Campus ministry is vital and growing in the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley. There is so much joy to be found, so much to learn, and so many ways to walk with 18- to 24-year-olds as they figure out who God is calling them to be. Psalm 105 reminds the faithful to give thanks to God, and that is what college folks do. They could be doing anything else in the world, but they choose to come to churches and campus ministry centers. They sing to God in so many ways—by working with youth groups, playing music in worship, singing in the choir, laughing together, and praying for each other. They come to seek the Lord’s presence continually, because they have so many questions and concerns as they grow and experience new things.
College students also have a passion for connecting with others in mission. In fact, they are so passionate about it that Presbyterian campus ministry groups from the rival schools of Auburn and Alabama go on joint mission trips! Church members support campus ministries by inviting students into their homes for meals, delighting in their preaching, and praying for them daily.
The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley includes 83 congregations and their 11,819 members. The Presbyterian Home for Children and Stillman College are within its boundaries, as is the Living River Camp and Conference Center, which is currently being developed.
—Rev. Rachel Winter, First Presbyterian Church, Auburn, and Rev. Dan Stephens, associate executive for missional development, Presbytery of Sheppards and LapsleyLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich, stated clerk
Rev. Robert Hay, associate executive for nurture
Rev. Dan Stephens, associate executive for missional development
Linda Burrowes, office manager
Tammy Strickland, bookkeeper and program assistant
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Gracious God, help us to learn from young adults and college students. May their passion and willingness to serve inspire us all to serve you with openness, joy, and dedication. Bless the young adults and college students among us as they continue to grow into your calling for them. Amen.Daily Lectionary
From the rolling hills of the northeast to the Mississippi delta cotton fields in the west, more than 5,500 Presbyterians in northern Mississippi continue to spread the good news of Jesus Christ through the ministries and programs of their 64 congregations and the Presbytery of St. Andrew.
This year, the presbytery is focusing on the expansion of its ministry on the campus of the University of Mississippi. The ministry is a member of the PC(USA) UKirk network and has completed its UKirk rebranding thanks to a denominational grant for that purpose. It is also seeking funding as part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative.
“We’re working to build not just a campus ministry but a student community of faith,” says campus minister Rev. Howard Dudley. “College campuses are mission fields. And, as anyone who has done mission work knows, mission work has to be a partnership to be successful. College ministry has to be something that’s done with students, not something that’s offered for students. Our students have to have ownership in their own faith communities if we want them to take ownership in the larger church.”
Hopewell Camp and Conference Center, where children and youth have been building community for multiple generations, is an active and ongoing ministry of the presbytery. But Hopewell is much more than just a presbytery summer camp. It is home to Clean Water U, the training center of the Living Waters for the World water purification ministry. Hopewell holds camps for children and youth with diabetes and is always open to new opportunities to be actively engaged in God’s mission.
—Gregory A. Goodwiller, executive presbyter and stated clerkLet us join in prayer for:
Gregory A. Goodwiller, executive presbyter and stated clerk
Allyson Ashmore, director, Hopewell Camp and Conference Center
Darren Ashmore, site director, Hopewell Camp and Conference Center
Loretta Morris, food services manager, Hopewell Camp and Conference Center
Howard Dudley, staff associate for campus ministry
Ellen Kellum, office manager
Kim Nix, financial administrator
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Almighty God, in a world that seems filled with hatred and violence, we give you thanks today for opportunities you give us to build better relationships, do justice, and be witnesses of the reconciling love we have known through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.Daily Lectionary
In the fall of 2012, Debbie Johnson announced that she had accepted the position as stated supply at 16-member Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church in Clinton, South Carolina. When asked if they bothered to tell her that Duncan Creek was hosting synod in the spring, she shook her head in disbelief. On March 14, 2013, the congregation welcomed the Synod of South Atlantic and the General Assembly moderator to Duncan Creek. The congregation’s confidence rested in 25 years of the 14 congregations of the Laurens County Cluster working together to accomplish what they cannot do alone.
When Presbyterian College wanted to provide an international mission experience for its students, they turned to the Laurens Cluster and its 15 years of experience in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Because some of its congregations are located in communities of extreme poverty, the cluster opened a food bank at its Lydia congregation and today partners with a regional food distribution agency to provide food for hungry neighbors.
