Ministry candidates talk about them. Moderators share them with session members during meetings. Pastors do sermon series on them. “They” are the Great Ends of the Church — statements crafted in the early 20th century to guide the vision and mission of the Presbyterian Church. But who can recite all six Great Ends? (Be honest.) And what do these Great Ends look like when lived out? Presbyterians Today explores how congregations embrace these guiding principles in ways that show their communities the power of love in action.
As the Rev. Brent Raska finishes up another order from customers in the states he distributes beer to, he remembers how he felt on Dec. 31, 2017. How he wept after preaching a final sermon at the small church he’d served for five years, which was down to 12 people. “I couldn’t help but think I was a failure,” he said, “even though I knew I wasn’t.”
Whether the trauma was caused by a human being or nature, what kind of faith do we need for “after the storm?”
The Presbyterian Historical Society is pleased to award four research fellowship grants for 2023.
This year’s recipients are Dr. Kazimierz Bem, a senior lecturer at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Wrocław, Poland, and a UCC pastor in Massachusetts; Morgan Crago, a graduate student at the Boston University School of Theology; Ezer Roboam May May, a graduate student at Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS-Peninsular, Mérida, Mexico); and Dr. Nicholas Pruitt of Eastern Nazarene College.
During the second of three webinars offered by the Synod of the Covenant and Science for the Church, this one held last week on the mental health and well-being of clergy and church leaders, Dr. David C. Wang of Fuller Theological Seminary laid out the reasons — many related to Covid — that church leaders are impacted by more mental health challenges than they were just three years ago.
Presbytery of New Covenant in southeast Texas has had a strong youth ministry for decades. A highlight has been its Youth Conclaves weekend retreats that are led by the youth themselves. These retreats are a time to meet other Presbyterian youth and a time to grow as disciples. Our presbytery also recognizes that youth is a time of exploration and identity formation — including gender or sexual orientation.
Of the 12 entries in our Book of Confessions, odds are you’re most familiar with the Apostles’ Creed. Every branch of Christianity’s family tree accepts it. It’s often recited at baptisms, as it was originally a baptismal creed. And, since it’s only 110 words long, if you have any creed memorized, this is probably the one. But of those 110 words, four have tripped up Christians for centuries: He descended into hell.
Which Harry Potter character are you? Which famous clown are you? Which “Friends” character are you? Quizzes like this abound on the internet, claiming to tell us who we identify with most in pop culture. And they’re not just on the internet. I remember a rogue questionnaire — “Which Princeton Theological Seminary professor are you?” — that a couple of seniors with too much time on their hands wrote.
Lupe Gonzalo understands all too well the hardscrabble life of a farmworker.
Two staff members of the Office of the General Assembly were recently recognized as Adult Achievers by the YMCA of Greater Louisville. DeAmber Clopton, associate director for finance and administration, and Y. Dianna Wright, director for ecumenical relations, were honored last month as the YMCA Black Achievers program held its 44th annual Awards Celebration. The gala celebration honored the 66 high school seniors who have completed the program, as well as one Youth Achiever of the Year and two Adult Achievers of the Year.