• Outlook Reporting 4 hours ago

    PMAB asks, “What makes a good governing board?”

    PMAB asks, “What makes a good governing board?”

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Consultant Rebekah Basinger is leading the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in a discussion of board governance Sept. 18; Photo by Leslie Scanlon LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board spent a day talking about what makes a good governing board. “An organization will be no stronger than its board, at least in the long term,” Rebekah Basinger, a consultant who led the discussion and who has expertise in fundraising and board governance for faith-based organizations, said at the start of the conversation. Among the issues the board discussed: Who controls… continue reading...
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  • Outpost Blog 16 hours ago

    Intergenerational “children’s messages”

    Intergenerational “children’s messages”

    by Emma Nickel
    The children’s time is the hardest part of worship. I stress about making that message meaningful far more than I worry about delivering the sermon. Though there is much debate in seminary classes about whether the children’s time is an appropriate way to minister to kids at all, it still shows up in many church liturgies. As much as it stresses me out some weeks, it’s also a part of worship that keeps me grounded and joyful. In the past, I was used to having tiny kids come forward “to… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 1 day ago

    Presbyterian Mission Agency Board kicks off meeting with optimism, reconciliation directive

    Presbyterian Mission Agency Board kicks off meeting with optimism, reconciliation directive

    by Leslie Scanlon
    David Ezekiel (left) of Illinois and Marilyn Gamm (right), chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, participate in small-group discussions on reconciliation Sept. 17 at the board’s meeting in Louisville. (Photo by Leslie Scanlon) LOUISVILLE – With the hit song “Happy” serving as the soundtrack for one of the videos played, an upbeat, optimistic attitude about the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permeated the presentations at the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board meeting Sept. 17. “We are on the brink, not the brink of disaster, but the brink of vibrant… continue reading...
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PMAB asks, “What makes a good governing board?”

Consultant Rebekah Basinger is leading the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board in a discussion of board governance Sept. 18; Photo by Leslie Scanlon

LOUISVILLE – The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board spent a day talking about what makes a good governing board. “An organization will be no stronger than its board, at least in the long term,” Rebekah Basinger, a consultant who led the discussion and who has expertise in fundraising and board governance for faith-based organizations, said at the start of the conversation. Among the issues the board discussed: Who controls the agendas for the board’s meetings? Is time being spent on what matters most? How can the board measure whether it’s making progress on things that matter? Where’s the accountability? What should the relationship be between the board and the national staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)? How can board members be ambassadors for the PC(USA) once they leave these meetings and head back home? Here are some points from the discussion. How much detail? How can board members get the information they need to make good decisions without micromanaging … [Read more...]

PMAB committee hears update on study process for proposed revisions to Directory for Worship

LOUISVILLE (PNS) When the 221st General Assembly (2014) voted to forward to the church the draft of the proposed Directory for Worship — the middle section of the Book of Order, Part II of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — it set into motion a yearlong, churchwide period of study and comment, which began on July 1, 2014. “It’s important that you as a committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board be as equipped, informed, and as well prepared as possible as we seek and receive comments on the revised directory,” said the Rev. Charles Wiley, coordinator of the office of Theology and Worship in reviewing the process for members of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board’s (PMA) Worshiping Communities Committee on Sept. 17. To facilitate this study process, the Theology and Worship office of has already made available a number of initial resources, including an online shortcut to the full text of the directory in English, Korean, and Spanish; an email … [Read more...]

Intergenerational “children’s messages”

Emma Nickel headshot

The children’s time is the hardest part of worship. I stress about making that message meaningful far more than I worry about delivering the sermon. Though there is much debate in seminary classes about whether the children’s time is an appropriate way to minister to kids at all, it still shows up in many church liturgies. As much as it stresses me out some weeks, it’s also a part of worship that keeps me grounded and joyful. In the past, I was used to having tiny kids come forward “to join me on the steps for our time together.” I’m accustomed to meeting with kids who are four years old up to those still in early elementary school. But in my present call, older kids are the ones who meet me up front. They are in fifth, sixth and even seventh grades. There is a part of me that wonders, “Are kids in this age group too old to keep coming forward?” Although I suspect there may be a parental push causing them to do so, I also wonder if the initiate might really be theirs. Perhaps they … [Read more...]

Giving Peace a Chance: GA Moderator Rada Joins Boulder Interfaith Peace Walk

A soggy afternoon did little to dampen the spirits of Muslims, Jews, Christians, and friends who participated in Boulder’s 9/11 interfaith “Walk for Peace and Solidarity.” —Vicki Fogel Mykles

BOULDER, COLORADO (PNS) So, an iman, a rabbi, and a Presbyterian minister met in a parking lot… To be precise, they met on the afternoon of Sept. 11 in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Boulder (Colorado) along with 150 members from local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faith groups.  They congregated to commemorate, celebrate and cross-pollinate with an organized “Walk for Peace and Solidarity.” This unlikely band of men, women, and children gathered to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. While not uncommon for interfaith groups to recall the tragic events of 9/11, this group had an additional and much more personal reason to gather. The buildings of the three main participants ― the Islamic Center, Congregation Har HaShem, and St. Andrew Presbyterian Church ― are lined up just blocks from each other along one of Boulder’s busiest thoroughfares.  They also sit squarely in the floodplain of Boulder Creek, a normally tranquil trickle that roared … [Read more...]

Presbyterian Mission Agency Board kicks off meeting with optimism, reconciliation directive

David Ezekiel (left) of Illinois and Marilyn Gamm (right), chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, participate in small-group discussions on reconciliation Sept. 17 at the board's meeting in Louisville. (Photo by Leslie Scanlon)

LOUISVILLE – With the hit song “Happy” serving as the soundtrack for one of the videos played, an upbeat, optimistic attitude about the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) permeated the presentations at the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board meeting Sept. 17. “We are on the brink, not the brink of disaster, but the brink of vibrant and wonderful ministry,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Since the General Assembly blessed the 1,001 New Worshipping Communities initiative two years ago, Presbyterians have created 270 new worshipping communities in 110 presbyteries, said Roger Dermody, the denomination’s deputy executive director for mission. Half are multi-ethnic and multicultural, he said (although he didn’t explain exactly how that’s defined). “This is happening now,” Dermody said. “This is us, the PC(USA) today, and it’s happening all over the nation and lives are being transformed…It’s amazing and exciting and something we … [Read more...]

Letter to the president in support of sanctuary and in hope of administrative relief

LOUISVILLE (PNS) The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, wrote a letter to the President of the United States in support of Sanctuary and in Hope of Administrative Relief. The full letter is posted below.   September 15, 2014 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500  Dear President Obama, Congregations across the United States in this denomination and others are prayerfully discerning how to be the church for persons with deportation orders. As faith bodies find the values of their tradition at odds with the values reflected in the implementation of immigration law and policy, they are making the difficult choice to offer sanctuary. I write to you today about these congregations and, more importantly, the persons they are choosing to protect to ask that you defer the deportations of these individuals and others like them. As persons of faith we are called to love our neighbors as we love … [Read more...]