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Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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Mission Yearbook for October 30, 2014

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Germany

 

 

2010 Assembly in Berlin-Pankow

 

Courtesy of Burkhard Paetzold

 

Convinced that the first step toward reconciliation following the Nazi atrocities of World War II had to be made by the perpetrators and their descendants, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) was founded in 1958 with the Protestant Church in Germany acknowledging Germany’s guilt for Nazi crimes as part of a public appeal. The group also set forth a concrete response. The ARSP would not offer assistance but instead ask if it could help. This attitude, a rejection of paternalism, indicated a readiness to get wholly involved—to learn by doing and by dialogue.

Since 1968, more than 700 ARSP volunteers have also worked in the United States. After World War II, young American volunteers from the historic peace churches came to a destroyed Europe to work in refugee camps and settlements for displaced persons. In the late 1960s, when the Vietnam War was at its peak and the United States was struggling to overcome racism, American church groups invited young, highly motivated German volunteers, believing that they could learn from each other, since both nations faced similar problems of racism and militarism.

Every year ARSP offers 20 summer camps in 10 European countries for young people from around the world. The participants work, learn, and celebrate together by restoring Jewish graveyards and memorial sites, supporting antiracism projects, or working with people with disabilities. For more information, visit.

Burkhard Paetzold, PC(USA) regional liaison for Central Europe/Roma Ministry

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Burkhard Paetzold, regional liaison for Central Europe/Roma Ministry, Presbyterian World Mission • Berliner Missionswerk: Alan Smith, coordinator of minority outreach, Evangelism and Church Twinning Project • Black Forest Academy: James and Nancy Adams, school administrators • Iranian Presbyterian Church in Berlin: Ryan White, ministry with Iranian Refugees, Alethia White, team ministry • Iranian Presbyterian Fellowship in Europe: Azizollah Sadaghiani, refugee worker, Rev. Sadegh Sepehri, minister, Reformed Bethlehem Church

Partners/Ministries

Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD): Präses Dr. Nikolaus Schneider, council chair • Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz: Bishop Dr. Markus Dröge • Union of Evangelical Churches in the EKD: Bishop Dr. Ulrich Fischer, chair • Evangelisches Missionswerk in Germany: Rev. Christoph Anders, director • Diakonisches Werk, Hoffnung für Osteuropa: Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, chair • Berliner Missionswerk: Kirchenrat Roland Herpich, director, Dr. Christoph Theilemann, ecumenical relations and world mission, Wolfgang Iskraut, liaison for Eastern Europe • Berliner Stadtmission: Rev. Hans-Georg Filker, director • Reformierter Bund Germany: D. Peter Bukowski, moderator, Jörg Schmidt, general secretary • Reformed Diakonie: Rev. Dietmar Arends, chair • European Diaconal Year Network: John Stringham, director

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Dottie Smith, PMA

Let us pray

Reconciling God, we ask your blessing on young people who work together and discover a new and peaceful path. Give courage to those who keep our historic memory awake and stand against new forms of racism and violence. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 116; 147:12-20
First Reading Nahum 1:15-2:12
Second Reading Revelation 12:7-17
Gospel Reading Luke 11:53-12:12
Evening Psalms 26; 130

Mission Yearbook for October 29, 2014

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Italy

 

In a country that is predominantly Roman Catholic, a small denomination like the Waldensian Church has mastered the art of working collaboratively with a larger federation of Protestant churches to accomplish its mission. Cultivating young adult leadership is a key aspect of the Waldensian mission.

A Waldensian pastor founded the international AGAPE Ecumenical Centre after World War II in the Waldensian valleys of Italy. At that time, building strong communications networks and learning to work together to solve the many problems Europe faced in the aftermath of war were of utmost importance. The AGAPE Centre continues to offer programs where young adults representing different countries, ethnic groups, religious beliefs, and political perspectives come together to enter into authentic dialogue, engage in experiential learning, and connect faith and ethics.

Dialogue and learning at the centre spans the most challenging political, social, and economic problems facing the international community today—hunger, poverty, climate change, tremendous inequalities in wealth, lack of access to food and clean water for so many. The list could go on. Hope can be found emerging in the spirit and conversations of young adults. Many who participate in AGAPE programs describe the experience as transformative.

Jenn Lindsay traveled with a group sponsored by the World Student Christian Federation of North America to AGAPE to take part in the 2011 International Political Camp. After engaging in a ritual about a Native American approach to ownership, Lindsay reflected on what she had learned: “Love is the only thing that is ours to give, and the more we give away, the more we have to give away. Love is the only infinitely renewable free resource.”

I invite you today to reflect on the importance of ecumenical and interfaith collaboration and to pray with me.

Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, associate professor of theology, Bellarmine University, Louisville Kentucky

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Waldensian Evangelical Church: Rev. Maria Bonafede, moderator • Confronti: Dr. Paolo Naso, director • Waldensian Theological Faculty • Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy: Ms. Laura Casorio, general secretary, Ms. Bianca de Lecce, Refugee and Migrant Service • Casa Materna: Rosaria Vincenzi, administrator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Bryce Smith, PMA
Craig Smith, PMA

Let us pray

Working together, across national and religious lines, may we increase God’s love. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 96; 147:1-11
First Reading Nahum 1:1-14
Second Reading Revelation 12:1-6
Gospel Reading Luke 11:37-52
Evening Psalms 132; 134

Mission Yearbook for October 28, 2014

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Scotland

 

 

Kourtney McMurray, the Glen Kin Experience, March 2013

 

Courtesy of Martin Johnstone

 

For the last decade, the Church of Scotland has deliberately—and consistently—sought to prioritize resources and money for its work in the country’s very poorest communities. That has meant a commitment to double our resources in our priority areas. If the church is not present in these places, then it ceases to be the church of Jesus Christ.

