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Minute for Mission: Pentecost Offering Sunday

Who have been your most influential teachers? All types of teachers — at school, at church, at work and in families — help shape who we become. We are grateful for all our teachers.

Minute for Mission: Caregiver Sunday

Every morning when I walk, I see the signs that remind me: We are surrounded by a great cloud of caregivers, too often invisible to us, though our well-being and that of our loved ones and communities is dependent upon their work and their commitment to their mission. When COVID-19 swelled to pandemic proportions this winter, most of us locked down to protect ourselves, but nurses, techs, chaplains, doctors and support staff remained at their posts without adequate personal protective equipment or knowledge of the scope of the virus, still serving the sick and the infected, knowing as they did that they were putting themselves and their families at risk. All paid a high cost, and some gave their lives. In nursing homes and elder adult living facilities, and with hospice and in-home care workers, the warning signs that kept everyone else at a safe distance did not prevent these caregivers from attending to the frail and vulnerable. Many of these essential workers could not have stayed home if they wanted to; as part of the nation’s vast informal economy, their ability to feed and house their families depended on the ability to show up, even when it meant risking infection. Many in this gig economy of caregivers themselves lack access to consistent health care … and still, they show up.

South Sudan Education and Peace Building focuses on teacher training

“They said their teacher has not come,” said Peter, the education facilitator for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partner Across, translated from Anyuak to English. “Where are your friends?” came the next question to the 10 boys sitting in the muddy field.

Hope through education in South Sudan

He looked no more than 14 as he came forward to welcome me with a hearty handshake. Assuming he was a primary school pupil, I asked about his teacher. He responded, “Hello, ma’am. I am the teacher.” Still skeptical, I began a full-scale inquisition: How old are you? How long have you been a teacher? Which class do you teach? And finally: Are you really the teacher?

Sharing life stories

Folks living at Westminster Oaks Retirement Community in Tallahassee, Florida, have lived through some of the chapters of history that students study in class today. Chaplain Taylor Phillips reaches out to area high school and college classes, inviting teachers and students to come to the Westminster Oaks campus to hear the residents share their eyewitness accounts of historical moments.

Minute for Mission: Christian Education Sunday

When it comes to Christian education, Maria Harris stands out as one of the most influential teachers and writers of the past 30 years. In her 1989 book Fashion Me a People: Curriculum in the Church, Harris helped shape a theology of educational ministry in the church that understands “The Word continually becoming flesh, in us.” If the Word is perpetually at work in us, then by our ordinary, everyday, walking-around lives, all of us are de facto Christian educators. Curriculum may include printed materials and classroom instruction, but an incarnational “curriculum” resides in our life together where we embrace every member as a teacher to every other member — regardless of our age or ability.

Seeing gray

The moment the teachers said they wanted to take pictures of the Americans, I got nervous. There was a Korean-language contest that we weren’t part of, but they wanted our pictures—or rather, I thought, my white housemates’ pictures. This type of near unabashed racial selection isn’t uncommon in Asia, and for universities, I knew that looking international and showcasing their diversity was good for their reputations. The only problem was that in Korea my Chinese face didn’t look diverse. My roommate, Emily, assured me she wouldn’t let them leave me out.

PC(USA) churches mark transition for students as school year begins

What has become an annual ritual for many churches – the “Blessing of the Backpacks” – has taken on special importance at First Presbyterian Church in Findlay, Ohio. This year, the event was integrated into the larger concept of commemorating milestones within the life of the church and its members, with back to school being just one of them.