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Faith & Worship
New resources from the Office of Theology and Worship will help those engaged in the work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation make a stronger connection between the three foci of the vision and the biblical passage — particularly in Matthew 25:31–46, which is known as the “Judgment of the Nations” passage.
On Sunday at 10:15 a.m., we gathered for worship in the Sanctuary of LoveJoy United Presbyterian Church. It was one of the first beautiful spring weekends of the year. The church service was entirely ordinary, save that I asked the congregation to refrain from shaking hands during the passing of the peace. It was March 8, 2020, and it was the last time that we would worship together in the sanctuary for more than a year.
A mostly white group of more than 40 preachers tuned in Wednesday to hear the Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick — who in turn did his share of listening during an informative 90-minute online session he hosted — lead a webinar with this provocative title: “Preaching about Racial Justice without Losing your Conviction or your Job.” View the webinar here.
Had he been told in advance about the death and heartache wreaked by the pandemic, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the killings of people of color over the past 15 months, “I’d be tempted to run away, to cower in anxiety and fear,” the Rev. Eugene Cho, president and chief executive officer of Bread for the World, said during a sermon featured in last month’s Festival of Homiletics. “I’m grateful that God, out of God’s goodness and grace, has invited all of us to be leaders in a church that serves through humble servant leadership.”
The Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry opened a Festival of Homiletics worship service last week by singing a hymn she’s returned to often during the pandemic, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By”:
“When the morning comes/All the saints of God are gathered home/We’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome/For we’ll understand it better by and by.”
Like great Black preachers from previous generations, including Dr. James Cone and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., modern-day prophetic preachers have two main jobs, Dr. Anthea Butler said Monday during the first day of the Festival of Homiletics: bringing solace to people in the pews in times of trouble and speaking truth to power.
John Knox Presbyterian Church in Louisville held a dry run Sunday as it seeks to reopen for in-person worship on Mother’s Day, May 9. A dozen of us — all fully vaccinated — masked up and sat only in the pews marked with green streamers to take in the dry run, worship our risen Savior and make suggestions for next week’s opener.
Highlighting worship efforts during the pandemic ranging from high-tech and labor-intensive to one church’s “Call ‘Em All” telephonic approach, Thursday’s webinar on Hybrid Ministry: The Scattered Church was a balm for clergy and worship leaders who’ve struggled mightily with pandemic-induced issues including pastoral care, trauma and self-care.
There is a fountain in Louisville’s Waterfront Park beside the Ohio River. It is an oasis for office workers and a treat for tourists in the heat of summer. Children splash with delight in the jets of water that spring up from the ground. And for members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Sacrament Study Group (2003–2006) it is a sacred place.
“If you reach out to people and provide a way for them to use their gifts, God will use that to build community.” That is what the Rev. Debbie Bronkema has learned the past two years.