The Pentecost Offering unites us in a churchwide effort to support young people in Christ and inspire them to share their faith, ideas, and unique gifts with the church and the world.
Each year on Pentecost Sunday, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birthday of the church. The Holy Spirit remains with us still, connecting us with the church of the past, continuing to inspire the church of today, and pointing us to the church of the future.
Studies show that a foundation of faith established during childhood through young adulthood, helps ensure lifelong faith and service. Psalm 71 testifies to this same truth. Verse 17 says “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.” The patterns and lessons established during these formative years continue to bear fruit throughout a person’s life.
These lessons might be taught through a congregation’s commitment to Educate a Child, Transform the World in ministries that shape a child’s academic achievement, setting them on a path toward a stable future. They might be taught through one of the youth events sponsored by Ministries with Youth at the national church that brings together young people from all over the country to share their experiences of faith with one another, and learn how their faith can help them address challenges all over the world. Or our young adults may be guided through a year of intentional service where they discern God’s call upon their lives by our Young Adult Volunteer Program.
In 2012, civil war broke out in Syria, where ISIL’s presence continues to create violence and fear. More than 250,000 people have been killed, and 13.5 million others have had to leave their homes to seek safety in Lebanon, Europe, and the United States.
Thanks to our gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) was able to respond to this refugee crisis soon after it began. Working with churches in the region, primarily the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, PDA helps Syrian refugee children in Lebanon continue their education and provides refugee families food, shelter, and heating oil. Across the denomination, PDA assists efforts by congregations to resettle Syrian refugees. Their welcoming hands bear witness to our biblical imperative
to extend hospitality to the stranger and the foreigner.
Every other year when Our General Assembly meets, it’s helpful to remind ourselves what it is. It’s helpful to remember, too, how we are organized. The Presbyterian Church, USA is a “representational” Church. We are not a “hierarchical” church where many key decisions are made by a bishop or a central body. We are not a “congregational” church, independent from all other congregations and church bodies,
making decisions that apply only to us.
- We follow a pattern we find in the Scriptures. We are led by “ruling elders,” elected by a congregation, and “teaching elders,” church pastors and others in different ministries.
- A group of Presbyterian congregations in a geographical area is a “presbytery.” Central, Faith, and First here in Pine Bluff, along with almost 90 other congregations, are part of Arkansas
- Groups of Presbyteries in different regions of the country are called a “synod.” Presbyterians in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, are in the Synod of the Sun.
We’ve traditionally used the PC(USA) Mission Yearbook for our “Minute for Mission” during worship each Sunday. But, some of you have had questions about it recently. Here is some of what we’ve heard:
- “Why do we have a Minute for Mission every Sunday?”
- “Why is it about people and places we don’t know about?”
- “Why is it always a lot more than a minute?”
Those are the kinds of questions we pastor-types enjoy hearing. That means you’re taking worship seriously.
One of the ways we Presbyterians have talked about worship over the centuries is that “through the Word and Sacrament the church is empowered to serve God in the world.” Notice that last phrase: “to serve God in the world.” When we come together to worship it isn’t to hide out from a harsh world. We worship to give thanks for God’s presence in our lives and to help us see more clearly that God is active in our world. Worship will give us more commitment and energy to serve God beyond the church walls.
So, to make that part of our worship more clear and less boring, we’re going to be doing some things differently:
- The Minute for Mission will be more focused, more clear, more condensed;
- It will include more information about church mission in our community, our state, and our region, as well as the rest of the world;
- It will help us learn more about how our mission dollars and other gifts are being used in the name of Jesus Christ to ease people’s burdens and give them hope;
- It will challenge us to find ways to give thanks for God’s blessings to us by making gifts that will help others also experience God’s blessings.
We hope to see you Sunday!
The following message is brought to you by the Presbyterian Mission Agency…
During this Advent season, we reflect on the Influence a promise can have on our lives. God promised each of us salvation, and kept that promise with the birth of Jesus. That promise sustains and uplifts us, during good times and challenging ones.
When we understand this deeper meaning of a promise, we also understand each of us has a special responsibility to make and keep faithful promises of our own. The Christmas Joy Offering is one way to do that. Each gift received equally supports two vital promises for our faith. Continue reading
“Faith in Jesus is why I’m involved in this new initiative. It’s not a social program, it’s a gospel program, the way I look it.”
Joseph Johnson, a member of Self-Development of People (SDOP), challenges you to dream big—for all God’s people.
“Jesus told the church, ‘you feed them, you take care of people, you respond to people, you interact with people, you find ways to change lives and ultimately the world,’” he says.
Johnson is part of a new initiative focused on the New Orleans/Delta region. It brings together members of SDOP, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and the Presbyterian Hunger Program—all of which are already working within the region on other projects—to more effectively help families still suffering nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. The three ministry areas, all part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, are supported through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering that is taken up during our Easter Sunday service.
The Presbyterian Women’s Birthday offering will be received on June 29, during morning worship. The offering funds up to five projects that are not included in ongoing General Assembly mission support, such as agricultural development, child care, community organization, criminal justice, drug counseling, economic justice, elderly care, employment training, homelessness, literacy, violence and women’s concerns.
The Creative Ministries Offering Committee has chosen one project—Blue Corn Mothers Alliance—as the recipient of the 2014 Birthday Offering of Presbyterian Women. This project provides a range of services, from crisis intervention to education, for Albuquerque’s Native American women who experience domestic violence. The grant amount will depend on gifts contributed during 2014. The goal for the 2014 Birthday Offering is $500,000. Please give as you have been blessed and support this life-changing project. If you won’t be in Church this Sunday please visit http://www.presbyterianwomen.org/birthday to give.
“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” (Romans 5:5)
The One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering will be taken during our Easter Morning Service.
OUR HANDS OF HOPE
When you give to One Great Hour of Sharing you are assisting in the empowerment of others as they move past emotional, physical, and spiritual misfortune. Your help gives hope.
At home and abroad, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance helps strengthen the faith community and enables those affected by natural or human-caused disasters to be part of the rebuilding and recovery efforts in their communities.
Life-changing grassroots programs like Huerto de la Familia (The Family Garden) are supported by the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Huerto de la Familia strives to cultivate community integration and economic self-sufficiency through training in organic farming and the development of food-based small businesses.
Self-Development of People, through your generous gifts, provides grants to organizations like A Community Voice in New Orleans, a neighborhood group which assists low-to-moderate-income families in applying for jobs, housing, and food assistance.
Give to One Great Hour of Sharing to support these Presbyterian Mission Agency ministries as they strive to help all of God’s people find resilience, hope, and faith in the face of challenging circumstances.
There are three ways to contrinbute to the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering. Donate at CPC using the envelopes located in the Easter Bulletin, text OGHS to 20222 to give $10, or donate online at presbyterianmission.org/give-oghs .