The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) presents the Ecumenical Service Recognition in order to uplift and give public acknowledgement of the service to unity undertaken by Presbyterians and Presbyteries. The Awards are made every other year and presented at the General Assembly at the Stated Clerk’s dinner where our ecumenical guests are officially welcomed by the Stated Clerk and the Moderator of the General Assembly. This year’s dinner was held in Detroit at the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
In making this recognition the General Assembly bears testimony to the belief that the Presbyterian Church is part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church seeking a visible unity to the unity we have in Christ and affirms that local councils are the most appropriate means where the obedience to the divine will that the church be visibly one. By lifting up the ecumenical involvement of those within the church the General Assembly is able to provide practical examples of how Presbyterians can move beyond affirming unity to finding ways to exhibit that unity in their local communities.
The recipients of this year’s Ecumenical Service Recognition were Central Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, Indiana, Chinook Presbyterian Church in Chinook, Montana, Rev. Jose Luis Casaal.
Central Presbyterian Church shared this video to illustrate their ecumenical and interreligious involvement, including the drafting of ground rules for interfaith discussions and hosting “Faith of Our Neighbors.”
Chinook Presbyterian Church is located in a small community and they reached out to congregations in order to provide youth in the area with a Christian environment to explore and grow in their faith. The group, JUMP, has grown and flourished in the few years it has existed. Chinook Presbyterian Shared this video where several youth are interviewed about their involvement in JUMP.
The Rev. Jose Luis Casal was nominated by the Stated Clerk of Tres Rios Presbytery for his commitment to serving the wider church. Jose Luis immigrated to the United States to serve as a pastor of a PC(USA) congregation. He has served as a Representative to the General Assembly of the National Council of Churches and continues to be involved in ecumenical efforts for immigration reform and justice movements.
The Rev. Dr. Clark Lobenstine was nominated by a retired Presbyterian minister who was a witness to Clark’s ministry with the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. Clark was born in China to Presbyterian missionary parents. He works to help religious, non-profit, and community and governmental groups explore how they might work effectively in religiously diverse communities.
Consider nominating someone for the 2016 Ecumenical Service Recognition. Nomination forms will be available on this website in late 2015.