Mission Yearbook

The power of sharing our stories

I sat next to Rachel Obal outside of her home in rural South Sudan, listening to the story of her uncle who, as a boy, was taken from his home by Arabs to be sold as a slave near Khartoum, Sudan. Obal’s words painted a vivid picture as she spoke of how her father followed his brother to rescue him and had to witness the small boy, with hands tied behind his back, paraded in front of crowds to be sold.

Liturgy helps cultivate gratitude

When I go to the gym and get on a treadmill, I sneak a look at the people around me. Who are they? How fast are they going? How steep an incline is their machine set at? Then I compare myself to one of them. Am I going faster? Is my incline steeper? Lately, it often seems that I’m much slower than my gym neighbors. They have better numbers showing on their machines.

It’s a beautiful day in the Presbyterian neighborhood

Though the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a relatively small denomination compared to Baptists or Methodists, Hollywood has paid plenty of attention to Presbyterian clergy. However, the most recent example, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” takes little note that Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister. There is no mention of God or prayer until the last few minutes of the film.

Congregation fights hunger in greater St. Louis

As a Hunger Action Congregation, Faith Des Peres Presbyterian Church is taking aim at food insecurity in greater St. Louis by providing food for schoolchildren and other vulnerable populations.

If we build it, they will sleep

No one knows exactly how many children in the tri-county area around Detroit (Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties) are lacking a bed of their own, but it is likely that the number is in the thousands, according to the nonprofit Building Beds 4 Kids.

‘What democracy requests of us’

Dr. Jelani Cobb, a staff writer at the New Yorker, historian and the Ira A. Lipton Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, concluded a lecture before an audience at the University of Louisville this past fall with a personal story that may say as much about race relations in the U.S. as the lecture that preceded his story.

Most Presbyterian Men are grounded in their faith

The Rev. Robert “Bob” W. Abrams brings joy to his colleagues at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) headquarters in Louisville. At age 96, Abrams, a former mission co-worker who from 1960–64 served World Mission in India alongside his late wife, Wanda, arrives at his office on the fourth floor of the Presbyterian Center two days each week. For the past 16 years, Abrams has volunteered to serve as coordinator of the national office of Presbyterian Men.

Teaching church leaders to be clear and bold communicators

Media, says Mari Graham Evans, has always been social, for at least two reasons: It often features user-generated content and it sometimes goes viral. Evans, the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s social media and media relations strategist, teams up with Gail Strange, the agency’s director of church and mid council communications, to travel the country putting on one-day workshops that help church and mid council communicators reach their audiences as effectively as they can. The two recently completed one such workshop for about two dozen participants from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Long Lake, Minnesota.

Churches need ‘Jesus’ leadership

Yesterday, a wise worshiper at the church I serve requested prayers “for all leaders as they work through difficult times ahead.” That request rings in my head as I think about “empowering servant leadership,” which is one of the seven marks of congregational vitality identified in the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Vital Congregations program.