Advent blessings! Although Presbyterian “poet laureate” Ann Weems died in 2016, her beautiful poetry lives on, especially at this time of year. Her book, “Kneeling in Bethlehem,” gives us this charge:
This Advent let’s go to Bethlehem
and see this thing that the Lord has made known to us.
In the midst of shopping sprees
let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.
Through the tinsel
let’s look for the gold of the Christmas Star.
In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos,
let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings.
This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem
and find our kneeling places.
Let’s go to Bethlehem … together!
A Message of Gratitude from the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett
Click here for a special video message from the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Special Offerings and the Presbyterian Giving Catalog
The Christmas Joy Offering season is a time to remember and reflect on our perfect gift from God: Jesus Christ. Here is a worship resource and sermon to aid in promotion. Also, the Menaul School recorded the hymn “How Great Our Joy” to share on your social media channels. Click here for both the hymn text and a video of the Menaul School’s choir.
Looking for information for Special Offerings in 2022? Click here for a flyer that shares those dates as well as the distribution of each offering and how to remit funds.
Sow seeds of a brighter future here and around the world!
It’s almost the start of another New Year and, for many of us, that means plans for Vacation Bible School (VBS) are getting ready to start or are already underway.
To help, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog has created educational resources to share the word with your VBS students. These lessons and activities are age-appropriate and incorporate into your existing VBS program to reinforce what it means to love neighbors at home and around the world. Download the Jerry Can curriculum today.
Threads of Connection
The Presbyterian Giving Catalog’s Threads of Connection activity is a way to involve your entire congregation in creating something beautiful together. The quilts we’ve outlined are designed for all ages and skill levels. They are a reminder that when we come together, we are better able to see a bigger picture — a picture pieced together by love, joined by caring and made stronger by faith.
We hope this activity inspires you to seek out more ways to give hope and show love … one stitch (one piece or one patch) at a time. Download an instructional guideline and videos.
Matthew 25 Video: The Work of Dismantling Racism Begins with Self-Reflection
This powerful story is about two churches who answered the Matthew 25 invitation to focus on racism and poverty, which has increased their congregational vitality. The video is available to download and share in your work to build congregational vitality, dismantle structural racism and eradicate systemic poverty in your communities.
New! Mission Personnel Guide
If your mid council does not currently have a relationship with a mission co-worker, or if you know of a church that would benefit from making such a connection, please invite them to review our new Mission Personnel Guide, a copy of which was mailed last month to every PC(USA) congregation. Mission co-workers are partners in ministry in 80 countries, who are engaged in many types of Matthew 25 ministries, such as education, water and food security, women’s leadership and peace building. They covet your prayerful support. To view the 2021–22 Mission Personnel Guide, “Called to Service: Witnessing God’s Love Around the World,” click here.
New! Per Capita Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022
The Epistle lesson for Sunday, Jan. 23, is 1 Corinthians 12:12–31 (“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all are members of the body …”). This Scripture exemplifies the concept of Per Capita as a way that all parts of the church are parts of one body. In addition, a reminder of the work of Per Capita at the beginning of the year offers good opportunities for conversation and planning regarding meeting requests for Per Capita contributions to General Assembly, synod and presbytery. For a variety of tools and resources to observe this new Special Emphasis Sunday, click here.
Continuing Education for leaders in Spanish/Educación Continua para lideres en Español
The Office of Hispanic/Latino-a Intercultural Congregational Support hosts weekly Continuing Education for leaders in Spanish.* Upcoming topics are Creation Care in January, Decolonizing Our Pulpits in February and Violence Prevention in March. For more information, email Rosa Miranda. *La oficina de apoyo congregacional para comunidades Hispano/Latinas ofrece semanal mente Educación Continua para líderes en Español. Los próximos temas serán El Cuidado de la Creación en enero, La Descolonización del Púlpito en febrero, y La Prevención de Violencia en marzo. Para más información escriba a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from the Office of Christian Formation
Mr. Rogers Day: The PC(USA) celebrates Mr. Rogers and his work around being a good neighbor, justice issues and including everyone on March 20, which is a Sunday in 2022. Resources are available under the topic Special Emphasis Resources by clicking here. Additional new resources for worship and intergenerational activities will be posted at the link above at the beginning of 2022.
Faith at Home for Lent Webinar: On Thursday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time, join the Office of Christian Formation and pastor/author Traci Smith as we talk about specific faith practices around hospitality for households during Lent. After the webinar, six two-minute videos that are based on Lenten practices and Holy Week will be available for leaders to give to households. This webinar does not require registration, and interpretation will be provided in Korean and Spanish. Look for the Zoom link after the first of the year, and for information available on our website or our Facebook page.
Children and Anti-Racism Toolkit: New from the Office of Christian Formation and the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) is a set of resources to help engage children in conversations and work around anti-racism. Quicksheets include talking with your children about racism, taking action against injustice, using children’s literature, trailblazers and standing against hatred without embracing it. You can find the PDF download directly here and on the APCE website.
Student Loan Debt Webinars, Jan. 24 and 27
The Presbyterian Mission Agency is offering two webinars in January for any PC(USA) leader with educational debt. Webinars will be focused on the changes in Public Service Loan Assistance and how these changes could affect PC(USA) leaders. Because of a change to religious worker exclusion rules made in July 2021 and the recently announced “Limited Opportunity Waiver,” PC(USA) leaders who may not have previously qualified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness could have their loans forgiven much sooner than expected. Any PC(USA) leader is welcome to join either webinar. Student Loan experts from PeopleJoy will present the material and will be available to answer general questions. Visit pcusa.org/loanassist to find out more. Live simultaneous interpretation will be provided in Spanish and Korean.
Call to Worship: Liturgy, Music, Preaching, and the Arts is a quarterly journal that explores the theology and practice of worship. Each issue contains compelling articles, original art and ideas for worship. The next issue, titled Reconciliation, features articles that look at the topic through a variety of lenses. Authors consider what it really means to confess or to pass the peace; how churches can help heal the wounds inflicted on LGBTQIA+ worshipers; ways of preaching across political divides; reconciliation through song and more. Subscriptions to the journal include an annual lectionary-based worship planning issue and are available at pcusastore.com/calltoworship.
Christmas Joy Offering (Dec. 19, 2021)
Racial & Intercultural Justice/Presbyterians Affirm Black Lives Matter (Jan. 16, 2022)
Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday (Jan. 17, 2022)
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins (Jan. 18, 2022)
Per Capita Sunday (Jan. 23, 2022)
Souper Bowl of Caring (Feb. 6, 2022)
Camp and Retreat Sunday (Feb. 13, 2022)
PDA Blue T-Shirt Sunday (March 6, 2022)
Celebrate the Gifts of Women (March 6, 2022)
Self-Development of People Sunday (March 13, 2022)
Mr. Rogers Day (March 20, 2022)
Matthew 25: Building Vital Congregations Sunday (March 27, 2022)