Older adults enhance Churches’ ministries

For years, a church’s declining membership concerned its leaders. Their solution— a youth ministry. After several years, the church pastor acknowledged that the effort invested to attract young families was not working. The pastor’s conclusion was simple and refreshing: “I have been telling the session that perhaps it’s time to be who we are, a church for older adults.”

Needed: a moral voice from the Church on death and dying

History intrudes on the Church’s liturgical pilgrimage through Holy Week and Easter. The face of death this year, at least in the U.S., is the face of Terri Schiavo.  The Schiavo case has dominated the news media, exacerbated political divisions, and played heavy on the sympathies of the public.

Brown responds to Easter essays: Rigby replies

Editor’s Note: Clay J. Brown, Associate Pastor for Christian Formation and Discipleship at Grace Church in Houston, Texas, has written the following response to two recent essays in The Presbyterian Outlook: “The Significance of the Resurrection” by Cynthia L. Rigby and “Easter Faith, Easter Church”, by George Stroup (issue 187-11, March 21, 2005). One of the essayists, Cynthia Rigby, who is W. C. Brown Professor of Theology at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, has replied to Mr. Brown. Her response follows his essay.

Rediscovering Christian Education

I am grateful that my colleague and friend, Ben Sparks, has broached the sometimes sensitive subject of Christian education, especially what is happening in the local church. I suspect, like so many pastors and educators at this time of the year, Ben has faced another confirmation class unfamiliar with the stories of the faith!

A Little Known Hero

The World Alliance Church News recently reported that the Reformed world has lost one of its courageous prophets with the death of antiapartheid activist Beyers Naudé.

From the 1960s, Beyers was among the few whites in southern Africa who was brave enough to speak boldly at great personal risk.

Coming Together

I have been praying (and looking) for signs of a wider unity in the PC (USA) than the division our sharp, destructive conflicts over sexuality and abortion reveal. Of course, a wider unity must be grounded biblically, theologically, and confessionally. We Presbyterians never saw a theological debate we didn't want to decorate, preach about, or organize a committee around. That's a positive quality so long as it does not imperil action and genuine confession.

I do not claim to know that unity, but I believe there is promise in the combined evangelical, mainline, Roman Catholic, and Jewish assault on hunger and poverty -- led by Jim Wallis and others. At a conference brought together around this theme in New York some weeks ago, an evangelical held up a Bible from which he had cut all references to the poor for whom God cares, for whom God holds rulers of the earth accountable, and to whom Jesus (Luke 4) said he would preach the good news. There were precious few pages remaining. He then said that if you cut out the references to sex in similar fashion, the Bible would remain intact.

Where do ministers come from?

If this question sounds like one a child might ask a harried parent, it is. Gestation is involved since ministers are made not born, and church officers need to consider where they really come from.

Suffering for the sake of the Name

It has finally occurred in a public aside, in the March meeting of the Task Force on the Peace, Unity, and Purity of the Church. A conflict erupted that many people have been waiting for impatiently.  Could it be that the real challenge of status confessionis before the church of Jesus Christ in the United States of America is not homosexual ordination but the imperial conduct of this 'Christian' nation in its Middle East pursuits? If the Confessing Church movement has something to confess, then over against what apostasies and soul-destroying idolatries on behalf of Jesus Christ do they take their stand? Are they simply against other Presbyterians whom they deem heretical and unbiblical? Is the Covenant Network espousing a confessional position on the removal of G-6.0106b.? Are these organizations implicitly positioning themselves for "severance?"