Register today for the June 23 (2pm EDT) online Matthew 25 event that will look at hunger and food insecurities.

Vital Congregations Quarterly Newsletter


Inside this Issue

The Initiative | Vital Reflections | Show Your Marks | Community Connections

The Initiative

Vital Congregations Initiative 3rd Wave Announcement

The Office of Vital Congregations excitedly announced the next wave of presbyteries to join the VCI! The following presbyteries will begin their journey the first week of May with a kick-off worship service and training:
The Presbytery of Detroit, Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Homestead Presbytery, John Calvin Presbytery, Peace River Presbytery, San Fernando Presbytery, Presbytery of Scioto Valley, and the first church in our Virtual Presbytery, Meadowlake Church in Huntersville, North Carolina!

Read the News Story

The selected seven presbyteries and one very special congregation will bring the total active participating presbyteries to 35, just a few shy of a quarter of the denominations mid-councils. What an outstanding accomplishment for the short history of the initiative. God is truly moving through this work.

Congratulations to all! And stay tuned for the next open application for another group this Fall! Connect on Facebook

Vital Reflections

Reflection from Coordinator, Rev. Carlton Johnson
Louisville, Kentucky and other areas of the country had snow in mid-April…in Spring! Amazingly, that mirrors my current state of being. Hosting two very different things. Total exhaustion and exploding energy.

Along with never-ending ZOOM gatherings, I’ve undertaken too many home and yard projects during the pandemic. However, I know that my weariness is at the level of the spirit. For months on end, we have all existed in an ecology of grief.

Daily reports of the loss of family and church members, loss jobs and shelter, a political climate that has been on full tilt, endless accounts of police murders and domestic terrorism. In addition, I miss the warmth of people. I miss my co-workers. I miss sharing hugs and handshakes during the passing of the peace on Sundays.

There is good news and bad news. Vaccination numbers grow daily, yet, there are spikes of new Covid cases in some areas. While we felt a moment of victory along with the family of George Floyd, there have been more murders in recent days.

At times like these, I am reminded of my mother’s last remaining sister who I lost last year. Elder Ida Mae Stone would often exclaim loudly, “Whose report are you going to believe? I’m going to believe the Lord’s report”!!!

Solomon put it this way; “The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13)

Can you hear them? Listen.

I have watched so many of our presbyteries utilize the Vital Congregations Initiative to navigate the choppy waters of the past year. I love hearing the wonderful testimonies of those who deeply engaged the 7 Marks and now rejoice for how God has moved in their ministries!

I feel the exuberance of the new 3rd wave of presbyteries and churches that joined us in April! I am so excited! Let us pray with them as they begin their voyage!

Our global dilemma is not a tugboat; it is a massive ocean liner. The turnaround is slow, so slow it is difficult to see. Yet, I believe it is turning. God is working.

Whose report will you believe?

Show Your Marks

Deeper Dive in the Mark of Lifelong Discipleship Formation

Would any of your congregations like to take a DEEPER DIVE in the mark of LIFELONG DISCIPLESHIP FORMATION? We have an exciting invitation for you!! This fall, we will engage representatives of a limited group of congregations in an 8 WEEK VIRTUAL COHORT. Each week, participants will gather for 90 minutes of exciting guided online training.

Planned topics include:

  • Discipleship in a Zoom World
  • Building Spiritual Fortitude Through Contemplative Prayer
  • Faith Formation in the Home
  • And many more!!!!

Come to the deep waters with us. Space is limited. Please email the names of interested congregations to no later than July 15, 2021.

Community Connections

Urban Presbytery Network

A cohort of over 30 “urban-centric” presbyteries, the goal of the Urban Presbytery Network is to sustain, inspire, and empower leaders of Christ’s Church, called to meet the needs in urban contexts. We hope to glean and learn from one another; to prayerfully see the needs and offer ourselves in service more and more to God’s mission. Finally, we hope it will be a joyous opportunity to gather and break bread with glad hearts as we spend time together.

Through monthly meetings and in-person gatherings (up to twice annually) we hope to contribute to the growth of each presbytery and its leadership according to God’s will for them.

For in-person gatherings, we hope to bring in speakers from civic organizations, religious leaders, and secular community leaders to help give voice, history, and context to the ministry being done in the selected urban area. Gatherings may include open panel dialogue, mission site visits, fellowship, and more.

For more information about the Urban Presbytery Network, email