Pillars of the Church commemorates five-year anniversary

Program builds sustainable community of donors

by Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly, is a Pillar of the Church. He and his family give to help mission co-workers do the work they were called to do. (Contributed photo)


LOUISVILLE — Jesus taught us to love God and to love our neighbor. These are the pillars of our faith and part of what compels Presbyterians to make a difference in people’s lives.

Five years ago, the Pillars of the Church initiative launched as one way to build a faithful community of donors who prefer to give online. It originally began with the ministries of Compassion, Peace & Justice; it’s since branched out to include all ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA). Today, nearly 800 faithful Pillars support PMA mission by designating a sustaining gift that can be allocated for a specific ministry or used where needed most.

“Jesus taught us that the greatest commandments are to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is like it: to love our neighbor as our self. On these two hang all the law and the prophets. These are the ‘pillars’ of our faith,” said the Rev. Rosemary Mitchell, senior director, Mission Engagement and Support. “As we live into these words, we become Pillars of the Church, the Body of Christ.”

Individuals interested in becoming a Pillar of the Church can visit presbyterianmission.org/ministries/pillars, where they can choose to direct their gifts toward unrestricted shared mission (which allows funds to be used where most needed), one of the four Church-wide Special Offerings, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog, or a specific ministry. Make sure to indicate your gift is a recurring donation.

As one might imagine, the motivation for becoming a Pillar is as varied and diverse as the denomination itself. Pillars including the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly in 2008 and his wife, Robin Pugh, support those who are best equipped to respond.

“With so many situations in the world in need of a healing, thoughtful and just response from the church, we give to the Pillars program because we want to support those who are best equipped to respond,” they said. “The Pillars program puts into practice the idea that ‘together we can do so much more than we could do alone.’”

Steve and Cinda Gorman support mission co-workers with their Pillar donations.

“We support mission co-workers on a monthly basis not only to sustain their efforts but also because being in touch with them inspires us to live out our faith in Jesus Christ in a worldwide context,” said the Gormans.

Long-time Pillar and former moderator of the 221st General Assembly, Heath Rada, added, “I continue to participate in the ongoing work of the PC(USA) at both the national and local levels because I believe our denomination seeks to follow Jesus’ teachings in more appropriate ways than many others.”

Sheila Louder, a ruling elder at New Life Presbyterian Church in College Park, Georgia, was moved to become a Pillar because of her involvement with PMA, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations and Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

“Both the UN ministry and Ecumenical Advocacy Days have been the most meaningful and educational experiences of my faith journey in the denomination,” said Louder.

For more information or questions about the Pillars program, contact Joan Gray in Mission Engagement and Support at joan.gray@pcusa.org, or visit presbyterianmission.org/pillars.

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