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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.”
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.”
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.
A box to put memories in. That’s my current project in the wood shop.
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 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.
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?
“Did you write this?”
I glanced at the page. Squarish letters in black ink with variable-width strokes. Just the kind I used to make with a chisel-end pen. Just the kind I inscribed on numerous baptismal certificates and wedding records over the years. Definitely my work.
The Board of Trustees of Eden Theological Seminary announced last week the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause as president. Krause, an ordained clergywoman in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is the first female president in the seminary’s history.
Filmmaker, pastor and presbytery executive the Rev. Ryan Landino closes his most recent “Pastor Ryan’s Sixty Second Sermons” video, which he calls “It’s a Wonderful Church,” with a variation on the capper to a certain Jimmy Stewart holiday film standard: “Teacher says every time a church pays its per capita, an angel gets their wings.”