Emerging out of a sense that God calls the church do to more than survive, the Laurens Cluster seeks to provide opportunities for mission, fellowship, and support that are difficult or impossible for its congregations to accomplish on their own. Claiming Paul’s affirmation that we are not slaves to fear but God’s children who possess God’s blessings, the cluster’s 14 congregations seek to model effective ministry and live into the hope that Christ provides.
God of hope, you have granted us salvation. Teach us to rely not on ourselves but on you. Free us from all fears, so that we may be your children who go forth into the world proclaiming your good news in word and deed. Through us grant hope to the hopeless, that your name may be glorified. Amen.Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
“Near to the Heart of God”
Ps. 139:1–12, 23–24
“You Are Before Me, Lord”
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
HB 399, PH 376
Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
HB 525, PH 551
Recently, John Hay, a young employee of the tax assessor’s office, was on a business call in rural northeast Madison County when he spied New Market Presbyterian Church. Looking up the congregation’s web page, he found the words, “We invite you to join us in warm, simple, Christ-filled worship that has fortified hearts and souls for generations.” The next Sunday, John brought his mother, father, and sister to worship in the congregation’s historic building. The Hays’ experience reflects New Market’s blending of old and new in order to serve young adults and the local retirement community, the young at heart.
Built in 1888, New Market Church is a historic landmark reflecting the sturdy values of our ancestors in the faith and offering a powerful appeal to young adults. Though many do not currently worship with the congregation, they nevertheless remain “friends of the family,” bound together by social media. From New York to California, from Wisconsin to Florida, from Kazakhstan to Kokomo, more than 80 friends receive New Market’s e-newsletter and regularly check its Facebook page.
As one of the 29 congregations of North Alabama Presbytery, New Market is helping young adults to know that, wherever they are and whatever they are doing, they are part of a community that is both a little old church and the wondrous body of Christ.
—Brad Hall, pastor, New Market Presbyterian ChurchLet us join in prayer for:
Linda Wheeler office manager
David Nebrig, comptroller
Rev. Lyndall Hamlett, Maranatha interim director
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Eternal God, as you have inspired us and preserved us to this day, so be our guide in the days and generations to come. Grant that, as in Christ you have served us, we might serve all your children, that you may never be without a witness, no matter where or to whom we bring the gospel. Amen.Daily Lectionary
Named after Billy Brumfield, a homeless man who died of hypothermia, the Billy Brumfield Shelter in Jackson provides a home for up to 60 men each night. In addition to providing these men a place to sleep, the shelter also provides counseling for alcohol and drug addiction and, for those with medical disabilities, help negotiating state and federal requirements for benefits and permanent housing.
In early 1999, members of Faith Presbyterian Church’s young adult ministry began to seek ways to minister in the community. After prayerful consideration, they decided that a partnership with the Billy Brumfield Shelter would be a wonderful way to make a difference.
On the first Sunday of every month, young members of Faith Presbyterian serve a hot and delicious meal to the men of the shelter. Congregation members also offer a devotion and prayer and make an effort to become involved in the lives of the men.
James 2:14–17 says: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
By coming together in this shelter, the young adult members of Faith Presbyterian are indeed acting out their own faith and practicing the love of God in a way that acknowledges every person’s dignity, individuality, and worth.
Faith Presbyterian Church in Jackson is one of 35 congregations in the Presbytery of Mississippi.
—Kevin A. Green, member, young adult ministry, Faith Presbyterian Church, JacksonLet us join in prayer for:
Steve Puryear, stated clerk
Amy Ruff, director of campus ministry
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Michelle Lori, PMALet us pray
Father God, it is our fervent prayer that you would help us to be the disciples you have called us to be. Give us the grace to show love to all those we encounter, and, as we do so, remind us to lift your name so that all will know of your goodness and mercy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.Daily Lectionary
After decades of investment in youth ministry, First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Nashville launched a young adult ministry in 2012 with the calling of an associate pastor for young adult ministry. FPC seeks to encourage young adult spiritual development, biblical literacy, worship attendance, and mission service. Recognizing that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all ministry with this population, FPC has responded by offering four different Sunday school classes, several Bible studies, special mission trips, dinner fellowships, service events, and a contemporary Sunday evening service. Even as FPC strives to keep pace with young adults’ rapidly changing lives, two constants have emerged: the hunger of young adults for adult spiritual mentors and the conviction of the congregation that young adults are dynamic contributors to FPC.
