…be led forth in peace. (Isaiah 55:12). Support to the Peace & Global Witness Offering.

Vital Congregations Quarterly Newsletter


Inside this Issue

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

The Initiative

Vital Congregations Initiative 5th Wave Deadline, November 30th 

The Office of Vital Congregations has officially begun taking applications for the 5th Wave of the Vital Congregations Initiative!

Applications will be accepted from presbyteries and individual congregations that would like to participate as part of a Virtual Presbytery through November 30, 2022. The Preparation and Vision Sharing Year is set to begin in the Spring of 2023!

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Community Connections

We’re looking for your help! The Office of Vital Congregations is developing Advent and seasonal studies for the upcoming months. We want your expertise!

Are you a writer? Are you an artist? Or are you a creative person with reflective insight? Do you regularly engage in deep devotion in your life? We invite you to be a part of this project to share congregational vitality across the denomination!

Send a message to vitalcongregatons@pcusa.org with your contact information how you would like to help us. We are looking forward to working with you!!

Urban Presbytery Network Logo

The Urban Presbyteries Network (UPN) meets on the THIRD THURSDAY of each month at 2:00PM Eastern! Join us at our next meeting on September 15th for network updates and a special guest speaker!

UPCOMING 2022 Meetings

September 15th
October 20th
November 17th
December 15th


Join us via ZOOM

Vital Reflections

Person holding compas.

Reflection from Associate, Rev. Tony Oltmann

In Boy Scouts, I learned to be prepared. In life I’ve learned that being prepared is important; although not always possible.

Recently, my family began preparing for school; my son is entering the 6th grade this year and of course needs a whole list of stuff. Pencils. Paper. Calculator. Folders. And so on. My wife and our son usually spend an afternoon or two picking out school supplies and then another few afternoons picking out new clothes. Within a short time, our son’s ready for school. There are usually some last-minute things we need to purchase, but for the most part he’s ready. At a certain point, it doesn’t matter if he’s “ready” because school will start whether he’s ready or not.

This year, helping my son get ready for school has made me think about being prepared and how we can get busy with preparation and getting ready. We gather supplies. We create checklists. We setup specific instructions. And yet, we may feel we aren’t truly “ready” for what comes next. Often, we are so engaged with “getting ready” that we overlook the Spirit’s movement as an advocate for new life. We miss that God is making a “pathway in the wilderness”, as it says in Isaiah 43:19.

In Isaiah 43, verse 19, God speaks through the prophet and says, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19 – NLT).

As we are busily gathering our supplies, creating our checklists, setting up specific instructions, to prepare for what comes next, whether we’re “ready or not”, God is already doing something new! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God is making a “pathway through the wilderness” of our world and creating “rivers in the dry wasteland”.

Don’t get me wrong, checklists, supplies, and instructions are important; so is being prepared. When preparation can become a tool for distraction, or a method used to cope with the anxiety of change. We can miss the new thing God is calling us to because we are waiting to be fully ready. Maybe God isn’t calling us to be “fully ready” but to step out in faith into the new thing God is currently doing. 

Show Your Marks