Monday, April 20
Presbytery of West Virginia
In 2014 I had the privilege of tagging along to Nicaragua with a January-term class from Davis and Elkins College. We were there to learn about the work of CEPAD, an ecumenical ministry group, and explore liberation theology in Central America.
Padre Antonio Castro spoke to our group about liberation theology in the context of his life. Padre Castro lived under the rule of an oppressive dictator and through a violent revolution and bloody civil war that gripped his country for over a decade. He reflected on his lifetime of ministry. His parish prior to the revolution was located in a poor area of Managua, and his ministry was to the very poor. He related, almost casually, that during the revolution he had been arrested and jailed. Ministering to the oppressed had put him at odds with the government.
We were sitting in chairs in a circle, and one of the students asked him about that experience. Padre Castro looked down at his knees reflectively for just a second and then quickly responded, “It was great.” He went on to explain: “Where else would a pastor want to be than with his people? Shared suffering for the causes of Christ unites people in a way nothing else can.”
I later asked Padre Castro what he saw as the biggest challenges facing the Christian church. “Too often people look for God in the wrong place,” he began. “Too many people look for God in the heavens. What they need to do is shift their gaze downward until they are looking into the eyes of their neighbors in need. There they will see God.”
The Presbytery of West Virginia is home to 134 congregations and their 9,805 members.
—Rev. John McKinnon, Beckley Presbyterian Church
Let us join in prayer for:
Forrest Palmer, interim executive presbyter
Maureen Wright, stated clerk
Lois Coffey, financial administrator /treasurer
Leslie Curtis, office administrator
Nellie Howard, resource center director
Claire Butler, interim associate
Craig Butler, transitional associate
Susan Sharp Campbell, associate for educational ministry
Mark Miller, director, Bluestone Camp and Retreat
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving God, lower our gaze so that we might see you face to face. Amen.