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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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Posts with tag: church

November 1, 2013

Unity is an Action

Unity is an action, not a settled state that we achieve and can rest on.  Unity is a participation thing, not something external to us.  Unity is waiting to be lived today, not something settled in the past.  It is a painful time across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) . . .

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September 26, 2013

Something's Needed--Open Wards?

 We all want church to be our own ideal place of spiritual growth where we encounter God.  This is what we have in common.  Exactly how we can have that while in communion with one another is where the problems begin. 

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September 20, 2013

The Church Is a Hospital (Among Other Things)

Abigail Van Buren is said to have given us an oft-repeated quote: "The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints."  It’s an image that could help us see some things about the church that we might not grasp as well without its help.  Here are four ways hospitals might illuminate elements of the church.

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August 30, 2013

Grateful for Grace

There’s been chatter these days in the blogosphere about why we need the church.  In a recent blog post on our Theology and Worship blog where Barry Ensign-George links to these discussions, he also points out that these posts assume that being part of the church is a voluntary decision when, in fact, by virtue of our baptism we already ARE a part of the body of Christ.  

This has me thinking about farm wives who tell tales about killing a chicken for Sunday dinner.  (I know it’s a graphic leap, but hang with me a minute.)  One ...

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August 28, 2013

Church Chosen and Not-Chosen

It’s a perennial question that has come in for some engaged conversation over the last several weeks: “Why Church”?  As in, specifically, why be part of and committed to an actual congregation? 

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August 15, 2013

Why Do We Need the Church Anyway?

Church reminds us of who we are and why we’re here.  Hopefully, it also connects us with the sense of the holy, transcendent Creator who loves us, as seen mostly clearly in Jesus the Christ. 

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August 7, 2013

An Extended Ecclesial Analogy

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this.  It bears repeating.

Once upon a time a group of people gathered concerned about the number of lives lost due to shipwrecks off their coast.  Whenever there was a storm, they gathered on the shore watching for any signs of people needing rescue.  When they saw someone perishing, they formed a human chain to pull them to safety. 

Soon someone suggested they build a small lighthouse to warn sailors of the dangerous rocks.  “At the same time,” someone else said, “let’s build a fireplace in the bottom of the lighthouse ...

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March 26, 2013

How Millenial Are You?

Pew created quiz - see how you rank as a Millennial.

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October 9, 2012

Unity, Justice, and Witness

These were the questions of earlier generations, and they are also our questions today. In time, ecumenical Christians came to believe that “we belong together,” and that unity, justice, and witness are streams of the same river...

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October 1, 2012

Pastors Ministering In the Midst of Poverty

There is great potential for growth in the church in Congo. Training and empowering pastors to minister well to their people in this environment of significant material poverty is a challenge.

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September 24, 2012

Great Opportunity in Energy Corps Internship

Here's a wonderful opportunity for a young adult to make an impact in energy conservation and eco-stewardship and learn huge skills in the process!

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September 11, 2012

Witness in Reverse - Learning New Church Development from Global Partners

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has adopted a goal of establishing 1001 new worshiping communities over the next few years. Like the “Double the Church Movement” in Korea, this is not a programmatic slogan. Rather it is a call to mobilize the whole church for this task.

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August 27, 2012

Rethinking the term "Success"

As the PCUSA focuses its efforts on poverty reduction, a question needs to be asked: What is poverty?

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August 14, 2012

One of the Challenges for Missional Church Planting in Urban North America

The following is an excerpt from an article, “Top Challenges for Missional Church Planting in Urban America” by my friend Dan Steigerwald, President of Christian Associates North America – a non-affiliated church planting organization.

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August 13, 2012

Working for Evangelism, Education, & Social Services in Colombia

Rev. Diego Higuita describes the work of the IPC in Colombia, especially as it relates to furthering the realization of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God described in Isaiah 61, and claimed by Christ in Luke 4.

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March 15, 2012

What Does It Mean to Be a Denomination?

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a denomination in the church.  What does that mean?

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December 21, 2011

Eco-Stewards Program 2012

Don't miss out!  Sign up or encourage others to sign up today!

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December 5, 2011

Hire Heros - Tax Incentive Bill

The VOW to Hire Heroes Act (included in H.R. 674) was signed into law on November 21, 2011. 

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November 14, 2011

Do you know who you are?

Are you here for teaching/sharing peace and justice?  Evangelism?  Care of Creation?  Mission practices?  Youth leadership?  Or??

If you don’t know they don’t know.

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September 27, 2011

If a Tree Falls in the Woods...

Does being green only matter if someone is there to see it?  If ourwater is dripping, we leave the lights on, and throw out recycling and no one sees it, does it matter?
Of course it does.

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August 30, 2011

Not Whole Cloth, Just Ribbons

The church is not the whole cloth of Christ's glory; we're just scraps, bits and pieces.

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June 21, 2011

Who Do THEY Say We Are?

As our sites branch out into being mission support centers, finding and engaging in the work of the greater Church outside, or in concert with the site based resources, they are running into many “ah ha’s” as well as many confused looks as to why camp and conference centers should or can be helpful in many areas of ministry.

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May 17, 2011

"Come on baby light my fire" ....water???

BREAKING NEWS: Fracking (extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits through fracturing) has been scientifically linked to water contamination. Take a moment and listen to the "Here and Now" episode discussing the issue. ‘Fracking’ Scientifically Linked To Water Contamination And...

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July 30, 2010

The Awesome Task of Elders

Parity between Ministers and Elders I was baptized and raised Lutheran. When I joined a Presbyterian church as an adult I gradually became aware of Presbyterian polity and the way we structure our life together. I was especially taken by...

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