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“You shall love the Lord your God.” Matt. 22:37

Saturday, September 27

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Global Week of Action against Gun Violence/Season of Peace

Albany Presbytery

New York, Vermont

West Hebron Church’s “community sanctuary” Photo by Cass Shaw

 

West Hebron Church’s “community sanctuary”

 

Photo by Cass Shaw

 

Several years ago Albany Presbytery reshaped its budget, setting aside a significant amount of money for new initiatives. Its 68 congregations have been encouraged to start new projects that support the goals of the presbytery: congregational vitality, healthy relationships, and missional living.

One grant was given to West Hebron Church, which seeks to become a “community sanctuary”—a welcoming, safe, and nurturing place for its neighbors. The church’s parking lot is often used by young families as a place for children to learn to ride bikes, roller blade, or just ride in a wagon. Teens and adults make use of aging basketball hoops. There is no other recreational area in West Hebron.

As a result of the grant, the congregation was able to install two new basketball goals. A playground area was set up. Benches and picnic tables were added for family use as well as church events. The church has also held public forums on issues that relate to aging, including care options for the elderly; tips on how to tackle family conversations about aging parents; and wills, estate planning, and funeral options.

To become a community sanctuary, the congregation first needed to build relationships and trust with its immediate neighbors. Teens and area adults helped build the swing set, paint court lines, seed grass, etc. A “Come and Play” kickoff barbecue was held. The congregation is building a new reputation by welcoming the community, which may prove more powerful than any traditional evangelism program.

Cass Shaw, former general presbyter

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo, transitional presbyter
Elder H. Daniel Rogers Jr., stated clerk
Rev. Dr. Tim Coombs, transformation and media specialist
Rev. Brooke Newell, coordinator of advocacy ministries, Central New York Presbytery Partnership Group
Elder Shirley Simon, presbytery treasurer
Elder Elsie Rew, assistant treasurer
Susan Braymer, administrative assistant
Carlie D-Annunzio, financial manager
Rev. Charles Roberts, COM advisor, Central New York Presbytery Partnership Group

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Nancy Reyes-Flores, BOP
Katie Rhodes, PMA
Tina Rhudy, PMA

Let us pray

Gracious God, may we be bold to proclaim the good news of your love for us and for your whole world. May we reach out to support our neighbors and offer them kindness, hope, and sanctuary. May we listen with care and respect. May we share our own experience of the gospel with joy. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 149
First Reading Esther 9:1-32
Second Reading Acts 20:1-16
Gospel Reading Luke 4:38-44
Evening Psalms 100; 63

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