The 2019 January 25-26 Synod Mission & Ministries Commission meeting began the next two-year term for presbytery representatives. As we said farewell to some representatives at the November 2018 meeting, we welcomed at this meeting people elected for the first time to represent their presbyteries. You can see that the new members bring a wealth of experience, gifts, and talents to the Commission that will enhance the Synod’s work over the next two years.
I am writing this as a pastoral and prophetic word as one who is called to lead our community in our common witness to proclaim the Gospel in season and out and to encourage our members to raise up their important voice in pursuit of becoming a vital part of the Beloved Community.
For some time now, I have been searching for the best words to express a helpful and coherent response to the dangerous and polarizing rhetoric that has run rampant in our country and culture…
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.
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.
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.
The Synod is pleased to welcome Ruling Elder Lori Hylton as our new Administrative Coordinator!
Immigration is a subject constantly in the news headlines these days, but for members of our own Marturia Presbyterian Church - a New Hampshire congregation in the midst of a growing Indonesian community (Presbytery of Northern New England) - it is more than a news topic, it is a lived reality.
Languages, cultures, and immigrant realities are among the many diversities that bless and challenge our ministry as a Synod community. In seeking to be faithful to this blessing, and to stand alongside our immigrant brothers and sisters in the midst of their challenges, the Synod Commission established an Immigration Advocacy Fund at its October 2017 meeting. In doing so, the Commission invites the whole Synod community to engage with our immigrant communities and work in collaboration with them.
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.
“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.”