Over that time we have come to realize that young people are often among the most marginalized and that it is easy to write many of them off as current failures and future no-hopers. But that is not our experience. Instead, we see enormous talent, creativity, generosity, and wisdom. We are committed to supporting this generation of young people growing up in our poorest neighborhoods and to helping them become transformational leaders.

We work with young people and their youth workers to inspire young people where they live and enable them to experience all sorts of new challenges and opportunities in other settings. We see young people like Kourtney coming alive to their potential. One young man wrote to us recently to thank us for helping him to reimagine his life.

And so we begin to understand the nature of God’s community of love that is constantly breaking out among us.

Martin Johnstone, priority areas secretary, Church of Scotland

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Church of Scotland: Rev. John Chalmers, principal clerk • Churches Together in Britain and Ireland: Rev. Robert Fyffe, general secretary • Iona Community: Rev. Peter McDonald, leader

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Eva Slayton, PMA
Elder Valerie Small, OGA
Rev. Alexa Smith, PMA

Let us pray

I pray that someday there will be no poor people in the church because there will be no poverty. And I pray to you, the God of miracles, the God of the rich, the God of the poor, the God of the young, the God of the old. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 12; 146
First Reading Jonah 3:1-4:11
Second Reading Revelation 11:14-19
Gospel Reading Luke 11:27-36
Evening Psalms 36; 7

Mission Yearbook for October 27, 2014

Sun, 10/26/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     United Kingdom

 

 

Munther Isaac, doctoral student

 

Courtesy of Thomas Alan Harvey

 

 

I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants’ God after you. (Gen. 17:7)

The words of the covenant between Yahweh and Abraham are at once words of comfort and of great controversy. For Munther Isaac, a doctoral student at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS), they lie at the heart of his thesis examining the relationship between the covenant, the land, Israel, Palestine, the gospel, and the people of God. Munther is a Palestinian Christian, and his family has lived in Bethlehem for 10 generations. He is also academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College. His research is thus no mere academic exercise but is grappling with what divides yet unites people of faith globally. His work and research are important not only for those in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Israel but for issues of land and salvation around the globe.

At OCMS, Munther is in dialogue with over 120 scholars from more than 40 nations, many of whom are familiar with the tensions of faith, ethnicity, contested histories, and the ownership of land and identities tied to it. Yet what arises in such engagement is not despair, but hope, as people of faith explore the common ground of the covenant of peace found in the gospel of Christ.

Rev. Dr. Thomas Alan Harvey, PC(USA) mission coworker; academic dean, Oxford Centre for Mission Studies

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Rev. Douglas Baker, regional liaison for Ireland and the UK, YAV site coordinator, Presbyterian World Mission, Elaine Baker, team ministry, Presbyterian World Mission • Oxford Centre for Mission Studies: Rev. Dr. Thomas Alan Harvey, academic dean, Judith Harvey, team ministry

Partners/Ministries

United Reformed Church: Revd John Proctor, general secretary • Presbyterian Church of Wales: Revd Meirion Morris, general secretary • Churches Together in Britain and Ireland: Rev. Robert Fyffe, general secretary • Oxford Centre for Mission Studies: Rev. Dr. Wonsuk Ma, executive director

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Luke Skaggs, PPC
Theresa Slaiman, PMA

Let us pray

Sovereign Lord, empower us as we pursue your truth in your Word, and fill us with your transformative Spirit, that we might work to overcome discord, injustice, and division through your peace, justice, and reconciliation. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 62; 145
First Reading Jonah 1:17-2:10
Second Reading Revelation 11:1-14
Gospel Reading Luke 11:14-26
Evening Psalms 73; 9

Mission Yearbook for October 26, 2014

Sat, 10/25/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Reformation Sunday

 

 

Students explore culture and encourage church leaders in Southeast Asia.

 

Courtesy of Jennifer Haddox

 

World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary offers opportunities for students and congregations in our region to witness God’s mission through the global church and discover how they can be involved. A hallmark of our ministry is providing opportunities for students to participate with the church in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on short-term mission trips. We see how this transforms a student’s view of the church, the world, and how God is calling us as “sent people.” As one student has said, “You cannot fully understand the local church without understanding the global church.”

One of our key global partnerships is with a church in Southeast Asia. This partnership began 10 years ago with an exploratory trip and a weekly prayer meeting on campus, which continues to this day. Our involvement has included supporting efforts of evangelism and leadership development by sponsoring conferences and providing for leadership-development retreats. We have witnessed the start of a church-planting movement among a minority ethnic group, and we are now focusing on how to give this small movement a strong start by facilitating opportunities for house-church leaders from various villages to connect and share. It has been a dynamic relationship, where we learn and gain from the church just as much as we contribute or share. Students have remarked, “Seeing a young church struggling to find what it means to change your life to become a follower of Jesus has really driven me to ask that question more carefully in my life and to encourage my congregation to do the same.”

