Quite often these days when two or more Presbyterians gather, opinions spark discourse, discussion and sometimes even debate regarding the future ministry and mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Perhaps answers could be found by looking no further than the first few pages of the Book of Order. Here, within the preliminary principles, lies a set of mission statements that are intended to define the life and work of the PC(USA). Called the Great Ends of the Church, these phrases embody the six great purposes of the church. For decades, these axioms have helped establish the course for mission and ministry, and present six basic works to our denomination that are the heart of who the church is and what the church is called to do.
Witherspoon Press, an imprint of Congregational Ministries Publishing, is pleased to announce the completion of a series of six books, each focusing on one Great End of the Church — each written by a respected Presbyterian scholar.
Titles include: Proclamation of the Gospel for the Salvation of Humankind,by Catherine Gunsalus González; Shelter, Nurture, and Spiritual Fellowship of the Children of God,by Elizabeth F. Caldwell; Maintenance of Divine Worship,by Howard L. Rice, Jr.; Preservation of the Truth,by Joseph D. Small; Promotion of Social Righteousness,by Cynthia L. Rigby; and Exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the World,by Darrell L. Guder.
This series provides a wonderful opportunity for understanding the church as a whole — each book is closely related to the others, and none are fully appreciated without the rest.
“This series of Witherspoon Press books helps us to explore these purposes more fully, deepening personal faith and joining with others to nurture the church in faithfulness,” said Joseph D. Small, director of the Theology Worship and Education ministry area of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Former Stated Clerk of the General Assembly Clifton Kirkpatrick agreed, “It is hoped that the series will help Presbyterians rediscover and reclaim the core values that have been part of our rich heritage for hundreds of years and that are still anchor points for our work and witness in the name of Jesus Christ today.”
The most recent and final installment of the series, written by Cynthia L. Rigby, takes us on a journey to promote social righteousness. Through the analysis of historical overview and biblical texts, the author situates Christian responsibility in relation to the world. Rigby asserts that our work is not about what we are called to do, but about who we are called to be, as disciples of Jesus Christ.
This Great Ends of the Church series, suitable for congregational or small group study, will give renewed insight and expression to our common faith and calling. The books are available for purchase at PC(USA) Marketplace, or by calling (888) 728-7228, x5192.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) comprises more than 2 million members in more than 10,000 congregations, answering Christ’s call to mission and ministry throughout the United States and the world.