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Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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Mission Yearbook for December 20, 2014

Fri, 12/19/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Synod of the Rocky Mountains

 

 

 

The geography of the Synod of the Rocky Mountains is one of contrasts. Rugged mountains tower above flat plains. Snow-capped peaks are visible in the heat of summer. Water is abundant in some places; in others, there is drought. Lush forests are in close proximity to fire-scorched acreage. Farmland abuts urban centers. People live next door in town, while just 10 minutes out of town some may live miles from anyone.

The people of faith in this synod understand that. In the western United States, there is a stream of the church that desires independence, while another group sees all members as integrally connected to one another. One presbytery decimated by the departure of several churches has begun a transformation process. That same presbytery is also starting a new worshiping community in an area underserved by Christ’s church.

In another presbytery with some strong, established congregations, a new worshiping community has been launched to reach younger families in a revitalizing neighborhood. One presbytery where horseback riding is popular has started a ministry to skateboarders. The leaders host a Bible study for youth, who often come from homes of abuse or addiction. These leaders nurture these young persons in faith and communicate that they matter.

Many contrasts exist in the synod. Yet our eight presbyteries and 224 congregations are consistent in their desire and effort to reach new generations in the name of Jesus Christ with a gospel that can change lives.

David Ezekiel, interim executive

Let us join in prayer for:

Synod Staff

David Ezekiel, interim executive
Lynn Smit, stated clerk
Liz Saperstein, treasurer

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Ashley Winn, PILP
Jung Ju Winner, PMA
Stephen Wirth, FDN

Let us pray

Lord, bless all worshiping communities. Breathe your Spirit upon each of them, that they might reach a new generation and make disciples. And teach us that, while contrasts may exist, there is room under the canopy of heaven for all of us to worship you. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 90; 149
First Reading Isaiah 28:9-22
Second Reading Revelation 20:11-21:8
Gospel Reading Luke 1:5-25
Evening Psalms 80; 72

Mission Yearbook for December 19, 2014

Thu, 12/18/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbyterian Church in Canada Minute for Mission

 

 

Members of Toronto’s Nigerian Presbyterian Mission gather for a photo after worship.

 

Photo by Nigerian Presbyterian Mission

 

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon, warm and sunny. From the open windows of Weston Presbyterian Church, the sound of rhythmic drumming and hand-clapping fills the air.  Joyful voices are raised in rich harmony to glorify and thank God.  In the sanctuary, men and women, boys and girls in brightly coloured traditional clothing are dancing their offering to the front of the church, accompanied by traditional Nigerian instruments.  This joy-filled worship happens weekly at the Nigerian Presbyterian Mission in Toronto.

Many Nigerian Presbyterians have moved into the Toronto area over the past 20 years. Because they are used to a lively style of worship back home, many have drifted away from “traditional” Presbyterian churches. And yet, they feel strongly connected to their Presbyterian roots and yearn to worship using the Nigerian Presbyterian liturgy.

The Nigerian ministry emphasizes hospitality as well as church growth. Members help new immigrants integrate into their lives in Canada, visit elderly people in the community, and provide support and care. They reach out with the love of Christ to all people in the multi-ethnic Weston neighborhood.

Rev. Augustus Oku feels that God prepared him in every aspect throughout his life for this mission in Canada. He was raised in Nigeria in a Christian family with strong ties to Canadian missionaries. His community and family had no doubt that he would one day become a minister. With a scholarship from the Presbyterian Church in Canada, he earned a master of theology degree at Knox College in Toronto and has ministered and taught in a seminary in Nigeria for over 20 years.

“This ministry is very important to me because life in a new community is very stressful and full of strains,” Oku explains. “A supportive faith community gives encouragement to the people and lets them know that God will meet their needs. With God, all things are possible.”

Heather Chappell, stewardship, Presbyterian Church in Canada

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Bryce Wilson, PMA
Annette Wimsett, PMA
Rev. Robina Winbush, OGA

Let us pray

Loving God, help us to reach out with Christ’s love and hospitality to new immigrants who are struggling to fit into a new way of life in a new country. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 102; 148
First Reading Isaiah 11:10-16
Second Reading Revelation 20:1-10
Gospel Reading John 5:30-47
Evening Psalms 130; 16

Mission Yearbook for December 18, 2014

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of the Southwest

Read in Spanish

First Presbyterian Church in Hormigueros has joined a growing number of congregations across the southwestern region of the island that have taken steps to respond to the increasing problem of unemployment. The reality of this problem hits home much too frequently.

The congregation has responded by opening its doors to the unemployed so that they can receive counseling. The church provides support and shares resources with those who are facing the reality of today’s job market. They explore not only the alternatives and possibilities at hand but their own faith in light of the changing economy and times. They reach out to others who need support and opportunities.

