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Faith & Worship

Advent activities put the holy back into the holidays

’Tis the season of holy anticipation — and unholy madness. To encounter the holy, and to counteract the madness, churches are offering creative ways to slow down and smell the Christmas trees. Here’s a roundup of some of the ways churches are helping their communities be still, breathe in the incarnation and carry hope into the world.

The Advent vs. Christmas debate

Perhaps society is to blame for the full-blown Christmas decorations that appear in churches as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey carcass is thrown into the pot for soup. After all, when Christmas shows up in stores as early as September, who can blame worshipers for wanting the sanctuary halls to be decked as well?

‘Reclaiming Jesus’ movement invites Presbyterians to rethink discipleship

A new downloadable resource from the Office of Theology & Worship provides analysis and theological reflection on the Reclaiming Jesus Statement.  Signed in 2018 by leaders of several denominations and organizations, the statement and ensuing movement calls on Christians in the United States to “reclaim Jesus” by focusing on what followers of Jesus are required to do.

Translating the Matthew 25 vision into liturgical language

A free new booklet is proof Presbyterians can confess their sins, affirm their faith, pray, break bread and be dismissed — and start and end their day with prayer, all without leaving the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.

Looking back and forward: Advent’s significance of hope

Think about the first and last words of Scripture. The book of Genesis opens with “In the beginning …” (Gen. 1:1). And the book of Revelation closes with “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20), followed only by a postscript extending Christ’s grace to all the saints. The season of Advent brings together both ends of the Bible.

Early arrivers put on their thinking caps

Thirteen of the 85 or so people who will be attending the national conference of the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network beginning Wednesday at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary got a jumpstart Tuesday by participating in a day-long Small Church Think Tank.

A collective meeting of the minds — and hearts

Michelle Phillips, the acting director for the Presbyterian Youth Workers’ Association (PYWA), said a recent face-to-face-gathering of the Christian Formation Collective was “like a spider web tingling and then finally coming to life.”

Holding onto hope through worship

During the closing plenary of Just Worship, the director of the event, the Rev. Dr. Kimberly Bracken Long, confessed that “in the face of so much injustice and suffering, it was hard to keep despair at bay and not be ruled by rage.”