Rev. Jennifer Haddox, associate director, World Mission Initiative, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Let us pray

Gracious Lord, open our eyes and hearts to see your mission in the world, and give us discernment and courage to participate in ways that bring glory to your name. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Deut. 34:1–12
“Lord of Light, Your
Name Outshining”
PH 425

Ps. 90:1–6, 13–17
“Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”
HB 111, PH 210

1 Thess. 2:1–8
“Lord, Speak to Me,
That I May Speak”
HB 298, PH 426

Matt. 22:34–46
“Christian Women, Christian Men”
PH 348

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 108; 150
First Reading Jonah 1:1-17a
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:15-24
Gospel Reading Matthew 18:15-20
Evening Psalms 66; 23

Mission Yearbook for October 25, 2014

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Ireland/Northern Ireland

 

 

SPUD delegate speaking at PCI General Assembly

 

Courtesy of PCI Communications Office

 

Recognizing that young people lacked the opportunity to participate in the church’s decision making, in 2009 the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) organized a pilot youth assembly called SPUD—speaking, participating, understanding, and deciding. Annual SPUD Assemblies allow young people from various congregations to connect, feel part of the larger church, understand how Presbyterianism works, and discover and use their voices on issues important to them.

Each SPUD Assembly is held several months before the denomination’s General Assembly. It sets its own agenda and refers resolutions it passes to be endorsed, modified, or rejected under the relevant sections of General Assembly business. To date, over 800 young people have attended and over 20 resolutions have been forwarded. As each comes up for vote, SPUD delegates rise to help the General Assembly understand it. So far, all SPUD resolutions have been agreed!

In a denomination where elected ruling elders serve on kirk session for life, it is rare for younger members to be elected. The SPUD working group has produced a program entitled Grow Your Own Spuds, which encourages local conversations between young people and church leaders about issues important to young adults and how to increase their participation in congregational planning and decision making.

Rev. Doug Baker, PC(USA) regional liaison for Ireland and the United Kingdom

Let us join in prayer for:

Partners/Ministries

Presbyterian Church in Ireland: Rev. Trevor Gribben, general secretary • Irish Council of Churches/Irish Inter-Church Meeting: Mervyn McCullagh, executive secretary • Irish School of Ecumenics • Corrymeela Community

Young Adult Volunteers

Sarah Atchison, Emma Cushman-Wood, Marranda Major, Mark Moseley, Sarah Paulsen, Courtney Reinke, and Kalli Watson, peacemaking interns, Presbyterian Church in Ireland

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Clark Simmons, BOP
Rita Singleton, PMA

Let us pray

God, often we forget how young many of those in the Bible were when you called them to exercise leadership. Help us to use the insights and vision of younger members of Christ’s body. Bless the work of SPUD in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and help us “grow our own spuds” where we are. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 122; 149
First Reading Micah 7:1-7
Second Reading Revelation 10:1-11
Gospel Reading Luke 11:1-13
Evening Psalms 100; 63

Mission Yearbook for October 24, 2014

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the idea of Europe? European Union leaders promote a Europe of peace, freedom, democracy, prosperity, and justice. Geography matters less. To be European is to subscribe to these values, but what is the source of European values?

Many Christians might see Europe as a shipwreck of faith. A 2009 Gallup poll showed that 7 of the 11 least-religious countries in the world were in Europe. Today’s Europe is diverse: 44 million (6 percent) Muslims and 10–12 million Roma people live in Europe. Historic churches seem fragile and irrelevant in an aggressive secular culture. So what is the role of faithful Christian witness today?

A genuine missionary encounter between the gospel and today’s European culture requires exposing all beliefs in the light of the gospel. Missiologist Lesslie Newbigin said that the Christian church must be both humble and bold in its encounter with Western secular culture: humble as a learner, paying heed to the variety of human experience in ethnically diverse Europe, but also bold in its witness to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Eric L. Hinderliter, PC(USA) mission coworker, Klaipėda, Lithuania

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) People in Mission

Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal: Rev. Dr. Robert Butterfield, evangelist/community organizer, Keiko Butterfield, team ministry

Partners/Ministries

Conference of European Churches: Rev. Dr Guy Liagre, gen. secretary • World Communion of Reformed Churches: Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, general secretary, Rev. Dr. Douwe Visser, exec. secretary for theology and communion, Ms. Kristine Greenaway, exec. secretary for communications, Mr. Yueh Cho, financial secretary, Ms. Penny Blachut, admin. secretary, Ms. Daphne Martin-Gnanadason, admin. secretary • World Council of Churches: Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary • Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe: Doris Peschke, general secretary • Reformed Church of Albania (Presbyterian): Rev. Altin Hysi and Rev. Zefjan Nikolla, copastors • Autocephalos Orthodox Church of Albania: His Beatitude Anastasias Yanoloutos, archbishop • Albanian Evangelical Alliance • Inter-Confessional Bible Society of Albania: Rev. Altin Hysi, general secretary • InterVarsity/International Fellowship of Evangelical Students: Zefjan Nikolla, general director • United Protestant Church of France: Rev. Laurent Schlumberger, president, Rev. Didier Crouzet, general secretary, Rev. Claire Sixt-Gateuille, secretary for international and ecumenical relations • Greek Evangelical Church: Rev. Phaedon Cambouropoulos, general secretary • Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland: Rev. Marek Izdebski, bishop, Rev. Semko Koroza, ecumenical and international relations secretary • Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Portugal: Rev. Jose Salvador, president, Mr. Fernando Matos, vice president, Dr. David Valente, general secretary, Victor Baptisto, treasurer • Spanish Evangelical Church: Elder Joel Cortés, president, Rev. Jose Mochon, vice president, Rev. Carlos Capo, first secretary, Elder Gloria Castell, second secretary, Mr. David Casal Harrang, treasurer, Ms. Damaris Ruiz and Mr. Richardo Moraleja, members-at-large of the Synod Council • United Evangelical Theological Seminary, Spain: Rev. Dr. Jonathan Rowe, director • Reformed Church in Transcarpathia: Bishop Sandor Zan Fabian • Diaconal Center, Ukraine: Bela Nagy, director • Roma Mission Center, Csonkapapi, Ukraine: Attila Tomes, director • Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine: Rev. Dr. Vyacheslav Nesteruk, president

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

April Simmons, BOP

Let us pray

Dear Lord, ruler of all nations, make our woeful hearts sing. Empower us to be faithful witnesses to the truth of the gospel. Give us the grace to bear one another as we encounter a world that seems to be slipping away from the vision of the kingdom you have promised us. Amen.

