There came a point in the working out of the partnership agreement between leaders of the Mam presbytery and the Albany presbytery that I lost it. Group editing is never easy. Doing it through three languages, Mam, English, and Spanish was just more than my poor brain could handle. When a break was called I went outside to find two children who had been sitting outside while their mother was in the meeting. I recognized their resigned expressions each time they came in to see if the meeting was over. It was the same expression my children had given me countless times.

I looked at them, they looked at me – and we just got silly! I’m pretty sure that silliness is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I never learned their real names; we didn’t need them. We were all “Choo Choo” – Throughout the day the children would come to me and ask “choo choo?” Or I would tap them on their shoulders and connect with them… “choo, choo?” Through the simple, recognizable, common sound of the train, we all connected. Each of us got to be the engine (a great way to let off steam!) the coal car or the caboose. Sometimes our train ran off the tracks and we were in the grass laughing. Pretty soon the adults came out to watch us, take pictures, and smile.

When the meeting resumed, we were thinking about ways to rejuvenate the Partnership. That was the point at which we realized that our children could share, with no language or cultural barriers, through their art. From there we realized it was an easy thing to have the pictures posted on Facebook.

World Communion Sunday is October 4th. The artwork is available on the Albany Presbytery Facebook page for bulletin covers or worship slideshows. This seemed like such a simple joyful way to share, connect and stay in touch. I went to Lebanon later in the year and I invited them to send pictures too. What a wonderful way to keep us mindful that for Jesus, there are no barriers, only the joy of connection.

About Rev. Kate Kotfila

Kate Kotfila is pastor at the United Presbyterian Church in Cambridge, NY. An important spiritual discipline for Kate is traveling in places where life is very different than in Cambridge. Kate served as Albany Presbytery's 2019 Moderator. You can reach her at and learn more about the United Presbyterian Church in Cambridge at

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