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In 2014, the Rev. Michael Plank and his spouse, Lauren Grogan, opened a gym named Underwood Park CrossFit in Forth Albany, New York. Now more than 100 members pay a monthly fee to work out physically and spiritually there.
When I retired from teaching in an inner city high school in Fresno I thought I was done with being involved with the local school district. Twenty-one years as a teacher was enough for me. My retirement plan was to move to San Francisco and get a job with a nonprofit.
I feel the presence of Jesus in a lot of different places: hiking in the woods, walking on the beach, singing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve. But I never expected to meet Jesus under a musty, old kitchen sink.
Recently, I was invited to share my thoughts on the “big picture” view of my church. I had the honor of sharing in a panel with a group of Presbyterian pastors from the Middle East. As Christians they were the minority in their national culture.
As Presbyterians they were the minority among their Christian brothers and sisters. As such, they had to be intentional about nurturing faith in their youth, cultivating character in their families, and making disciples who could be the salt and light in their communities. And though I have no firsthand experience of the lives they live, I was struck by the beauty and challenges they faced in their journey of faith.
While there may no longer be a standard path for those who enter seminary, Lucy Crain’s journey has taken her to places few will ever see. The second year student at Union Presbyterian Seminary’s satellite campus in Charlotte, North Carolina, says until recently she never anticipated she’d be studying for ministry.
Around 40 people, half of whom were homeless, spent last Monday afternoon fishing on the Monterey Bay aboard a luxury yacht. The trip was organized by Sweaty Sheep Ministries, a Santa Cruz church group that plays sports and games to build relationships across socioeconomic groups.
About a month ago, I began telling people that when my current parish ministry position ends in August, I’m planning to pursue work in faith-based advocacy and policy change in Washington, D.C. I’m always quick to follow this with a reassurance that “it’s still ministry, just not in a church.”
The couple, both raised in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations, met at University Ministries, a parachurch ministry at University Presbyterian Church for college students in Seattle, when they were undergraduates at the University of Washington. Dexter Kearny, a PC(USA) “preacher’s kid,” heard his call to ministry during a University Ministries-sponsored mission trip to India in the summer of 2009. Liz Kearny’s growing sense of call came into sharper focus not long after her own two-month mission experience in Palestine, subsequent college graduation, and ultimately during her internship for the same campus ministry program through which she and Dexter first met.