 

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 88; 148
First Reading Micah 6:1-8
Second Reading Revelation 9:13-21
Gospel Reading Luke 10:38-42
Evening Psalms 6; 20

Mission Yearbook for October 23, 2014

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Western New York

 

Young adult ministry, First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo

 

Courtesy of Christina Banas

 

On a rainy autumn evening, a group of young adults from First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo gathered at a cozy home for a meal and discussion. It was a planned event for the congregation’s annual stewardship campaign, yet—as often happens when any from this group get together—the Spirit was present, transforming the gathering into much more.

They are a diverse group of people, varied in many ways, including ethnicity, socioeconomics, theology, family background, and marital status. Where differences often divide, the Spirit unites. A conversation about stewardship led to deep discussions about faith, discipleship, and responsibilities in the present and the future.

Blueprints evolved. Ideas came to life for fellowship activities, group studies, local mission projects, and ways to care for those in need. The realization that they are the future of the church emerged.

Since that rainy autumn evening, several of these young adults have been elected to the session and the board of deacons. They teach Sunday school; they gather for Bible study in each other’s homes; they plan and lead occasional worship services. For fellowship, they go out for brunch after worship the first Sunday of each month. They are a reliable and faithful presence in the life of the congregation.

As the present becomes the future, the young adults of First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo are playing an active role—and having fun while doing so.

First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo is one of 61 congregations in the Presbytery of Western New York.

Christina Banas, business manager, First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Bronwen W. Boswell, presbyter of discipleship, communications, and transformation
Laura Norris Buisch, stated clerk
Dale Harten, business manager
Janice L. Tyson, administrative assistant
Mary Mohlke, resource center

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Effie Shipp, PILP
Cecelia Siebert, PILP
Rev. Peter Sime, BOP

Let us pray

Lord, open our hearts and minds to the Spirit at all times. Help us to look and listen for opportunities to serve you. Ground us in the present; instill faith in us to face the future with hope and joy. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 143; 147:12-20
First Reading Micah 5:1-4, 10-15
Second Reading Revelation 9:1-12
Gospel Reading Luke 10:25-37
Evening Psalms 81; 116

Mission Yearbook for October 22, 2014

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of West Jersey

 

 

Youth bound for Purdue University #Triennium #Iam #delegationOf65

 

 

 

Young adult ministry is a story we yearn to tell, and we offer it below in the form of tweets representing various ministries in our presbytery.

• @Calvin’sCafe meets at the pizza parlor at 7 for faith, food, and conversation #Pepperoni #fellowship #Presbys-eat

• Y.A.M. looking for opportunity to assist with hurricane relief at the Jersey Shore #WJP PDA #Sandy

• College young adults are bowling on • Students worked in the cold & rain on their spring break building houses. #HabitatForHumanity #serving

• Young adult ministry isn’t contained by the church. It’s in relationship, conversation, coffee, and where you wouldn’t expect it. Embrace it. #OutsideOfTheBox

• Heading to Cuba for water installation for Living Waters for the World. #cleanwater

These tweets represent ways young adults are engaging in mission and ministry, building relationships, deepening faith, and caring for God’s people. The possibilities are truly endless.

#ThanksbetoGod

The Presbytery of West Jersey has 63 congregations.

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dr. Deborah Brincivalli, executive presbyter
Donna Cook, stated clerk
Kathryn M. Repici, administrative associate
Beth Thomas, associate of accounting
Rev. Wendy Boer, consultant for congregational life
Rev. Ellie Cowherd, consultant for congregational life
Rev. Carlos Rivera, Tres Iglesias

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elaine Shilstut, OGA
Natalie Shilstut, OGA

Let us pray

Loving God, you call us into a variety of relationships. Please bless all the ways in which we live and move and have our being. Breathe in us new life, and transform us in hope. We pray for the openness of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 65; 147:1-11
First Reading Micah 3:9-4:5
Second Reading Revelation 8:1-13
Gospel Reading Luke 10:17-24
Evening Psalms 125; 91

Mission Yearbook for October 21, 2014

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Utica

New York

 

Children who decided to paint themselves instead of paper

 

Photo by James Davis

 

In the past two years, the Vanderkamp Center, a partner of the Presbytery of Utica, has radically rethought youth ministry. After wrestling with the question of why youth leave the church, Vanderkamp has responded by attempting to treat them as equals rather than people to be managed and told what to do.

The Vanderkamp staff has eliminated rules that seem to be in place strictly for the convenience of adults. Inside voices are asked for only when someone is trying to sleep, not because the adults haven’t had their coffee. And children are free to choose what activities they want, when they do them, and with whom—to the degree that it is logistically possible. We aim to provide opportunities for children to grow in confidence while learning how to use freedom wisely. Vanderkamp works to help children love themselves for exactly who God made them to be.

