Hospitality

Leaning Into Courage

Preface:
Two years ago, the Synod of the Northeast partnered with two very different congregations in a project we called “Undoing Racism.” The original partners were the Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church, an historic a African American congregation in Harlem, New York, and First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ, an historic, majority white congregation. Recently this initiative has included the First Presbyterian Church in Rutherford, NJ as well.

These congregations have made deep and lasting covenants to learn, worship, and fellowship together in order to undo the bonds of racism. It was my privilege to share the Word with these saints last Sunday, June 3rd. Here is the sermon and a few photos of this beautiful event…

An Open Letter to the Community of the Synod of the Northeast and Those We Serve

Dear Friends,  

As with many of you, I have become weary and sad at the constant flow of hateful speech and racist rhetoric from our president and his followers. The daily barrage of these words,  and devastating actions that follow them,  leaves me exhausted and wondering how to best use my public voice in ways that don’t simply add to the constant  flood of exchanges around them.  

This morning as I rise from morning prayer  there is a fire in my  bones that I cannot quench. It rises from the deepest part of my spirit and compels me to speak a word that makes it clear that there are regular episodes of our current president’s behavior  that  are undeniably immoral and contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

Something Old & Something New: Emerging Leaders Gather Around Ancient Practices

In the midst of an autumn coldsnap, around twenty church leaders who are between the ages of 25-40 gathered in upstate New York at the Silver Bay YMCA Camp & Conference Center for the 2017 Emerging Leaders Gathering. Though the weather was chilly, the community was not!

The Synod of the Northeast is blessed with a strong cohort of younger leaders, and while only a fraction of their number attend the annual Gathering each year, they consistently report that the community it fosters is crucial to their ongoing energy and enthusiasm for ministry.

Presbyterian Women Mission Exchange to Indonesia

The eighteen women from across the United States who comprised the delegation of the Churchwide Presbyterian Women’s 2017 Global Exchange to Indonesia traveled south and west to “Build the Bridge of Understanding” as sisters in Christ. Over the two and a half weeks of September 12-29, 2017, we accomplished the program's two main goals: we learned how to live respectfully in a multi-faith culture, and encouraged and accompanied one another as together we are seeking a more peaceful and just world.  The communities we visited were Jakarta, Solo, Yogyakarta on the island of Java, and Bali.

Movie Ministry Connects Generations in Small Town New York

About a year ago, and with the help of an Innovation Grant from the Synod of the Northeast, First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg, New York converted a room in its building into a versatile movie theater, as part of an ongoing effort to better serve its community and reach new people.

Setting the Table: An Act of Hospitality and Welcome

That day started a shift in me.  All relationships are a challenge, but when you meld together two cultures the way we have in our home it is both an indescribable joy and challenge.  I am on a constant learning curve and my daughter is always steps ahead of me.  That day, and the confession I share with you of my behaviors, also started me on a journey in my ministry and in my life of asking the deeper questions about hospitality and welcome.  How do we welcome? What is real hospitality?  How do we set the table?  How can we allow the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit--which is what happened to me through my daughter on that day--to allow the opportunity for rebirth and renewal? 

How Do We Extend and Receive Welcome in Prison Ministry?

For me, the joy is seeing how even seemingly insignificant offers of hospitality are deeply significant for people who simply want to be welcomed home, who have done their time and who deserve to be reintegrated into the community in a loving and respectful way. A little goes a long way. Think of a person who’s just getting out of prison. Think of what they need: that first set of clothes, first set of clean underwear, a birth certificate, a government-issued ID, a safe place to live, trauma resources, job interview training.

Prison Ministry Network sets out to answer a growing crisis: Ministry places emphasis on listening and learning together

“The Prison Ministry Network is our challenge to the faith communities to live out the gospel in very specific ways and to stand in the gap,” says Shaw, who believes that hope relies on the volunteer power of communities coming together. “More than ever, our churches are needed.”