The Christmas Joy Offering — support our leaders: past, present and future.

Presbyterians Today

The smallest things can make the biggest difference

“He never follows through,” the church member complained. “What do you mean?” I asked. “He’ll call and say he’s going to drop by the hospital, or check up on us later, or send us something, but he never does. I think that’s why we’re all wondering if we called the right pastor,” she replied. I’m hearing more and more complaints like this about pastors from members of struggling churches. It’s not just griping about failing to follow through. It’s critiques that increasingly pastors aren’t doing the small things that make a big difference.

The world is scary, but fear not

We live in a scary world. Every morning, the news is filled with stories of natural disasters, carnage on roadways and diseases that we have not yet found a way to control. The beat goes on, and the reality of our own finitude is too intense to deny.

‘By golly, let your gifts shine’

Visitors and staff at the Presbyterian Center have the Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson to thank for the velvet ropes surrounding the Nativity scene in the lobby of denominational headquarters.

Creating a plan for Christmas gift-giving

People born between 1977 and 1985 are often referred to as millennials. However, nine years is hardly enough to qualify as a separate generation, and so many who are born in that time frame feel as though they don’t quite belong. They have one foot in Generation X and one in Generation Y. They are the bridge between an analog childhood and a digital adulthood, and we often remind them of that.

Advent activities put the holy back into the holidays

’Tis the season of holy anticipation — and unholy madness. To encounter the holy, and to counteract the madness, churches are offering creative ways to slow down and smell the Christmas trees. Here’s a roundup of some of the ways churches are helping their communities be still, breathe in the incarnation and carry hope into the world.

The Advent vs. Christmas debate

Perhaps society is to blame for the full-blown Christmas decorations that appear in churches as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey carcass is thrown into the pot for soup. After all, when Christmas shows up in stores as early as September, who can blame worshipers for wanting the sanctuary halls to be decked as well?

The real ‘Mister Rogers’

Anyone with kids and a television set knows Fred Rogers. Three generations of children have grown up with “Mister Rogers” — the friendly sweater-and-sneakers-clad grownup who talks frankly about feelings and invites them to be part of his TV “neighborhood.” What is less widely known is that Fred Rogers is a Presbyterian minister, ordained in 1962 by Pittsburgh Presbytery.

The feminists of the Reformation

Built into the old city walls of Geneva, Switzerland, is a monument where the key players of a movement that challenged and changed the religious landscape of the 16th century — and centuries to come — stand larger than life.

Who will decorate the church?

I’m too old to write to Santa. If I could, though, I’d ask the jolly elf for Barbie’s Dream Church. What? You’ve never heard of Barbie’s Dream Church? It’s a place where money flows as freely as volunteers, and the coffee actually tastes like coffee — rich and robust.