Summer Bible Camp (SBC) 2020 didn’t happen as we planned, but this year provides us an opportunity to do it in a unique way – we’ve decided to go virtual!

Our FOCUS Virtual Experience will provide your family with online experiences where you can dive deeper into your faith.  You’ll discover how to trust God in what you CAN’T see by putting the focus on God and His amazing plan for us.  We’ll explore four (4) different ways you can focus on God:

    • You can hear from God. (The Wise & Foolish Builders, Matthew 7:24-27)
    • You can talk to others about what you believe. (Peter says that Jesus is the Messiah, Matthew 6: 13-20)
    • You can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything. (The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:5-13)
    • You can live for God by loving others. (The Greatest Commandment, Matthew 22:36-40; 1 Corinthians 13)

We’ll provide engaging, interactive videos with games, worship, Bible truths, and conversations starters and  we’ve included craft, additional games and snack options.

What makes this format even more unique is that it’s flexible enough to be done at home, on vacation (great when kids may need a little down time) or customized for what works best for your family.



WHO: Families with children ages 3 – entering 6th grade

WHAT: Four weeks of engaging, interactive videos with games, worship, Bible truths and conversation starters to help your family discover how to trust in what you CAN’T see by putting the focus on God and His amazing plan for us.

HOW: Register your family (it’s FREE!) to receive access to all of the virtual resources and supply lists for each week.  Don’t worry – you may already have many items at home already!

INVITE: Invite your friends and neighbors to be part of the fun by inviting them to sign up!

Guiding Principles for Regathering

Dear Central, 

I want to give you an idea of how we’re preparing for that complex time when we will move out of our isolation and begin to open our building. I wish that this could be a firm timetable, loaded with specifics but what I can give to you is a sense of how we are approaching these important decisions. Keep in mind the building is closed and will remain closed to all activities until we can open it safely and follow these principles.

Guiding Principles for Opening the Building:

  1. Follow the laws, advice, and direction coming from our state authorities.
  2. Base decisions on the welfare of our congregation with regard to: 
      • Physical and spiritual health.
      • Doing effective ministry is not in conflict with protecting vulnerable people.
      • Using the best health practices (masks, sterilizing facilities, social distancing, etc).
  3. Embrace the new normal.   
      • Some expressions of ministry will best be left off-site or online in our restoration plans. Evaluate the effectiveness of ministry patterns and events, and not just look to restore old habits.
  4. Worship gatherings are a high priority but will be limited by the best health practices.
  5. We will be informed by insurance and legal counsel.
  6. Remain flexible as circumstances continue to evolve.

There is a personal side to being ready for the days ahead, too.  We can make at least two mistakes in our thinking.  The first is that we are waiting for things to get back to the way they used to be. This interruption is not beyond God’s reach. If we want to be God’s church we have to always be reforming and changing. 

The second mistake is So how are you reforming and changing? This is a God-given time to reflect, experiment, and change. Now is the time to do the “homework” to be ready for the new normal. Here are some suggestions:

Focus on the 3 Discipleship Questions. Work through the Neighborhood Missionary course in order to learn new skills and ask new questions. Share your reflections, experiments, and the ways you have seen God work through a short video. (And check out some of the God Sightings on the church website!) Finally, you might want to donate some of your stimulus check to the Deacons (benevolence) fund to use to assist unemployed people.

And pray. Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph 6:18)

In Christ,

Pastor John

CCB Lead

This page contains helpful tips and videos for those leading and managing groups in Central’s Community Builder (CCB), our online community. General information for everyone can be found at “What Is CCB?” 

You may find the LEAD app helpful. LEAD is an app for smartphones that allows you to do many needed things in CCB right on your phone! (Note: this is available ONLY to group leaders and assistant leaders or those with special admin privileges

Here are some written tips for Managing your group in CCB.

Pastoral Transition Update – 5-2-20

Dear Central,

We are writing to update you on some matters we’ve considered recently and to encourage us as a body during this uncertain time.  Like all of you, we too are working through what this unsettling time means for us individually and collectively and we ask you to continue to pray for our body and about these issues. 

First, we want to give a huge shout out and thanks to all of the church and pre-school staff and all of you who worked so hard over the last six weeks to help us pivot quickly to this new reality.  With little time to prepare, we so appreciate the time, energy, and creativity you have poured into our lives.

The Session Transition Team (Debbie Dininno, Kevin Hula, Kristin Monopolis, and Jack Weber) is continuing the work of looking for an interim pastor.  They have reviewed resumes and are conducting online interviews over the next few weeks.  They are also working with our church consultant to obtain the interpreted results of the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT).  Thanks to all of you who participated and provided information for this in March.  We plan to share a public summary of the information in the coming months. The Transition Team is still planning to have an interim pastor in place on July 1st or as soon as feasible after that.

