Category Archives: PC(USA)

October News from PC(USA)

Mid Council Leaders Gathering concludes with hard conversation about per capita

The final plenary at the Mid Council Leaders Gathering in Baltimore focused on some frank conversation around per capita, the primary funding source for the Office of the General Assembly (OGA). Read more…

Co-Moderators announce plans for new conference for commissioned lay pastors/ruling elders

The Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) believe it’s time to take a deep dive into training commissioned pastors. Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann have announced a new training conference to be held next spring. Read more…

Princeton Seminary announces plan to repent for ties to slavery

PRINCETON, New Jersey — Last week the Princeton Theological Seminary Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the implementation of a multi-year action plan to repent for its ties to slavery. Read more…

Mental Health Ministry survey needs Presbyterian participation

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Mental Health Ministry is currently conducting a churchwide survey, seeking input from as many people as possible. Read more…

 

Resources for Peace & Global Witness Offering

A gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize up to 25% of this Offering to connect with the global witness of Christ’s peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.

Click here for Resources on the Peace and Global Witness website.

PDA responds to Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas as a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, 2019 and stalled over the islands for 24 hours, causing massive damage. So far, it is reported that 27 lives have been lost.

PDA is working with partners in the Bahamas to respond to immediate needs with a solidarity grant. Presbyteries in the U.S. are assessing the need and PDA stands ready to assist as needed.

If you would like to support PDA’s response, please designate gifts to DR000194 online or by check with “DR000194-Dorian” on the memo line to:

Presbyterian Church (USA)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

For more information about Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, click here.

Coming soon: a toolkit for your church’s mission committee

Original article found here.

Toolkits on Christian-Muslim relations, HIV/AIDS and short-term mission trips available now

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterian World Mission has several online toolkits to help individuals, congregations, mission committees and others engage in God’s mission in their communities and around the world.

LOUISVILLE — World Mission staff has created a variety of online resources to equip Presbyterians to prepare for, engage in and reflect on God’s mission.

“Through these toolkits, church leadership, Christian educators and mission committees will find resources to better understand, connect with and advocate for God’s people at home and around the world,” said Ellen Sherby, World Mission’s coordinator of Equipping for Mission Involvement.

Three mission toolkits — Christian Muslim Relations, HIV/AIDS and Short-Term Mission Trips — are currently available online and a Mission Committee Toolkit should be online sometime this fall. Each toolkit includes specific components to assist in learning, worshiping, connecting and taking action, as well as instructions on “How to use this toolkit.”

“In the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 22:36-40), we are called by God to live out the great commandment to ‘love God’ and to ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’” Sherby said.  “Presbyterians seek to live in fellowship with people of all faiths, striving for understanding and learning to work together to create positive change in our world.”

The Christian-Muslim Relations toolkit provides resources for PC(USA) congregations interested in better understanding, connecting with and engaging in advocacy on behalf of their Muslim neighbors. By learning how to better relate with their Muslim neighbors, toolkit users are equipped to engage in faithful, humble and respectful interfaith relations.

According to the World Health Organization’s most recent data from 2017, 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. Church leaders, including pastors, mission and outreach committees, sessions, youth group leaders and Christian education teachers will be able to use these resources to better understand HIV/AIDS, how they can support people who are infected by and affected by HIV/AIDS, and how they can act locally and internationally to help prevent the resurgence of infections.

Preparing for short-term mission trips for the mutual benefit of the people who go and the people who receive the group takes time and careful planning. Leaders of short-term mission experiences help congregants discern whether to go, where to go and how to prepare for the sharing of time and talents with mission partners from other cultures and realities in the U.S. and around the world. Through the trip participants learn from one another and from their hosts as they worship and serve God together.

“It is vital to approach a short-term mission trip with open hands and hearts, realizing that God is already present in the place you are going,” Sherby said. “This toolkit offers suggestions and practical tools to establish the groundwork for a meaningful and mutually beneficial mission trip experience.”

