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“If the new Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program were a breakfast food, you could say it’s selling like hotcakes,” said Andy Browne, Vice President of Church Relations for the Board of Pensions.
A wondrous change is taking place — a movement of the Spirit. Presbyterian congregations are reprioritizing the work of the Church, taking it from an institution of survival to a way of getting actively engaged in the community and making the world a better place.
Many individuals and families are just one paycheck away from homelessness, explained Rachel Eliser, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) serving with Safe Parking LA, a nonprofit committed to providing a safe and secure place for vehicle dwellers to sleep. The Safe Parking LA program is modeled after programs in other cities in California, including Santa Barbara, San Diego and San Jose, as well as communities in Washington state and Oregon.
The closest the Rev. Bethany Peerbolte has come to heartache associated with Mother’s Day was a couple years ago, when her parents moved from Michigan to North Carolina. “I’m like, ‘If that was hard for me, I can’t imagine what the people in my church are going through when they’ve lost a mother or haven’t had a mother figure who’s really been kind and loving to them, like a mother should be.’”
When Nancy Wind, the leader of the new worshiping community Isaiah’s Table in Syracuse, N.Y., first saw the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s invitation for congregations to become Matthew 25 churches on this website, she was intrigued.
When the Rev. Kirk Perucca of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Kansas City heard Presbyterian Mission Agency president and executive director the Rev. Dr. Dianne Moffett speak about the PMA’s new Matthew 25 invitation, he got excited.
When leader Nick Pickrell heard that The Open Table KC, a worshiping community in Kansas City, Missouri, that gathers for dinner and fellowship, would receive a $25,000 1001 New Worshiping Community growth grant from the Presbyterian Mission Agency, he thought, “What? What!”
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.
One day after hearing last week about the border experiences of three Border Patrol agents, the Presbyterian Mission Agency delegation learning about issues along the U.S.-Mexican border and in Guatemala heard a different take from the Moderator of the 1992 General Assembly.
More than 30 people representing congregations, new worshiping communities, mid councils, racial-ethnic caucuses, Young Adult Volunteer alums, mission networks and others gathered by invitation of Presbyterian World Mission in early April. The gathering, held at Stony Point Center, was the second of three U.S. consultations to discuss and discern God’s mission in partnership. The first day of the three-day consultation coincided with the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who is remembered for his legacy of courage, not fear.