The words of our Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 9:35, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (NIV 1984), come to life as the congregations of the Presbytery of the Southwest combine their talents to serve those in need, as in their ministry with the homeless. The third Serving persons who are less fortunate gives these congregations a sense of humility, of love, and of making a difference in their communities. Though times are hard, these congregations trust in the Lord and in his provision.

Four of the presbytery’s 29 congregations have schools. Seven graduates of its school for commissioned ruling elders are serving congregations.

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Elder Ángel Casasús Urrutia, stated clerk
Elder Mirna Rivera Rodríguez, moderator
Elder Maribel Cardona Sepúlveda, treasurer
CRE Ana Victoria Eleutice, administrative assistant

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Richard Williams, PMA
Sally Williams, BOP

Let us pray

God, we love our neighbors as we love you. Let us feel your embrace when we embrace others. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20
First Reading Isaiah 11:1-9
Second Reading Ephesians 6:10-20
Gospel Reading John 3:16-21
Evening Psalms 126; 62

Mission Yearbook for December 17, 2014

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of San Juan

Read in Spanish

 

Youth washed cars to raise funds to attend Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

 

Photo courtesy of Michelle Muñiz Vega

 

In 2010 the San Juan Presbytery responded to the challenge of developing new mission programs. As a result, a committee was appointed to develop a plan of evangelism in the eastern side of Puerto Rico.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit and supported by the prayer of committed brothers and sisters, the presbytery began the mission project in the town of Rio Grande.

Today they testify that, throughout the process, they saw the hand of God move: opening doors, touching hearts, showing the way. What began with a challenge and looked like a dream in 2010 has now become a wonderful reality. Moved by the grace of God, on Sunday, April 14, 2013, the first worship service to God was held in the new Presbyterian mission in Rio Grande. It was attended by brothers and sisters of other congregations as well as residents of the area, who were very excited to receive our Lord’s invitation to be part of the visible church. This mission continues to grow, reaching lives and responding faithfully to God’s call.

The Presbytery of San Juan has 14 congregations. Puerto Nuevo Presbyterian School and Villa Carolina Presbyterian Academy are within its bounds.

—Elder Carmen Irene Cohen and Rev. Edwin González, stated clerk

Let us join in prayer for:

Rev. Cruz Negron-Torres, member, PMA Board

Presbytery Staff

Elder Luz H. Vega, moderator
Rev. Jorge Zijlstra, vice moderator
Rev. Edwin Gonzalez, stated clerk
Elder Raul Santiago, treasurer
Elder Ruth Vega, associated stated clerk

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder Earline Williams, PMA
Jeanne Williams, PMA

Let us pray

Dear God, thank you for the opportunity to respond to your call on our lives. We ask that you continue to bless the church in Puerto Rico, the Presbytery of San Juan and its congregations, and the new mission in Rio Grande. Continue enabling them to reach the lives of those who do not yet enjoy the peace and security offered by your redemption by grace. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11
First Reading Isaiah 9:8-17
Second Reading 2 Peter 2:1-10a
Gospel Reading Mark 1:1-8
Evening Psalms 53; 17

Mission Yearbook for December 16, 2014

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of the Northwest

Read in Spanish

 

Apaxionados music group

 

Photo by Maywalida Guerra

 

The Northwest Presbytery runs two organizations, one for women and another for youth. The youth organization plans retreats, camping events, and concerts. In July 2013, seven youth from four congregations attended Presbyterian Youth Triennium at Purdue University with the support of the presbytery.

The presbytery has a youth musical group called Apaxionados, which ministers in churches and housing projects as well as through community activities, concerts, and retreats. Members range in age from 15 to 25 and belong to different presbytery congregations. Apaxionados is committed to the Lord and the church. They testify about their faith, their passion, and the joy of serving God wherever they go.

The presbytery declared 2013 to be the year of the youth. They are important to our congregations and part of a promising future. The presbytery coordinated various programs supporting youth activities, including a series of workshops where pastors and leaders in the church trained, supported, and guided young people in the areas of leadership, church government, Reformed theological principles, worship, and Christian vocation. In July the summer youth retreat was held at the synod conference center, El Guacio, and following their completion of all the training workshops in September, the presbytery celebrated the commitment of the youth to transform the future of the church. The presbytery’s mission is to create a group of young leaders—innovators with hearts ready to serve the community and our congregations—under the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Northwest Presbytery’s 30 congregations and three mission posts have 3,860 total members.

Elder Maywalida Guerra, moderator

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Gerardo López-Vigo, stated clerk
Jorge Cartagena, treasurer
Marilyn Luciano, administrative assistant

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Bryce Wiebe, PMA
Rev. Charles Wiley, PMA
Rev. Craig Williams, PMA

Let us pray

Dear God, we thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, who loves everyone in a special way. We pray that you give us the opportunity of doing the same to the people around us. Amen!

