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Warm hearts, frosty temps


Presbyterian Center staff concludes week of prayer with outdoor supplication

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) participated in a public prayer witness for the community, nation and world in front of the Presbyterian Center on Friday. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — Shivering together in 18-degree weather Friday morning, a dozen or so staff working at the Presbyterian Center helped draw the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to a close on the Center’s steps by — no surprise — praying for their community, nation and world.

The Rev. Everdith Landrau, manager of Ecumenical Relations & Networking in the Office of the General Assembly, prayed for ecumenical partners “doing work around justice and peace.”

In the lobby convincing the group to make its way outdoors, she reminded that despite the chilly conditions, “This is the day that the Lord has made” and that “We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

The Rev. José Luis Casal, director of Presbyterian World Mission, thanked God for mission co-workers, who he said are “part of the work you are doing with your children around the world.”

By name he lifted up places of continued strife and struggle, including South Sudan, North Korea, Cameroon, Taiwan, Cuba and Venezuela — as well as the caravan of asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border.

The Rev. Dr. Ray Jones, acting director of Theology, Formation & Evangelism, thanked the Almighty for having a heart for people working on immigration reform and others who “struggle for justice for people with no hope.” He prayed for worshiping communities “that do the work of your son Jesus more and more, the people who do justice and combat racism in your name.”

“We hold to your promise that you are with us and that you will complete what you started,” Jones said, thanking God “for the grace that makes it all possible.”

The Rev. John Odom, Presbyter for Community Life for the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky, concluded a 10-minute service on the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (Photo by Rich Copley)

The Rev. John Odom, Presbyter for Community Life for the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky, offered thanks for the city that’s home for the Presbyterian Center. Even a self-described compassionate city like Louisville requires “struggle, effort and energy,” as residents work to provide for people who desperately need help.

He praised the work of other faith communities — Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church — for “sharing pastors and resources” with the presbytery and across the nation.

While thanking God for answering prayer, Odom also prayed for the day when “what’s on Earth will reflect what is already present in Heaven.”

As the group made its way indoors following the 10-minute service, plans were already underway for the 2020 celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“Next time,” one staffer said, “we’re serving hot chocolate.”

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