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“If you reach out to people and provide a way for them to use their gifts, God will use that to build community.” That is what the Rev. Debbie Bronkema has learned the past two years.
It’s the Year of Leader Formation in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and on Wednesday about 225 Presbyterians celebrated by tuning in to hear the Rev. Michael Gehrling deliver an engaging 90-minute talk on identifying and cultivating one’s individual talents and then coalescing those talents in a group setting, such as a church session, board of deacons or ministry team.
In the Presbytery of Sacramento, ἴama Yoga, a 1001 new worshiping community in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will soon rise up to connect people to God and one another through the Christian spiritual practice of yoga.
The Rev. Colin Kerr of Parkside Church in Charleston, South Carolina is in awe of what happened at the church plant he serves. When this new church development began, it began growing steadily. But just six months into that growth, the pandemic hit.
For the Rev. Jeanie Shaw, leader of Eventide Community, a new worshiping community in Sacramento, California, Holy Week has a whole new meaning this year. As an active member of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team, people in her community are used to being sent into neighborhoods across the nation and around the world to work on PDA-connected projects.
On behalf of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, the Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC) has approved Mission Program Grants to 23 new worshiping communities.
After COVID-19 forced the cancelation of planned projects and in-person worship, Coastland Commons, a 1001 New Worshiping Community in Seattle Presbytery, moved to Zoom discussions about their city’s history of land use by Black, Indigenous and people of color communities. After about six months of Zoom gatherings, they figured out a safe way to see Seattle anew through socially distanced community walks. They reached out to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), which organizes redlining tours in Seattle’s Capitol Hill and Central District neighborhoods.
Jessie Bloss remembers how helpless she felt.
“It was that overwhelming feeling of not knowing how to respond,” she said.
Attaining Resurrection — a virtual Refresh Retreat — provides an opportunity for 1001 New Worshiping Community leaders to replenish and reclaim their spiritual grounding in a time of pandemic. There will be three of these retreat opportunities this year, with the next scheduled for April 12–13. Leaders will have a chance to choose their start time, based on Eastern or Pacific time zones.
Together with partners also engaged in church planting and revitalization, 1001 New Worshiping Communities of the Presbyterian Mission Agency is sponsoring an upcoming Hopeful Economics UnConference on March 3-5.