The mission partnership between the Presbytery of Middle Tennessee and the Presbiterio Q’eqchi’ Peten of the Iglesia Evangélica Nacional Presbiteriana de Guatemala (IENPG) observed its 10th anniversary in February 2013 with the dedication ceremony for the sanctuary of the new River of Living Waters Church in Sayaxche’, Guatemala. A team of 13 persons from the presbytery joined six pastors and over 300 members from seven IENPG congregations in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, worship service, and barbecue feast that will long be remembered.
The presbytery is home to 87 congregations, two new church developments, and NaCoMe Camp and Conference Center.
—Warner Durnell, executive presbyterLet us join in prayer for:
Young Adult Volunteers
Alasia Brown, Anthony “T. J.” Piccolo, and Emily Warren, community development interns, Nashville YAV site
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Loving God, glad are we to reach out with good news to disciples and would-be disciples around the corner and around the world. Inspire us to venture into new places of witness and service, all in obedience to Jesus Christ. Amen.Daily Lectionary
Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri
“We might be a small church, but we can do something!” said Audrey Toombs of Grace Presbyterian Church in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Looking for a way to minister to the community, the congregation took a compilation of ideas from the presbytery and started More Than a Meal (MTaM). Now, people from Dyersburg receive a hot meal, some good conversation, and prayer, along with help applying for food stamps, processing a job application, or obtaining state photo IDs, driver’s licenses, birth certificates, or other important documents.
The local missions are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so Grace provides hearty meals and traditional feasts at holiday times. More Than a Meal has grown to six meals a year, with a goal of serving every month. The whole congregation gets involved in serving this multicultural group of 75–100 people, but the young adults especially take ownership. Serving, cooking, handing out toiletry kits, delivering meals to people with no transportation, and entering into meaningful conversation immerses young people in the gritty details of basic ministry. By being intimately involved with their guests, they not only care for others but become more thankful for the simple blessings in their own lives.
“The program is a great success! We have assisted more people than we ever imagined,” says Toombs. “One of the larger Dyersburg churches saw in the paper that we started MTaM, and now they’re serving, too. We hope that other churches will join in so that people will have food every weekend. This ministry is making a difference for our church members and for the community.”
The Presbytery of the Mid-South serves 44 congregations.
—Lucy Cummings, associate executive presbyterLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Clarence V. “Bo” Scarborough, interim executive presbyter
Rev. Dave Schieber, stated clerk
Rev. Julie Bailey, campus ministries
Audrey Toombs, office administrator
Lucy Cummings, outdoor ministries and recreation
Carmen Simmons, resident manager, Pinecrest Conference and Retreat Center
Nelle Kennon, hospitality and food service director, Pinecrest Conference and Retreat Center
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
God of all peoples, you have given us plenty. Help us minister to the needs of others. We know that, by your grace, in giving we receive a hundredfold. You are the great provider. Amen.Daily Lectionary
The college years hold many of the lessons, memories, and experiences we later label as important moments in our journeys of faith. For young adults, the need to be in community and to grow spiritually with others is crucial. As Presbyterians, we are committed to making space for this to happen.
The Montreat College Conference offered each year in January is a powerful and transformative event for college students. UKirk Campus Ministry, a young adult ministry of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, hosts a group at the conference each year. UKirk reaches out to students from the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, and several smaller colleges in greater Louisville.
For three days, the conference gives students from Kentucky campuses an opportunity to live together, break bread together, and listen to each other’s stories. We reflect on the themes addressed in the conference and allow our questions and reflections to be the means through which the Spirit of God leads and unites us as the body of Christ. It is energizing to see students from previous years reconnecting with one another, and new students making new friendships. Through ministries like UKirk, Mid-Kentucky Presbytery seeks to provide regular opportunities to connect with our young adults and to create a space among our 55 communities of faith where their voices are affirmed and heard and where they know they belong.
Peggy Hinds, associate presbyter
Kenneth J. Hockenberry, stated clerk
Mary Kutter, office manager
Andrew Hartmans, director, Camp Cedar Ridge
Tony Aja, coordinator for Hispanic/Latino and new immigrant ministries
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
God of constant love, we thank you for the gift of young adults in our church. Give us the courage to join our young adults in their questions, struggles, and hopes. Help us to be an example of the promise of your faithfulness and unconditional love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.Daily Lectionary
At the beginning of the 20th century, missionaries from the United Presbyterian Church of North America arrived in Greene County in East Tennessee. They discovered that there were not only no Presbyterian churches but no schools for the children. The call went out for teachers willing to relocate to the rural mountain region. The Home Mission Board established several schools, including boarding schools at Camp Creek and Cedar Creek. These schools provided an education for the children until the Greene County Board of Education took over the schools in the 1930s.
This commitment to mission continues today at Cedar Creek Presbyterian Church in the work of the Cedar Creek Mission Center. The center’s mission is to provide an opportunity for youth and young adults to do mission work with the mountain people of East Tennessee. Work teams from many different denominations and states assist the elderly and poor with home repair and improvement projects. The groups also assist smaller congregations with vacation Bible school and other community activities. Work teams arrived recently to assist families whose homes were damaged by a deadly tornado.
The spirit of mission that began over 100 years ago continues today through Cedar Creek Mission Center.
Cedar Creek Presbyterian Church is one of 67 congregations in Holston Presbytery.
—Harrell L. Cobb, pastor, Cedar Creek Presbyterian Church, GreenevilleLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Dr. Richard L. Fifield, executive presbyter/stated clerk
Kimberley D. Fifield, financial manager and treasurer
Craig Bell, director, Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center
Andrea Sutter, director, Campus Ministry House
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Eternal God, we thank you for the heritage of a spirit of mission that continues today in the work of the Cedar Creek Mission Center. We thank you also for the work of the mission teams who continue to assist the elderly and poor in the mountains of East Tennessee in the name of Jesus. Amen.Daily Lectionary
Every Thursday at noon, the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) community explores a new worship experience. Everyone gathers for worship four times a week, and Thursdays are reserved for what has emerged as a weekly “Worship Lab.”
Over the past year, Worship Lab services have included experiencing the Spirit through percussion instruments and praying to God through motion. Some have been coordinated with periods of remembrance, including Domestic Violence Awareness Month—the participants reflecting on how Jesus stood with those who were victims and targets of violence—and National Coming Out Day.
During an SFTS Welcome Week, the service explored the theme “Eat, Pray, Love.” As community members prayerfully walked the Geneva Terrace labyrinth, they would eat grapes, pray with someone, and experience God’s love by receiving a blessing.
Creativity, which plays an important role in developing unique services, is nourished and encouraged through Worship Lab. For young adults and future faith leaders, exploring different styles and methods of worship is increasingly important as we enter a world where the traditional idea of a worship service is changing. Worship Lab provides the opportunity to come up with innovative and life-giving ways to worship that flows out of the traditions of Reformed worship. Worship Lab is a welcoming, creative, and innovative way to help equip students for new, imaginative, and faithful ministries for the 21st century.
—Kay Carney, vice president of communications, San Francisco Theological SeminaryLet us pray
Gracious God, open our hearts, our minds, and our souls to inspired and creative ways to spread the good news of the gospel, that we may better reflect your love, compassion, and presence in our changing world. Amen.Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
“O God, in a Mysterious Way”
HB 112, PH 270
“Lord, to You My Soul Is Lifted”
“Breathe on Me, Breath of God”
HB 235, PH 316
Matt. 13:1–9, 18–23
“Let Us Talents and
When community organizer Mariko Tinaya and evangelist Brian Merritt began their door-to-door visitations in the south Chattanooga neighborhood chosen for Mercy Junction, a new church development in the Presbytery of East Tennessee, they didn’t know what to expect. It was not long after being invited into homes and receiving encouragement from their new acquaintances that they realized that this was the place God had called them to work. It became even clearer when they came across Rodney.
“We are thinking about starting a pay-what-you can market called Open Table Exchange and purchasing some land in the neighborhood to start a community garden,” Brian told him. “Would that be something that you think could be useful in the neighborhood?” Rodney responded with enthusiasm: “Absolutely! I grow stuff in my front yard, and my grandfather is a master gardener. I would love it. As a matter of fact, I will go out into the community and start talking to people about your ministry.” Mariko followed with similar excitement: “It looks like you are our go-to guy!” Brian and Mariko knew then that the harvest here would be plentiful.
In the short time since Mercy Junction was established, it has seen overwhelming enthusiasm and support for the vision of farm-to-table ministry and a worshiping community of action and reflection. Carol Howard Merritt has written of this new generation that “they want meaningful worship, an empowered lay leadership, and a spirituality that leads to action.” We hope to model this call and live into our motto: “Follow, Love, Be!”
The Presbytery of East Tennessee has 71 congregations.
—Rev. Brian Merritt, founding minister, Mercy Junction, ChattanoogaLet us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
You show no partiality,
Redeem us from generation to generation
And within each generation.
Open our minds to visions
Given by new and wise people.
Help us to move from the paralysis of survival
To the freedom of hope.
Any given weekend you may find Sweaty Sheep founder and leader Ryan Althaus leading worship in a spin class, joining runners in prerace devotionals, or running a marathon. He and other “sweaty sheep” enjoy working up a sweat for their faith.
Sweaty Sheep is a PC(USA)-related organization within the Synod of Living Waters and affiliated with Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. It is a group of Christians who like to move. They may gather for kickball, train for a race together, or have Bible study following a local 5K race. They also participate in mission work together and raised $9,000 for victims of the Boston marathon bombing.
Founder Ryan Althaus is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and serves as organizer and worship leader along with Alex Becker. Runners themselves, they have found a niche ministry that meets a need for those who want to worship and experience community while staying active. Everyone from hard-core distance runners to walkers participate.
Sweaty Sheep is supported by grants from 1001 Worshiping Communities and Mid-Kentucky Presbytery.
The Synod of Living Waters is made up of almost 92,000 members of 688 congregations from 12 presbyteries across Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas.
—Janet Tuck, freelance writer and teaching elder, Presbytery of Middle TennesseeLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Terry Newland, synod executive
Carie Turner, financial administrator
Kendall Cox, director of education and personnel development, Living Waters for the World
Steve Young, executive director, Living Waters for the World
Jeff Wagner, operations director, Living Waters for the World
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Loving God, you soak us in your radiant love, enabling us to exude that love to your world. We pray that, as we run the race of faith, you would strengthen us in endurance, that we might serve those we encounter along the way. We thank you for your extravagant grace. Amen.Daily Lectionary
The Footsteps of Faith program at Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis was begun in 2001 as a way to encourage young adults to explore their faith deeply. Participants have the opportunity to engage in earnest conversations about theology and faith, the Christian tradition and its intersection with personal faith, and vocation as a response to what one understands God to be asking of his or her life. During the program they are invited to investigate other expressions of faith in the Judeo-Christian heritage and to begin to develop their own spiritual-growth style. After completing an intentional process of spiritual formation, participants meet with the session for a time of blessing and benediction, during which they receive a Bible and are prayed over individually by the gathered ruling and teaching elders.
A highlight of the program is the trip to locations connected with the New Testament’s account of the early Church’s growth and development—Ephesus, Corinth, Patmos, Athens, and Rome.
Since its inception, approximately 260 high school seniors have been through Footsteps of Faith, which has been a catalyst inspiring many to consider ordained ministry or work in the nonprofit sector.
Second Presbyterian Church is one of the 62 congregations, with a total of 16,988 members, in the Presbytery of Whitewater Valley.
—T. Alan Thames, executive presbyterLet us join in prayer for:
T. Alan Thames, executive presbyter
Kristy Quinn, stated clerk and executive administrator
Felipe Martinez, associate executive presbyter
Craig Shaw, information technology services
Mike Srbljan, finance manager
Eric Herzog, financial consultant
Leonel Pech, organizing pastor, Amistad Cristiana NCD, Fort Wayne
Fernando Rodriguez, organizing pastor, Nueva Creación NCD, Indianapolis
Harriet O’Connor, executive director, Westminster Neighborhood Ministries
Rich Swartwood, executive director, PYOCA Camp and Conference Center
Roger McDaniel, evangelist, the Circle, Indianapolis
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Gracious and loving God, we pray for young adults as they strive to live out their faith in a world that is often unkind, unsympathetic, and uncooperative. May gifts of energy, intelligence, imagination, and love fill those coming to adulthood in this time, so that they have all they need to serve both you and your creation. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.Daily Lectionary
How does a church whose average worship attendance is 45–50 people offer vacation Bible school? Since 1997, Trinity Presbyterian Church in West Lebanon has offered its four-day summer VBS program in partnership with its local nursing home and rehabilitation center. And the results have been amazing.
With 10–20 children, up to 25 nursing-home residents, and 15–20 adult buddies who help supervise and assist, the VBS program is a special time when God moves in the midst of this multigenerational community. Typical VBS days—held in the nursing home’s dining room—include name tags, prayers and greetings, action songs, Bible storytelling, a craft related to the lesson, a table game that encourages communication, a snack, and a big group game. Coordinator Candy Hunter creates the lesson plans for each year’s program and is happy to share them with others.
The program’s lasting results are inspiring, says Hunter. Children who participate are completely comfortable going to the nursing home, have developed long-term friendships with the residents, and have even asked their parents to take them to visit residents whom they have grown to love.
The congregation has been without a pastor for two years. Trinity’s VBS program is just one of several ways its people keep their energy and enthusiasm high as they discern what’s next in their journey together with God.
The Presbytery of Wabash Valley consists of 87 congregations and their 11,085 members, who actively support each other and Geneva Center, its camp and conference center in mission.
—Rev. Jody Noble, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, ScherervilleLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Frank Vardeman, general presbyter
Linda Long, stated clerk
Gladys Sargent, office manager
Vicki Dreibelbis, church relations coordinator
Eric Herzog, financial consultant
Bonnie Kern, IT consultant
Cathy Adley, Geneva Center manager
Jeff Winegardner, Geneva Center maintenance director
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Holy God, you move in every generation of your people. Help us to celebrate the gifts of our brothers and sisters who live in nursing homes by including them in our ministries, listening to their stories on the phone or in person, and remembering that at every age we are still your precious children. Amen.Daily Lectionary
First Presbyterian Church of Carbondale welcomes young adults from Southern Illinois University who regularly participate in Sunday worship and fellowship, several of whom sing in the choir. The congregation fully subsidizes their participation in First Presbyterian’s intergenerational international mission trips—students pay nothing to participate! Young adults are given a prayer shawl from the congregation upon college graduation, as a way of reminding them that there is always a home for them at First.
The Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois has been in partnership with the McKinley Foundation for over 100 years. The foundation, located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I), offers a wide range of religious-life programs designed to reach young adults at various stages in their faith journey. Through worship and Bible study, service opportunities, lectures, and activities designed to encourage exploration and inquiry, the foundation seeks to help all students develop maturity in their faith and life.
The McKinley Foundation LEAD (Learn, Educate, and Discipleship) team is a group of U of I and Parkland College students who work with campus minister Keith Harris to plan and lead Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) events throughout the Midwest. On Sunday evenings, the foundation’s chapel hosts interdenominational worship planned and led by students. The LEAD team believes that serving the community is a key part of a fulfilling and balanced life, and its Service Station program connects students with service opportunities in Champaign-Urbana and beyond.
The 94 congregations of the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois are family oriented, so when young adults graduate from high school and move away from home for careers in the military, further education, or technical opportunities, congregations support them with seasonal cards and goody boxes. “We want our young people to know we are thinking about them,” says a woman faithfully engaged in this ministry, “so that they will feel good about coming home to church when they are in town. We are proud!”
—Rev. Anne Jones, transitional executive presbyterLet us join in prayer for:
Elder William Capel, member, PMA Board
Rev. Anne M. Jones, transitional executive presbyter for congregational care
Rev. Cynthia Bean, stated clerk
Paul Saegesser, treasurer
Dan Kingery, Camp Carew director
Brenda Garry, administrative assistant
Marsha Mower, secretary and registrar
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
God of singing stars and dancing mountains, your majesty and power astound us. Your steadfast love humbles us. We thankfully stand in your presence. Pure joy! Amen.Daily Lectionary
Many young adults in the United States have opportunities for higher education. In Afghanistan, however, warfare has left thousands of young women widowed, many who are illiterate and have children to support. William Seo, army medic and member of Central Presbyterian Church in Terre Haute, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Seeing that Afghan widows were “abandoned on the streets,” Seo collaborated with an Afghan doctor to found a women’s school in Jalalabad teaching reading, math, and hygiene—but also sewing and embroidery skills, so that the women could support themselves after graduation.
Central Presbyterian has supported Seo’s work by contributing funds and spreading news about the project locally. The cost of a new sewing machine for a graduate to start her business is $60. After seeing church member Joshua Powers demonstrate a sewing machine like those used in the Afghan school (see photo), the children of Central Presbyterian voted to use money from their Sunday offerings to purchase two machines. Additionally, the congregation commissioned a hand-embroidered tapestry from the school’s third class of students. It now hangs in the fellowship hall.
By January 2013 the school had graduated eight classes, and graduates report earning three times the average Afghan wage. The mission plans to start 10 more schools in 2013–14. “Women are knocking on the door of our school and asking to join the next class,” Seo says. “My heart aches to open more doors for them.”
