It's an old saw: When Protestants say “the Bible” they mean the New Testament, when they say “the New Testament” they mean Paul, and when they say “Paul” they mean Romans. I was looking forward to this opportunity to write Living By the Word. Then I received the specific Sundays I was assigned, and I confess I rolled my eyes a little. I could be yet another Presbyterian to write on Romans!
In 2004, Brenda Cole—a colleague in a group dedicated to improving the spiritual lives of LGBT people—asked me to preside at her wedding, scheduled more than a year away. “Nancy is a lifelong Presbyterian and wants a Presbyterian minister to preside at our wedding," Brenda said hopefully. "Would you meet with us and talk about officiating?”
By one estimate 7,000 churches close down each year in the United States. A 2012 study predicted that 20 percent of the churches in Philadelphia would close within ten years. Many of these churches are architectural gems. Razing these buildings can be very expensive. A more satisfactory solution is to repurpose them, turning them into art and culture centers or housing units. The Mount Airy Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia is having 20 condominiums built on its property. The sanctuary will be leased back to the congregation for its continued use (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 4).