SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Outlook) The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board met for a joint worship service the evening of March 22 at Iglesia Presbiteriana de Puerto Nuevo in San Juan.
The bilingual worship service – full of exuberant music, prayer, and with a sermon preached in Spanish and translated into English – represented the hospitality and ministry gifts of all three presbyteries in Puerto Rico’s Synod of Borinquen (the Presbytery of San Juan, Noroeste Presbtery and Presbiterio de Suroeste). An offering was taken to support seminary students in Puerto Rico.
Pablo Caraballo from the Presbiterio de Suroesta (the Southwest Presbytery), preached from the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel on the unity of the church, calling for Christians to demonstrate visibly that unity and to live into the commitments of the Belhar Confession from South Africa, to work for justice and to reconciliation, to practice prayer and forgiveness, listening to one another with respect despite differences.
Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, said, “for many of us here, this is very much like a wedding. It is a time of great celebration.”
Luis Ocasio, moderator of the Presbytery of San Juan, delivered this benediction, speaking in Spanish: “May the blessing of the God of peace and justice be with us. May the blessing of the Son who weeps the tears of the world’s suffering be with us. And may the blessing of the Spirit who inspires us to reconciliation and hope be with us from now until eternity.”
The Puerto Rican Presbyterians also presented a series of gifts to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders, to De La Rosa and PC(USA) stated clerk J. Herbert Nelson and, for Jan Edmiston and Denise Anderson, co-moderators of the 2016 General Assembly, baseball hats from the Puerto Rican team, whose players have won the hearts of the island and were competing just as worship was concluding in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic.