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Looking back generations to see the path forward

Accepting a first call to ministry and moving during a pandemic may not be ideal, but one thing is certain: the Rev. Katheryn McGinnis is following in the footsteps of a long line of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastors, including her grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great grandfather and great-great-great grandfather.

Venezuelan refugees’ plight tugs at the heart of mission co-worker in Colombia

Just steps away from the Reformed University campus where he teaches, Presbyterian mission co-worker César Carhuachin comes face to face with some of Colombia’s most marginalized people. He encounters Venezuelan refugees who seek to survive by selling candy on the streets. Earlier this year, the United Nations estimated that 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled their homeland, where political repression has created severe economic hardship and pervasive shortages of food and medicine.

What ‘the priesthood of all believers’ looks like

With the fall kickoff to the church program year fresh in mind, my thoughts keep coming back to the Protestant idea of the priesthood of all believers. This doctrine teaches that because of Jesus Christ, there is no need for someone to act as a mediator between the people and God. Everyone is just as spiritual, just as capable of speaking to God, and just as called to deliver God’s message to the world. Everyone is equally called to do God’s work and to minister to God’s people.

Minute for Mission: Theological Education/Seminaries Sunday

In 1996, the year after I graduated from seminary, presbyteries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ordained 408 new ministers of Word and sacrament. Many of them continue to serve and lead in the PC(USA) two decades later in critical ways. In 2016, the PC(USA) ordained about half (47 percent) of the number we did in 1996, with only 214 ordained. While we have fewer congregations in 2016 than 1996, it is only 17 percent less, not 47 percent! The need for qualified ministers of Word and sacrament will increase as Baby Boomer generation pastors continue to retire over the next decade or so. The median age of a Presbyterian minister in 2017 was over 60 years old. The PC(USA) pastorate mirrors the demographics of about 20 mainline denominations in the U.S.