With an immensely heavy heart for a host of reasons, I have informed the Stated Clerk that I am stepping down from standing for the office of moderator of the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
CS Lewis once said that courage is “the form of all virtue at its testing point.” Here, I regularly share stories of courage from the Church and invite you to share the stories that inspire you, too.
Thanks to all for your well wishing and prayers. As I continue to help my husband back to health, I feel blessed that I began work on a number of different pieces for my blog a while back. Today I’d like to share a story about a remarkable woman named Lynn Coghill. Lynn is a popular teacher at the University of Pittsburgh and a lay minister in the Community of Reconciliation, a church in my Presbytery in Pittsburgh
What the church can learn from mothers has relevance to the themes of this blog, I would say. It takes immense courage to embark upon the responsibility of being a mother. And the unity of the mother and child is an image that has been used in Christian tradition to capture the connection between the faith community and believers.
I am excited to share another guest post with you. This one comes from a dear friend, Wayne Peck, who is pastor of Community House Church. In this post, Wayne talks about the ministry of Sasan Tavassoli, who he met while visiting Peachtree Church in Atlanta. As Wayne told me the story of Sasan’s ministry of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims in Iran, I was amazed.
Facing addiction and overcoming it takes great courage. Today, I’d like to share with you a story of courage from my friend, James, a Presbyterian ruling elder and a recovering addict. Thanks to another friend, Jan Leo at the Community House Presbyterian Church, I’m able to share a recording of James telling his story in his own words.
Bullying is a national dilemma. Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. While everyone agrees that students deserve to learn in a safe school environment, bullying, over the last decade, has proven to be an intractable predicament. If we listen, young adults often give us a window on how and why bullying occurs. They show us ways to confront bullying that turn unsafe environments into generous learning communities that practice empathy and compassion.
This passage is what is known as the Great Commission. It is the call from Jesus to spread His message and deeds into the time and place that we are in, today. If we, as Christians, are to fulfill this commission, we must be relevant to the concerns of our time, using any tools that we can, despite the obstacles that may be in our way, and drawing upon our faith that Jesus walks with us in this quest.
In the Book of Amos, the Lord says to Israel: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). This verse about the Lord’s justice serves as the foundation for the Amos 5:24 Ministry Team, one of the Justice Ministry Teams in my presbytery.
I met George Hunsinger years ago, when I was a seminary student at Yale and he was a teaching assistant in religious studies there. I confess I was a little intimidated by George back then, but we met again a few years ago and I found we share a passion for justice. George is now a Professor of Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and is someone I consider a good friend.
As I have pondered this notion of “standing for moderator,” another meaning of the phrase has emerged for me: that the whole church stand for the office of the moderator. That means, for me, that we all embody the leadership, unity, and hope that are so central to our church family and our Presbyterian tradition. If you have prayers, stories, or a vision for our unity, please share them with me.