The role of the adult in Vanderkamp’s ministry has become one of an excited partner who intervenes only when campers engage in activities that might be harmful to themselves or others.

The children have responded. In 2012 Vanderkamp had 68 percent more campers than it did the previous year, and 86 percent of campers eligible to return did so. Camille, a 15-year-old summer camper, put it best: “A lot of adults say you shouldn’t tease or bully, but they don’t do anything about it. Vanderkamp is the one place I’ve been in my whole life where I went a whole week without being teased.”

The Presbytery of Utica serves 35 congregations.

James Davis, director of program, Vanderkamp Center

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Teaching Elder Victor McKusick, moderator of presbytery
Ruling Elder Barbara Epley-Shuck, moderator of council
Ruling Elder George Whitton, stated clerk
Joanne Bolton, office associate 

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Kristena Shaw, BOP
Ellen Sherby, PMA
Alex Sherman, PMA

Let us pray

Lord Jesus, you said, “Let the little children come to me.” May we, in all that we do, open ourselves to children of all ages, respecting their human dignity and helping them to grow into your love. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 54; 146
First Reading Micah 3:1-8
Second Reading Revelation 7:9-17
Gospel Reading Luke 10:1-16
Evening Psalms 28; 99

Mission Yearbook for October 20, 2014

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley

New York

 

Union Presbyterian Church in Endicott

 

Courtesy of Judith A. Gage

 

Superstorm Sandy mobilized the body of Christ in many places. In the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley, the response included volunteers and the gathering of supplies such as water, food, equipment, Bibles, and blankets. This flood-relief effort was not the presbytery’s first. It dispatched personnel and supplies in response to Hurricane Katrina, only to experience severe local flooding in 2006 and 2011. The ongoing need of folks affected by Sandy was well understood by the members and friends of Union Presbyterian Church in Endicott.

Union members and friends gathered in the church’s fellowship hall for the annual One Great Hour of Sharing party. The congregation’s theme this year was the Jersey Shore. “People dressed in beachwear, brought towels and beach chairs, and enjoyed typical boardwalk food, including saltwater taffy,” said Pastor Pat Raube. The event continued with a talent auction netting more than $2,500 for One Great Hour of Sharing.

This event is just one example of how the congregation celebrates the kingdom of God with service projects in which a spirit of joy and laughter is present alongside passionate commitment. Later in 2013, members joined people from all over the country to serve at one of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance hospitality centers at the Jersey Shore, continuing Jesus’ work of proclaiming good news through both worship and service.

Union Presbyterian Church in Endicott is one of 48 congregations in the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley.

—submitted by Judith A. Gage, Laurens Presbyterian Church

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dr. James Martin, stated clerk
Christine Rogalski, office administrator
Marcia Shaw, treasurer
Lynn Shepard, recording clerk
Paula Lambertson, bookkeeper

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Rodney Sewell, BOP
Debbie Sexton, PMA

Let us pray

Lord, help us to care for those in need. May we offer hope in the face of chaos, confidence in the face of uncertainty, and joy in service to you. May all who endure loss be filled with your presence and confidence in your love. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 57; 145
First Reading Micah 2:1-13
Second Reading Revelation 7:1-8
Gospel Reading Luke 9:51-62
Evening Psalms 85; 47

Mission Yearbook for October 19, 2014

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Children’s Sabbath

 

The following is excerpted from a letter by Children’s Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman that accompanies the 2013 Children’s Sabbaths materials.

Dear Faithful Welcome to the 22nd annual National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths celebration, “Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty.” Your faithful preaching, teaching, service, and hard, urgent, and persistent work for justice are needed now more than ever to create a world in which children are safe from the pervasive violence of guns and poverty. . . .

. . . In 2010, a child or teen was killed by guns every three hours and fifteen minutes— that’s more than 21 lost lives every three days from gun homicides, suicides, and accidents. A child or youth was killed or injured by a gun every half hour. Between 1963 and 2010, an estimated 166,500 children and teens aged 0–19 lost their lives to gun violence. . . . Of these deaths, 62 percent were among White children and youths and 36 percent were among Black children and youths; 52 percent were homicides, 29 percent were suicides, and 16 percent were accidental deaths. . . .

. . . It’s time to say enough! The tragic, relentless taking of life by gun violence . . . will continue if you remain silent and do not act. The sacred texts, teachings, and traditions of our religious faiths call us not to harm others and point us to the way of nonviolence and the power of love and to protecting the poor and vulnerable. . . .

. . . In his 1959 “Sermon on Gandhi,” Dr. King wrote: “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.” My hope and prayer is that through the 22nd National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths weekend . . . we will move one step closer to becoming the beloved community.

Let us pray

God of grace and justice, may we empower our families and children with the means to stand up together for economic security and physical safety as we seek to become the beloved community. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Exod. 33:12–23
“Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me”
HB 271

Ps. 99
“I Sing the Mighty Power of God”
HB 84, PH 288

1 Thess. 1:1–10
“O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee”
HB 304, PH 357

Matt. 22:15–22
“Take My Life”
HB 310, PH 391

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 67; 150
First Reading Micah 1:1-9
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Gospel Reading Matthew 16:13-20
Evening Psalms 46; 93

Mission Yearbook for October 18, 2014

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Southern New England

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island

The 33 congregations of the Presbytery of Southern New England respond with compassion and justice to a range of mission concerns. For many years First Presbyterian Church of New Haven, Connecticut, has been providing meals to the homeless, working in partnership with Columbus House, the city’s main provider of housing to homeless individuals. Several years ago the church helped to found Abraham’s Tent, an effort now shared by more than 20 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations, who open their buildings for one week each to provide a dozen homeless men a respite from the harsh New England winter. The program is funded in part by presbytery mission and stewardship funds. Members of the congregation welcome the men into safe and warm temporary shelter that on weekends doubles as worship and fellowship space.

