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Faith & Worship
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.
Raising their voices in eight languages and expressing their joy with drums, trumpet and piano — and, of course, the spoken word — Presbyterians based in Louisville, Kentucky offer a glorious and thought-provoking online Easter Service for use throughout the denomination.
“I bring you greetings from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett told the online audience of St. Stephen Baptist Church in Louisville on Sunday. Moffett was the featured speaker during the church’s Women’s Day celebration. “We are your partners in ministry,” said the president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “God has called us to preach good news to the poor, recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
What did you do on Mr. Rogers’ Day?
Saturday, March 20 would have been the 93rd birthday of Fred Rogers (1928–2003), remembered perhaps as the greatest virtual teacher of all time and a beloved ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
“If you ain’t got no proposition, you ain’t got no sermon either.”
On April 2, Good Friday, musicians and pastors will offer a gift to the church: an experience of the practice that has sustained them through the COVID-19 pandemic.