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 33; 146
First Reading Isaiah 9:2-7
Second Reading 2 Peter 1:12-21
Gospel Reading Luke 22:54-69
Evening Psalms 85; 94

Mission Yearbook for December 15, 2014

Sun, 12/14/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Synod in Puerto Rico

Read in Spanish

 

In 2013 the Synod Boriquén in Puerto Rico celebrated its 40th year of service. This celebration included extended reflection about how to continue to do the work of our Lord in the future.

One bright spot is the work of young adults in the synod. Various young musicians assist in worship in churches far from home in order to help these churches grow. Lisi González, fresh out of college, took a risk when she agreed to come administer and renovate El Campamento Guacio—bringing along her husband, Carlos Camacho—under difficult economic conditions. Stephanie Quintana, Enid Quintana, and Michelle Muñiz chose to serve a year as Young Adult Volunteers at a stage when most young adults would be more worried about getting started in their careers. Young adults, led by youth synod moderator Keishla Lanzot, stepped up to lead reorganized efforts in youth ministry. Josean Mercado, member of the synod mission council, works hard to keep the church structure flexible.

The Lord is yet again nurturing committed leaders to sustain his work.

The Synod Boriquén in Puerto Rico has three presbyteries and 73 congregations.

Ruling Elder Salvador Gavaldá Corchado, synod moderator

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Ruling Elder Antonio Roldán Rodríguez, stated clerk
Ruling Elder Salvador Gavaldá Corchado, synod moderator
CRE Fernando Rodríguez Barrios, mission council president
Raúl Santiago Rivera, treasurer
Teaching Elder Rubén Ortiz Rodríguez, administrator, synod office
Lisi González Cubero, administrator, El Guacio
Dianna Velázquez Santiago, administrative finance assistant
Lilliam Rodríguez López, administrative assistant
Gladys Hernández Santiago, administrative secretary

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder Vera White, PMA
Andrew Whitehead, PMA
Michael Whitman, PMA
Jordan Whitt, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, we thank you for the young leaders who work in your church. Continue to bless them and sustain them with your love and grace. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 145
First Reading Isaiah 8:16-9:1
Second Reading 2 Peter 1:1-11
Gospel Reading Luke 22:39-53
Evening Psalms 40; 67

Mission Yearbook for December 14, 2014

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Columbia Theological Seminary

 

 

Photo by Coenraad Brand

 

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:46b–50)

Joy is not free of challenges; yet it is responsive to the promise of something more. Mary’s song hardly reflects the fears and heartaches she would later face on the road to Bethlehem, during the escape to Egypt, and at the foot of the cross in Jerusalem. However, the gift she carried was so much bigger than that.

At Columbia Seminary, we welcome gifted students, who find themselves challenged regularly as they prepare for the work of ministry that will be even more challenging. At times they may grow weary from long hours of study. Cross-cultural internships may take them far outside their comfort zones. With all the hats that any pastor must wear, a class or experience is bound to hit on some personal weakness. All these trials are on top of the stuff of life that keeps us all a little off-balance.

Joy embraces these challenges with a childlike awe at what God is doing with us, and through us, and even beyond us. The gift of knowing Jesus and sharing that knowledge with others overcomes our own weakness. Success may at first look like failure, while seemingly insignificant acts may be life-changing. But God is at work in all of it and calls us to look to Mary’s example and undertake the journey with imagination and resilience.

Steve Hayner, president, Columbia Theological Seminary

Let us pray

Mighty God, we rejoice with the Spirit in your gift of salvation. Your promises to us are great. Your blessings have been extended through many generations and will continue for many more to come. Thank you for your everlasting grace. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Isa. 61:1–4, 8–11
“O for a Thousands Tongues to Sing”
HB 141, PH 466

Ps. 126
“When God Delivered Israel”
PH 237

or

Luke 1:46b–55
“Song of Mary”
PH 600

1 Thess. 5:16–24
“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
HB 147, PH 9

John 1:6–8, 19–28
“Prepare the Way”
PH 13

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 24; 150
First Reading Isaiah 13:1-13
Second Reading Hebrews 12:18-29
Gospel Reading John 3:22-30
Evening Psalms 25; 110

Mission Yearbook for December 13, 2014

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Stockton Presbytery

California

God is so good! The Presbytery of Stockton has been striving to respond to God’s call in our ministries around the presbytery. It has been an interesting year, full of change, and we are excited to see how God will continue to show up!

We have been encouraged by the willingness of our 21 congregations to try new things in order to serve more faithfully and effectively. God is blessing our efforts, and the presbytery is becoming more healthy and vital! Here are a few of the wonderful changes.

Our Church of the 49ers, located in Columbia (historic gold country), has begun a “cowboy” service to meet the needs of an unreached group. Members of our Community Presbyterian Church in Gustine are learning Spanish to better reach a changing neighborhood. Our First Presbyterian Church of Turlock is restructuring and expanding an after-school tutoring program to serve local people in need. At First Presbyterian Church in Stockton, an area whose economy has been hit hard, members and friends are offering a weekly meal for folks who are struggling. The people of St. John’s Assyrian Church in Turlock are reaching out to Assyrian young adults to help foster growth and faith. Members at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lodi supplement our all-presbytery transformation work through an additional in-depth discipleship program that helps facilitate healthy spiritual leadership.

It is encouraging to see God move and God’s people respond!

Rev. Julia Leeth, executive presbyter

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Julia Leeth, executive presbyter
Elder H. Keith Drury, stated clerk

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Barbara White, BOP
Cynthia White, PMA

Let us pray

Dear Lord, help us to look to you for guidance on how best to serve your people. Help us to be courageous as we respond, change, and grow. Help us to be faithful as you always are faithful! We thank you in advance for all that you will do in and through us this day. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 90; 149
First Reading Isaiah 8:1-15
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18
Gospel Reading Luke 22:31-38
Evening Psalms 80; 72

Mission Yearbook for December 12, 2014

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of San José

California

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Herrel, a high school sophomore, and Willa Van Camp, a senior, headed for Austin College

 

At Covenant Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, we recognize that youth are not just the future of the church but the very heart of our congregation. Youth serve as leaders in all aspects of the congregation: two have recently served as elders, several have served on the leadership team for the multicultural youth conference at Mo Ranch, and 16 went to Presbyterian Youth Triennium. Here are a few words from two of them.

“Growing up in a small church, I have always felt we are family. We are a unique set of people. I love the way we care for each other despite our differences. Jesus taught us to love everyone, and we are living that out. It has been a joy to serve on session. It has helped me get more involved and give back to the community. I feel so blessed to be part of this church family that has supported me and helped me develop my faith.” —Willa Van Camp

“From my introduction during baptism as a baby to being appointed one of the leaders of our youth group, this church has been a second home. I can openly express my ideas, because I know the congregation and leaders support me. Other youth members are some of my closest friends. We have learned to work together—not just as youth but as loving brothers and sisters in Christ. I cannot wait for whatever adventures and opportunities lie ahead.” —Brian Herrel

The Presbytery of San José is home to 41 congregations, two ethnic fellowships, and two new church developments.

—Elder Pat Plant, hunger action enabler, Presbytery of San José

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Joey Lee, executive presbyter
Rev. John E. Kelso, stated clerk
Elder Jane Odell, safe church practices coordinator
Diane Case, accountant
Natasha Jackson, program support
Rev. Geoff Browning, peacemaking advocate
Elsa Amboy and Coleen Hausler, refugee ministry advocates

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Todd Whatley, PMA
Elder Bruce Whearty, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, we are blessed by our youth and we celebrate their contributions to our lives and our church families. May we learn from them, equip them, and launch them. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 102; 148
First Reading Isaiah 7:10-25
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5
Gospel Reading Luke 22:14-30
Evening Psalms 130; 16

Mission Yearbook for December 11, 2014

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Presbytery of San Joaquin

California

 

Youth on spring break at FIRM

 

Photo courtesy of Cindi Rogers

 

In a presbytery composed primarily of small congregations, the mission opportunity team is working to coordinate and provide mission service opportunities. In addition, they are partnering congregations with the budgets and staff for mission trips and experiences with those that do not. The idea is to bring people together within the presbytery around service projects.

Over spring break, for instance, three churches with only a handful of youth and no youth programs participated in a presbytery United Youth Service Project led by the mission opportunity coordinator. At the Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministry (FIRM), the youth learned the key difference between a refugee and an immigrant—namely, that the refugee’s move was forced rather than chosen. Side by side with the refugees, the youth painted, worked in the community garden, tutored, and helped with the children’s afternoon programs. They came away with a better understanding of what it was like to be a refugee in a foreign country.

Members from various congregations are also joining forces to install solar water systems in areas of the world where clean water is not available. They train together and then travel to countries like Guatemala to set up the systems, train local people to maintain them, and demonstrate the simple hygiene that is possible with clean water.

Located in California’s Central Valley, the 23 congregations, one new church development, and camp ministry of the Presbytery of San Joaquin know that God still has work for them to do and are developing new ways of ministering.

Elder Cindi Rogers, administrative associate, Presbytery of San Joaquin

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Sandy Brown, interim general presbyter/stated clerk
Elder Cindi Rogers, administrative associate

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Darla West, PILP
Carol Wetzel, PMA
Jennifer Whalen, PMA
Mickey Whalen, PMA

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, thank you for making us all parts of the same body, your church. Take our differences and knit them together to meet a wide variety of needs as we partner together in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20
First Reading Isaiah 7:1-9
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Gospel Reading Luke 22:1-13
Evening Psalms 126; 62

Mission Yearbook for December 10, 2014

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Human Rights Day Minute for Mission

 

“Here am I; send me,” said Isaiah. Through the ages, followers of Jesus have responded to God’s call in a similar fashion and worked for the human rights of our sisters and brothers.

The Bible affirms that all human beings are made in God’s image. All people have inherent dignity, worth, and value, because God creates us as God’s children. The Bible uses language of wholeness, freedom, peace, and justice to describe God’s intention for the human creature. This vision guides and sustains the followers of Jesus in human rights work.

Some followers of Jesus who have worked for human rights are well known. Others are known only to God and to the brothers and sisters for whom they worked. Mitri and Arda seek justice for Palestinians; Gloria and German stand with the displaced in Colombia; Sung Yeon and Gerardo support workers; Ann and Mary Ann pursue rights for women; Willie advocates with people suffering from mental illness; Sue calls for full inclusion of people with disabilities; and on the list goes. In every country, on every issue, wherever we seek to ensure that our sisters and brothers live the abundant life intended by God, followers of Jesus work for human rights. Who would you name?

And what of us? By God’s grace, may we too respond, “Here am I; send me.” May we live into God’s vision of justice and peace, of honor and respect, as we work for human rights in our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, and countries around God’s world.

Rev. W. Mark Koenig, director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Erika Weed, PMA
Carol Wellings, BOP
Michele Wentworth, BOP

Let us pray

God of justice and peace, we thank you for sisters and brothers who work for human rights around your world. Inspire us to join your transforming ministry that protects the weak, challenges the strong, frees the prisoner, proclaims peace, and heals the broken in all places. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11
First Reading Isaiah 6:1-13
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12
Gospel Reading John 7:53-8:11
Evening Psalms 53; 17

Mission Yearbook for December 09, 2014

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of San Francisco

California

 

A circle of new friends

 

Photo courtesy of Heather Grantham

 

The San Francisco Presbyterian Youth Group (SFPyG, named by the youth at the first gathering in September 2012) is a start-up ministry engaging presbytery youth. Convinced that local youth were being underserved, a small group of passionate pastors, parents, youth, and lay leaders launched this ministry to offer spiritual care and service opportunities to urban youth in the San Francisco area.

By pooling resources and coordinating congregational planning efforts within the presbytery, SFPyG is able to offer youth increased opportunities for multicultural fellowship, discipleship, and service. The ministry builds community between the presbytery’s 75 congregations while connecting youth to the local and national body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

When, as program coordinator, I asked the youth how the church could best serve them and their spiritual needs, they responded by enthusiastically expressing a deep hunger to serve the less fortunate. “The church talks too much!” exclaimed Alex, an eighth-grade participant. “We need to stop talking about what Jesus did and start doing the things he did!” Hands-on acts of service are the heart of SFPyG, but in order to ground its activities in a Christian framework, SFPyG alternates fellowship and discipleship gatherings with the service events. For an idea of what a fellowship and discipleship gathering looks like, please view the video at vimeo.com/51659668.

The Presbytery of San Francisco serves 77 congregations.

—Heather Grantham, with presbytery staff

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Jeff Hutcheson, pastor for mission and vision
Rev. Kathy Runyeon, stated clerk
Rev. Bruce Der-McLeod, accountant
Elder Myrdell Dybdal, bookkeeper
Elder Erika Glisson, administrative coordinator
Elder Dvorah Miller, office coordinator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elise Warshavsky, OGA
Chris Watson, PMA
Valerie Way, PMA

Let us pray

Dear God, thank you for being present in our lives—though we sometimes doubt more than we believe. Thank you for all the good things in our lives—though we sometimes concentrate more on the bad. We ask that you continue to walk with us, that you may teach us and help us live into our calling: loving others as you loved us. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 33; 146
First Reading Isaiah 5:18-25
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
Gospel Reading Luke 21:29-38
Evening Psalms 85; 94

Mission Yearbook for December 08, 2014

Sun, 12/07/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Sacramento

California

 

Advent candles on phone screens light up conversation at a Theology Pub gathering.

 

Photo courtesy of The WordHouse

 

 

What needs to emerge?

How does it change you?

These are the kinds of questions driving the WordHouse, a small missional community in partnership with Faith Presbyterian Church in Sacramento that meets in homes, coffee shops, and pubs. Jeff Richards, who fills the role of pastor for the community, is driven to develop relationships with young adults alienated from the traditional church, some of whom were turned away for asking too many bothersome and unwelcome questions.

The WordHouse seeks instead to create an environment hospitable to those who are exploring their faith (or lack thereof) and questioning their identity and spiritual self-understanding. The small community encourages people to express openly whatever is on their hearts. By being honest and open about their questions and doubts, they are able to see more clearly how God is working in their lives.

Shedding the rigid scheduling that at times burdens churches, the WordHouse worships together without the expectation of a set dismissal time, sometimes losing track of the hour as they pray for each other. And by meeting in homes, pubs, parks, and coffee shops, they build community right in the middle of the communities they are called to serve.