The program fosters relationships with men who are otherwise known only by their presence on the street. Night after night, the men come to know that they are known and valued children of God. The effort has helped the men return to independent living; for three years running, all the men have moved to stable housing by the end of the winter, having been strengthened by the support, meals, and love from the congregations.

Young adults join older members in serving as essential leaders in this outreach involving 100 church members each year. Elders Micah Luce and Brian Gray have served as the primary organizers of Abraham’s Tent. Christian educator Bryce Wiebe prepares hot breakfasts to order. Elder David Miller works behind the scenes to make sure that the men feel at home. The senior high youth group prepares meals and plays board games with the men into the early evening. Elders Ralph Jones and Nancy Rupp invite the entire congregation to act as advocates for justice by writing letters to state legislators about their firsthand experiences of homelessness in Connecticut.

Rev. Bill Goettler, copastor, First Presbyterian Church,New Haven, Connecticut Let us join in prayer for

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dana F. Lindsley, presbyter to the spiritual community
Elder William G. Thomas, stated clerk
Pamela C. Garner, assistant to Rev. Lindsley/office manager
Dayle F. Larson, financial secretary

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Rev. Paul Seebeck, PMA
Allison Seed, BOP
Rev. Mary Serovy, FDN

Let us pray

Dear God, thank you for giving us opportunities to serve—to be your hands and feet—and to share our time, talents, and treasures with our neighbors in need. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 56; 149
First Reading Hosea 14:1-9
Second Reading Acts 28:17-31
Gospel Reading Luke 9:37-50
Evening Psalms 118; 111

Mission Yearbook for October 17, 2014

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of the Palisades

New Jersey

 

 

Palisades congregations welcomed AmeriCorps NCCC volunteers involved in Sandy recovery.

 

Courtesy of Diane Nafash

 

“We had to put on our Tyvek suits, lay on our backs, and do the army crawl,” one AmeriCorps NCCC volunteer said. “We got under the trailers, ripping out contaminated insulation and installing new. It’s amazing how appreciative the people are. We were thankful for everything they did for us, and they are grateful for everything we’re doing for them. It is so wonderful!”

AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a federal program through which volunteers aged 18–24 serve up to 10 months in communities across the country. Several AmeriCorps NCCC teams were sent to the Vanguard Mobile Home Community in Little Ferry and Moonachie, New Jersey, to aid in the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy. They partnered in local recovery and relief efforts with Presbyterian congregations in Moonachie and Wood-Ridge and the long-term recovery committee of the Volunteer Center of Bergen County.

More than a dozen of the 48 congregations of the Presbytery of the Palisades sustained significant property damage from Sandy, and most communities in the area experienced power outages, gasoline shortages, and personal-property damage.

First Presbyterian Church of Wood-Ridge graciously opened its doors and hearts to provide a home away from home for the young volunteers. The Wood-Ridge church provided a place for them to have lunch (on and off the job), and several other presbytery congregations reached out by supplying hot meals after the long workdays. To quote one congregation, “We enjoyed the fellowship of coming together and wanted to show our appreciation to these young people for all their hard work and service to help others.”

—Diane Nafash, presbytery mission communication committee member

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dr. Marianne Rhebergen, transitional leader
Maha Faragalla, mission and ministry communicator/coordinator
Cindy Cummings, bookkeeper
Rev. Gregory Keosaian, stated clerk
Martha Dawson, treasurer
Rev. Debra Givens, moderator
Ruling Elder Paul Talarico, vice moderator
Ruling Elder Barbara Ryder, presbytery council chair

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Michelle Schulz, PMA
Wilma Scott, OGA
David Sedlak, PMA

Let us pray

Gracious God, may your sacrificial love on the cross move us to the genuine offering of ourselves in obedient service, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 130; 148
First Reading Hosea 13:9-16
Second Reading Acts 28:1-16
Gospel Reading Luke 9:28-36
Evening Psalms 32; 139

Mission Yearbook for October 16, 2014

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     World Food Day Minute for Mission

 

 

Jaff Napoleon, director of RELUFA

 

Courtesy of Ruth Farrell

 

When I read the 10 powerful verses of Luke 9:18–27, I think of Jaff Napoleon, the director of RELUFA, a partner organization in Cameroon. Jaff, a Presbyterian by birth, tirelessly works with communities to ensure that they have a voice when multinational corporations come to their communities to export natural resources—whether oil, minerals, or commodities—from the land. Corporations often negotiate with the government without participation from the communities affected. People find their land taken with no recourse.

I think of Jesus’ words in Luke 9:18, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” Jaff has been called many things—socialist, anticapitalist, liar, fanatic.

Jaff is educated and could do other work. He gets discouraged by misrepresentations but will not be swayed. He explains that he grew up in the church and watched his father do what was right for the village rather than what was profitable for himself. Jaff is a humble man and doesn’t see the common experience he shares with Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, and others who were also called many things by the economic and political powers threatened by those who seek fairness.

