Upfront | Eva Stimson
Glimpses of our church in action are too good not to share.
The Christmas newsletter has become a staple of the holiday season, a way to keep in touch with friends and relatives and share highlights of the past year. I especially enjoy the ones with photos showing vacation scenes or how much the kids have grown.
Putting together this issue of Presbyterians Today was a bit like preparing one of those Christmas newsletters. The response to our request for mission photos far exceeded our expectations—not to mention the space available in these pages—and offered tantalizing and often inspiring glimpses of life in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Many photos came with commentary too good not to share. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve learned from the flood of letters and emails:
- Pastors will do just about anything—including shaving their heads and kissing pigs—to motivate congregations to reach their mission goals.
- The blue Presbyterian Disaster Assistance T-shirt made an appearance in numerous photos. If Presbyterians had a uniform, this would be it. After a tornado struck their city, volunteers from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kan., extended the compassion of Christ even beyond human survivors by collecting pet food for animals left homeless by the storm.
- On the second Tuesday of every month, for the past 11 years, people at a homeless shelter have enjoyed a meal of fruit, potato salad and barbecued chicken wings, lovingly prepared by members of the Korean Presbyterian Church of Salisbury, Md.
- You don’t have to be a math whiz to be impressed by these numbers: Evergreen Presbyterian Church in San Jose, Calif., with only about 15 active members, donated 150 school uniforms, 443 books and 600 coupons for free haircuts to students at a local elementary school. And thanks to skilled hands and warm hearts at South Plains Presbyterian Church in Keswick, Va., 1,565 hand-knitted baby caps, 70 baby sweaters, 58 blankets, 23 children’s gowns, 17 pillows and 2 cap-and-booties sets are on the way to children in need.
- The Pedaling Presbyters of First Presbyterian Church in Haverhill, Mass., rode their bikes in support of homeless people. Abundance Acres, a garden at Forest Hill Church, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is growing fresh vegetables and a healthier community.
- And speaking of clever names: the 7th Cents youth group is made up of teens from Central Presbyterian Church and Centenary United Methodist Church, located a block apart on 7th Street in Terre Haute, Ind.
- Rhoda Shetz celebrated her 106th birthday this year at Treasure Hills Presbyterian Church in Harlingen, Texas, where she worships every Sunday.
- Serving others is part of the DNA of Peace Presbyterian Church in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Even before the congregation began gathering regularly for worship in 2006, members had begun volunteering at nearby Beth-El Mission, a Presbyterian-founded ministry that provides food, clothing, education and legal services to farmworkers and their families.
Welcome to a mission-packed year in the life of our Presbyterian Church family!