The 15-month-old grandson of longtime Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders Manley and Ann Olson of St. Paul, MN, died July 17 after a tragic accident in Duluth, MN.

Sam, the Olsons only grandchild, died after becoming entangled in a venetian blind cord while in a porta-crib.

Services were held July 24 at Christ Episcopal Church in Woodbury, MN.

Notes may be sent to Ann and Manley Olson, 1974 W. Summer St., St. Paul, MN 55113-5550.

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The Rev. Jerry L. Cannon, pastor of C.N. Jenkins Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC, has been named church specialist in the Office of African American Congregational Support of the General Assembly Mission Council.

Cannon, who will continue as pastor at C.N. Jenkins Memorial, will primarily work out of his office in Charlotte. He will focus on African-American evangelism and church growth, congregational transformation and leadership development.
“I am excited for Rev. Cannon to join the staff of the Office of African American Congregational Support,” said the Rev. Rhashell D. Hunter, director of the GAMC’s Racial Ethnic and Women’s Minstries/Presbyterian Women, where the African American Congregational Support office is lodged. “His experience as a leader and pastor will benefit our African-American congregations.”

Cannon, a graduate of Johnson C. Smith Seminary in Atlanta and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, has served as president of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus. He has been pastor and head of staff at C.N. Jenkins since 1992.

“As an active pastor and church specialist, I hope to bring a listening ear to the needs of pastors and congregations; and as a practitioner, I plan to bring some effective principles of congregational transformation and leadership development that work,” Cannon said.

“African-American congregations and leaders have made a tremendous contribution to the Presbyterian Church for more than 200 years,” he continued. “It is imperative that the legacy be lifted up, but also that the future leadership be equipped to effectively witness the love and grace of God to the community and the world.”

Story furnished by Beth Newberry, Associate for Mission Communications

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Noted Presbyterian hymn-writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette’s second book of hymns — Songs of Grace:  New Hymns for God and Neighbor — has reached number one on the “Online Top Sellers” of its publisher, Upper Room Books.  

Songs of Grace — a collection of 77 hymns — was published in June. Gillette, who is co-pastor with her husband, Bruce, of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE, has been writing hymns since 1998. Her first collection, Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship, was published by PCUSA’s Geneva Press in 2000. 

Over the years, several of Gillette’s hymns were written for and used by many to mark significant events — the 300th anniversary of American Presbyterianism, the Souper Bowl annual youth anti-hunger campaign, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricanes Katrina on the Gulf Coast and Mitch in Central America.

Each hymn in Songs of Grace comes with a page-long reflection that helps it be a devotional for personal meditation and prayer as well as a resource for worship. The book also includes indices to scriptural references, topics, lectionary texts and tunes. 
In addition to Upper Room Books, Songs of Grace:  New Hymns for God and Neighbor can be ordered from Cokesbury, Amazon and the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship which is giving autographed Songs of Grace to people who give $65 for their 65th anniversary.

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The Rev. C. M. Kao, who was jailed for more than four years by the Taiwanese government while serving as general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, is recovering from recent heart-bypass surgery.

A leader of the democracy movement in his country during the dictatorship of Chiang-Kai Shek, Kao was imprisoned in the early 1980s for refusing to reveal the location of a friend and reporter who had written critically about the Chiang-Kai Shek regime. Kao’s first interview after being released was with Marj Carpenter, who was then serving as director of the Presbyterian News Service. That interview appeared in Presbyterian Survey (now Presbyterians Today) magazine.

In a June 18 letter to Carpenter, Kao said he is “recovering step by step. I am thankful that so many people are praying for me and my wife.”