HUNTSVILLE, AL — On Sept. 19, North Alabama Presbytery will mark the retirement of longtime Presbyterian leader, the Rev. John Lorrits Herndon III.

Herndon, who will retire as pastor of Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Huntsville after 24 years, has served the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at all levels. He has also been a powerful witness in civic affairs in Huntsville.

In addition to the banquet, retirement festivities will include an ice cream social on Sept. 17, a festival of music on Sept. 18 and worship on Sept. 20.

ANCHORAGE, AK — Yukon Presbytery is getting ready for the 50th anniversary celebration of Chapel in the Mountains Presbyterian Church in Anaktuvuk Pass, AK.

The 37-member church’s celebration is scheduled for Aug. 27-30. More than 100 guests are expected to fly in on charter planes from all directions to Anaktuvuk Pass, 200 miles south of the Arctic Ocean in north central Alaska. The schedule includes worship, songfests, feasts, cookouts, Eskimo dancing and a variety of afternoon activities. Local public radio will broadcast some of the activities.

A highlight of the festivities will be a slide show and film of the early years of the Chapel, including its construction: church members traveled 40 miles by dogsled down the John River to cut timber for the Chapel. With the river ice about to melt, logs were carried back to Anaktuvuk Pass by dogsled to build the Chapel, which still stands. A larger, more modern chapel was built in 1985.

RICHMOND, VA — The Presbytery of the James is celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer. The presbytery was created following Presbyterian reunion in 1983 from three predecessor presbyteries: Blue Ridge, Hanover and Southern Virginia.

The presbytery, whose name was taken from the James River which flows through much of the presbytery, came into existence on July 1, 1989. Its first executive presbyter/stated clerk was the Rev. William S. Morris. It was later served by interim executives the Revs. John Rickard and James Cushman and interim stated clerk the Rev. William M. Boyce, Jr. Since 1997 the presbytery has been served as general presbyter/stated clerk by the Rev. H. Carson Rhyne, Jr.

The presbytery office was originally located in Henrico County in the former Hanover Presbytery. In October 2007 the office relocated to Richmond, where it shares space with the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.

Presbytery leaders are currently developing a new vision and mission statement, which will be implemented beginning in 2010.

SAN JOSE, CA — San Jose Presbytery recently celebrated the birth of its newest congregation, Onnuri Church of San Jose. The chartering, ordination and installation service took place June 21.

Onnuri Church began as a new church development in 2005. It has established a vibrant ministry on the site of the former Calvin Presbyterian Church. Average Sunday attendance for four worship services now exceeds 500 adults, youth and children.

Pastor of the new congregation is the Rev. Young Rhyon Kim.

PORTLAND, OR and BERKELEY, CA — A delegation of eight Presbyterians from the Presbyteries of the Cascades and San Francisco are urging congregations to participate in a letter-writing campaign to alert the leaders of Bolivia to the impact of mining operations in that country on its population.

The appeal came after the delegation visited Bolivia — under the leadership of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission workers Brad and Ali Kent — to observe the environmental and human impact of mining operations in that country. Both presbyteries — part of the Synod of the Pacific — have mission partnerships in Bolivia.

The immediate goal of the letter-writing campaign is an “environmental audit” to assess the sources and extent of pollution and its impact on communities affected by the mining operations. Though most in Bolivia agree on the value of the audit, it has been stalled for several years by various interests.