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Updated: 3 hours 14 min ago

Denominational restructuring won’t work; local churches must innovate

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 07:00

September 17, 2014

Religion News Service

Tom Ehrich

NEW YORK

After 50 years of decline, mainline denominations are reinventing themselves, or at least “re-imagining” what the church might look like, as an Episcopal Church task force calls it.

What can the “central office” do to stem the ebbing tide? What can national conventions and agencies do?

The answer is: precious little.

Con Respecto a los ancianos y las ancianas gobernantes: como encontrar su voz como anciano/a gobernante

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 04:53

September 17, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Valerie Young

Louisville

«El mismo espíritu que inspiró a los profetas y los apóstoles... llama a las mujeres y a los hombres a todos los ministerios de la Iglesia» (Libro de Confesiones, Una Breve Declaración de Fe,10.4, líneas 58–59, 64).

Yo verdaderamente reflexiono mucho en las cosas. Eso significa que he pensado tanto acerca de cómo termine siendo una anciana gobernante en un mundo de ancianos gobernantes, que dude de mis propios dotes debido a la falta de cualidades terrenales. Hay momentos donde olvido que ¡Dios fue el que me llamo! Otros lo han afirmado, sin importar que tan grande sea mi currículo o cuantas licenciaturas tenga. 

Experiencing ‘the church in action’

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 11:30

Peggy Rada, spouse and traveling partner of Moderator Heath Rada, finds her niche

September 16, 2014

Peggy Rada —PNS file photo

Presbyterian News Service

Eva G. Stimson

Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE

The fall travel schedule looks packed for Heath Rada, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 221st General Assembly. His itinerary includes visits to Denver, Reno, Zephyr Point Conference Center on Lake Tahoe, the Texas/Mexico border, South America, and the Middle East.

Rada’s wife, Peggy, a ruling elder and retired middle-school teacher, looks forward to accompanying him on all of these trips. But she won’t just be along for the ride. 

Graduation and General Assembly

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:00

A PC(USA) mission letter from the Caribbean (2014 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 35)

September 16, 2014

Seventy-two 2014 graduates of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cuba pose in front of the Chapel. —Jo Ella Holman

Presbyterian News Service

Jo Ella Holman

World Mission regional liaison for the Caribbean

MATANZAS, Cuba

June is graduation time in the Caribbean and an especially happy celebration for our global partner, the Seminario Evangelico Teologico (SET) in Matanzas, Cuba, this year.  On Wednesday, June 11, a record number of 72 men and women graduated in six different degree programs, the largest number since its foundation in 1946!

Prayers, reflections and action during “Time for Creation”

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:56

September 16, 2014

An olive tree at the Ecumenical Center chapel in Geneva. —Nikos Kosmidis/WCC

World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches News

GENEVA

Invoking prayers for creation, eco-justice and peace with the earth, “Time for Creation” ― a Christian global event ― is observed worldwide by many member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC). 

100 years of calling, equipping, and sending Christian educators

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 11:00

A story from the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study (p. 265)

September 15, 2014

The logo of the former Presbyterian School of Christian Education, now part of Union Presbyterian Seminary. —PNS file photo

Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study

Brian K. Blount

President and professor of New Testament, Union Presbyterian Seminary

RICHMOND, Va.

This November 3-5, Union Presbyterian Seminary (UPSem) will be celebrating 100 years of calling, equipping, and sending Christian educators.

In early November 1914, the Assembly’s Training School for Lay Workers (ATS) was established in the Ginter Park Section of Richmond, directly across Brook Road from Union Theological Seminary. 

WCC hosts Global Energy Parliament exploring ‘science of peace’

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 09:00

September 15, 2014

Fr Daniel Buda (left) speaking at the Global Energy Parliament in Geneva. —Peter Williams/WCC

World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches News

GENEVA

The World Council of Churches (WCC) on Sept. 5 hosted the Global Energy Parliament (GEP) at the Ecumenical Center here. The event addressed the theme “The Science of Peace in Humans, Humans in Peace,” featuring reflections on how lasting peace can be built by individuals and nations.

