The Central Presbyterian Church Blog.
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Just a quick update at the beginning of September. We’re continuing to hold in person worship services with Rev. Jai Kwak. We’re asking everyone to wear masks and socially distance in the building. We’re excited to see everyone and hope to everyone can join us!
For those who won’t be able to join us in person we’re streaming the service on Facebook. There are some technical issues, specifically surrounding the music during worship that we’ll need to iron out. If you’d like to support our streaming ministry, please feel free to click the donate now link at the top of the page. Thanks for sticking with us during our growing pains!
The 09-19-2021 service is featured above. Bulletins are found at the publications link above.
- A Light in the Clearing
When the prophet Elijah, deep in the throes of an existential crisis, fled to Mount Horeb in search of God, he was met instead with the sound of sheer silence.
Natalie Pisarcik knows just how he felt.
“There was a time in my life where I was on the bottom,” Natalie testified during Sunday worship in her home congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Boonton, New Jersey. “I cannot even describe how hard and difficult that time was. Only those who have been there know how it feels.”
Natalie’s story recollected a significant turning point in her life. “On that fateful day, I went for a walk in a wooded area where I kept repeating over and over in my wounded brain how I would end the pain. As I walked, I came across a field, which oddly seemed to call to me. As I walked into the field, a beam of warm sunlight hit my face. It was at this exact moment that I realized I had a made a terrible mistake. It was like God was saying to me, ‘What are you doing? You have a reason to live.’ I was so overcome.”
Natalie found herself compelled to address the growing mental health crisis not only by sharing her story with her church, but also by getting her congregation more involved. The church’s board of deacons was persuaded to take immediate action to address the suicide crisis.
Because deacons in the Presbyterian tradition are called to a ministry of “compassion, witness, and service,” the board voted to designate the church’s share of the Peace & Global Witness Offering to support the New Jersey Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization in which Natalie had participated for years.
Natalie’s personally moving experience resonates anew during the pandemic, and underlines the importance of this work. “Sadly, and tragically, our community has lost more people to suicide in 2020 than it has to COVID-19,” said Natalie.
Through the Peace & Global Witness Offering, congregations are encouraged and equipped to find and address the anxiety and discord that is prevalent throughout world. The offering supports ministries that work for reconciliation and facilitate healing. Half of the Peace & Global Witness Offering goes to the national church to address these issues around the world, 25% is retained by congregations for local peace and reconciliation work, and 25% goes to mid councils for similar ministries on the regional level. And as you may be aware, our own church has used/will use our portion of the offering to support Neighbor to Neighbor of Jefferson County. Natalie has a message to share with us all during these unsettled times. She reminds us to “listen and look for the light, and remember that you have a purpose, too. God is with you.”
Text PCUSAPEACE to 41444 to give to Peace & Global Witness or visit pcusa.org/peace-global for more information.
- Because Water is Life
When Manuel Nazario casts his net into the water these days, his catch is far less plentiful.
In the remote area of Bolivia near the Paraguay-Argentina border, Manuel and the members of his indigenous community are finding that fishing, their traditional livelihood, is now in severe jeopardy.
The Capirendita (pronounced CAP-IR-EN-DITA) community is grappling with the devastating impact of climate change, irregular rainfall patterns, prolonged droughts, disease and mining pollution. As a result, their age-old ways of life and their means of economic support are increasingly threatened. The degradation of the environment and the mounting lack of access to water threatens their very survival.
Manuel has emerged as one of the leaders in his fishing community. A born innovator and community organizer, he is now leading the families in Capirendita toward the promise of a better way, in partnership with a local organization called CERDET (Center for Regional Studies of Tarija). Together they are working to develop irrigation systems and to collect and store rainwater for safe drinking.
Because of gifts received through One Great Hour of Sharing, like the gifts you and I will make to this Offering here in our congregation, CERDET is building infrastructure to address the communities’ critical water shortage. Their goal is to create 500 meters of pipes to transport safe well water to those in need. Manuel will be responsible for carrying out the excavation work on the underground piping system. Our gifts will also support the distribution of plastic containers to collect and save rainwater.
