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John Lennon’s killer: My life is all about Jesus now

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:00

September 10, 2014

Religion News Service

Cathy Lynn Grossman

WASHINGTON

The man who murdered John Lennon wants only one thing now — to tell others about Jesus. Mark David Chapman, 59, told parole examiners he was no longer the man who sought notoriety through killing the Beatles rock star in 1980.

‘On an adventure’

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 11:00

Newest class of Small Church Residency Program pastors find support and encouragement

September 9, 2014

Nathan Mochizuki, part of the Small Church Residency Program —Dilu Nicholas

Presbyterian News Service

Emily Enders Odom

LOUISVILLE

To the Rev. Nathan Mochizuki, the Small Church Residency Program is an adventure.

Mochizuki, who was called in August 2013 to the First Presbyterian Churches of Carmi, Eldorado, and Harrisburg, Ill. — a cooperative parish in the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois that he serves with another member of the program, the Rev. Elizabeth Moses — joined the other members of the Class of 2013 for a midpoint informational and sharing session at the Presbyterian Center here from August 25–29. 

Church members assemble CWS school kits during a ‘participatory sermon’

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 09:00

Tacoma PC(USA) congregation prays ‘with, hearts, minds and hands’

September 9, 2014

"Participatory worship" at Bethany Church, assembly CWS School Kits. —Abbie Watters

Presbyterian News Service

Abbie Watters

Special to Church World Service and Presbyterian News Service

TACOMA, Wash.

On a recent summer Sunday at worship at Bethany Presbyterian Church here, we prayed with our hearts, minds and hands.

We had our first-ever participatory sermon, during which we assembled kits of school supplies for distribution here in the United States and throughout the world in case of disaster or violence that leaves school children without access to school and school supplies.

Pastor who fought China's Christian crackdown faces 10 years in prison

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 06:48

September 9, 2014

Ecumenical News

Miko Morelos

NEW YORK

Authorities have arrested a Chinese pastor who strongly criticized the ongoing persecution of Christians in the country. The preacher, Rev. Huang Yizi, may face a decade of imprisonment after police laid charges of organizing a crowd to cause disorder.

Progress in Batey 7

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:30

A PC(USA) mission letter from the Dominican Republic (2014 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 48-49)

September 8, 2014

The 10 women and two men from Batey 7 celebrating their successful completion of the three-month sewing course that they had organized themselves, with some coordination and lots of encouragement provided by Jenny Bent. —Jenny Bent

Presbyterian News Service

Jenny Bent and Mark Hare

PC(USA) mission co-workers, World Mission

BATEY 7, Dominican Republic

I (Jenny) work in a community clinic called “El Buen Samaritano” or “The Good Samaritan” in the town of Batey 7, a community originally established by the Dominican government for Haitian sugarcane cutters. The clinic “El Buen Samaritano” is part of the social response program of the Dominican Evangelical Church (IED). In 2011 the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) sent our family to the Dominican Republic as mission workers to facilitate and reinforce the mission efforts of the IED.  

Transformative workshop with indigenous women in Colombia addresses gender-based violence

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:19

September 8, 2014

Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency

Paulo Ueti

Anglican Alliance

GAMBIA, Colombia

“After 500 years a woman is now the main leader of the Ancestor Governor Body of our land.”

With this testimony, a group of 30 people from the Misaka Indigenous community and surroundings started a meeting here on contextual Bible studies, gender-based violence and economic empowerment. The conference was sponsored by Episcopal Relief & Development and the New York-based Trinity Foundation. 

Seek ways to broaden understanding of faith

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 09:04

September 8, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Heath K. Rada

Moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church USA

The query from the floor was, “How does the PC(USA) believe it has the privilege of changing God’s word to make it fit its own purposes? How do you get away with changing the wording of the Bible when it comes to marriage, which clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman, to saying something else?” There was an air of distrust and a hint of anger in his voice when he asked me that question. He was seated near the back of the sanctuary where I was a guest answering questions.

My answer? “First of all, I want to thank you for coming tonight and caring enough about the church to ask your question. Your presence indicates you care, and that you are not closing others out who might think differently.

Hispanic Christians launch initiative to bolster minority student achievement

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 07:00

September 8, 2014

Religion News Service

Adelle M. Banks

WASHINGTON

With minority students now making up a majority of public school enrollments, a national group of Hispanic evangelicals is calling for strong ties between churches and schools to encourage better academic results.

Allan Boesak headlines one-day conference on the Belhar Confession

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:00

Renowned South African theologian, author, and ecumenical leader to speak at Montreat on Oct. 17

September 5, 2014

Allan Boesak, who will speak at the Oct. 17 conference on the Belhar Confession, which he co-authored. —PNS file photo

Presbyterian News Service

Emily Enders Odom

MONTREAT, N.C.

The Rev. Allan Boesak — an influential anti-Apartheid activist and a principal author of the Belhar Confession — will be one of several church leaders, historians, and theologians scheduled to speak at a special event at Montreat Conference Center on Oct. 17. 

New hunger figures show millions of Americans continue to struggle

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 09:00

September 5, 2014

Presbyterian News Service

Arnulfo Moreno

Bread for the World Communications

WASHINGTON

On Sept. 3 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual report, Household Food Security in the United States 2013.

The report reveals that 14.3 percent of U.S. households were food-insecure in 2013. This number is a slight decline since 2011 but remains well above the rates of food insecurity recorded before the recession. 

