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“We all have accents, and really, an accent is nothing to be ashamed of but to be proud of because accents are beautiful,” the the Rev. Rafael Viana said during his plenary presentation for the “What’s the Secret Sauce?” conference in Atlanta last week.
“What’s the Secret Sauce?” conference sponsored by the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s 1001 New Worshiping Communities and the New Church Development Commission of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta welcomed more than 80 participants in a dozen languages with barbeque from three countries and a joyous worship service on Tuesday evening. Colleagues in the Office of General Assembly and the PMA’s Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries were also partners in the event.
How do we surrender and seek freedom? How is Jesus both a friend to us and our Lord? How do leaders of worshiping communities tend to their souls while tending to others? How do innovators find spiritual community with companions in ministry?
These were just some of the creative questions explored in the opportunities for spiritual formation sponsored by 1001 New Worshiping Communities during Lent.
“Did you agree to be dirt?” the Rev. CeCe Armstrong asked commissioners of Charleston Atlantic Presbytery and members of a newly chartered church in Charleston, South Carolina. The members of Parkside Church in Charleston, in accordance with G-1.0201 in the Book of Order, signed a charter that read in response to the grace of God, “We promise and covenant to live together in unity and to work together in ministry as disciples of Jesus Christ, bound to him and to one another as a part of the body of Christ in this place according to the principles of faith, mission, and order of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).” As a result, the presbytery convened at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, which is Parkside Church’s place of worship, for a chartering service on Jan. 29 to commission the church, ordain and install elders and fully install their organizing pastor, the Rev. Colin Kerr.
A new video distributed exclusively on social media last week asked, “What’s the secret to creating successful partnerships with immigrant worshiping communities?” The 45-second video concluded, “It’s all in the sauce. The secret sauce … And yes, there will be barbeque.”
The ministry areas of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and offices of the PC(USA) practiced being good neighbors in the marketplace at this week’s Association for Partners in Christian Education event. APCE’s Marketplace, which features a bookstore and informational resources from various denominations, seminaries, and church-adjacent non-profits, is a major attraction at the annual event.
This Saturday, St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church and New Hope Presbyterian Church will celebrate their merger, guaranteeing vital ministry will continue at the corner of South Magnolia and Orange avenues in Anaheim, California.
On Nov. 13, leaders from Presbytery of San Fernando gathered at Kirk o’ the Valley Presbyterian Church in Reseda, California, to ordain and install elders to Cultivate Church, a new congregation comprised of leaders of that presbytery’s new worshiping communities. San Fernando’s Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Juan Sarmiento, sees the chartering of Cultivate Church as an expression of the presbytery’s strategic direction passed in 2018 that “we will seek to pass on a faith that is Reformed in theology, Presbyterian in governance and multicultural in scope.”
“Are you in deep relationship? Do you notice the multitude of relationships that are happening right beneath our feet, and how they are interacting and cooperating in this complex web of life?” These are the questions that the Rev. Chantilly Mers asks of herself and others looking to reconnect to the land in Brooklyn, New York.
Two New Church New Way podcasts that dropped last month explore the spark behind the formation six years ago of Ebenezer Church in Linda Vista, California, a 1001 New Worshiping Community founded as a “People’s Cathedral,” a community that prioritizes tables over stages, schools over sanctuaries and soccer fields over offices.