PREVIEW OF THE december 2013 ISSUE
The changing face of global mission
In 2008, Presbyterian World Mission supporters, mission coworkers, and staff convened in Dallas to answer an important question: What does God’s mission in a changing world look like?
Along with other World Mission staff, director Hunter Farrell wanted to seek God’s guidance to bring focus and clarity to Presbyterian efforts around the world. People talked, shared, prayed, worshiped, and sought to discern God’s will. The gathering, called “Renewed Call to Presbyterian Mission in the World! A Dialogue for Our Shared Future,” brought together leaders well aware of the changes we face in global mission. A world increasingly connected by technology and trade is met with a mission field increasingly fragmented into individual efforts. Conditions worsen, locking people in systems of violence and poverty. There is growing awareness of the importance of genuine mutuality and partnership in mission. And as Christianity spreads rapidly in the global South while facing precipitous decline in the global North, we who once sent out missionaries are now receiving them.
Presbyterians Today | 2014 Lenten Devotional
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.—Luke 9:51
Jesus foretells his coming death twice as he heads toward his crucifixion. Instead of running away from suffering, he embraces it, step by step. He is bound for the cross, and by the end of his journey, he will be bound to the cross. He is, in a word, cross-bound.
Along his journey, Jesus challenges those around him to move toward the cross. He calls us to take up our ...Continue reading
Presbyterians Today | 2013 Advent Calendar
COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS
Advent has never just been about anticipating where we’re going. It’s always been about remembering where we’ve been.
As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, these Advent devotions invite us to journey back in time and meet Jesus’ family. Using Jesus’ genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew, these short reflections reveal how the people and events in our life’s history are the poem of blessing God has been singing into us for generations before we were born. Not simply a list of names, Jesus’ genealogy is a ...Continue reading
Staying at the table
What happens to global mission relationships when vehement disagreement—particularly over sexuality, marriage, and women’s ordination—threatens to sever ties?
It was early July. Jonas Furtado do Nascimento was in Brazil’s drought-stricken Presbytery of the Northeast accompanying a mission group from the Presbytery of St. Andrew in Mississippi. Nascimento is the evangelism secretary for the Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil (IPIB). In Brazil’s barren northeast, people thirst both for water and for the hope born of the gospel. On that July day, Nascimento remembered how, over the years, mission groups from Mississippi had walked side by side with this Brazilian presbytery, installing water systems and supporting the efforts of IPIB missionaries.Continue reading
‘I didn’t know it would help me someday’
The unexpected benefits of the Christmas Joy Offering
It can be hard to ask for help. “We’re taught to be independent and are always trying to do everything the best we can without asking for help, but there is a point when we need to ask,” says Tom Brackbill, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Alma, Michigan, and caregiver to his wife, Pam, who lives with Alzheimer’s.
The need for help is sometimes very easy to spot. Take, for example, the communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
“People are fraying at the edges,” says Carl Wilton, stated clerk of Monmouth Presbytery and pastor of Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, about the recovery efforts in his New Jersey community. “This is the new normal. We have to accept some losses.”
One in mission | Linda Valentine
How great is our love?
On a mission trip I took to the Philippines, my then 15-year-old daughter Jackie and I visited with people living on the Payatas dumpsite. One woman—who made her home amid the scrap materials and her living at sorting and selling glass and plastic—invited us to sit and talk. With her four-year-old daughter in her lap, she spoke about her life, her business, and her faith in God. Then she told us about her three other children, whom she had sent away so that they could go to a better school and live in a cleaner place.
Here was a woman who—like all of us who are parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles—wanted her children to go to a good school, live in safety, and have an opportunity at a decent life. She worked hard and let them go away because she loved them that much—and understood the value of education.
Doing mission in partnership
Presbyterian World Mission is serving all across the world, but it’s not the number of countries or mission coworkers that defines this ministry; it’s the relationships.Continue reading
A Presbyterian congregation in Tennessee discerns God’s call to support a new storefront worshiping community, breathing life into both.
Keith Gunter’s ministry in Hendersonville, Tennessee, began with a jarring realization. In the process of being hired by First Presbyterian Church in Nashville to start a new worshiping community, a member of the nominating committee said, “Tell us about your non-Christian friends.”
Convicted, Gunter realized he didn’t have any. “Like a good missionary, they wanted me to simply live with people in Hendersonville [25 miles north of Nashville] to see how God was at work,” he says. “To stop, listen, and name the grace already there.”
Gunter spent his first six months living in Hendersonville, meeting people and becoming part of the community. “What are your needs? What can I do? How can I volunteer?” he’d ask.
Around the world | Presbyterian World Mission
Empowerment through education
After nearly 30 years as an educator in Africa, Presbyterian mission worker Leisa Wagstaff recently began what could be the most challenging assignment of her career in mission service.Continue reading
Presbyterians Today’s special issue and guidebook — “Welcome to the Presbyterian Church!” — is a wonderful introduction and overview of all things Presbyterian.
NEW THIRD EDITION. Presbyterians Today’s special issue and guidebook — “Welcome to the Presbyterian Church!” — is a wonderful introduction and overview of all things Presbyterian.