Ministering faithfully in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has called for creativity and solidarity. Who would have predicted that producing masks would be a part of fighting HIV and AIDS? The Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar (FJKM), the PC(USA)’s partner church, has been committed to fighting HIV and AIDS since 2001.
The year was 2009, the place was Yei in what is now South Sudan, the newest country in the world. I was a mission co-worker serving as the first principal of RECONCILE Peace Institute, and our first class of students had arrived. The student body included about 45 church and community leaders from a dozen or more ethnic groups on opposing sides of a two- decades-long civil war. They had come to Yei to take courses in community-based trauma healing, peace studies and conflict transformation.
In 2004, members of Second Congregational United Church, known as SecondFirst Church since federating with First Presbyterian Church, dreamed of building a gymnasium for the community of Rockford, Illinois — and they did it.
During the Gathering as One online conference of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association (PCCCA), leaders from around the United States and Canada explored how to enhance intergenerational connections in their outdoor ministries, where everyone — young participants, adults, families and entire church communities — could learn together through a shared faith experience.
How to put an end to the killing of schoolchildren and thousands of others in Cameroon — and ways to support Cameroonians seeking asylum in other countries, including the United States — was the topic of a recent webinar attended by more than 300 people.
Beautiful wildflowers are blooming all over the place with warning signs of land mines. It speaks the reality of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and the Korean Peninsula. Since my wife, Jieun, and I came to Seoul, Korea, as Regional Liaisons for East Asia in 2020, we have visited the DMZ area twice: inside the Civilian Control Line and inside the DMZ.
In college, the Revs. Layne Bailey Brubaker and Abigail Spears Velázquez wore matching hats embroidered with the words ‘Sick & hAlarious.’ These expressions are endearing reminders of their visits with Abi’s grandmother and great aunt, who would frequently exclaim “sick” or “hAlarious” in response to one another’s stories about life in their retirement. “Abi and I picked this up from them,” Brubaker said. We always imagined ourselves in the last days of our lives, living in a retirement community, laughing, and saying everything is ‘sick’ and ‘hAlarious.’” Abi’s grandmother passed away recently, so “it is with loving gratitude that we honor her in the name of our podcast: Sick & hAlarious: A Podcast Where We Encounter God In It All.”
Amanda Craft differentiates between small-a advocacy and big-A Advocacy.
Small-a advocacy, she said during a workshop during the Presbyterian Border Region Outreach conference, is articulated every day. It’s about standing up for ourselves and others. It’s about making the system work for us, said Craft, manager for Advocacy in the Office of the General Assembly’s Office of Immigration Issues.
“He did not speak to them except in parables.” — Mark 4:34