Using God’s gifts for God’s glory
January 2, 2017
Last November I experienced the most hopeful story ever of church transformation.
South Presbyterian Church of Rochester, N.Y., is full of energy and vitality, which has not always been the case. Under the faithful, intentional leadership of Pastor Deb Swift, the church made the painful decision to sell their building. Even though it is beautiful, the building had become a burden for this small, declining church. Through New Beginnings, attending our Evangelism conferences, and the church’s heart to be on mission, the leadership of the church made the decision to sell their building without knowing where they would worship.
In my time with them, I heard over and over how they had stepped out in faith after a period of prayer and discernment. The steps of faith led them to see God’s provision. They are currently worshiping in a complex for older adults. Their worship is filled with energy, as they are including residents and their family members from the complex. They have also started an Acts of Faith (AoF) model of ministry. These many AoF—ways for people to get involved—are all over the city of Rochester. They include church members and people in the community from all walks of life. And there is energy in these groups, as people are drawing closer to God’s love in Christ and beginning to serve others.
I continue to live out of the excitement that this church has found in simply being the church. Their identity is not a building, but it is found in the gospel, one another, and being on mission in the community. Their step of faith has led to 15 Acts of Faith and growing.
Ray G. Jones III, associate director, Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Today’s Focus: South Presbyterian Church Staff, Rochester, N.Y.
Let us join in prayer for:
South Presbyterian Church Staff, Rochester, N.Y.
Deborah Fae Swift, pastor
Rev. Dr. Jane Sarjeant Watt, parish associate
Allison Thorp-Coughlin, music director
Katrina Hebb, mission assistant
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Valéry Nodem, PMA
Clara Nunéz, PMA
Let us pray
Heavenly Father, your unconditional love inspires us to be loving, welcoming, and hospitable to our neighbors. Pour into our hearts your compassion; strengthen and guide us as we go forth to make your kingdom tangible. Grant us your peace and surround us with your presence. Amen.
Morning Psalms 48; 145
First Reading Genesis 12:1-7
Second Reading Hebrews 11:1-12
Gospel Reading John 6:35-42, 48-51
Evening Psalms 9; 29