Pentecost Offering: Children at Risk • Youth • Young Adults by Church Mission Committee

What do you do with your Pentecost special offering? More specifically, what do you do with the 40% that is retained by your congregation? The focus for the Pentecost offering is youth at risk. So, what happens if the youth have all grown up? What if we have no youth in our church? Or, we are not sure what to do with our offering in our community. This year, youth have started to take center … [Read more...]

Building Relationships: A Neglected Opportunity by Terry Diggory

Photo by Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash I first became involved in the life of Albany Presbytery in the late 1990s, when I was asked to join the Theology and Leadership Development Committee.  That committee no longer exists—I hope I didn’t cause its demise!—but I still treasure the friendships I formed with other members of the committee. Those friendships continued as I extended my service to … [Read more...]

Eco-Reformation: A Book Study by Larry Deyss

Every now and then a book comes along that is “spot on” for the times. “Eco-Reformation: Grace and Hope for a Planet in Peril,” is such a book. Bill McKibben writes a very urgent but hopeful foreword followed by a fine preface by the editors, Lisa E. Dahill & James B. Martin-Schramm.  Both are affiliated with Lutheran schools, as are many of the sixteen contributors to the book. Dahill … [Read more...]

Easter: Shivering Awe by Rupert (Bo) Harris

Mark 16:1-8 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which … [Read more...]

Good Friday: Crucified by Annie Reilly

John 19:16-18 Then he [Pilate] handed him over to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him… “Crucified.” There is so much wrapped up in that verb. Given all that the Romans were good at, it’s no small wonder that they were experts at execution as well. … [Read more...]

Maundy Thursday: Sounds, Darkness, Expectation by Amaury Tañón-Santos

In the second parish I had the privilege to serve as pastor I was more comfortable with experimenting with the liturgy and what better moment to do so than during Holy Week. After all, Latin American Christians are by and large quite intense in our commemorations of the week. And I believe especially so during the Passiontide (that period of Holy Week that begins Maundy Thursday and ends on Holy … [Read more...]

Palm Sunday: Jesus Comes to Jerusalem by Nazish Naseem

John 12:12-16 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord- the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your King is … [Read more...]

What Does It Take to Offer Hospitality to an Individual with Disabilities by Connie Vooys

Our churches are called to welcome all.  In Luke 14:21, Jesus says: “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” Do we do that?  Perhaps we do invite them in, but once people come, what do we do to help them feel welcome?   We say we are hospitable, but are we?  Do we truly welcome everyone into our churches or are there … [Read more...]

March 8: A Solemn Day of Remembrance by Kate Kotfila

One year ago on March 8, 2017, 56 teenage girls are locked in a room in a government-designated safe house for troubled teens. The night before one girl tried to escape. To punish her and deter others, they are not allowed to leave the room. Bathroom visits are not permitted. Food is not provided. Soon a fire breaks out (maybe one of the girls seeks to force the hand of the state-run facility. She … [Read more...]

What does it mean to live together in a Christian community? by Arthur Fullerton

As Albany Presbytery works to strengthen and build community among our members, one of the first questions that arises is “what does it mean to be in community?” Living in community generally means that we think about our actions in relational rather than transactional terms. Rather than trying to maximize the benefit from a one-time transaction, we try to maximize the value of our long term … [Read more...]