As you may recall, John Schmidt’s last day with Central had been set as June 30, 2020.  However, in the event that Central does not have an interim pastor in place to start on July 1, the Session has asked John to stay for up to three more months until the end of September.  John has graciously agreed to stay until September 30th or until the new interim is in place, whichever comes first.  We believe that this arrangement gives Central the flexibility required during this time, but also the stable senior leadership John provides for a short while longer if needed.

This brings us to celebrating John and Debbie’s ministry at Central for the last 17 years.  Due to current events, we are canceling the June 14 picnic.  We are planning alternate opportunities to celebrate and say goodbye to the Schmidts later in the summer and will update you on these in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, look for additional information about the legacy John Russell Outreach Fund.  Also, if you would like to give a personal gift to the Schmidts, please send a check to:

Art Moorshead
23 Croftley Rd
Lutherville, MD 21093.

Maryland officials are planning for how to come out of the current “stay at home” orders and looking for indications that it is safe to do so.  At this point, we do not know when this will happen or what it may look like.  Based on various possibilities, we are considering different scenarios for our worship and life together.  Please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment as we navigate these changes.

While many things are uncertain at this time and many are struggling with anxiety, loneliness, and grief, we trust in God’s love, care, and provision for Central and for each of us.  We know God is with us and the Holy Spirit is at work in this situation even though we can’t be with each other in the same ways.  Dear ones—as hard as it may be, this is the time for each of us to draw closer to Jesus, deepen the relationships we have with other Christians, and serve and bless our neighbors.

Luci Davis
for the Central Presbyterian Session

How To Share Your Story

Please take a minute to share your story. We want to hear from you! Your experiences seeing how God is at work around us – impacting our neighborhoods, our networks, and the next generation – encourages others and provides hope.

Upload Your Video to Dropbox:

1. Record a  short video using your smartphone  (less than 2 minutes) of what is happening.

Visit learn some helpful tips when filming.

2. Click this link:

3. Upload your video:

You will see these options:

If you select “choose from computer” it will open a window for you to select the video file from your local computer hard drive.

If you want to select “choose from Dropbox”  you must have a dropbox account and know where your file is in your Dropbox folder.

We are exploring ways we can use these videos and stories, and we will do our best to get the word out about what God is doing! The institution of the church may need a pause, but the movement of Jesus continues.

Thank you for your time and for sharing these important God sightings! 

Pastor John


iPhone Filming Techniques

When shooting any video the three things you want to think about are framing, lighting, and sound. Here are some helpful tips to shoot a quality video at home using your phone. 


Use a tripod – The newest iPhones have built-in optical image stabilization, which makes shooting decent handheld footage fairly easy. But no matter how steady your hands are, nothing beats using a good old-fashioned tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, watch this short video on how to make one out of a paper towel roll.
Frame your shot.
Make sure you do not have any space above your head in the shot.
Create space between you and your background.
Adjust your camera.

– Don’t use the iPhone digital zoom – Avoid the temptation to use the iPhone’s built-in camera zoom. Since the lens isn’t zooming optically, you’re just enlarging the picture digitally, which means you will quickly enter the world of unsightly pixelation. If you want to get a closer-up shot of your subject, move the phone closer until you find the perfect shot!

Make sure you are shooting at a high frame rate. – Go to iPhone settings/camera setting to adjust the video quality.
Make sure you have enough camera memory. – If you are low on memory you video will cancel in the middle of filming. If you need to make rooms, download something like Google Photos and back up your pictures and then delete them. 
Lock you exposure and focus settings. 


Check your lighting – Make sure there is little to no light coming from behind you and try to distance yourself from the light so it does not cast shadows or bright spots. 
Use the exposure lock – This will help to keep the focus and exposure constant throughout your shot.
PRO TIP: If lighting is a problem, consider using a paint-light on a lamp and bounce the light off a close to white wall. 


Film in a room with carpet or place a quilt on the floor to absorb sound.
PRO TIP – Use a second iPhone to capture sound – Position a second iPhone directly above the subject’s head to record clean audio. Creating a simple voice memo will do the trick!

– Clap once loudly at the beginning of each video to create a reference point for syncing the good sound from the voice memo with the bad sound from the video recording.

– After you clap, leave 15 seconds of complete silence before you begin speaking.

How Are You, Really?

Resources for managing the stress of these uncertain times.

Anxiety Toolbox for the COVID-19 Crisis Course

Central Elder Janice McWilliams, licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and certified spiritual director, has put together this workshop specifically designed to help in dealing with the anxious thoughts and difficult emotions that are stirred during this pandemic.