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I was once in charge of logistics for an important meeting at an international airport. Since VIPs were flying in from all around the world, I wanted to make sure that everything was set up perfectly. I dutifully went to the conference room a couple of hours early and found, to my surprise, several strangers camped out.
‘In life and in death we belong to God.’ So begins A Brief Statement of Faith of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Yet many Presbyterians struggle to claim this foundational article of faith. The predominant American culture keeps the reality of mortality hidden from public view, even within the church.
Leaders at First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennesee, had a difficult decision to make. The congregation had existed on a downtown block for more than 200 years. It has had three sanctuaries on the site and the graveyard has tombs for signers of the United States Constitution. Numerically, the historic congregation was holding steady, but its most recent building was old and in decline. Should members invest in costly renovations so that the building could be used for 21st-century ministry? Or should the congregation move to a more modern space closer to where the members live?
I once considered becoming an Episcopal priest. I would sometimes attend an Episcopal church with a friend, and I guess I was enchanted by the billowing clouds of incense coming from a metal ball the priest swung from a chain.
Two years ago, I collaborated with colleagues and friends to develop an experimental, art-making, spirit-stirring, imagination space called Creation Lab. We believed that the church needed spaces set aside for creativity and trying new things — a research and design space, if you will.
Ascend the church’s steep driveway on any given day during peak hiking season — March through November — and you’ll see pup tents pitched on the church’s grassy knoll. Flanking the driveway are plastic lawn chairs doubling as drying racks, draped with underwear, pants, shorts and soggy socks of every size and color, drying in the sun and wind. Backpacks are opened to breathe needed fresh air and an array of hiking boots, creased and worn from the sharp Pennsylvanian rocks, rest nearby, exhausted from the journey.
My husband and I had been married for three years when we had our first child. We learned quickly that even though we loved our daughter deeply, kids are disruptive and expensive. The change to our family meant learning to live on less sleep and a smaller income. It meant figuring out who would do midnight feedings and make sure there were clean diapers. Once our daughter started crawling, it meant rearranging everything so that it wouldn’t be destroyed by a curious, free-range toddler.
루이빌 –사순절은 기도, 금식 및 파스칼 신비에 대한 약속과 묵상의 시간입니다. 아마도 사순절을 살아가는 방법에 대하여 선지자보다 더 좋은 모델은 없을 것입니다. 회중, 가족 및 개인을 위해 고안된 2018년 오늘의 장로교인 사순절 묵상집은 재의 수요일부터 Presbyterian Today 블로그에 매일 소개됩니다.
La temporada de Cuaresma es un tiempo de oración, ayuno y contemplación del poder y la promesa del misterio pascual. Tal vez no hay mejores ejemplos de cómo vivir la Cuaresma que los profetas. Diseñado para uso congregacional, familiar e individual, el devocional para la Cuaresma 2018 de Presbiterians Today, aparecerá diariamente en el blog Presbyterians Today que comienza este miércoles de ceniza.
Even before Hurricane Maria made landfall in September 2017, the Rev. Edwin González-Castillo and other Presbyterian leaders in Puerto Rico received promises of help from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).