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When the Rev. Jon Moore saw the online classes on financial sustainability for new worshiping community leaders, he was stirred emotionally.
As the Rev. Jacoba Vermaak — people call her Pastor Kobie — talks with people who have begun lining up for a week of free groceries at 5 o’clock each Monday morning, she spends a few moments listening to each person describe how they never imagined they would be standing in line for a handout. Simply put, it was beyond what they expected for themselves.
Though she’s the reentry pastor of Hagar’s Community Church, the Rev. Riley Pickett has never been inside the Washington Corrections Center for Women. That’s because Pickett’s ministry begins when residents of the largest women’s prison in the state of Washington are released.
In the fall of 2018, youth at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center (BAJCC) in Chesterfield County, Virginia, asked to start a gospel choir. The request reached the Rev. Lauren Ramseur and the Rev. Ashley Diaz Mejias who, along with friends, collaborated to support the initiative. Ramseur and Mejias soon discovered that they were “doing church” — gathering twice a month at the correctional center for a community of worship. The group named themselves the Voices of Jubilee.
Ecumenical Partners in Outreach, a network of mainline denominational leaders engaged in church planting and revitalization, hosted its first ever “Founders’ Festival” via Zoom in early December.
During the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)’s #GivingTuesday 12-hour telethon on Dec. 1, the Rev. Nikki Collins, national coordinator for 1001 New Worshiping Communities, will visit with two ‘1001’ leaders who started new churches among people and in places where traditional PC(USA) mainstream churches haven’t been.
In college, the Revs. Layne Bailey Brubaker and Abigail Spears Velázquez wore matching hats embroidered with the words ‘Sick & hAlarious.’ These expressions are endearing reminders of their visits with Abi’s grandmother and great aunt, who would frequently exclaim “sick” or “hAlarious” in response to one another’s stories about life in their retirement community.
In 2000, eight retirees led an effort to plant a new Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation in the mountains of north Georgia. Today, Faith Presbyterian Church – Blue Ridge has 159 members and is one of the fastest-growing congregations in Cherokee Presbytery and the Synod of the South Atlantic. Last year, Sunday morning worship attendance averaged 109.
The COVID-19 pandemic. Record breaking natural disasters. Racial injustice and unrest. Rising poverty. Fear of election violence.
So, with all of this trauma and extra stress 2020 has unleashed, how does one cope with anxiety or depression?
This was the topic of a Sunday evening conversation hosted by 1001 New Worshiping Communities. Their guests were Dena and Jason Hobbs, who are familiar with the struggle of anxiety and depression, both professionally and personally.
As the Rev. Crawford Brubaker began working on what would be his new book, “Alas! A Lament for the United States of America,” he remembers tossing page after page of paper into the garbage.