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Presbyterians Today

When church is dangerous, digital ministry provides sanctuary

“Finally!” was all my United Methodist friend had to text me when I asked how their General Conference was going. While I echo their relief, I know the recovery period for my LGBTQIA+ siblings is far from being final. Presbyterians stand as proof that the vote is sometimes the easiest part of change

Healing through evangelism

This powerful understanding of God’s propensity toward helping and healing the least of these comes from the story of the beguine Mechthild of Magdeburg. A movement of laywomen that arose in the 13th century, the beguines were contemplatives, mystics and healers. Mechthild posited that, “God is never closer than in the longing emptiness of the night.” From that emptiness, she received and shared “prophetic critiques of the religious leaders of her day for their lack of holiness and their hostility toward passionate spirituality.”

Is your church the right place to heal from religious trauma?

The church can’t afford to become irritated, blasé or condescending about church trauma. As the phrase indicates, this phenomenon is the result of harms perpetrated in and by the church. We need to take religious trauma very, very seriously.

Presbyterians Today article, panel explore pastoral isolation and burnout

Earlier this month, Presbyterians Today released a feature article in digital form via the Presbyterians Today blog platform. The piece, written by journalist and OGA communications staff member Fred Tangeman, delves into the unique ways that isolation and loneliness contribute to burnout among Presbyterian clergy.

The PC(USA)’s One Great Hour of Sharing changes lives

Lupe Gonzalo understands all too well the hardscrabble life of a farmworker. Having worked for 12 years in Florida’s tomato industry — in addition to traveling to other states to pick sweet potatoes, apples and blueberries — Gonzalo often had to wake up at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning to travel to a local farm, where she was handed a bucket and told to fill that bucket as many times as humanly possible during the day.

Hey Presbyterians — have you thanked your pastor?

Recently, a pastor confessed, “My congregation doesn’t see me as human.” That’s not a strange comment considering the years clergy have had — having to work harder and adapting to the challenges of being the church in a pandemic that entangled many in a wired and wireless world. “Turbulent” is how one New Jersey minister, who wished to remain anonymous, describes the past year and a half. Several of his church members with Covid sought prayers but didn’t want the congregation to know they had it. “Some thought Covid-19 was a joke or a political ploy, and there was no Covid-19 here,” he said.

Presbyterian clergywomen put on the mantle of leadership

Whenever they step into their pulpits to preach, the Rev. Erika Rembert Smith, pastor of Washington Shores Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Florida; the Rev. Dr. Alice Ridgill, previously the pastor of New Faith Presbyterian Church, the first and only African American Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, South Carolina, and now the associate general presbyter for the Presbytery of Charlotte in North Carolina; and the Rev. Amantha Barbee, formerly pastor of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur, Georgia, and now the pastor of Quail Hollow Presbyterian Church in Charlotte are challenging calcified notions about women in ministry.

Presbyterians celebrate Triduum and the Easter Vigil

The sun was setting as cars pulled into the church parking lot. I walked toward the glowing embers that were being coaxed into flames in a rusty fire pit outside the church doors. It was a welcome sight on a chilly spring night. As much as I wanted to stay close to the fire’s warmth, as more people gathered, I edged to the back of the circle that was forming. I felt awkward and shy. I was not a member of the church. I was a stranger to them as they were to me. But the biggest “stranger” of all was the worship service itself at this Episcopal church. I was a Presbyterian at a Paschal Vigil, and I had no idea what to expect.

Blessing the animals, Presbyterian style

Inside St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Church in Millvale, Pennsylvania, are more than 20 murals painted by Croatian immigrant Maxo Vanka in the late 1930s and early ’40s. Many of the paintings depict the immigrant experience in America. There is one of St. Francis, though, that shows Vanka’s love of animals, especially his fondness of birds. In the painting, exotic birds can be seen encircling the patron saint of animals.