Christmas Joy Offering – Supporting our leaders: past, present and future.

Presbyterian News Service

Laying down tracks for technology investments

Meeting in person for the first time since the pandemic began nearly 2½ years ago, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation Board heard a report Thursday on the denomination’s technology needs.

Back to school means back to missions

It’s back to school time, and for parents that means helping children sharpen their pencils and charge their laptops in preparation for the first day. For children it means adapting to new morning routines and getting back to a studying and test-taking rhythm. And for pastors, it’s that wonderful time of year to bless school backpacks. While blessing backpacks is popular in big and small churches, it is only the start to what congregations can — and should — be doing to engage more deeply with local schools. According to Dr. Irvin Scott, a faculty member of Harvard Graduate School of Education, backpack blessings have grown over the years because they provide a relatively hassle-free, easy-to-execute outreach to families. “It’s a good first step,” said Scott, with emphasis on “first.”

Reformation Lessons and Carols

On Reformation Sunday, observed the last Sunday in October, Presbyterians are reminded of their Reformed heritage, hearing once again how in 1517 Martin Luther nailed to the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany, his Ninety-five Theses. Some pastors might use this Sunday, which is Oct. 30 this year, to reenact Luther’s bold move, while others might choose to open worship with Luther’s majestic “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Still others will weave in the Reformation mantra “reformed and always reforming” into the sermon, prayers or benediction. Last fall, though, the Rev. Carol Holbrook Prickett took the celebration of Reformation Sunday a step further. The pastor of Crescent Springs Presbyterian Church in Crescent Springs, Kentucky, created a service to educate today’s “reformers” of the legacy of following a God who is always creating something new.

Sanctuaries under construction

The rooms we occupy — those places where breath is taken, words are spoken and memories are made — are often taken for granted. They have four walls and a ceiling, reflecting the personality of the occupant or the traditions of an organization. But can rooms be more?

Telling God’s Good News through a variety of media

Communicators with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) used written, visual and aural tools of their trade to garner 10 awards Thursday during the Best of the Church Press ceremony held online.

Our movie critic explores theological themes and ethical values in the Best Picture nominees

Oscar buzz is in full swing now that the list of nominees has been released. This year there is a full contingent in the Best Film category. I was gratified to see that three on my Top Ten list have been selected as contenders for Best Picture.  There is still one film that I haven’t seen, the Japanese feature film “Drive My Car.” It will be at least a week until I can catch it at a Cincinnati theater, so I will proceed without it.

Presbyterian seminaries look to partnerships to fulfill mission

Once upon a time, theological institutions were seen as stewards of self-sufficiency. Aside from a visiting professor now and then, tenured faculty formed the core of the identity and mission of most seminaries. Students sought out specific professors as mentors and advisers. Aside from denominational affiliation, a school’s internal prowess in missiology, homiletics, liturgy, music, pastoral counseling or evangelism was often the main draw for new students.