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In the latest edition of Everyday God-Talk, So Jung Kim, associate for Theology in the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Office of Theology & Worship, visits with Jaco Hamman, a PC(USA) ordained pastor who’s a professor at the Vanderbilt Divinity School.
As a scientist and science lover since he was a child, Fred Hanna has always found the disconnect between science and religion to be odd, if not utterly horrifying. Once in his early 30s he was having a conversation about dinosaurs with a Christian who told him, “Dinosaurs aren’t real. They were made up. Science made them up.”
Before COVID-19 forced him to work from home, the Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, was walking in downtown Louisville one day when he came across a man holding a “I’m homeless and I’m hungry” sign. Johnson made eye contact and asked how the man was doing. The man clutched Johnson’s arms and told him, with tears streaming down his face, “Thank you for recognizing that I am a human being.”
The coronavirus has inflicted any number of health crises on Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations — but in some tangible ways it’s also enhanced their ecclesial health.
As more than 50 pastors and other church leaders explored together “Lifelong Discipleship Formation” — which is one of the Seven Marks of Vital Congregations — it became apparent that during the coronavirus crisis they are discovering new ways to help people live out their Christian faith.
An April survey by Research Services of nearly 1,100 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations and mid councils revealed some surprising responses on how they’re dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:
Proposed budgets for the Presbyterian Mission Agency — about $61.2 million in 2021 and about $62.9 million for 2022 — will allow the agency two more years to continue the Matthew 25 focus and to carry out no small number of other worthy ministries, too.
There’s no need to have an empty church on Sunday mornings, even in the midst of coronavirus social distancing directives.
Using Ezekiel’s stark vision of the Valley of Dry Bones, the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell elicited any number of innovative ideas from about 70 pastors and other church leaders during Wednesday’s videoconference on Spirit-inspired worship, one of the Seven Marks of Vital Congregations.
The following is revised and updated from a Presbyterian News Service article published March 11:
As the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak advances, congregations are responding in creative and highly effective ways. Given strong guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and federal, state, and local governments against gathering in person, many have chosen live-streaming or pre-recorded modified services as a way to glorify God together, stay connected as the body of Christ, and seek the healing work of the Spirit.