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On many Pentecost Sundays, which can be a movable feast like Easter Sunday, the life of a congregation sometimes intersects with the long weekend of Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial beginning of the summer season. As well as many graduations taking place around this time, a growing number of churches now hold services for ordination and installation before the summer begins.
Where does your congregation see itself in 20 years?
Chances are, an answer to that question doesn’t come quickly. After all, discernment takes time and thought. And sometimes, difficult circumstances must be acknowledged and tough decisions have to be made.
The Rev. Dr. Tom Bryson, who is part of the Vital Congregations (VC) writing team, said he was floored at what he heard at VC gatherings in Denver and Atlanta the last two weeks.
As Dr. William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, confessed his personal anger and lament, Fairfield Hall at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta went silent
During Tuesday’s devotion/reflection at the Vital Congregations East Coast gathering in Atlanta, Dr. Anna Carter Florence, preaching professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, shared a personal experience that she said changed her life.
Nearly 140 leaders including representation from presbyteries, pastors, clerks of session and the Presbyterian Mission Agency are meeting at Montview Presbyterian Church in Denver this week to pray, plan and worship together during the West Coast Vital Congregations gathering.
Some Sundays, five or 10 people show up for worship at Yaphank Presbyterian Church on Long Island, N.Y. The church, established in 1851, has 41 members on its rolls. The average Sunday attendance is about 15.Yet the session of the historic church, whose sanctuary was destroyed by a December 2013 fire, has embraced the invitation to become a Matthew 25 church. Its chosen focus is eradicating systemic poverty.
Art Cullen, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize and the editor of the Storm Lake (Iowa) Times, will speak at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 30.
Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church sits on a sprawling 41-acre lakeside campus in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., northwest of Detroit. Passersby often slow down to take in breathtaking views of the church’s majestic gothic-style architecture. Visitors from near and far come in to appreciate its beautiful sanctuary.
Now that churches in South Carolina’s Trinity Presbytery have gone through the seven marks of congregational vitality, as part of their participation in the two-year Vital Congregations initiative pilot program, pastors are beginning to notice a difference in their congregations.