The WordHouse community explores faith and mission alongside 35 congregations in the Presbytery of Sacramento.

Ivan Herman, chair, congregational support team, Presbytery of Sacramento

Let us join in prayer for:

Elder Kathy Trott, at-large member, PMA Board

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dr. Jay Wilkins, general presbyter
Rev. Nancy Clegg, stated clerk
Rev. Tina Torres, director of Latino ministry
Earl Lavagnino, accountant
Shelley Mitchell, resource center director

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Laura Wampler, PPC
Kyeasha Ward, BOP

Let us pray

God of creation, you make all things new. Teach us to shed that which inhibits us from seeking your justice and peace. Fill us with courage to explore questions of faith. As you call your church to emerge into new ways of loving each other, remind us that no matter which new road we tread, you have already walked it, and we but follow in Christ’s footsteps. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 145
First Reading Isaiah 5:8-17
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Gospel Reading Luke 21:20-28
Evening Psalms 40; 67

Mission Yearbook for December 07, 2014

Sat, 12/06/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

 

 

Lindsay Conrad listens to one of her friends in the Austin Street Ministry.

 

Photo by Randal Whittington

 

Lindsay Conrad has always known she is called to the church. As a child, she was shaped and nurtured there: leading in youth groups, singing in the choir, and participating in worship. When she got ready for college, her pastor called her aside and asked if she’d ever thought about seminary. “I don’t even know what that word means,” she replied. “But I’m going to college; let’s talk about that later!”

During college she worked in a Presbyterian congregation. The summer before seminary she worked with the homeless in Memphis. One day her mentor handed her a Bible and told her to preach. “And I did!” she says. “From that moment I’ve had a love for and desire to serve people who are on the edge. I love these people, and my call is to tell them that they are loved—not just by me but by this God who still claims them in all the chaos that is their lives.”

Lindsay calls Austin Seminary “a gift” that provided a foundation of theology, preaching, and biblical studies. As a student, she interned in a retirement-community church whose members supported her work with her other “congregation”—the young people on the streets of Austin. Her experiences helped crystallize a vision where “the traditional church can break itself open to be more accepting of people of different backgrounds and lifestyles—the people Jesus died for.”

Before graduating, Lindsay won the Chidester Preaching Award, established by the session of First Presbyterian Church in Malvern, Arkansas. Lindsay is now serving as a pastoral resident at First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In so many ways—through so many congregations—the church is preparing Lindsay to make disciples for Christ.

Randal Whittington, director of communications, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Let us pray

Jesus, walk with me until I walk with you. Amen. (by Lindsay)

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Isa. 40:1–11
“Comfort, Comfort You My People”
PH 3

Ps. 85:1–2, 8–13
“The Lord Will Come and
Not Be Slow”
HB 230

2 Peter 3:8–15a
“O Day of God, Draw Nigh”
PH 452

Mark 1:1–8
“On Jordan’s Bank the
Baptist’s Cry”
PH 10

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 24; 150
First Reading Isaiah 5:1-7
Second Reading 2 Peter 3:11-18
Gospel Reading Luke 7:28-35
Evening Psalms 25; 110

Mission Yearbook for December 06, 2014

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of the Redwoods

California

Baptisms are special moments. As our children grow, we seek to provide opportunities for their spiritual growth and to be faithful to the call of loving them and raising them to know that they are God’s beloved, forever. Below, two young adults from Covenant Presbyterian Church (CPC) in Napa who are currently away at college share about their faith and the importance of the church in their lives.

“Unlike when I was a child, today I go to church because I want to see my church family. I think being away from home made me realize how important the diverse and warm community at CPC is. While I feel a sense of community among my peers at college, coming home to CPC reminds me that I have people of all ages looking out for me as well—my church family. I always make sure I’ll be able to come to church when I am home.” —Hannah Tiberend, Middlebury College

“When I was little, I didn’t realize that God’s presence could be felt. My first Christmas Eve at CPC, as the whole congregation circled the sanctuary, faces lit by flickering candles and the lyrics of ‘Silent Night,’ it wasn’t a question of whether or not He was watching over us. When I come home from college and walk into my church, I feel Him greeting me. To me, CPC means family, trust, a place to focus on God. When I became a member, I was also baptized, and that Sunday was like a cleansing to me, a removal of worry; a welcoming into God’s kingdom that still inspires me to face the struggles that life can bring. When I come home, I know that I will be welcomed at CPC. And accepted. And hugged.” —Arin Greenwood, University of Washington

The Presbytery of the Redwoods is home to 52 congregations and their 6,375 members.

