ended. If you know of any Ruling Elders, Teaching Elders, or Teaching Elder spouses that have passed from November 2017 until now who should be honored at our November 13, 2018 Presbytery Meeting, please notify us by email to by October 31.

Thank you!

Forever Memories

By Gracelyn and Ali Latham

Two sisters share how the summer mission opportunities at Easley Presbyterian created memories for a lifetime.


Middle School Mission Ministry:
Going to Asheville Youth Missions is an empowering experience that middle schoolers at Easley Presbyterian Church have the opportunity to go through for three years in a row.  Unfortunately, this past year was my last attending AYM, seeing that I am in my first year of high school now, but the memories I have made will stay with me forever.  While in Asheville, we are tasked with many different projects that help the less fortunate in and around the area.  During the week, my group went to 12 Baskets Cafe, the Veteran’s Restoration Quarters, Vance Peace Elementary School Garden, and the Homeward Bound Donation Center.

The first day at Vance Peace Elementary, we were able to go to their garden and help spread mulch and pull weeds.  Although it was very sunny and hot, we all were inspired by the children that attend the school and were able to meet one of them, and she told us all about how much she loved going to a school that has a garden they are able to tend to and learn from.  The second half of the day we went to the Homeward Bound Donation Center.  This is a place where anyone in the community can donate household items, anything from microwaves and kitchen knives to couches and desk chairs.  These items will then be inventoried and given out to people who just recently bought a place to live, but still don’t have enough money to be able to afford simple things that are needed to live abundantly.

The second day we went to 12 Baskets Cafe, a restaurant that receives donated food from local restaurants and cooks it new the next day and gives it out for free.  While there, my group was able to talk to people who explained their life stories to us and gave us advice on how to become better people and better Christians.  Personally, I saw God in every single one of those people that I talked to because I was able to hear their own unique life experiences and how God helped them through all the bad times and how He was there for them through all the good.  On the last day, we went to the Veterans’ Restoration Quarters, or VRQ.  The VRQ is a place to keep veterans from living on the streets.  My group went to the one that housed only male veterans, and we were able to eat lunch with them and sort out clothes that were donated to the VRQ.

Overall, Asheville Youth Mission 2018 (insert link) was an amazing trip that I was lucky enough to experience.  God was with every person on that trip, along with everyone we were able to meet and talk to.

Senior High Mission Ministry:

Getting to go to New Mexico for the mission trip was an incredibly opportunity that I will never forget. God truly led me to see so many amazing things and new experiences.

While in New Mexico on the Navajo Indian Reservations, my fellow youth members and I got to experience a new culture, worship God, and touch the lives of the natives that lived there. We got to meet so many people and had such deep and meaningful conversations with the locals who were so open to us and invited us into their homes and taught us how they live. It was a wonderful experience because not only did we learn about their way of life, but we got to tell them all about our lives too. They asked about our church and community and loved to hear everything we had to say about ourselves.

During our week in the hot deserts of New Mexico, we got to go to several different houses around the place we were staying and help out so many families. The physical work we did included painting, digging holes and trenches, roofing, cleaning and so much more.

Each mission trip I have been on has touched me in different ways. Also, each mission trip helps me to grow closer to God and the members of my youth group. I never would have expected how close people can get until I went on a trip with Easley Presbyterian Church. I have been going there my whole life and have met some of my best friends there and still, we all grow closer each trip we take.

EPC is definitely my second home and we take that with us everywhere we go. This summer we took our love and fellowship to Navajo, New Mexico and spread our love to so many others!

Gracelyn is a freshman at Easley High School
Ali is a senior at Easley High School



PDA Updates: Response to Hurricane Florence

Here’s what we know right now *

In South Carolina:

The situation is being monitored very closely by everyone involved. National and state VOADS (Voluntary Organizations Active In Disaster) are ready to mobilize once they determine and assess need.

The state coordinator is Sam Carr and his email is

Local CHURCHES with chainsaw or cleanup teams should register on the Crisis Cleanup website and list the name of your individual church NOT ‘PDA’. This will allow you to pick jobs or assignments as they are listed and complete them in the queue. is being monitored to determine areas running low on fuel and monitor high priority refueling areas. is up and running so unaffiliated volunteers can connect with affiliated groups and find work.

Horry county (Myrtle Beach area) Disaster Relief / Waccamaw VOAD set-up – this is their central site for VOADs, those impacted by disaster, volunteers and all the paperwork that needs to be completed.

* Foothills Presbytery Committee on Shared Ministry (Mission Team) is meeting today to discuss other ways we can support and send aid to those affected by the wrath of Florence.

VBS 2018-Together, We are God’s Family


Vacation Bible School, those words can bring excitement, anxiety, stress and worry as churches look for ways to share the stories of faith with our children.

This year, an idea was born when Eastminster Presbyterian, Fountain Inn Presbyterian and FPC Simpsonville celebrated Epiphany together with our children. The Epiphany Party was such a success that someone said, “what if we combined for Vacation Bible School this year.” So, the journey began.

We decided on a one day format and Joan Jones, Director of Children and Middle School Youth Ministries at Eastminster, gathered a group and began dreaming of what this day could be.

Once we decided to move forward with a joint, one-day VBS, we also invited children from the Thornwell Children’s Home in Clinton to come and join us.

Our day was split into two sections. Our morning theme was “I am a Child of God.’ We celebrated each child’s uniqueness and gave thanks to God for the gifts we have each been given. Each child created a beautiful piece of art where they named and celebrated what makes them special.