Fourth in the series is a Mission Committee Toolkit, which will be available this fall. Since the mission committee serves as the heart of its congregation, this toolkit will focus on evaluating current mission involvement and assisting the congregation to discern its missional focus moving forward. Allocating funds, choosing mission projects, beginning and sustaining partnerships — all this work, although life-giving, can be challenging. The Mission Committee Toolkit will include resources to help equip and strengthen mission committees for this important work.

If you’d like to join with other mission committee leaders in sharing experiences and resources during virtual mission committee roundtables this fall, contact Stephanie Caudill in World Mission’s Equipping for Mission Involvement Office, at 800-728-7228, ext. 5279, or stephanie.caudill@nullpcusa.org.

All World Mission online resources, including mission toolkits, are available at pcusa.org/missionresources.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

‘We are here, we are ready, and we are eager to see what God is about to do’

Original article found here.

Triennium’s opening worship infused with youthful joy and enthusiasm

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Sera Chung, the preacher during Tuesday’s opening worship at Presbyterian Youth Triennium, joins with the Nettletons to sing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” (Photo by Rich Copley)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — More than 4,000 youth and their chaperones clearly energized by having arrived at Purdue University for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium worshiped together Tuesday night through movement, singing, prayer, confession — and by hearing thoughtful, heartfelt preaching.

“God’s bigger than anything we can imagine,” the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, co-moderator of the 223rd General Assembly, told worshipers.

“We believe God calls each of us to ministry,” said her fellow co-moderator, Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri. “We encourage you to have fun, make memories — and tell us all about it.”

After a drama team told snippets of their personal stories, their leader, the Rev. Mark Montgomery of Norwalk, Conn., assured worshipers that this week, God will write a new story on their heart. The theme for Tuesday was “Tune my Heart.”

Energizers and upbeat music served to pump up the more than 4,000 people at Purdue University attending the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Music performed by the Nettletons, Triennium’s house worship band, elicited a sea of cell phone flashlights that swayed gently with the rhythm.

The service’s call to worship concluded with these words, recited by just about everyone in the Elliott Hall of Music: “We are here, we are ready, and we are eager to see what God is about to do.”

Then the Rev. Sera Chung took to the stage.

Chung, director of the Asian American program at Princeton Theological Seminary, preached from Psalm 100: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing … For the Lord is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and God’s faithfulness to all generations.”

Chung posed this question to the gathered youth: What is life? For Chung, an accomplished musician, it’s a song, “and you better sing that song with the unique instrument God gave you. We take our stories and perch them on a melody so they can take flight.”

The problem, she said, is that “we all want to write a hit song.” The lyric must be catchy, the rhythm funky and the song “must be relatable so it touches the audience.”

The Rev. Sera Chung, director of the Asian American program at Princeton Theological Seminary, was the preacher during Tuesday’s opening worship at Triennium. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Most of the Bible’s 150 psalms are laments, she said. The psalmists, many of them anonymous, rail against sickness, feelings of betrayal and abandonment, false accusation — all part of the human condition. “We can’t help but notice,” Chung said, “that happiness cannot exist apart from suffering. Life gives us psalms to sing that are bitter but also sweet, loud but also silent.”

They’re not songs that come from places of order, equilibrium, peace or comfort, she said. The people who sang them “were subject to being relocated, isolated, shut down and overwhelmed,” she said. “Yet we see them tuning their hearts, singing their way into God’s presence … It is through this trust in God’s steadfast love that we can sing these psalms.”

When her mother died unexpectedly not long ago, “the only sound that came out of my mouth were sounds of deep pain and suffering.” Rather than tuning her heart, Chung said she was ready to tune out. But friends reminded her she still had a song to sing.

“Singing and tuning our hearts to God are not limited to certain individuals, leaders or kings,” she said. “It’s a call to all of us to sing a testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness.”

As Chung and the Nettletons joined to sing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” Triennium’s theme song, Chung asked worshipers to name the things their hearts are currently seeking.

“Does it seek for justice? A repaired relationship?” she asked. “Shout out what your heart is seeking.”

Those in attendance did exactly that as the musicians concluded the hymn.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

Adult participants can get an intergenerational education at Presbyterian Youth Triennium

Originally posted on www.presbyterianmission.org

Youth group leaders and others invited to spend some ‘intergenerational holy moments’

by Mari Graham Evans | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Delegations from as far as Indonesia and all over the U.S. are gearing up for five sweaty, charged and delight-filled days at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT) at Purdue University July 16-20. While it’s a youth-focused event, adults will have the opportunity for their own enlightenment by accessing the Adult Learning Track offering.

This year’s learning opportunity will be led by Brian Frick, Associate for Christian Formation (and Camp and Conference Ministry) of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Rev. Dr.  Jason Santos, Mission Coordinator for Christian Formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Framed in the context of “intergenerational holy moments,” this three-day workshop “explores how cultivating IG [intergenerational] moments help anchor a deeper faith and a multi-layered understanding of Christian community,” according to the Triennium website. “Join the staff of the Office of Christian Formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency as we delve into this rich topic and explore a fuller vision for the church and the future of youth ministry.”

Rev. Dr. Jason Santos

Intergenerational formation, according to Santos, is where “two or more generations intersect one another in a mutually transformative and inclusive way.”

“The ‘intergenerational’ part implies not just generations together, but rather an intersection,” Santos says. “We use words like ‘mutuality’ and ‘reciprocity’ and ‘inclusion’ in the language of [intergenerational formation].”

“Basically, multiple generations together forming a faithful community. So how are we forming a congregation that includes everybody?” adds Frick.

Intergenerational ministry is characterized by an equal exchange, which means “participation both in leadership and receiving by multiple generations. It’s not teaching, like me teaching children,” Frick says. “It’s us being together in a [particular] setting.”

According to Santos, participants attending the Adult Learning Track can expect to get “a better understanding of intergenerational formation and how it fits within the church and a better understanding of how central that type of formation is for the identities that youth are developing in high school or junior high ministry.”

More than information, participants will also get time together to process through what they are learning and share with each other the stories from their own experiences.

Brian Frick

“A small church might only have a few youths; they don’t really have a youth group,” says Frick. “So, what does that mean? There will be all different size churches and leaders coming to Triennium.

“So, we will be talking about an overall way of being church, but they are also going to have some time to begin, because it’s a long process,” Frick explains. “This is not something where you go, ‘Wow, if I just start doing this … solved.’ It’s the beginning of an understanding.”

Now in its fourth iteration, the Adult Learning Track is an opportunity for adult advisers at Triennium to enjoy some “focused, professionally planned and led continuing education focused on the Christian faith formation of youth,” according to the Triennium website.

Some may express surprise that something that’s adult-focused is offered at a youth-centered event such as Triennium.

“Triennium tends to draw a large amount of youth ministry leaders from congregations. Many of the youth leaders are very experienced in accompanying young people but do not have continuing education budgets or additional time to travel,” says Gina Yeager-Buckley, Mission Associate for Formation (PYT and Youth Ministries) for the Presbyterian Mission Agency “Most adults who attend Triennium are coming on their vacation time.”

“As is the case in many Presbyterian churches — adults who serve among youth, children, intergenerational ministries, young adult ministries — are grassroots (people) trained in Christian formation,” Yeager-Buckley says. “They learn ‘in the youth room,’ ‘in the van going to serve in a mission experience,’ ‘teaching Sunday school’ — these are the most profound ways of learning.  And it’s also nice to have intentional training/learning with fellow volunteers or ministry leaders, taught with research, creativity and understanding.”

Make sure to follow PYT on social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to be up to date on all of the Triennium excitement. The official event hashtag is #PYT2019.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. The 2019 event is July 16-20, 2019 at Purdue University. The theme for the 2019 event is “Here’s My Heart.” The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is supported by your gifts to the Pentecost Offering.


Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

Nine amendments approved to the Constitution of the PC(USA)

Voting has wrapped up and nine amendments have been added to the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) The 223rd General Assembly (2018) directed the Stated Clerk to send all proposed amendments to the presbyteries for affirmative or negative votes. The presbyteries are given a year to cast votes.

Read the article on the PC(USA) website here.