Rev. Dr. Deana Reed, pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Napa

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Robert E. Conover, mission presbyter/stated clerk
Patty Sanders, hunger action enabler
Pam Sommer, administrative assistant/bookkeeper

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Charlotte Wakefield, PMA
Donald Walker, BOP
Judy Walton, PILP

Let us pray

Eternal God, may our baptismal promises create ongoing space for covenant life to be experienced by all your children, leading us all into your realm of grace and peace. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 90; 149
First Reading Isaiah 4:2-6
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Gospel Reading Luke 21:5-19
Evening Psalms 80; 72

Mission Yearbook for December 05, 2014

Thu, 12/04/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Nevada

Nevada, California

On any given Sunday night, hundreds of men, women, and children gather in the parking lot at Fourth and Record Streets to eat what may be their only meal that day. And on any given Sunday night, members of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Reno, Nevada, are among a group of people, both Christians and non-Christians, serving home-cooked meals to all who come.

The congregation’s involvement in this grassroots effort, dubbed Tent City, began not as a strategic plan from the leadership but rather from the passion of a single member. Her enthusiasm and generous spirit was contagious, drawing many others to become involved.

Tent City is truly a joint effort of the entire congregation. The youth use money contributed to the Souper Bowl of Caring offering to purchase, prepare, and serve meals regularly throughout the year. A generous man in the congregation volunteers the use of a trailer, which provides much-needed storage space for tables and other supplies. Senior ladies in the church prepare homemade casseroles, while other members donate bulk food items that they have purchased. People of all ages work side by side on the serving line, offering hot food and smiles to the people they encounter. And young adults in the church are even planning a fellowship group focused specifically on engaging in local missions like the efforts at Tent City.

Who knows what the congregation’s long-term involvement will be. But, for now, the people of St. John’s are finding energy and excitement in participating in the work that God has laid before them.

The Presbytery of Nevada is home to Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center and to 24 congregations, five ethnic fellowships, and three new church developments.

Brandon Mills, director of Christian education, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Reno, Nevada

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Joan Jeffers, stated clerk
Vernon Manke, mission finance

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Ricky Velez-Negron, PMA
Teresa Waggener, OGA

Let us pray

O God, we pray that your Holy Spirit will guide and direct our paths. Open our hearts and minds to new opportunities to be your hands and feet in the communities in which we live. May we strive to embody, ever more fully, the character of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 102; 148
First Reading Isaiah 3:1-4:1
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
Gospel Reading Luke 20:41-21:4
Evening Psalms 130; 16

Mission Yearbook for December 04, 2014

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Kendall

Idaho

 

Pastor Mazie Porter of Soda Springs with Bob Kukachka before

 

The Presbytery of Kendall celebrates the life and legacy of Hilda Thompson, a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church in Soda Springs. Upon her death 20 years ago, Hilda gave her working ranch and investment portfolio to the presbytery.

As Hilda directed, a portion of the crop proceeds is distributed to the Soda Springs church. The remainder of the crop proceeds and the investment earnings are shared by the College of Idaho, San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Synod of the Pacific, and the presbytery.

Presbytery management of the ranch and investments is sensitive to Hilda’s directions and reflects her concern for preserving the land. In partnership with government and business interests, the presbytery has developed a wetlands project on the ranch as a commitment to ongoing environmental stewardship.

The Soda Springs congregation, today ably led by Pastor Mazie Porter, is one of 16 congregations in the Presbytery of Kendall. The presbytery is also home to Camp Sawtooth and to Church in the Tetons, a new church development.

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Ron Lavoie, presbytery executive and stated clerk
Candace Wyckoff, executive presbytery assistant

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Kris Valerius, OGA
Nadirah Van Beverhoudt, BOP
Rev. Jerry Van Marter, PMA

Let us pray

Gracious God, thank you for the life of witness and ministry of those who have gone before us. We are grateful that the well of your Spirit never runs dry. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 18:1-20; 147:12-20
First Reading Isaiah 2:5-22
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13
Gospel Reading Luke 20:27-40
Evening Psalms 126; 62

Mission Yearbook for December 03, 2014

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Eastern Oregon

 

 

The Open Door program mission celebration

 

Photo by Linda Toth

 

 At the meeting of the Presbytery of Eastern Oregon each February, we name what God is doing among our 16 congregations. There we celebrate their mission programs and praise God for the work we have been given to do in Christ’s name. One such program is Open Door.

First Presbyterian Church, Baker City, operates the Open Door program, which provides a warm and encouraging place for students to go before the doors open at Baker Middle School just across the street. Students are warmly welcomed to come in, eat breakfast, play games, and visit together in a safe, caring environment.

The congregation started the program in 2012 as an answer to Christ’s call to help the children in Baker City who lack the resources for healthy and nutritious meals throughout the week. Specifically, it provides breakfast for students at the beginning of each school day during the academic year.

The program served approximately 30 at-risk middle school students its first year. Teachers and administrators expressed their appreciation for the significant difference Open Door made in the students’ ability to function throughout the school day. In 2013 the congregation expanded the program to 40 students, with hopes of including more in the future. It sees Open Door becoming a community-wide outreach supported by a broad base of churches and community groups. One goal is to provide this service to the other public schools in Baker City through churches nearby.

Teaching Elder Linda Toth, general presbyter

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Ruling Elder Peter Wells, stated clerk
Teaching Elder Linda Toth, general presbyter

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Mienda Uriarte, PMA
Elder Linda Bryant Valentine, PMA

Let us pray

God of greatness, help us to be faithful servants where we live and thus praise you each and every day. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 50; 147:1-11
First Reading Isaiah 2:1-4
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 2:13-20
Gospel Reading Luke 20:19-26
Evening Psalms 53; 17

Mission Yearbook for December 02, 2014

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of the Cascades

Oregon, Washington, California

 

 

Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting

 

Photo courtesy of Nancy A. Gaston

 

Sometimes the mission field is right outside the church door. As Moreland Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon, looked for ways to serve its community, the congregation found that, although it had few young adults, the neighborhood was full of mothers with young children. Moreland responded by sponsoring a chapter of Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) to meet in its building.

The response was immediately and overwhelmingly positive. The group has grown to some 50 moms who bring more than 60 young children to meetings twice a month. These gatherings include social time, devotionals, craft projects, and speakers. Each year the group takes on a service project, the most recent one being the creation of welcome boxes for local children entering foster care. The boxes are filled with books, toys, nightlights, and toiletries. The youngsters can use the items while waiting in the social services office and then take them as their very own possessions into the foster homes. MOPS is a local mission project that “pays it forward” by carrying out local mission of its own.

The church community nurtures the young mothers in many ways. Mentor moms meet regularly with the women in small table groups, creating community and offering support. Volunteers provide child care during the meetings. Moreland pastor Rev. Mary McKnight presents an occasional program. While increasing the size of the congregation was not the purpose for the program, Moreland has seen a steady increase in the number of young adults and their families becoming active participants in the faith community.

Moreland Presbyterian Church is one of 105 congregations in the Presbytery of the Cascades.

Nancy A. Gaston, ruling elder, First Presbyterian Church, Vancouver, Washington

Let us join in prayer for:

Rev. Jack Hodges, member, PMA Board

Presbytery Staff

Aleida Jernigan, co-executive presbyter
Catherine Quackenbush, stated clerk
Janet Alpine, administrative assistant
Dawn Champoux, interim co-executive presbyter
Carolee Neighorn, administrative assistant
Marjorie Robinson, administrative assistant
Cheryl Anderson, business manager
Diane Wells, bookkeeper
Maureen O’Rourke, media resource center director

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder John Turner, FDN
Elder Rick Turner, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, as we look for ways to minister to your people in far-flung places around the globe, help us to look also at our neighbors whom you may be calling us to serve. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 33; 146
First Reading Isaiah 1:21-31
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Gospel Reading Luke 20:9-18
Evening Psalms 85; 94

Mission Yearbook for December 01, 2014

Sun, 11/30/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     World AIDS Day Presbyterian HIV/AIDS Awareness Minute for Mission

 

 

Wayne Meisel and Community Engagement Fellows at the Creating AIDS Competent Churches and Church Leaders Conference

 

Photo courtesy of Paul T. Roberts

 

When the 219th General Assembly (2010) adopted the report Becoming an HIV and AIDS Competent Church the same summer the White House released the first National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, students at Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary (JCSTS), along with staff and faculty at the Interdenominational Theological Center, discerned a need for faith-based training and certification in HIV/AIDS competency.

On December 1, 2012, nearly 100 church leaders gathered in Atlanta to learn more about responding to HIV through pastoral care, preaching, education, advocacy, and asset mapping. JCSTS partnered with the Presbyterian Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian AIDS Network to promote the World AIDS Day conference and provide 76 scholarships, many of which went to seminarians, persons of color, young adults, and people living with HIV. Participants discussed how HIV/AIDS intersected with collegiate ministries, African Americans, chaplaincy, LGBT persons, sex trafficking, prison justice, older-adult ministries, and global mission partnerships. Afterward, the PC(USA)’s online justice journal, Unbound, invited attendees to publish reflections on the conference and thoughts about next steps.

The gathering demonstrated how doing mission in partnership multiplies the fruits of our efforts. Today is the day that Presbyterians join with individuals and organizations worldwide to draw attention to HIV/AIDS, so lift your voices “in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it” (1 Thess. 1:8).

Rev. Emily Rose Proctor, Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association Board of Directors, representing the Presbyterian AIDS Network

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Hannah Truxell, PMA
Teresa Turek, BOP

Let us pray

God of life and love, open our eyes to opportunities to work together to prevent disease, seek justice, and care for the most vulnerable among us. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 145
First Reading Isaiah 1:10-20
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Gospel Reading Luke 20:1-8
Evening Psalms 40; 67

Pages

Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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