Eighty congregations in southern and west central Indiana grace the Presbytery of Ohio Valley.
—Elder Amanda Davis, Central Presbyterian Church, Terre HauteLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Mihee Kim-Kort, member, PMA Board
Rev. Susan C. McGhee, executive presbyter
Rev. Lawrence Jackman, stated clerk
Elder M. Jean Brown, treasurer
Rhonda Seymour, administrative assistant for office support
Elder Stephanie Worden, administrative assistant for information technology
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jen Lenard-Benson, PMA
Ruth Leonard, PMA
Heather Leoncini, PMA
Loving God, thank you for opportunities to help young women in Afghanistan to gain an education. Continue to guide us to ways we can serve others both near and far. Amen.Daily Lectionary
Lucy Njeri Maina is a student at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa’s Tumutumu Nursing School in Kenya. Her parents are farmers in an economically challenged area of central Kenya. Lucy has four siblings, and her family sold three cows to pay the tuition so she could pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Unable to pay for the second year, she had to drop out. Lucy held onto her hope and passion for becoming a registered community-health nurse and was overjoyed that she was granted a scholarship and could resume her studies the following year.
Lucy excels in her studies. Because of the help she received, she has a passion to mentor other students and especially encourage those from needy backgrounds to hang on to their hopes of a career in nursing.
The Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF) believes that training nurses is one of best ways to build effective, sustainable health care in developing countries. But MBF’s work involves more than just medical training. Proclaiming the gospel is an integral part of the ministry, which works with and through international partner churches. Christian principles of compassion, integrity, and grace are foundational elements in the training program. The goal is to graduate skilled nurses who will serve in Christ’s name in hospitals and clinics throughout the country.
MBF also supports nursing schools in Malawi, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Give thanks for the schools and the opportunities each student will have to directly touch countless lives with the gospel.
—E. Andrew Mayo, executive director, Medical Benevolence FoundationLet us pray
Gracious God, today we ask you to bless the nursing schools of our international partner churches. Grant success and encouragement to each student. Empower staff and students to be agents of your grace and healing. And may you receive all the glory. Amen.Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Gen. 24:34–38, 42–49, 58–67
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
“Jesus Shall Reign Where’er
HB 496, PH 423
Song of Sol. 2:8–13
“For the Beauty of the Earth”
HB 2, PH 473
“Lord, When I Came Into This Life”
Matt. 11:16–19, 25–30
“O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go”
HB 400, PH 384
Gracious God, today we ask you to bless the nursing schools of our international partner churches. Grant success and encouragement to each student. Empower staff and students to be agents of your grace and healing. And may you receive all the glory. Amen.Daily Lectionary
Every congregation should be a missional congregation. The most important component of mission is the ministers who undertake its work. The men’s group in Midwest Hanmi Presbytery has held a night of thanksgiving for the pastors and their wives for the last 10 years. By holding this special night of thanksgiving, this group has encouraged and supported pastors and their wives by recognizing them as their ministers and missionaries in their congregations. In 2012 this group not only served a special dinner for them but also provided a refreshing and recharging time in a specially organized retreat. We ask you to pray for Midwest Hanmi Presbytery to grow into a strong and missional community.
The mission committee of Midwest Hanmi Presbytery, in cooperation with Sudong Presbyterian Church in Korea, has helped to train worship leaders in a congregation in Yoedongsung, China. The Chinese congregation currently has around 3,000 members but has no praise-and-worship service for young adults. Why has our mission committee undertaken this project? Because we believe that more young people will come to the church once it has a praise-and-worship service for the young people. Sudong Church, which is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of Korea, sent professional worship leaders to China to have them train members of the Chinese congregation in the area of praise and worship. We ask you to pray for revival to break out through the Chinese young people, who worship God passionately.
Midwest Hanmi Presbytery serves 20 congregations and their 3,116 members.
–Rev. Eun Sung Cho, executive presbyterLet us join in prayer for:
Rev. Eun Sung Cho, executive presbyter
Rev. SunKyu Park, stated clerk
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Loving God, bless pastors and their wives; walk with them so that their service for your kingdom bears much fruit. Bless the young people, who have committed their lives to the revival of worship in China. In Jesus’ name. Amen.Daily Lectionary
How does a congregation in Peoria, Illinois, in the middle of the United States, break through the cultural noise and allow the message of Jesus Christ to speak to young people? Well, they take part in summer mission trips. Getting out of familiar surroundings and leaving the comforts of home and patterns of everyday life creates an opportunity for visions to change and hearts to be broken open.