One Great Hour of Sharing helps us address critical water needs in places like South Sudan, training technicians to dig water wells for their communities and on maintenance, hygiene and sanitation. And in places like Detroit, our gifts have joined We the People of Detroit to secure access to water for those who have had their water shut off during the pandemic. Imagine not being able to wash anything during the pandemic! One Great Hour of Sharing is the single, largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to share God’s love by becoming “repairers of the breach,” joining with people in need to build God’s house, together. Together we are making a better world for those in need no matter where they are. Please give generously, for when we all do a little — it adds up to a lot.
Text SHARING to 56512 to learn more about how your gift to One Great Hour of Sharing makes a difference, or visit http://pcusa.org/oghs
- Building a Life of Faith
Take a minute to look back on your life. Who all have you lived with? In the earliest parts of our lives, we might live with parents or grandparents or other caring adults. Perhaps siblings. Over the years, we might live with friends and extended family, family of choice or even sometimes with strangers. And sometimes we might find ourselves living alone.
No matter whom we live with now, or whom we have lived with before, God’s vision for the world is that everyone find a place within God’s kingdom—God’s house. What we celebrate at Pentecost is God’s pouring out of the Holy Spirit so that people of every identity and language can hear a word of welcome into God’s household. All belong in God’s household, and we get to live together, and learn together and celebrate together.
At Pentecost, we look especially to the children, youth and young adults with whom God has called us to live. The psalmist reminds us of the importance of faith being established during our earliest years, saying, “God from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” God’s youngest family members need support to build their full potential in both faith and life, and all of us have a role to play.
These young ones also show and sometimes teach all of us more about faith in Jesus Christ and how the Holy Spirit is moving in our world.
The Pentecost Offering lets us support the development of children, youth and young adults in our community and throughout the country. Forty percent of this offering stays within our community because we want to build the household of God together, in this place. The remainder is sent on to our denomination so that young adults can lay a foundation for their lives through a year of service as part of the Young Adult Volunteer program. It is also used to support ministries with youth, through experiences of worship and formation like the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which gathers nearly 5,000 young people every three years to learn and grow together. There is also a portion of this Offering that supports the education of every child in this country, through the Educate a Child, Transform the World national initiative. Even when there are no children or young people in the places where we live, there are many, many with us in the household of God.
During this Pentecost season, I want us to celebrate the fact that we are building a life of faith and building the household of God with our children, youth and young adults. Through our gifts today, we join with them and with God in building that household together. And you know what we always say … if we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
Please Give Generously to the Pentecost offering by clicking this link or by mailing a check to Central Presbyterian Church 6300 Trinity Dr. Pine Bluff, AR 71603 and putting “Pentecost Offering” on the subject line.
- One Great Hour of Sharing
In Isaiah 58, the author is addressing a people who have returned to Jerusalem,
where the Temple—God’s house—was in shambles. I imagine it was a heartbreaking
scene. And in that rubble, the prophet challenges the people not to rebuild the
building or to restore their religious rituals, but to care for the hungry, the weak and
the vulnerable–the prophet called the people to become the house of God. We are called to become, as Isaiah promised long ago, “repairers of the breach, restorers of streets to live in”.
Together, we become the household of God.
During this time of crisis, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening, we are
reminded that the most vulnerable in our midst suffer first, most and longest. One Great Hour of Sharing has, for over 70 years, supported the most vulnerable among us. Because of our support, the Church is able to deepen its commitment to serve. In the days ahead, staff of Self-Development of People, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will be working with presbyteries to identify and support essential congregational ministries, especially in anti-poverty
work. The Church’s response to the present crisis will begin with the most at-risk communities across the country and around the world, as well as those facing spikes of racism in response to this disease.
