These are 7 signs that I simply and unashamedly share with you as to why and where I find seeds of hope scattered throughout my denomination – the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
1. Educate a Child, Transform the World … project passed by this past General Assembly in 2014 to inspire, equip and connect Presbyterians for the purpose of improving the quality of education for one million children in the U.S. and globally over the next 4 years. Within just one week, PC(USA) congregations joined together and pledged $1.65 million for a project proposed in South Sudan. Wow! http://bit.ly/UBJXtB
2. Theocademy … birthed by the Synod of Mid-America Synod and its PC(USA) partners, these free online video lessons are designed to better equip the people of the church to be the church – and they are doing just that!! They currently have two whole sets available (5 videos for new members & 13 videos for ruling elders and deacons) with big plans to release much more. Check them out – http://www.theocademy.com/
3. YAVs … the Young Adult Volunteer program helps our 19-30 year olds put their faith into action. It connects interested applicants to exciting opportunities for a year of Christian service either within the US or abroad. Through the Presbyterian Mission Agency and our worldwide PC(USA) partnerships, they have mission sites set up for anything and everything from urban outreach to social justice to living sustainably. Apply or learn more about it here – http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/yav/
4. modeRADA … Heath Rada is a ruling elder from Western North Carolina Presbyterian who was just elected to be the Moderator of our most recent General Assembly. Before a vote and prior to any action being taken, Rada clearly and concisely summarized his candidacy by saying: “We need to find ways for people to live together and disagree. A mediator can help find significant common ground.” I am excited for Rada to be our Moderator and our mediator over the coming two years – http://heathrada.org/
5. PCCCA … there are over 150 locations that belong to the Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center Association. All of them have unique settings. All of them have amazing ministries. 7 out of every 10 ordained pastors within the PC(USA) can point to a transformational moment in their faith journey while they were in one of these camp or conference settings. They have been and they continue to be a tremendous resource and sign of hope for our denomination – http://bit.ly/1k7OwYx
6. 1001 New Worshipping Communities … this was an initiative launched by the 2012 General Assembly to create 1001 new worshipping communities within the next 10 years to help the PC(USA) make the shift from an inward-focused, membership-maintenance model of church to a more outward, creative, and disciple-making expression of church. They are ahead of schedule and right on track, read more here – http://www.onethousandone.org/
7. the Daily Prayer app … the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship has released an app which provides simple, yet rich devotional resources for morning, midday, evening, and close of day. The app itself is great and I highly recommend it, but the bigger sign of hope I see in this is that we are actively seeking out ways to meet people where they are. Developing an “app” is not something the 16th century Reformers were concerned with, but I am glad that we are!
iTunes – http://bit.ly/1nUjtjU
Amazon – http://amzn.to/1pGjEuu
Google Play – http://bit.ly/1k7QMPq
Where do you see hope? In what do you rejoice? What makes you “sinfully proud to be a Presbyterian”?