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Presbyterians Today navigates the new way of being church

Inspiring stories, helpful ideas fill May/June issue

by Donna Frischknecht Jackson, Presbyterians Today | Special to Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson led worship at the Presbyterian Center in December 2019. Here she pronounces her “beautiful you” blessing while making the sign of the cross on the hand of a fellow worshiper. Jackson used frankincense and myrrh oils while applying each cross. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — As a new way of being the church emerges in this time of pandemic, the May/June issue of Presbyterians Today helps congregations navigate these changing times and embrace the opportunities that change presents.

“We’ve been focused for far too long on the survival of our churches as we knew them — filling our days and nights with trying to turn around declining membership, addressing property issues associated with aging buildings and grappling with how to do ministry with fewer resources,” said the Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson, a part-time rural minister and editor of Presbyterians Today. “But now, it’s as if we’ve been made to finally notice how God has been inviting us all this time to dare to do things differently.”

Among the “daring to do things differently” is the use of technology in ministry. The May/June issue features a cover story on what role livestreaming and Zoom will continue playing in corporate worship, speaking with pastors who see technology not as a temporary solution to the COVID-19 lockdown, but as a powerful evangelism tool going forward.

“We’ve had the ability to offer virtual worship for years, but for one reason or another we never took the time to tap into the potential of livestreaming or video devotionals. These pastors interviewed in the May/June issue have recognized the value of technology and bring to readers useful insights as to how to incorporate virtual worship into the life of the church even when churches reopen in the traditional sense,” said Frischknecht Jackson.

With the theme of a new church emerging, Presbyterians Today also takes a look at how church property is being transformed into outdoor sanctuaries.

“There are some creative congregations out there looking at their church lawns differently — even going beyond having a ‘church garden’ and creating pollinator gardens or food forests,” said Frischknecht Jackson. “This is a timely story as outdoor space can offer folks ways to meet and still keep a safe six-feet-apart distance from one another while experiencing a divine connection to God’s Creation and to one another.”

Also in the May/June issue is a look at the role of today’s deacons and how different models, such as care teams, can help congregations care better for the sick, the lonely and the elderly. Other articles include how to prayerfully ease anxiousness, why reparations is a spiritual issue, stewardship lessons learned from a pandemic and more.

Frischknecht Jackson says that the May/June issue of Presbyterians Today is a pivotal issue, one “that will always remind me of this moment in time in which God’s words, ‘See, I am making all things new,’ really hit home.”

“God is making all things new in our world, in our denomination, in our faith communities. Presbyterians Today is telling that story through the men and women who are daring to do things differently, embracing this uncertain — yet still hopeful — time,” she said. “It is an issue that is saying goodbye to church as we knew it and is welcoming the church that is to come.”

Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today. If you have story to share of how your congregation is embracing a new way of doing ministry, email her at Donna.Jackson@pcusa.org.


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