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When rising from tragedies, we must look for the good

Much has happened in and to our nation since our observance of this historic day last year. We pulled out of Afghanistan, endured the pandemic, remained divided by competing ideologies vying for ascendance in our political system, grieved the lives of countless innocents whose lives were taken in mass shootings and entered a time of financial instability that threatens many of the poorest among us.

‘Our work continues no matter what’

In opening remarks of the virtual 46th Biennial Convention of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus, the organization’s president, the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Priest Jr., said, “In the preface of the Revised Edition of ‘Black and Presbyterian: The Heritage and the Hope’ by Gayraud S. Wilmore, former president of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus, Jesse C. Swanigan, wrote, ‘Black Presbyterians, North and South, are still asking the questions about cultural differences, identity and ethnic-specific mission that they asked before the reunion — asking these questions with even more urgency in a church and nation where racism seems unabated. Is it possible or more difficult than in 1980 to experience what Black Presbyterians United (BPU) President Claude C. Kilgore called ‘unity within diversity’?”

An elliptical sermon

The Rev. Dr. Ralph Basui Watkins has no doubt preached in many settings over his long career in ministry and in training ministers to be. Add the former garage he’s transformed into a gym to the list of his preaching venues.

Visits that sing

On day one of the 2020 Virtual Vital Congregations Gathering, four panelists from Trinity Presbytery described how beginning the two-year VC initiative in January 2020 — and its Seven Marks of a Vital Congregation — helped prepare them as church leaders for the pandemic.

When culture is a roadblock

It’s 2021, and women in the pulpit are not an unusual sight in many churches across the country. A 2018 study conducted by Eileen Campbell-Reed titled “State of Clergywomen in the U.S.: A Statistical Update” revealed some interesting facts about clergywomen in the U.S.; among them was that in most mainline denominations, the percentage of clergywomen has doubled or tripled since 1994. Still, while more women have the title “Rev.” in front of their names, obstacles while on the road to ordination, and even when serving in church, remain. Among those obstacles is the still pervasive problem of gender discrimination.

Three men and a conference

When Edward Byron Elam, Ryan Atkinson and Ralph Lowe arrived in Clinton, Tennessee, in 2019 to participate in Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries’ Conference for Seminarians of Color held at the Children’s Defense Fund’s Haley Farm, they had no idea that they would connect with individuals with whom they remain close one year later.