Hands and Feet of Jesus
The same Spirit that descended on the earliest followers of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost continues to work in the lives of believers today. Across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), people are hearing and following the Holy Spirit’s call to be the hands and feet of Jesus in today’s world with help from the Pentecost Offering.
Children Provided Educational and Emotional Support
This is happening in congregations like First Presbyterian Church in Homewood, Illinois, which for nearly a decade has sent a steady stream of volunteers to the nearby Jones Memorial Community Center. Their mission is to strengthen family ties, emphasize the worth of God’s children (all persons), and answer a community need. Many volunteers work in its after-school program, which serves a number of children considered at risk.
Karen Maurer is one of the members who regularly tutors children at Jones Center. She helps children with math and reading, but she also provides moral and emotional support. “Most aren’t from great home situations, and they often come to the tutoring program after a stressful school day,” she says.
In addition to providing volunteers, First Presbyterian also supports Jones Center with gifts received from its Pentecost Offering, a denomination-wide effort that benefits ministries with children at risk, youth, and young adults. Forty percent of the Pentecost Offering can be retained by congregations for local ministries, while 60 percent goes to the national church to support ministries with these groups.
Young Adult Volunteer Witnesses the Spirit Move
The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program is one of the ministries this offering supports. YAVs work for one year at sites around the world and across the United States to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation while exploring the meaning and motivation of their faith in intentional community with peers and mentors. Last year, your Pentecost Offering gifts helped Kristen Young serve at a shelter in Peru for young survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
One of her most poignant memories is of Diana, who came to the shelter scared and refusing to smile. As the days passed, Diana’s somber countenance began to brighten as she experienced the warmth and acceptance of the shelter staff. Kristen was especially moved when she saw the delight Diana took in her newborn son.
Kristen said Diana’s transformation gave witness to the opening words of a song that is frequently sung at the shelter: “The Spirit of God is in this place; the Spirit of God moves in this place.”
Youth See New Dimensions of Christian Faith
Closer to home, God’s Spirit was moving last year among the 2,000 youth who attended Faith in 3D, a youth conference in Florida involving three denominations, including the PC(USA).
Held on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the event wove together Dr. King’s teachings on the beloved community and nonviolent change with the challenges of discipleship in a world made smaller by the forces of globalization. Gifts to the Pentecost Offering helped make this opportunity possible.
Adam Bowling, associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Morganton, North Carolina, has taken three different youth groups to Faith in 3D since 2009. “The preaching is always excellent, and it provides a witness to Dr. King’s legacy and the plan and dreams God has for you.” He has seen youth reorder their priorities and even change career ambitions after attending Faith in 3D.
Your Gifts Provide Hope
Thanks in part to your Pentecost Offering gifts, our youth are answering the Holy Spirit’s call, young adults are serving in ministries of transformation, and children at risk are given a hopeful future. Please give generously to the Pentecost Offering.
Let Us Pray
Transforming God, We give thanks that your Spirit renews us with visions of a world filled with goodness and hope. As we strive for the well-being of all, keep us mindful of the promise of our children, youth and young adults. Amen.
For more information and resources related to the Pentecost offering, visit presbyterianmission.org/pentecost.
This post is based on the Minute for Mission script which can be found on our website as a script.
Please give generously to the Offering:
- Through your congregation
- Text YOUNG to 20222 to give $10
- Donate online