Saturday, April 5
|Share with a friend|
The Presbytery of Shenango
Shenango Presbytery faces challenges common to many other presbyteries. Members of our congregations are older than the general population—and this in a state with a comparatively high percentage of elderly persons. Our 57 congregations and their more than 10,000 members have been concerned about numerical decline for decades. Fine institutions, such as Westminster College and Grove City College, which are PC(USA)-related and within presbytery bounds, provide an excellent education to youth from Shenango congregations, but upon graduation they must move to larger metropolitan areas to find work.
Leadership in Shenango Presbytery is beginning to learn that churches must always be starting new congregations or else be resigned to continuing decline. Pastors Angel De La Cruz and Nathan Loudon lead the “Right Here, Right Now” program, through which participating sessions embrace the need to “move back into the neighborhood” and build relationships with their neighbors, perhaps even forming new worshiping communities among them. Participants are coming to understand that even though there are plenty of Presbyterian congregations in the two-county geography north of Pittsburgh, they will only reach new followers of Jesus by going out to them.
Recent seminary graduates are attracted to this vision for the church and are now serving in Shenango Presbytery. Presently, 42 percent of its full-time pastors are under the age of 40, which is six times the churchwide average. The presbytery views this development as an unusual blessing through which the work of the Holy Spirit is anticipated.
The New Wilmington Mission Conference, a partner which also focuses on youth and young adults, registers almost 1,000 people from around the nation and the world each summer, with another 1,000 from the area also attending the one-week event.
—Rev. David Dawson, former executive presbyter
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Lord Jesus, you demonstrated for us a heart for all people, young and old. We ask you to open our eyes, especially to the young among us. May we do what is needed to introduce them to your love and mercy, for the sake of your kingdom. Amen.