Through One Great Hour of Sharing, a special offering of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we extend shelter to those who have no place to stay, offer compassion to those who have pain—be it physical, emotional, or spiritual—and we set a feast, with God, for those who lack access to enough food to eat. During these uncertain times, we depend on our Church, faith, family and God’s grace to see us through. Please give generously to One Great Hour of Sharing. We are the Church, together.
Please Give Generously to the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Donate online at http://presbyterianmission.org/give-oghs or text SHARING to 56512. Thank You.
- A COVID-19 Update 4-5-20
In Light of the COVID-19 Concerns, The session of Central Presbyterian Church has decided to cancel our in person Sunday worship service until further notice. Please enjoy our streamed services featured below. If you’re looking for older services check out our Podcast or Videos on our YouTube Channel or on Facebook.
- 3-22-20 COVID-19 Update
The session of Central Presbyterian Church has decided to cancel our 3-22-20 Sunday worship service. We will be streaming an abbreviated service this Sunday at 11 am. RIGHT HERE & on our Facebook page! We hope you can join us (and wash your hands)! Http://www.facebook.com/centralprespb
- A COVID-19 Update
In Light of the COVID-19 Concerns, The session of Central Presbyterian Church has decided to cancel our in person Sunday worship service. We will attempt streaming an abbreviated service this Sunday, March 15th, at 11 am. We hope you can join us! Http://www.facebook.com/centralprespb
- Shrove Tuesday!
Central Presbyterian Church’s Annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper is Tues. Februrary 25th at 5:30 pm! $8 Per Person, $20 for a family. Bring the family for a heaping helping of Pancakes, Bacon, Sausage, and all the fixings! Then come back on Wednesday for our Ash Wednesday service at 5:30 pm. Begin Lent with Central Presbyterian Church!
- Souper Sunday
More than 30 years ago, the Souper Bowl of Caring began with a simple prayer from a single youth group…
“Lord, even as we enjoy the Souper Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those without a bowl of soup to eat.”
Since that day, more than $153 million has been raised for local charities across the country through Souper Bowl of Caring. Central Presbyterian Youth has raised $1700 for local charities in the last decade through the Souper Bowl of Caring mission! It has become a powerful movement that is transforming the time around the Big Game into the nation’s largest celebration of giving and serving.
Through this mission, CPC Youth learn what it’s like to make a positive difference in the world – as they collect food and raise money. Be part of this movement that is sharing God’s love with those in need.
Please give generously on Super Bowl Sunday. Every dollar and canned good donated will go to Neighbor to Neighbor of Jefferson County our 2020 Souper Bowl of Caring charity of choice.
- It’s Not Too Late
In the lead up to Christmas, many of us spend time in search of the perfect gift — the gift that communicates to friends and family how much we know and love them. We search our memories for indications of what gift might cause the faces of our loved ones to light up. We scour the stores and shops, hoping to come across the thing that will communicate a depth of love that our words cannot.
As important as gifts to loved ones are, we have an opportunity to give gifts that help many people we do not know through the Christmas Joy Offering. These gifts in particular draw us back to the manger and God’s perfect gift to us — Jesus Christ.
Jesus came to live among us, bringing light into darkness, and reconciliation to God and to one another. A perfect gift from a gracious God.
During this Christmas and Advent Season, we celebrate leadership; past, present and future through support of the Christmas Joy Offering. We do so because church leaders greatly impact our lives of faith, walking with us down the path to be more like Jesus. We want those church leaders and their families who find themselves grappling with a critical financial need to have the resources they need which are provided through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions.
We also support the offering to help our future leaders in the church and world, like those educated at our Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color. Supporting these students helps the whole church develop leaders who reflect the wideness of God’s intended diversity.
For those supported through the Christmas Joy Offering, this help is truly a gift from above. May our gifts, and the leaders who receive them, point us always to the truth of the one whose birth we celebrate, Jesus Christ — the truly perfect gift.
Ways To Give
Text JOY to 56512 to learn more or donate
Online at presbyterianmission.org/give/christmasjoy