When Lydia Catina-Amaya left her home in the Philippines, she had dreams of becoming a missionary in the United States. Encouraged by what she thought was a Christian organization, Catina-Amaya soon found herself in a situation she could not escape. She was lured into becoming a domestic worker for a family in New York City. Her “employer” took her passport and papers and promised that if she stayed, she could reach her goals within two years.
If big things come in small packages, it only follows that big gifts are found in small churches. The Small Church Residency Program seeks to pair small, underserved congregations in rural, small-town, and urban settings with recent seminary graduates in a two-year pastoral-residency relationship, during which they are supported and guided by a cluster of pastor-mentors.
In Indianapolis, Presbyterians have joined with Jews, Muslims, and other Christians to build houses for homeless people and to combat hunger.
In New York City, Jews and Presbyterians have hosted book studies reflecting on different sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
In Lithonia, Georgia, African American Presbyterians are listening to and learning from leaders of the Nation of Islam and African traditional religions.
When a team of six members of Grace Presbytery traveled to Northern Ireland recently for a study mission, they thought they were ready. They had done their homework and studied about the history of religious and political conflict in the region, also known as “The Troubles.” But no amount of preparation was enough for what they learned during the course of their visit.
American advertising companies thrive off the consumer belief that the key to happiness lies in being rich, successful, and beautiful. Many people are convinced that losing weight, getting a job promotion, or purchasing a bigger house, for example, will lead to more happiness. However, a new book by best-selling author Martin Thielen lays these myths to rest, revealing that external circumstances only account for 10 percent of a person’s overall life satisfaction. In Searching for Happiness: How Generosity, Faith, and Other Spiritual Habits Can Lead to a Full Life (Westminster John Knox Press), Thielen uses psychological research, anecdotal evidence, and Scripture to outline ten practices that actually can help readers find happiness.
Eileen Murphy, founder and president of Extraordinary Leadership Coaching in Washington, D.C., still remembers the time she took a chance and challenged a new vice president in the business world to literally take a step of commitment.
A diverse team of 12 Presbyterians will journey to Goma, on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on January 27, to take part in a 10-day World Mission travel-study seminar. This pilgrimage of hope and solidarity is designed to promote understanding of the impact of conflict and sexual violence in this volatile region and to enable Presbyterians to learn best practices for accompanying the Church of Christ in Congo in ministering to survivors of violence.
Rev. Sean Chow has been named the Western region associate for 1001 New Worshiping Communities. In his new role, Chow will oversee national training for ‘1001’ and work with new worshiping community leaders, churches, and presbyteries in western states to continue to grow the movement.
In response to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s longstanding commitment to building and fostering relationships with people of other religious traditions, the Presbyterian Mission Agency office of Theology and Worship has repurposed its office of Interfaith Relations by replacing one former full-time associate with two part-time positions because of the critical importance of both interfaith relations and formation.
Using one of the most famous icons of angels representing the Trinity, Presbyterian pastor B.J. Woodworth invited some 75 Presbyterians at the Presbyterian Mission Agency-sponsored Disciple Making Conference here to make space for God, recognizing, as St. Augustine once said, “God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.”