Skyping the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

This evening brought a milestone on my technological journey.

Cross I had Skyped before . . . in fact there were several Skype conversations today alone. But at about 8:20 Eastern time, as had been carefully prearranged, my Skype came to life. It was the Rev. Jerrod Lowry and the good folk of Community of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sandy, Utah. A group of about twenty had gathered for a meal (an invitation was made to share the food, but that is a little hard to do in the virutal world) and a Lenten program.

On the Lenten journey, the congregation is expanding their concept of sin to include failure to understand and address justice issues. They have looked at domestic violence with the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, HIV/AIDS with the Utah AIDS Foundation, and the exploitation of children with Martha Bettis Gee.

Tonight, they invited me to speak on international issues and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s engagement with the United Nations.

We started with some theology – pondering the question of why Reformed Christians are engaged in the public arena and the global neighborhood.

We did some history – reflecting on the creation of the United Nations and the relationship of Presbyterians to the United Nations.

We looked at the current work of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations – equipping Presbyterians for global discipleship following Jesus and advocating for the policies of our General Assembly within the United Nations Community.

Then we considered some of the current situations around which the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations is engaged:

  • Colombia
  • Sudan
  • Child Soldiers
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Madagascar
  • Israel and Palestine
  • Haiti
  • Religious freedom
  • Women's rights
  • Japan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo

Questions and answers followed. Two of them were:

Q1: How can we support the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations?

  Red HandsA1.1: Pray for the staff members of the ministry and our colleagues in other Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries, for the nations of the world, for those who serve in the United Nations. Community of Grace had prayed with the people of Sudan during the days before the referendum on self-determination for Southern Sudan. The people of the Community of Grace know the power of prayer.

A1.2: Observe the International Day of Peace (September 21) and United Nations Day (October 24)

A1.3: Read our blog and follow us on Facebook.

A1.4: Engage in concrete expressions of global discipleship: the Red Hands Campaign, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and the Tap Project. Watch for more such campaigns to come.

A1.5: Make a financial gift to support the ministry.

Q2: Would you come and preach?

A2: Yes and no. I will come and preach but only if you find some other things for me to do.

It was a fun evening! I am honored to have the opportunity to have been part of the Community of Grace's Lenten journey. I am grateful for the prayers that closed our time together.

I hope they invite me to preach! And I hope others (maybe you) invite me to join you through this marvel of technology.

Blessings during this season of Lent.

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