"I've been given an opportunity to color outside the lines," says Nanette Sawyer of Grace Commons and St James Presbyterian Church in Chicago, "the permission and charge to be creative and experimental."
Why are we losing congregations? There are many factors. If
I’m painting with a broad brush, I’d say that it is because we are largely rural, white and older. What can we do to ensure a vital future? Focus on urban
More than half of our small congregations cannot afford a full-time pastor, and many
associate pastor positions were cut during the recent economic downturn.
These are churches where
seminary graduates would normally be heading, so what are the
congregations doing instead?
It's been rather quiet
on the Presbyterian battlefront since May 10, when the Twin Cities presbytery
in Minnesota became the 87th to vote to lift the ban on LGBT
ministers, elders and deacons. That was the decisive vote, and by July 10 the
historic change was official.
In 2004, I was the 40th Korean-American clergywoman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Forty seems a small number when you consider that in 2011, Korean-American clergywomen will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ordination in their ranks. The road to becoming a Korean-American clergywoman remains hard.
The struggle to choose the hymns for the small rural congregation I serve is a microcosm of the challenges faced by members of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) as it decides what hymns and songs to include in the next Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) hymnal and electronic resources.
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
The net losses in membership in 2009 amounted to the lowest yearly drop in the last decade for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), though the 3 percent decrease to 2,077,138 members was part of a good news/bad news assessment from the denomination’s top executive.