사역 장로에 관하여: 사역 장로로서 당신의 소리를 발견하기

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 08:53

September 15, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Valerie Young

Louisville

“선지자들과 사도들에게 감동을 주신 같은 성령께서…교회의 모든 사역들을 위해 남자들과 여자들을 부르신다” (신앙 고백서, 간추린 신앙 고백, 10.4, lines 58-59, 64).  

나는 참으로 “생각이 지나친 사람”이다. 이 말은 나같이 세상적 으로 드러낼만한 것이 부족한 사람이 교역 장로의 세계에서 어 떻게 사역 장로가 되었는가에 대해 너무 많이 생각함으로 인해 내 자격에 대해 의구심을 갖게 되었다는 의미이다. 때로, 나는 하나님께서 나를 부르셨다는 사실을 잊곤 한다. 내 이력서가 얼마나 장황한지에 상관없이 혹은 내가 얼마나 많은 학위들을 가지고 있는가에 상관없이, 다른 사람들이 나의 부르심을 확증해 주었다.

Regarding ruling elders: Finding your voice as a ruling elder

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 08:35

September 15, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Valerie Young

Louisville

<Korean> “The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles ... calls women and men to all ministries of the Church” (The Book of Confessions, A Brief Statement of Faith, 10.4, lines 58–59, 64).

I am a true “over-thinker.” That means I’ve thought so much about how I ended up a ruling elder in a teaching elder world that I doubted my qualifications due to a lack of earthly credentials. At times, I have lost sight of the fact that God called me! Others have affirmed it, regardless of how long my resume is or how many degrees I hold.

New ‘Nuns on the Bus’ tour to tackle political ‘dark money’

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 06:57

September 15, 2014

Religion News Service

David Gibson

WASHINGTON

This time it’s the Catholic sisters versus the Koch brothers.

That’s one way to look at the upcoming “Nuns on the Bus” tour, which hits the road this week (Sept. 17) for the third time in three years, a month-long trip through 10 key U.S. Senate battleground states to campaign against the influence of outside money on politics.

Battling Ebola with prayer and accurate information

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 12:07

St. Louis congregation, PC(USA) agencies mobilize aid, educational efforts about deadly virus

September 12, 2014

David Zweh —PNS file photo

Presbyterian News Service

Emily Enders Odom

LOUISVILLE

When Quianaca Wesseh called his son, mother, and sister in Liberia’s Maryland County last week, he urged them not to go to the hospital.

"I don’t know if it was the wrong thing to say, but a lot of people are going to the hospital and never returning,” said Wesseh, a Liberian native who serves as director of praise music at Curby Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis. “In Liberia, our hospitals are not advanced like in America. There are no isolation gowns, no protective equipment.”

Sea Prayers in Samoa show solidarity with people exposed to sea-level rise

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 09:00

‘The power of prayer and meditation is an essential contribution to change’

September 12, 2014

Members of Christian groups pray in the sea to express solidarity with communities affected by sea-level rise. —Samoa Observer

World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches News

APIA. Samoa

To raise awareness of the impact of climate change, representatives of churches, ecumenical organizations and the United Nations stood together in the sea in Apia, Samoa, in prayerful solidarity with those vulnerable to rising sea-levels and extreme weather events. 

Uphold Protections for Migrant Children and Families

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:58

September 12, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Since October 2013, an estimated 63,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the U.S./Mexico border, the majority of whom are fleeing rampant violence and poverty in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

‘People with a heart’

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:00

Host congregation provides help after tragedy

September 11, 2014

Left to right: Elbis Hernandez, former General Assembly Moderator Neal Presa and Hispanic Congregational Support staffer Hector Rodriguez. —PNS file photo

1001 New Worshiping Communities

Paul Seebeck

Communications Strategist

LOUISVILLE

New Worshiping Community leader Elbis Hernandez credits the kindness of a local congregation — partnering in ministry with Presbyterian Mission Agency — for helping save his life.

Going solar in West Virginia

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 10:30

Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church becomes larges community-supported solar system in state

September 11, 2014

Solar-powered Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church. —Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian News Service

Katie Valentine

ThinkProgress

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.V.

A Presbyterian church in West Virginia just got 60 solar energy panels installed on its roof for $1, thanks to a local group that’s making it easier and cheaper for nonprofits in the state to go solar.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 26, Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church ― a certified Earth Care Congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ― became the site of the largest community-supported solar system in West Virginia, at the same time kicking off a model to bring solar energy to West Virginia nonprofits that’s being pioneered by local group Solar Holler.

Humanitarian need and loss punctuate crisis in northern Iraq

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 09:00

September 11, 2014

A disabled man displaced from Qaraqosh rests in the makeshift dormitory in the fellowship hall of St. Peter and Paul Ancient Assyrian Church of the East in Dohuk, Iraq. —Gregg Brekke

World Council of Churches

Gregg Brekke

Special to WCC News

DOHUK, Iraq

Even as hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant attacks find refuge in the towns of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, agencies assisting these internally displaced persons (IDPs) warn of a huge unmet humanitarian need exacerbated by the looming onset of winter.

Johannes G.J. “Jannie” Swart dies suddenly

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 07:31

South African taught world mission and evangelism at Pittsburgh Seminary

September 11, 2014

Johannes G.W. "Jannie" Swart —Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Presbyterian News Service

from Melissa Logan

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Communications

PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is mourning the loss of the Rev.  Johannes G. J. (“Jannie”) Swart, associate professor of world mission and evangelism. Swart died Sept. 8 from an apparent heart attack while playing Frisbee with students. 

Celebrations and challenges

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 11:30

A PC(USA) mission letter from Democratic Republic of the Congo (2014 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 138)

September 10, 2014

Bob Rice and two of the caregivers with the kids in the Ditekemena program. —Kristi Rice

Presbyterian News Service

Kristi and Bob Rice

PC(USA) mission co-workers, World Mission

KANANGA, Democratic Republic o

At the end of July the outline of the curriculum for teaching the Christian faith in primary schools here was finally produced and distributed with great celebration. 

Seeking forgiveness in Hudson River Presbytery

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:00

Pastor who brought suit that defined PC(USA)’s distinction between marriage and holy unions, repents of his position

September 10, 2014

Presbyterian News Service

Noelle Damico

Hudson River Presbytery director of communications

SCARBOROUGH, N.Y.

“I am here to ask for forgiveness from the presbytery and particularly those members of it who I harmed by a court case that I initiated in 1999 titled Benton et al. versus Hudson River Presbytery,” begins a statement by the Rev. Marc Benton.

“I am here today to repent of that position and apologize to you who were hurt by my actions, and apologize to the presbytery as a whole for the time and money spent in what I now recognize was an incorrect thing to do,” writes Benton, who will join in conversation with members of the presbytery at their Sept. 23 meeting.

When the Permanent Judicial Commission of the General Assembly ruled on Benton v. Hudson River Presbytery, it made a “determinative distinction” between a permissible same-sex ceremony and a marriage ceremony.

When Stewardship Is an Act of Public Witness

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 08:17

September 10, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Vernon S. Broyles III

Louisville

The practice of divestment and proscription of equities or other investments by individual Christians and by church bodies for ethical reasons has been around a long time. In its earliest stages it was focused largely on the refusal to invest in companies whose profits were derived from such things as tobacco, alcohol, or gambling. Presbyterian investors have often been among those who refused to invest in these so called “sin stocks.” Those decisions were taken with the full awareness that many Presbyterians were users of tobacco and of alcohol and some were participants in gambling, as well as the awareness that in some cases, Presbyterians were owners or operators of some of these businesses and that Presbyterians also worked in those enterprises.

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