In 2012, four adults and 11 youth from First Federated Church partnered with Back Bay Mission (BBM) in Biloxi, Mississippi. Lodging at BBM, the group worked on a home that had burned, leaving a family homeless. They removed insulation, walls, flooring, and ceilings and even spent a week gutting the home of a stranger. On other days they volunteered at a BBM center that provides showers, laundry service, mailboxes, coffee, and respite for people going through a period of homelessness.
One youth remarked, “I never thought of all the pieces to the puzzle when you don’t have a home,” thinking about how hard it is to get a job without an address. Job applications require identification. Identification requires an address. Job interviews require showers and clean clothes. Each person on the team reflected on how they were getting in touch with the complexities of other people’s circumstances. As the week came to a close, conversation shifted toward people in other parts of the world and how we are all connected.
The Presbytery of Great Rivers serves 16,001 members of 102 congregations.
—Amy Sabbert O’Brien, First Federated Church, PeoriaLet us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Empowering and energizing God, source of life and light, grant us the vision to see the kingdom of God on earth and the courage to sacrifice to bring that kingdom right here, right now. Amen.Daily Lectionary
The Presbytery of Chicago supports two campus ministries providing a safe place for young adults to gather to learn, share, and grow in their faith journey: Agape, at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and University Christian Ministry, at Northwestern University in Evanston.
Ten students from Agape traveled to New York City to learn about the situation of refugees and immigrants. They attended workshops and visited the United Nations. For some, the highlight of the trip was a service project cleaning up a church in Coney Island destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. An elder from the congregation said the students had given them hope. One student said that the people in Coney Island had given her hope, as they helped each other despite poverty and disaster. Another trip participant summed up his reflections, saying, “What I’m taking away from this trip: the world is still spinning, and even at the worst, most terrible moments in life, there is always hope, always something to look forward to.”
University Christian Ministry is committed to the nurture and development of leaders that will change their worlds. Programs include worship, discussions, speakers from around the world, retreats, and mission trips. Over spring break each year, a group of students travels internationally to learn about social injustice, help with local projects, and build international friendships. In El Salvador they maintain a relationship with the 22 de Abril community in San Salvador. They have hosted several Salvadorans on their campus as part of their ongoing relationship.
The presbytery is home to 99 congregations and their 33,348 members.
—Geraldine J. Parker, consultant for interpretation, Presbytery of ChicagoLet us join in prayer for:
Elder Molly Baskin, member, PMA Board
Rev. David Ezekiel, member, PMA Board
Safiyyah Al-Amin, staff acct.
Rev. David Boumgarden, consultant, church development
Rev. Barbara Bundick, stated clerk
Linda Denberry, Volunteer in Mission (VIM), operations
Elder Loretta Gratias-Bremer, consultant, Safe Boundaries
Rev. Tassie Green, cong. transformation coordinator
Rev. Garnett Foster, consultant, empower ministries
Tom Frey, acct. consultant
Elder Peg Griffiths, VIM, interfaith solidarity coordinator
Rev. Eric Heinekamp, director, business affairs
Sarah Kropski, office services asst.
Laura Cathey, communications/resource center coordinator
Elder Juanita Holley, consultant, justice ministries
Elder Terry Jackson, VIM, resource ctr.
Rev. Jay Moses, VIM, Muslim relations coordinator
Elder Jacqueline Murray, scholarship coordinator
Earnestine Norwood, assist. to executive presbyter/office manager
Elder Gerry Parker, consultant, interpretation
Rev. Robert Reynolds, executive presbyter
Kitty Ridley, executive assistant
Rev. Samuel Akhtar, NCD pastor, South Asian Fellowship
Rev. Nanette Sawyer, pastor, Grace Commons
Rev. Matt Wrzeszcz, youth ministry coordinator
Young Adult Volunteers
Megan Schreurs, Clarissa Sents, and William Sheppard, community development interns, Chicago YAV site
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Jeffrey Lawrence, PMALet us pray
Loving God, thank you for providing communities in which we can learn and grow in our faith journey. Strengthen our commitment to build relationships across international boundaries as we work to change our world. Amen.Daily Lectionary