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“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” —Ps. 51:10

Friday, July 4

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The Presbytery of Great Rivers


Mission team members at a worksite in Biloxi, Mississippi Photo by Amy Sabbert O’Brien


Mission team members at a worksite in Biloxi, Mississippi


Photo by Amy Sabbert O’Brien


How does a congregation in Peoria, Illinois, in the middle of the United States, break through the cultural noise and allow the message of Jesus Christ to speak to young people? Well, they take part in summer mission trips. Getting out of familiar surroundings and leaving the comforts of home and patterns of everyday life creates an opportunity for visions to change and hearts to be broken open.

In 2012, four adults and 11 youth from First Federated Church partnered with Back Bay Mission (BBM) in Biloxi, Mississippi. Lodging at BBM, the group worked on a home that had burned, leaving a family homeless. They removed insulation, walls, flooring, and ceilings and even spent a week gutting the home of a stranger. On other days they volunteered at a BBM center that provides showers, laundry service, mailboxes, coffee, and respite for people going through a period of homelessness.

One youth remarked, “I never thought of all the pieces to the puzzle when you don’t have a home,” thinking about how hard it is to get a job without an address. Job applications require identification. Identification requires an address. Job interviews require showers and clean clothes. Each person on the team reflected on how they were getting in touch with the complexities of other people’s circumstances. As the week came to a close, conversation shifted toward people in other parts of the world and how we are all connected.

The Presbytery of Great Rivers serves 16,001 members of 102 congregations.

Amy Sabbert O’Brien, First Federated Church, Peoria

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Susan D. Krummel, general presbyter and stated clerk
Amy Gardner, accountant
Patti Parrish, executive administrative assistant

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Dong Jo Lee, BOP
Rev. Haemin Lee, PMA
Laura Lee, PMA

Let us pray

Empowering and energizing God, source of life and light, grant us the vision to see the kingdom of God on earth and the courage to sacrifice to bring that kingdom right here, right now. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 88; 148
First Reading Numbers 24:1-13
Second Reading Romans 8:12-17
Gospel Reading Matthew 22:15-22
Evening Psalms 6; 20

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