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“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life.’ ” —John 6:35

Tuesday, July 14

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Presbytery of Great Rivers

Illinois

On November 17, 2013, I preached to the congregation of Washington Presbyterian Church from 2 Thessalonians on how each person is called to wake up every morning and ask, “What can I add to Christ’s body today?” As part of the sermon, I passed out slips of paper to everyone with suggestions for how people might participate in our congregation’s life. I could hardly have known that by the end of the day the whole town of Washington would be living out God’s message of service.

Later that day, Washington, along with other communities in central Illinois, was devastated by an EF4 tornado. In Washington, the storm left approximately 1,500 people homeless, including seven families belonging to Washington Presbyterian. Almost immediately, the surrounding communities gave of their time, talents, and treasures to help bring people to safety. With our building still intact, our people prayed and asked God how we could help.

The answer came as we looked at the basement renovation already on the schedule for that year. When the basement was originally dug (almost 40 years ago!), the church installed plumbing for two showers, but the showers themselves were never installed. Now, looking at those unfinished bathrooms and the out-of-date Sunday school rooms, the congregation realized what God was calling us to do: finish the Sunday school space and showers and prepare to house volunteers who came to help rebuild the town. Church members agreed to provide meals to volunteers in addition to a facility that could serve as their base of operations.

With donations of time and money from members of the 98 congregations in the Presbytery of Great Rivers, congregations such as Washington Presbyterian Church have been able to make a difference in communities affected by the storm. From community Thanksgiving meals to hands-on help with debris removal, God is using all the folks of central Illinois to add to the body of Christ. We are so blessed to be part of a connectional church with a heart and mind for mission!

Rev. Rebecca Weltmann, pastor, Washington Presbyterian Church

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Elissa Bailey, associate stated clerk
Amy Gardner, accountant
Patti Parrish, senior administrative assistant
Gary Davis, treasurer
Rev. Richard Johnson, elder training
Will Wetzel, youth and mission

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Terry Leiner, PMA
Ruth Leonard, PMA
Heather Leoncini, PMA

Let us pray

Holy God, you call us from every time and place to follow you. Give us the courage to go where you lead us and to ask daily, “What can I add to the body of Christ?” Help us to hear your call and respond faithfully, so that we may each grow in our relationship with you. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 42; 146
First Reading 1 Samuel 19:1-18 (19-24)
Second Reading Acts 12:1-17
Gospel Reading Mark 2:1-12
Evening Psalms 102; 133

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