Make A Donation
Click Here >
Miriam is a teacher at a public elementary school in her indigenous community in Guatemala. When the government funds for the school hadn’t come halfway through the school year (but had for all of the non-indigenous public schools in the area), she led a march of teachers from their small town in the mountains to the municipal building in Xela, six miles away. Outside the government building, indigenous teachers and parents held a rally and delivered a letter demanding the money allocated for their children’s education.
Each year, Emory University and many other organizations around the country name a class of leaders who have made a significant impact in business, research, leadership, public service or philanthropic endeavors. This year, PC(USA) mission co-workers the Revs. Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather were named to Emory’s 2018 class of “Forty Under Forty.”
Sometimes faith renewal happens in ways you would never imagine. Mission co-worker John McCall, who has served in Taiwan for more than 20 years, works to build the leadership skills of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. He leads groups of pastors who meet monthly to find encouragement and challenge, but he felt called to do more. He wanted to give the pastors he was mentoring an opportunity to find spiritual renewal.
Nearly 8,000 miles separate congregations in Santa Barbara, California, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Yet nothing can separate the growing bond they have shared as sister churches in mission since 2013.
Nelson Mandela once wrote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” People in Mangochi, Malawi, know this is true, as they have watched their community be transformed by the Muliko Literacy Project.
It all started on Palm Sunday at Beechmont Presbyterian Church. I had just learned that two youth group members, Faith Evanson, 15, and Lodia Yanga, 16, had returned from the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.
For Christians worldwide, a trip to the Holy Land has often been regarded as “the trip of a lifetime” — and it usually is. All too often, however, visitors and pilgrims end up running in the land where Jesus walked!
Seven years ago, as pastor of a Presbyterian church in Costa Mesa, California, I found myself praying for peace to overshadow our broken world. About that time, I became friends with a Presbyterian family who had moved into our community from Homs, Syria. As my friendship with the Jarjours grew, I learned about the crisis in their homeland and how it was impacting their church in Homs. I asked if they would put me in touch with their pastor, at which point he and I began exchanging emails, sharing mutual concerns about our congregations and praying for one another.
Why would families leave Guatemala to work in a meat-packing plant in Ohio?
Mission Presbytery — 134 congregations in the southern fifth of Texas — has a lot in common with your presbytery. We’ve had some congregations merge as a way to seek survival, and others close if no other options seemed available. Also like you, we’ve lost some congregations to other denominations. We’re convinced, however, that God’s presence among us is not lessened. We believe that God still has plenty to do among the saints in South Texas. So we as a presbytery are choosing instead to “make lemonade out of our lemons” — or in more theological terms, to practice resurrection.