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Communication

Jane Kurtz named winner of top Presbyterian Writers Guild award

Jane Kurtz, prolific author, artist, literacy advocate and a child of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission workers, has been named the recipient of the 2020 David Steele Distinguished Writer Award by the Presbyterian Writers Guild.

One critic’s top 10 films for 2019

Visual Parables’ Top Ten Film list is usually different from most lists because ethical and spiritual values in the films carry more weight than aesthetics. That the latter is important, however, is shown each year by the fact that faith-based films seldom show up on the list, most of these being dramatized sermons rather than open-ended works of art.

God is good

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of purchasing a used copy of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis. Bargain hunter that I am, I was thrilled, as it is it was only $3.50. It is my favorite of the “Chronicles of Narnia” series, and this particular version contains lovely color illustrations.

Building on a blessed community

Years ago, I read a quote by the Quaker mystic Thomas Kelly that changed my ministry: “Yet ever within that Society, and ever within the Christian church, has existed the Holy Fellowship, the Blessed Community, an “ekklesiola” in “ekklesia,” a little church within the church.”

What is a redeemer?

This inspiring passage was recently one of the lectionary readings in church — and remains a favorite for me. One word in particular caught my attention: redeemed.  It is not a word most people use on a daily basis, and therefore, its meaning is a bit hazy to us.  In his new book, Seventy Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know (Abingdon Press, 2018), Matthew Schlimm puts it this way: “Outside of church, I don’t hear the words “redeem” and “redemption” very much. When I do, it’s usually to talk about coupons, gift certificates, or lottery tickets.  When the Bible talks about God redeeming Israel, it’s obviously not suggesting that Israel is like a coupon that gives God a discount on something! … I fear that for many Christians, “redemption” is a positive word, but also an empty word whose basic meaning is filled willy-nilly with whatever comes to mind.”

Are we leading out of expectations or principles?

I’ve been working with a pastor for a number of years, helping him invigorate a somewhat stagnant church. We’ve talked about a lot in the process, and the results of our conversations are showing signs of breathing new life into the congregation. But it’s still been a frustrating ministry for this pastor. He’s struggled because much of what he’s tried hasn’t worked.

Step by step: faithfully seeking climate justice

I wish I was home for Christmas. Home means eating cinnamon rolls made by my mom, playing with my nieces and nephews, meeting up with friends we haven’t seen all year. Home means getting to have cheese fries at my favorite restaurant and hugging my partner’s 80-year- old grandmother who I love like my own.

A Corp Board gives initial approval to 2020 business plan, bylaw changes

A business plan for 2020 that lays out the work that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Administrative Services Group expects to complete next year and changes to the A Corp’s bylaws both received board approval on first reading during a video conference meeting held Friday.

Becoming an intercultural community

When I think of multicultural churches, I do not necessarily think of my own — I picture congregations that reflect many different races and ethnicities. Like most Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) churches, Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter, Minnesota, is a predominantly white congregation. What does multicultural ministry mean for my rural Midwestern church community?