Today is World Food Day. We live in a world with enough food for all, yet hunger is real for 1 billion fellow human beings, and nearly 50 million of them reside in the United States. The good news is that people all over the world are working in new ways to address hunger and create local food economies that can provide healthy food for all. Go to the Presbyterian Hunger Program’s World Food Day website and learn about the work Jaff and others are doing. Connect your actions to theirs to bring about God’s kingdom of healthy food, healthy people, and healthy communities.

Ruth Farrell, coordinator, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Michael Schroeder, PMA
Eileen Schuhmann, PMA
Cynthia Schultz, PMA

Let us pray

Loving God, we are grateful for opportunities to follow you, deny our self-interests, and do what is fair for others. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 36; 147:12-20
First Reading Hosea 13:4-8
Second Reading Acts 27:27-44
Gospel Reading Luke 9:18-27
Evening Psalms 80; 27

Mission Yearbook for October 15, 2014

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Northern New York

 

The number of young adults continues to decrease in the area of the country where the Presbytery of Northern New York works and ministers. As a result, smaller congregations find it difficult to maintain a youth group of their own. In an effort to minister to young adults, the presbytery is involved in three mission activities:

• The presbytery maintains a fund to pay the cost of transportation for young people to Presbyterian Youth Triennium.

• Ministries in the North Country, a mission of the presbytery, runs a Christmas program for teens in foster care. Christmas presents are purchased for teens who, because they are too old for many “angel tree” programs, often go without gifts.

• The mission committee of the presbytery has agreed to completely fund two weeks of Rural Rehab housing ministry. These weeks are available to teenagers and adults of all ages at no cost to them. Since our smaller congregations may have only one or two people interested in this type of activity, the goal is to provide an opportunity for people to come together as a group to minister to those who need help repairing their homes.

The Presbytery of Northern New York is home to 36 congregations.

CRE Rachel Roberts, Chaumont First Presbyterian Church

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Ruling Elder Patti Stephens, moderator
Pieter Visscher, stated clerk
George Davis, treasurer
Joan Merritt, administrative coordinator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Kim Schmid, PMA
Jeanie Schmuckie, FDN

Let us pray

Gracious God, bless the young people. They are indeed the future of your church. Even those of us who are older remember our own youth—the idealism, the willingness to be involved in worthwhile causes, and the energy to serve. Give us the patience to listen to them and the courage to support their endeavors. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 15; 147:1-11
First Reading Hosea 13:1-3
Second Reading Acts 27:9-26
Gospel Reading Luke 9:1-17
Evening Psalms 48; 4

Mission Yearbook for October 14, 2014

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Northern New England

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts

First Presbyterian Church of Barre, Vermont, has partnered with Barre Congregational Church in seeking to engage people who might be uncomfortable deepening their spiritual life within the four walls of a church. Instead, we have been meeting in a local establishment for Theology on Tap.

The group began with a focus on twenty- and thirtysomethings. Our hope was to provide an opportunity for them to explore faith and current events as well as spiritual practices through which God can make a difference in one’s life. We have enjoyed hearing about each other’s prayer practices, exploring Muslim-Christian relations, and challenging one another to carry out random acts of kindness. We gather in a local restaurant or pub, share food and beer (or coffee or soda), and discuss topics that are relevant and affect our daily lives.

We have created a community of people who are drawn to the less-formal conversations that happen at a local eatery. As the group has continued, people beyond the age boundary of 39 years have commented: “Those gatherings sound like a great time. Can I come, too?” Our reply is: “We don’t card. Everyone is welcome!” We continue to think of ways to engage people who have any number of hesitations about organized religion. Sometimes we do so with insight, and other times we fall flat on our faces. We stand right back up and continue to listen for where God might be leading us.

The Presbytery of Northern New England serves 2,877 members of 30 congregations. While some of these date their founding to European immigrants of the 18th and 19th centuries, others are less than three decades old and include newcomers from Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kenya, South Sudan, and other countries and cultures.

—Rev. Carl Hilton-VanOsdall, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Barre, Vermont, and Brendon Bass, cochair, mission subcommittee of council

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Cindy Kohlmann, resource presbyter
Cliff Creel, stated clerk
Norma Biron, office administrator

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Lisa Sayers, BOP
Ray Scaletti, OGA
James Schlitter, BOP

Let us pray

When we open our hearts to your love, O God, we can share stories of our seeking and finding you with people of all ages and conditions, and so receive new experiences of your grace. Thank you for the blessings you pour into our lives when we reach out to one another. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 123; 146
First Reading Hosea 12:2-14
Second Reading Acts 26:24-27:8
Gospel Reading Luke 8:40-56
Evening Psalms 30; 86

Mission Yearbook for October 13, 2014

Sun, 10/12/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Newton

New Jersey

Young adult ministry feels a little bit like looking at a panel of dials and trying to figure out how to adjust them all in just the right way. The Presbyterian Church in Morristown has, like every other church in the country, been trying to reach young adults for years. It has offered contemporary services, lunches after church, service projects, events to see speakers like Rob Bell, and Theology Pubs in the vibrant local restaurant community. Its story is really no different than any other congregation’s. Statistics continue to show that over half of involved youth will leave their congregation during their young adult years.

The Morristown congregation continues to look for new ways to engage young adults. The reality is that young adults often come on their own terms. Young adults have their own visions and hopes for what the church could be. They want to be engaged, not stuck within the walls of the church on some committee. They want to go out and make a difference. They want to be a part of their communities. They want to engage the culture around them. And that is what the congregation in Morristown is trying to do—to engage young adults where they are and provide opportunities for them to reflect on faith and doubt and how it intersects with culture, politics, the arts, and the society they find themselves in. They want to meet the young adults of Morristown right where they are.

