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Celebrating congregational vitality on #GivingTuesday

During a 12-hour PC(USA) telethon, Vital Congregations will highlight presbyteries and churches doing gospel work amid multiple pandemics

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian New Service

The Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill, coordinator of Vital Congregations, poured juice and broke bread in silence during a worship service at the Presbyterian Center. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE —  During the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) #GivingTuesday 12-hour digital telethon set for Dec. 1, the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill and team will celebrate their Vital Congregations ministry. Along with dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty, building congregation vitality are the three foci of the denomination’s Matthew 25 invitation.

From 5:15 to 5:35 p.m. Eastern Time on #GivingTuesday, Threadgill, the associate director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism ministries and the VC coordinator, will introduce an opportunity for presbyteries and churches across the denomination to join in the third wave of VC training beginning in January 2021. Threadgill, along with VC associate Carlton Johnson and VC specialist Monique Rhodes, will also host a conversation with Newark Presbytery, one of three pilot presbyteries involved in the Vital Congregations initiative.

The VC team is eager to celebrate the success and ministries in Newark Presbytery and the other 28 presbyteries currently walking through the VC initiative. As churches in these presbyteries work through the Seven Marks of Vital Congregations (see section 2), they are embracing adaptive change and living into transformative change in spite of the multiple pandemics (COVID-19, racism and poverty) co-occurring in 2020.

“Giving Tuesday offers us the opportunity to rejoice in all God has gifted us, including these remarkable presbyteries and churches,” Threadgill said. “I have seen them feed masses just as Christ did — visit those who are sick and in prison, help those who are suffering, stand up for those who are oppressed — truly transforming lives and hearts for the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

As the PC(USA) strives to be a Matthew 25 church, Threadgill said it is impossible to imagine eradicating poverty and dismantling racism without vital communities of faithful disciples engaging in that work together. Through the VC initiative, she has seen God calling churches to die to old ways of doing things, with the most resilient congregations living into new and extraordinary ways of doing ministry and mission together.

“In these unprecedented times, God is calling us to be a living witness in the world,” she said, “and it is a wonder to behold as we live into the vision of Matthew 25 and spread the gospel message throughout our country and world.”

You can view the schedule for the PC(USA)’s 12-hour livestreaming #GivingTuesday events at giving-tuesday.pcusa.org. There will be opportunities to celebrate PC(USA) ministries, including Vital Congregations, that support the Matthew 25 vision. Along with these celebrations, there will be time for prayer, worship and reflection — and even a game show called “PresbySquares” with current and former General Assembly Moderators.  

 Downloadable graphics and suggested texts in support of #GivingTuesday are available by clicking here.

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