Tuesday, October 7
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Season of Peace
The Presbytery of Long Island
Last summer was quite an adventure. I had an opportunity to participate in a pastoral-discernment internship at the Presbyterian churches in Malverne and Garden City in the Presbytery of Long Island. I prayed with a dying woman, taught elementary school kids about God’s love, and oversaw a community-wide worship celebration. I experienced different kinds of ministry and learned more than I ever thought possible.
Garden City Presbyterian has created an ongoing relationship with a nearby community of families from El Salvador. The parents work hard during the day, leaving the kids largely to entertain themselves during the summer. During vacation Bible school, church members picked up the kids at their elementary school and brought them to and from the church. Some children walked a mile to get there. They even came when it rained. My proudest moment that summer was when the kids at vacation Bible school all learned the phrase “And I am certain that nothing can separate us from God’s love,” an abridgement of Romans 8:38–39. Ministering to these beautiful children was a blessing.
It can be easy to get hung up in all the debates about immigration, but over the summer, with those kids, none of it seemed to matter. Those Salvadoran families became neighbors, and their children became the congregation’s children. Members filled backpacks with school supplies, took them with their own kids to the pool, and carpooled to get them where they needed to go. In the process, the stereotypes fell—“those kids,” “those families,” “those people” became Juanito or Carla, or Juanito’s dad or Carla’s mom. They were fellow citizens of the kingdom of God. And that’s all that mattered.
The Presbytery of Long Island includes 57 congregations, two new church developments, and two immigrant fellowships.
—Beatrix Weil, member, Malverne Community Presbyterian Church; Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the 219th General Assembly (2010); student, University of Notre Dame
Let us join in prayer for:
Rev. Mark A. Tammen, general presbyter/stated clerk
Elder Lorna J. Lisa, office administrator/assistant to the stated clerk
Deacon Patrick Knight, treasurer/financial secretary
Marion Argueta, bookkeeper/assistant treasurer
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Dear Lord, help us to remember that our neighbors are all citizens in your kingdom. Work through us to make this place more like yours. Amen.