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Today in the Mission Yearbook

Minute for Mission: Mr. Rogers Day


March 20, 2024

Fred Rogers with King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make Believe. Rogers was ordained by the Pittsburgh Presbytery and encouraged to continue his ministry call to children through the media. (Contributed photo)

Fred Rogers was an ordained minister of word and sacrament for the PC(USA) and is a notable public figure whose work around peace and reconciliation is worth remembering. Rogers was also a pioneer in the world of Christian education and formation of young children. March 20 was his birthday, and so it is the day that the PC(USA) has chosen to highlight all we can learn from his work.

We live in a world filled with personal, community, and world conflict where sometimes it is difficult to cope or be hopeful, but we can continue to learn from the work of Fred Rogers and follow his example. Fred’s peacemaking sensibilities both on and off camera can inform our lives today. He practiced deep listening, deep thinking and deep understanding. He modeled building neighborhoods of compassion and peace through the Neighborhood of Make Believe on his TV show, by testifying before Congress and through curriculum like the recently updated Peacemaking in the Family: Four Intergenerational Events originally written with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program in the 1980s and available for download.

Author Michael Long, in his book “Peaceful Neighbor: Rediscovering the Counter Cultural Mister Rogers, says “Peace is possible, according to Rogers, first because each of us is equipped with a powerful moral imagination — the ability to see goodness in moments of crisis and danger. As Mister Rogers puts this in his concluding monologue, ‘You see, people can imagine bad things, hurtful things, angry war-like things, but people can also imagine good things, helpful things, happy peaceful things.’ … Peace is possible because we are actors, not passive victims, who can always choose to create the peace we have envisioned.”

So, let’s find ways to choose peace and build neighborhoods of compassion.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Office of Theology and Worship have partnered with the Office of Christian Formation to provide resources for celebrating Mr. Rogers Day. We have a variety of materials to use in different contexts and settings for March 20 and any day during the year a faith community chooses to celebrate. These can be found at Resources include Walking in God’s Path of Peace: Intergenerational worship liturgy, the hymn “Jesus Teach Us to Be Neighbors,” a coloring page, intergenerational curriculum and neighbor activities.

 Miatta Wilson, Mission Associate, Office of Christian Formation, Presbyterian Mission Agency,

Today’s Focus: Mr. Rogers Day

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Nora D’Ambrosio, Reservation Specialist, Stony Point Center, Presbyterian Mission Agency 
April Davenport, Associate General Counsel, Legal Services, Administrative Services Group (A Corp) 

Let us pray

Gracious and Loving God, come near and be with us today and help us to look for ways to be a neighbor, to share love and to build peace. Come near, and be with those who are suffering in homes, communities, and around the world where violence is present and persistent. Come near and be with the peacebuilders and those finding ways to show your love in both difficult and ordinary situations. Amen.