Wednesday, January 22
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Presbytery of Tropical Florida
When disaster hits, you first have to endure the shock, but eventually you have to rebuild. The Presbytery of Tropical Florida experienced trauma when nine beloved churches and several integral leaders left under a separation policy. There was a deep sense of being pruned and a concern that we would not recover. That was a year ago.
Like the pruned vine or fruit tree, our branches have begun to blossom and we are beginning to produce fruit. This growth is occurring across the seven counties of southeast Florida. It is a result of the presbytery investing in things that build up and support congregations and of congregations looking outward to their neighborhoods and communities.
The presbytery has invested in sending people to conferences that address a specific ministry, such as stewardship, children, or worship. Attendees then organize workshops to help elders, staff, and members learn new ideas and rethink their current programs. The presbytery has encouraged congregations to relearn outreach using a seed program. The program gives small congregations 40 empty backpacks, and the congregations then provide school supplies and find a school or program in need. The venture has spawned several new programs in the congregations.
Our 46 congregations have collectively adopted missional programs that foster congregational health. They have been encouraged to try new things, creative ideas such as selling roof tiles to fund a roof replacement or hosting a summer event for the community. Missions have increased. This past summer, congregational mission teams traveled to Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Ghana, Kenya, Jamaica, Haiti, and the South Sea Islands.
Last year’s painful separation process forced us to look at why we are in the PC(USA) and to consider the state of our congregations. We concluded that our only choice was to rebuild as a better presbytery. Since then we have come together and have become more relevant to our communities. Standing together, we are better today than we were a year ago. Praise be to God!
—Amalie Ash, presbytery administrator
Let us join in prayer for:
Amalie Ash, presbytery administrator
Dr. Albert “Skip” Bush, interim stated clerk
Rev. Kernie Kostrub, pastor to pastors
Shari Lowe, executive assistant
Susan Carpenter, financial administrator
Delphia Sullivan, communications specialist
Rev. Hallie Hottle, hunger action enabler
Young Adult Volunteers
Su Yeon Kim
Kaitlyn “Lanier” Smith
Molly Turner, community development interns, DOOR-Miami
Let us pray
Thank you, Lord, for the way you multiply what we give to you beyond what we can imagine. Amen.