• Outpost Blog 6 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 22 hours 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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  • Outlook Features 1 day ago

    Romans 12:1-2 and the purpose of theological education

    Romans 12:1-2 and the purpose of theological education

    by Chip Hardwick
    “Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King Jr. was only a college student when he penned these words in an article entitled “The purpose of education” that was published in Morehouse University’s The Maroon Tiger in February 1947. Almost 70 years later, they are important food for thought about the purpose of theological education. Presbyterians prize education. It is in our DNA. We are both a people of the Book and people of many books. Yet what is the… continue reading...
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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...]

Experiencing ‘the church in action’ – Peggy Rada, spouse and traveling partner of Moderator Heath Rada, finds her niche

Peggy Rada —PNS file photo

LOUISVILLE (PNS) 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 other places. 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. While Moderator Heath is speaking or attending meetings, Peggy will be talking with homeless people at a church-run shelter, packing lunches for a church feeding program, or engaging in some other mission activity. She is carving out a unique role for herself that will enable her, as she puts it, to “see the church in action.” Peggy Rada says her vision for the role of moderator spouse began to take shape last year when she and Heath were praying about whether he should stand for the office. With people they trusted … [Read more...]

Yale chaplain’s resignation reflects larger mainline tensions over Israel

(RNS) When an Episcopal chaplain at Yale University seemed to suggest that Jews were culpable for Israel’s actions against Palestinians and a related rise in global anti-Semitism, his comments not only led to his resignation but rekindled a debate within mainline Protestant churches about how to respond to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a letter to The New York Timesresponding to an op-ed by Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt about rising European anti-Semitism, the Rev. Bruce Shipman wrote that “the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.” Several readers interpreted Shipman’s letter as an attempt to hold all Jews across the globe responsible for the actions of the Israeli state. Less than two weeks later, on Sept. 4, he resigned his post in New Haven. While the Episcopal Church supports a two-state solution and advocates for … [Read more...]