Pray for the Presbyterian Church in Morristown and the many congregations like it that are continually looking for ways to engage with young adults in their communities.

The Presbytery of Newton, encompassing four counties in northwest New Jersey, is home to 59 congregations and Johnsonburg Presbyterian Center, the camp serving the presbyteries of New Jersey.

—Angela Rines, director of youth and young adults, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown

Let us join in prayer for:

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Jeanne Radak, presbytery leader
Rev. Diane Curtis, stated clerk
Lizabeth Hutchinson, financial administrator
Cathy Burrafato, resource center coordinator
Sonja Gaertner, office manager
Rev. Dr. James H. Chestnutt, executive presbyter emeritus
Rev. Charles L. Ringe III, stated clerk emeritus

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Elder Norma Sayago, PMA
Karen Sayers, BOP

Let us pray

God, thank you for the new things you are doing in new generations. May the church be open to receiving fresh faith and fresh ideas. Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 135; 145
First Reading Hosea 11:12-12:1
Second Reading Acts 26:1-23
Gospel Reading Luke 8:26-39
Evening Psalms 97; 112

Mission Yearbook for October 12, 2014

Sat, 10/11/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     Minute for Mission: Domestic Violence Awareness

 

Students in the domestic violence seminar, after the experiential exercise

 

Courtesy of Bonnie M. Orth

 

Did you know that every year one in four adolescents reports physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse and that one in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been physically hurt by his or her partner through violent actions that included hitting? Every year I have the privilege of presenting a seminar on domestic violence to high school students.

I begin with an experiential exercise that allows the students to walk in the shoes of domestic violence victims—to enter into their lives and make decisions that determine the outcome of their stories. We then talk about domestic violence, an issue of power and control, which always leads to a lively discussion on dating violence, self-esteem, peer pressure, and how to be a good friend and listener. We look at what healthy and unhealthy dating relationships look like.

Though written in prison, Paul’s letter to the Philippians is full of joy. In fact, Paul mentions joy and rejoicing 14 times in this short letter. He encourages the Philippians to live out their faith in unity and joy. In today’s passage Paul talks about right praying, right thinking, and right living. On this Sunday when we remember that domestic violence remains a huge issue in our world, let us take the time to talk to and teach our teens about healthy relationships and how to make good choices.

—Rev. Bonnie Orth, Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Association Board of Directors, representing the Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network; pastor, Mayfield (NY) Central Presbyterian Church

Let us pray

Dear God, we rejoice in you always and thank you for watching over us. Help us to model healthy relationships for our teens and to teach them right praying, right thinking, and right living. Help them to be a friend to another who may need someone to listen, and help them to break the silence about domestic violence. Amen.

Sunday Lectionary and Hymns

Exod. 32:1–14
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”
PH 276

Ps. 106:1–6, 19–23
“Creating God, Your Fingers Trace”
PH 134

Phil. 4:1–9
“We Gather Together”
HB 18, PH 559

Matt. 22:1–14
“I Danced in the Morning”
PH 302

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 19; 150
First Reading Hosea 11:1-11
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
Gospel Reading Matthew 15:21-28
Evening Psalms 81; 113

Mission Yearbook for October 11, 2014

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 22:00
Share with a friend     The Presbytery of Newark

New Jersey

 

 

Bodies of Worship dance group at Elmwood United Presbyterian Church, East Orange

 

Photo by Patrick Payne

 

Following the example set by Jesus in Matthew 19, Newark Presbytery proclaims, “Let the children come!” Caring adults lead initiatives like the Montclair Summer Youth Program at Trinity and Central churches. Music, multimedia academies, and mission trips engage youth and young adults at First Presbyterian (Caldwell); Grace (Montclair); Korean United and Bethany, both in Bloomfield; and the Roseville, First Hispanic, Elizabeth Avenue-Weequahic, and St. Paul’s congregations in Newark.

The youth and young adult ministry at Elmwood United (East Orange, West Orange, and Newark) typifies our story. Elmwood creates opportunities for young people to use their gifts to serve the church and the broader community. Children and youth have unique space to worship in their own alternative to Sunday school. Children initiated “Stack the Shelves,” a food drive to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Through the liturgical dance group Bodies of Worship, female youth transform worship and touch hearts. And when youth take over worship on Youth Sunday, they not only lead and preach but also plan the service.

Whether it is through service, camp, dancing, or worship, Newark Presbytery and its 38 congregations are proclaiming, “Let the children come!”

—Maria Crompton, pastor to youth and young adults, Elmwood Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Dr. Kevin Yoho, general presbyter

Let us join in prayer for:

Rev. Dr. Kevin Yoho, member, PMA Board

Presbytery Staff

Rev. Dr. Kevin Yoho, general presbyter
Elder Warren McNeill, stated clerk
Nailesh Bhavsar, accountant
Deirdre Malloy, office manager

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Marisol Santiago, BOP
Cheryl Santos, BOP
JoAnn Saunders, PMA

Let us pray

God, today we follow the example set by Jesus as we say,
Let the children come.
With their singing, dancing, and acting, we say,
Let the children come.
With their gifts, talents, and all that God has created them to be, we say,
Let the children come.
Amen.

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 104; 149
First Reading Hosea 10:1-15
Second Reading Acts 25:13-27
Gospel Reading Luke 8:16-25
Evening Psalms 138; 98

Pages

Presbyterian Mission Yearbook

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