The morning session included music, art, stories and a discussion for adults, led by Pressley Cox, EPC, and Chris Jones, FIPC, on how we as adults can nurture, guide and support our youth as they grow up in a very different world.

Following lunch, we dove into our afternoon theme, Together, we are God’s Family. We again spent time in music, art, bible story, recreation and also created gift bags for families in Habitat for Humanity homes as well as persons being served by Safe Harbor.

The afternoon art project, led by Jaime Winton, was to create something that each group could take home to their churches or home to remind them that even when we are a part, we are all God’s family. Each person at VBS, children, youth and adults, created 4 sticks. The sticks were used to create a piece of at that says “God’s Family Sticks Together.”

Our day ended with a VBS celebration and cookout dinner. What a gift to gather over 50 adult volunteers, over 15 middle school and high school youth volunteers and 40 children all from 4 different communities who planned, prayed, sang and shared as we gave thanks for a God who calls us into community together.

223rd General Assembly

by Mary Moore Driggers

**Hello, Mary Moore Driggers – Young Adult Advisory Delegate from Foothills Presbytery, and I call for discussion** (Presby Polity jokes…what can I say!)

The Holy Spirit surely works in mysterious and yet wonderful ways. On Thursday morning at 3:30a.m I headed out to the 223rd PC (USA) General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri and did not return until 11:00p.m on Saturday, June 23. It was ten days full of Presbyterian Polity. I did not quite understand what I was getting myself into when I signed on to serve my Presbytery as a YAAD just two short years ago. It was a huge honor to be selected and I tried to take in as much as possible. Some of the things I took in included looking at the world through a new lens. Often times in our little corner in the upstate of South Carolina we forget that there is a whole world out there that is begging to be reached out to. I was fortunate enough to serve on committee seven which was the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relationships team. In this committee I was pushed to dig deeper about what it means to see “outsiders” with a second lens and build relationships with our communities near and far all around the world.

While I was at GA I participated in a march through downtown St. Louis in 100 degree heat with hundreds of Presbyterians. We were not the “Frozen Chosen” that day, instead we boldly chanted as we made our way to the City Justice Center where we delivered a message, and also a check for $47,200 for bail relief. That offering will grant freedom to people held under bench warrants and minor offenses as they await trial and it gets them back to their jobs and families. As we arrived at the steps of the Justice Center, our Stated Clerk, J. Herbert Nelson proclaimed that we are in need of returning to the justice understanding of our faith. We are embarking on the days where we can actively engage in this country and call on the powers and principalities to release those from captivity. In participating in this event it was a great way of showing God’s love in the world, it also opened many eyes to see that the Church does not have to have a sanctuary TO BE THE CHURCH! This is what Jesus meant when he says “release the captives” and this kind of movement is actually the way forward for our church in the 21st century.

When there is no justice, there is no peace. I am happy and proud to have stood with my siblings in Christ during that scorching hot Tuesday afternoon. It in fact was what democracy looked like. It in fact was what Theology looked like. It in fact was what community looked like. It in fact was what a family looked like. And more than anything, it in fact was what the KINdom of God looks like.

This term of “The KINdom of God” is what we constantly were referred back to during the General Assembly. Through this we explored new ways to be at the table with others alike and not. As Presbyterians, though we might be reformed, we are always reforming! A new age has come and the church is changing. That day we all lifted our voices with those who were and are incarcerated simply because they don’t have $50 to post bail before their trials. People should NEVER be punished simply for being poor. I stood that day because I knew there were not only human beings in that place, but God was in that place, and when God’s family is hurting, God hurts.

My First Mini Montreat as a PYC Leader

Logan is a senior from John Knox Presbyterian Church who has served on PYC for 3 years. Currently she serves as the Moderator for the PYC. After graduation she will be attending Furman University.

This weekend, I got to spend my first Mini-Montreat as a PYC leader. Having never been
involved in this before, I hadn’t realized how much work really goes into the making of this
retreat in order for it all to come together. You don’t realize how many elements there really are
until you are actually in it, but in the end the work is all worth it.

I got to lead a small group, and it was so much fun to be able to influence the weekends
of these kids for the better, and to be able to show them who God truly is. As a leader, you have
to be able to make it fun and interesting while still being able to give them good information , and I feel like our plan for the weekend helped us do that. At the end of the weekend, I asked our group how they felt about the weekend, and not one of them complained about any of it. They said that it was the best weekend they had had in a long time and that there was nothing to complain about. To me, that shows that all of our hard work and dedication to PYC truly pays off and makes a difference in other people’s lives.

When I joined Presbyterian Youth Council three years ago, I had no clue the journey that I was beginning. The people on this council are truly some of the best people I know; I have no clue what my life would look like without these people and I give all glory to God for bringing them all together through PYC. The ministry that PYC provides is an important part of each youth’s life that attends and leads these retreats in our presbytery. Every member of PYC, around 20 people, plays an important role in the planning of these retreats, Mini-Montreat and Bonclarken; there is no way these retreats would happen successfully without each individual contributing. Growing up, I attended these retreats myself and it is crazy to me to think that somehow, I ended up as moderator of all this. I believe that God had complete control of putting me on this council because this has truly been the best three years of my life.

I would encourage youth to at least consider the idea of applying to join PYC. This council has been a hallmark of my entire high school career and I believe that everyone deserves the chance to experience it. There truly is no other group that I would rather be involved with or that I would get as much out of. PYC is much more than a group that plans retreats, it is a family; the best family anyone could ask for.