Presbyterians Today

Creating a modern ‘Wailing Wall’

Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis continues to break down walls between church and community. As an engaged urban partner, it is listening to, and praying for, the concerns of its people.

Gleaning to feed the hungry

Erica, it’s simple. People who grow food have too much, while some people go hungry. There must be a way to get the excess produce from the growers to the hungry.

‘Cool’ churches are overrated

Like so many seminary students, I daydreamed about my future ministry while sitting in classes. By the time I graduated, I’d imagined my calling many times before actually experiencing my calling. I visualized cool programs, vibrant music and lively Bible discussions. I thought there would be children, youth groups and church retreats. Obviously, God thought differently.

Effective mission starts with learning to listen

Listen. That was the first and best advice I received about being with the people of Haiti. Now, as a mission co-worker hosting groups visiting Haiti, some for the first time, I try to explain the importance of listening. And when I do, I often remember the lessons I learned when I listened on my very first trip.

Healthy congregations: A body of Christ checkup

Parking lot meetings. Wealthy members with outsized influence. Inconsistent practices. Confusion about purpose and vision. There are lots of ways for a congregation’s systems to be unhealthy, and I suspect you could add to this list. Whatever the problem or situation, all do one thing: They undermine a church’s vitality.

To baptize or not to baptize?

On Jan. 13 — the Baptism of Our Lord Sunday — baptismal fonts will be filled, and worshipers will be invited to remember their own baptism. But what does baptism mean? Why are some parents allowing children to decide, when they get older, to be baptized or not? What about families who ask for a baptism but have no ties to a church? How did baptism become a misunderstood sacrament, and is it ever right for a church to say no to a baptismal request? Presbyterians Today takes a closer look.

Embracing change is the Presbyterian way

Every time my wife wants me to try a different recipe that she has prepared, I start finding a reason to say no. I want to ask her, “What is in the recipe? Why do we have to try something different?” These thoughts run through my mind before I eat the new dish.

Latino tradition enriches Epiphany

Did you ever put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve? How about oats for the reindeer? Growing up in Cuba, I learned about these traditions from books and movies. My Christmas celebration, though, did not include any visitors from the North Pole.

Woman of the cloth, woman of the belt

A doctor of ministry degree would be easier than this for me. I told that to myself many times as I took three arduous 2½-hour tests, as well as a black belt practice test, all leading up to a final exam. This was over and above four years of rigorous classes, color belt tests and a binder full of requirements toward the rank of “1st dan,” the first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, a Korean martial art that emphasizes kicking techniques.