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California churches and presbyteries work to help those affected by wildfires

Northern California’s wine country has received the brunt of the massive wildfires that continue to burn out of control. More than 20 people are known to have died in the fires, while at least 285 remain missing. Authorities report 3,500 structures have been destroyed and over 170,000 acres burned.

Freedom Rising initiative receives major gifts

Freedom Rising, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) initiative “to address and improve the worsening plight of the African-American male,” has received gifts totaling $78,461 from a Pittsburgh-based charitable foundation, two mid-councils and an offering collected at a Presbyterian collegiate conference.

Helping Africa’s children

Presbyterian mission co-workers Jeff and Christi Boyd developed a floor and board game several years ago to help U.S. Presbyterians appreciate the joint efforts of students, parents, communities and churches to improve education in Africa. The game also prompts players to ponder the plight of African children.

Presbytery leader in Puerto Rico reports on damage from Hurricane Maria

The Rev. Edwin González-Castillo, Stated Clerk of the San Juan Presbytery in Puerto Rico, says the biggest challenge he is facing in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is communications. Attempting to reach and coordinate relief efforts across the island has been hampered by downed communication lines outside of San Juan, infrastructure damage due to flooding and ongoing concerns about fuel shortages.

Freedom Rising gains traction in pilot cities

High incarceration rates, widespread unemployment and low educational attainment among African American young men have led some observers to call them a “lost generation.” However, the Rev. Mary Susan Pisano rejects this description.

SDOP disburses nearly $90,000 for self-help projects

The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) approved grants totaling $89,800 to fund five self-help projects in the United States and one in Belize. The national committee met recently to approve funding made possible through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

Presbyterian churches to commemorate World Refugee Day June 20

Presbyterian churches across the U.S. will be placing special emphasis on refugees in the coming days. The United Nations recognizes June 20 as World Refugee Day, as a time to lift up the thousands of families who flee their homes and war-torn countries in search of a better life and remember the church’s commitment to provide refugees a safe haven.