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On the last day of Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) orientation, we are sent off to be commissioned at churches in the area. Several churches in the area agree to host small groups of YAVs for worship where we are commissioned for our year of service, followed by a meal and conversations. We as YAVs come as we are, bringing our whole selves, exhausted from the past week of orientation, to a table of strangers, to share our intentions for our year of service and what we have already begun learning during the first week.
For Cameron Presbyterian Church and Calvary Presbyterian Church, both in Statesville, North Carolina, accepting the Matthew 25 invitation was not a difficult decision. When presented with information about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s invitation by Salem Presbytery, the Rev. Timothy L. Bates, pastor of the two churches, says both congregations saw it as a great opportunity to join other Presbyterian churches in the endeavor.
During her convocation address Wednesday at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies’ Synod School entitled “Called Out to be a Prophet,” the Rev. Dr. Jill Duffield listed some qualities of biblical prophets:
Meaningful worship doesn’t necessarily rely on the traditional Presbyterian Sunday morning centerpiece — a well-crafted and carefully-exegeted 20-minute sermon.
The Rev. Dr. Mindy Douglas had her heart set on studying biology followed by a career as a geneticist when she entered college. But, as she says, “God did a little God thing,” and she was called into ministry.
If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, . . . if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. — Isaiah 58:3–12
In the nearly four years since Hurricane Sandy struck the United States, volunteer work teams from across the country have traveled to the hard-hit regions, particularly New Jersey and New York, to help people recover and return to their homes. But after months of hosting recovery teams, one church believes the time has come to close the doors on its Sandy relief efforts.