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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Presbyterians urged to be ‘tireless advocates for young people’

Educate a Child program focuses on education as a way to transform lives

December 11, 2017

Although many children grow up in an atmosphere of violence, poverty and other negative influences, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) initiative is working to counter that reality.

The 221st General Assembly (2014) called on Presbyterians to work with partners in the U.S. and abroad to improve the quality of education for 1 million children by 2020 through the Educate a Child, Transform the World initiative. Alonzo Johnson, convener of the initiative and coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee of the Self-Development of People, stresses the importance of being vigilant adults who promise to nurture, protect and advocate for children.

“We can do this by providing alternatives to violence and responding to issues of poverty, failing schools and other crises that prevent children from living lives of dignity and self-determination,” he said.

In response to the Educate a Child initiative, some PC(USA) congregations have launched tutoring programs and other ministries, such as programs to ensure that students have school supplies, clothing and other necessities.

But the need remains great. Johnson shared a personal experience as a mentor and pastor to a youth group. The week after the Sandy Hook massacre, he suspended one of his students from group activities for bringing a BB gun to the group as a “prank.” This same student was shot several weeks later; thankfully he recovered but a friend did not survive. The incident served as a wake-up call for this individual, but Johnson noted that many others are not as fortunate.

“It is extremely difficult to imagine the pain of the parents of a young man and many other young people whose blood cries out from the ground due to violence. When I think of my student, I also think of Psalm 99,” said Johnson. “It is a reminder that the church is a gift of God’s grace and that we are called to be ‘lovers of justice’ in establishing equity and righteousness in being tireless advocates for young people. Our faith communities should be sanctuaries where young people can find love, refuge and protection so that all our children can experience hope.”

Scott O’Neill, Communications Associate, Project Management, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Today’s Focus:  Educate a Child, Transform the World Initiative

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Ruth Adams, BOP
Simone Adams-Andrade, PMA                         

Let us pray:

Holy God, remind us that you have called us to be bearers of hope for your beloved children. Strengthen our commitment so that we may be advocates for all children. Empower our service and challenge us to speak boldly on behalf of the vulnerable. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Daily Readings

Morning Psalms 122; 145
First Reading Amos 7:1-9
Second Reading Revelation 1:1-8
Gospel Reading Matthew 22:23-33
Evening Psalms 40; 67