Written by Gradye Parsons
Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.
October contains World Communion Sunday, Reformation Sunday, and All Saints Day. While the Reformation is not just about the Reformed family of faith, I would like to share with you what some of our Reformed saints in the making are doing in the world.
The Reformed Church of Hungary is helping its’ neighbors to the south in the Ukraine. The Sub-Carpathia Reformed Church in Ukraine has around 140,000 members. The war has made their situation even more perilous.
The Presbyterian Church of South Sudan continues to be a victim in that country’s civil war. The church was a leader in the establishment of the country. But now it has had its main campus destroyed and many churches burned.
The Reformed folk in Lebanon and Syria are part of the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon. Lebanon has taken more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria and 750,000 from Iraq. The population of Lebanon has increased by 50 percent. Members of the church and others have taken people into their homes, churches, and schools.
There are many more stories from the other 90-million-plus Reformed sisters and brothers around the world. You and I are part of them. Our theological roots go back to the same people. Our Reformed understanding of the church and society propels them as it does us to work for peace and justice in their countries. The grace received in the gift of Jesus Christ opens their hearts to victims of oppression, whoever they may be.
As we mark these special days this month I am asking you to pray globally. Pray that we can live out the words of the Brief Statement of Faith:
In a broken and fearful world
the Spirit gives us courage
to pray without ceasing,
to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in Church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. (Book of Confessions, 10.4, Lines 65–71)