• Outlook Reporting 16 hours ago

    3 ways to improve intergenerational worship from Jason Brian Santos

    3 ways to improve intergenerational worship from Jason Brian Santos

    by Jana Blazek
    “The problem is, we view church and spiritual formation like the public high school” – parents drop their kids off expecting them to be spiritually “fixed” and returned, said Jason Brian Santos, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s associate for collegiate ministries, in a workshop on intergenerational ministries at Big Tent July 31. Jason Brian Santos Santos said that the patterns and activities of worship – like celebrating communion – are things that have been handed down for 2,000 years. He said these are critical to faith formation because the communal memory… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 16 hours ago

    Big Tent honors, celebrates African Presbyterians in leadership

    Big Tent honors, celebrates African Presbyterians in leadership

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Sam Atiemo, the associate for African Emerging Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) for more than two years, led a celebration during a Big Tent 2015 workshop of the “the new thing that is happening. Africans are coming into leadership of the PC(USA).” The July 31 workshop drew such a crowd – with many of those attending being church leaders born in Africa — that it had to be moved to a different space with greater capacity. Meet here some of the emerging denominational leaders Atiemo introduced: Yaw Baah served… continue reading...
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  • Outlook Reporting 19 hours ago

    4 questions to consider in grassroots advocacy

    4 questions to consider in grassroots advocacy

    by Leslie Scanlon
    Catherine Gordon The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness only has a small staff, so when it advocates on international public policy issues, it often relies on alliances within the ecumenical community or with nongovernmental organizations. “The more like-minded people we can gather together to advocate, the stronger we are,” said Catherine Gordon, the office’s associate for international issues. She provided some coaching tips during a Big Tent 2015 workshop July 31 on how Presbyterians at the grassroots can get involved. Among questions for them to consider: What are… continue reading...
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3 ways to improve intergenerational worship from Jason Brian Santos

Jason Brian Santos

“The problem is, we view church and spiritual formation like the public high school” – parents drop their kids off expecting them to be spiritually “fixed” and returned, said Jason Brian Santos, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s associate for collegiate ministries, in a workshop on intergenerational ministries at Big Tent July 31. Santos said that the patterns and activities of worship – like celebrating communion – are things that have been handed down for 2,000 years. He said these are critical to faith formation because the communal memory is habitual. However, he challenged participants to start thinking about the approaches to these patterns. For example, what if a congregation did a year-long intergenerational confirmation project together (instead of sending students off by themselves)? Here are three other considerations he raised: 1.Preaching might be less important than Presbyterians think Sparking some debate, Santos asked if Presbyterians place too much … [Read more...]

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Big Tent honors, celebrates African Presbyterians in leadership

LydiaTemboPix

Sam Atiemo, the associate for African Emerging Ministries for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) for more than two years, led a celebration during a Big Tent 2015 workshop of the “the new thing that is happening. Africans are coming into leadership of the PC(USA).” The July 31 workshop drew such a crowd – with many of those attending being church leaders born in Africa — that it had to be moved to a different space with greater capacity. Meet here some of the emerging denominational leaders Atiemo introduced: Yaw Baah served as a commissioner from the Presbytery of Philadelphia to the 2014 General Assembly. Baah, from Ghana, told of his experiences on the assembly’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee, including meeting ecumenical representatives from the Muslim and Jewish faiths, and of the assembly’s difficult discussions leading to a vote on allowing PC(USA) ministers to perform same-gender marriages. Nana-Yaa Ghasi represented Newark Presbytery as a commissioner to … [Read more...]

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4 questions to consider in grassroots advocacy

A Christian from Ghana discussed ideas for empowering Ghanaian women

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Office of Public Witness only has a small staff, so when it advocates on international public policy issues, it often relies on alliances within the ecumenical community or with nongovernmental organizations. “The more like-minded people we can gather together to advocate, the stronger we are,” said Catherine Gordon, the office’s associate for international issues. She provided some coaching tips during a Big Tent 2015 workshop July 31 on how Presbyterians at the grassroots can get involved. Among questions for them to consider: What are our values? Presbyterians often work to uphold biblical values of justice, fairness and care for the least. What are our chances of success? “Can we have an impact?’ Gordon asked. “Can we as a church really effect change?” Presbyterians also want to remain faithful to the work they’re called to do – which sometimes may mean persisting in working for what’s right even when political forces align against … [Read more...]

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4 things Scott Weimer and North Avenue Presbyterian Church have learned about stopping child sex trafficking

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Scott Weimer, pastor of North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, spoke to participants at a Big Tent 2015 workshop July 31 about the need – even for cautious mainliners – to intentionally take risks. As in: His congregation didn’t move to the suburbs when the neighborhood changed. They took to the streets – praying for the people who work at nearby businesses and the medical center, for the homeless community. They asked: “How can we love our neighbors, the people who are right around us?” What they discovered: the problem of child sex trafficking, even in affluent parts of town, and right near the church. “It was shocking to us,” Weimer said. “It was something we didn’t see,” until they began really paying attention. Some of what they’ve learned along the way. People responded Older white women from the congregation, longtime members, approached Weimer with what he feared might be criticism when North Avenue became involved with Streetgrace, a nonprofit faith-based … [Read more...]

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4 ways Presbyterians can engage poverty from Sister Simone Campbell

Simone

Sr. Simone Campbell – a lawyer; executive director of NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby; and leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” project – contends that “I am currently called to be stomach acid in the body of Christ.” Her call is to lobby and foment for social justice. She calls on individual Christians not to try to do it all – but to pay attention and to do what Jesus did, “walk towards the pain, walk towards the trouble, walk towards the struggle and lift it up.” She shared these ideas at Big Tent. The numbers Campbell says this: In 73 percent of the households using safety net programs (such as Medicaid and SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), at least one person works full time. A woman who’d been recently laid off, who was struggling to earn enough to keep the electricity from being turned off, told Campbell: “I had no idea how much work it took to be poor, how much time it took to be poor.” Holy curiosity Meet the poor and struggling. … [Read more...]

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4 discipleship components from Rodger Nishioka

Nishioka

Rodger Nishioka, associate professor of Christian Education at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, is “winsome with a bite,” according to his introduction from Presbyterian Publishing Corporation’s Laura Cheifetz. This is the century of apostleship, meaning “those sent out,” Nishioka told participants July 31 at the Big Tent 2015 meeting in Knoxville. Therefore, he said, Presbyterians must understand how to equip leaders for discipleship and evangelism. To do so, he used an acronym, stating “Discipleship must be EPIC,” giving these explanations: Experience: Disciples experience God through the senses. Try this: Bake a loaf of frozen bread on communion Sundays. When congregants are in late stage dementia, they will smell baking bread and remember their identity as a child of God. Participation: People are yearning to participate in the reign of God in some way. Consider this: A recent story of a mailman in Utah tells of a child who wanted to read so badly … [Read more...]

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