Cracks in the ‘stained-glass ceiling’: Women reach prominent pulpits

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 07:37

September 5, 2014

The Rev. Shannon Kershner, new pastor of Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church —Courtesy of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Religion News Service

Adelle M. Banks

WASHINGTON

Chicago. New York. Washington, D.C. In quick succession this year, three women have been chosen to lead historic tall-steeple churches in all these cities.

Food drive on wheels

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 12:00

‘Reverse food truck’ collects food rather than selling it

September 4, 2014

The "reverse food truck" operated by NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas. —NorthPark Presbyterian Church, Dallas

Presbyterian News Service

Rob Allen

Director of communications, Grace Presbytery

DALLAS

Brent Barry picked up his iPhone on an early June Saturday morning and scrolled through his Twitter feed. A tweet from National Public Radio caught his attention. Reverse food truck? What is that? Clicked the link.

After reading the story about a Minnesota beer company’s reverse food truck that collected money for local food banks, Barry was inspired. “It hit me that this was something that we could do,” said Barry, pastor at NorthPark Presbyterian.

From one Presbyterian Rear Admiral to the next

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 10:00

Margaret Kibben becomes first female chief of U.S. Navy chaplains, succeeding Mark Tidd

September 4, 2014

U.S. Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert gives Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben the oath of office and promotes her to the rank of rear admiral and to Chief of Chaplains, succeeding Rear Adm. Mark Tidd who is retiring from naval service. —Peter Lawlor/USN

Presbyterian News Service

Christianne M. Witten

Chief of Navy Chaplains Public Affairs

WASHINGTON

Rear Adm. Margaret G. Kibben relieved Rear Adm. Mark L. Tidd as the chief of Navy chaplains during a change of office and retirement ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard on August 1.

Both Kibben and Tidd are teaching elders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Christian and Muslim aid groups unite to urge action on IS threat in Iraq

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 08:00

September 4, 2014

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi group, fleeing violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, take refuge at Dohuk province, Aug. 29, 2014. —REUTERS / Ari Jalal

Ecumenical News

Peter Kenny

GENEVA

Christian and Muslim aid groups have united to issue an urgent call for action by international organizations to work for an end to the dire and “horrific” suffering in Iraq.

Melva Costen shares rich life, experiences in PHS Living History project

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 18:34

September 3, 2014

Office of the General Assembly

Sam Piccolo

Director of Development

Philadelphia

When Samantha Piccolo of the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS) sat down to interview Dr. Melva Costen for PHS’s Living History film project last fall, she expected to hear about Costen’s experiences chairing the committee that produced the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal—a process that grew out of the historic reunion of the “Northern” and “Southern” churches in 1983 that formed the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Costen did, in fact, reflect on that experience, but she also shared other important stories during the two-hour interview now available online, particularly ones relating the personal struggles faced by her and her ...

New work

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 12:00

A PC(USA) mission letter from Madagascar (2014 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 147)

September 3, 2014

Pastor Benja (left), his wife Ihary , and Robert and Frances Turk ― June 2014. —Elizabeth Turk

Presbyterian News Service

Dan and Elizabeth Turk

PC(USA) mission co-workers, World Mission

ANALALAVA, Madagascar

Dan is now involved in a new project working with several branches of the PC(USA)’s partner church in Madagascar, the Fiangonan’i Jesoa Kristy eto Madagasikara (FJKM). The new project will help the church explore how it can help protect creation and how it can implement innovations in growing fruits and vegetables so that they can benefit pastors, congregations, and  branches of the church.  

Una teología preciosa

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 11:06

September 3, 2014

Oficina de la Asamblea General

Gradye Parsons

Secretario Permanente

Las clases han comenzado en nuestra ciudad. Observo a los jóvenes de nuestro barrio caminar con esmero hasta la pequeña colina en la parte delantera de nuestra subdivisión para ir al autobús. Debido a que toma un tiempo para averiguar qué autobús es el autobús correcto, a menudo se ven a las madres de pie en frente de sus casas para mirar a sus hijos hasta que el autobús llegue. Luego, una por una, toman sus tazas de café y regresan a sus casas.

Estoy aún más consciente de que algunas ...

China urges villagers: Give militants a bad stare and have a club

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 10:00

September 3, 2014

Police wearing sashes hold placards during a ceremony to award those who the authorities say participated in "the crackdown of violence and terrorists activities" in Hotan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region earlier this month. —Reuters

Ecumenical News

Miko Morelos

XINJIANG, China

Don’t discount the power of a frown or a pitchfork and a club. In China, these are the Communist Party’s latest weapons to combat terrorism. Party officials have instructed residents to “give an angry stare” to as a way to strike fear on terrorists planning to launch attacks in China, The Telegraph reports.

Pope Tawadros II speaks on role of Coptic Church in Egyptian society during WCC visit

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 08:00

September 3, 2014

Pope Tawadros II (right) of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, speaks with religious leaders in Geneva, including the WCC's Olav Fykse Tveit (left). —Peter Williams/WCC

World Council of Churches

World Council of Churches News

GENEVA

Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt visited the World Council of Churches (WCC) headquarters here on Monday, Sept.  1. In his reflections, Tawadros spoke about historic contributions of the Coptic Orthodox Church, as among them vibrant traditions of spirituality, theological studies and monastic life. “The Coptic Church is one of the main pillars of Egyptian society,” he said.

Vatican’s doctrinal chief renews criticism of US nuns, says he’s no misogynist

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 07:41

September 3, 2014

Religion News Service

David Gibson

WASHINGTON

The Vatican’s guardian of orthodoxy and the force behind Rome’s investigation of American nuns has renewed his criticism of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), downplaying the group’s size and importance and arguing that the Vatican is trying to help them recover their religious identity so they don’t die out.

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