Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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P r e s by te r i a n s To d ay OCTOBER DEFINING 'RURAL' The phrase "rural America" often conjures up images of cornfields red barns and cows The reality though is that "rural" can mean many dierent things depending on whom you talk to and where in the country they live The United States Census Bureau defines rural by what is not urban The guidelines state• • An Urbanized Area (UA) has ƒ„„„„ or more people Urbanized Areas have a core with a total land area less than two square miles and a population density of †„„„ persons per square mile • An Urban Cluster (UC) also has a core with a total land area of less than two square miles and a population density of †„„„ persons per square mile It may contain adjoining territory with at minimum ƒ„„ persons per square mile and encompass a population of at least ˆƒ„„ but less than ƒ„„„„ persons • "Rural" consists of all territory popula- tion and housing units located outside of UAs and UCs I n one rural community, the Rev. Dr. Richard (Skip) Shaffer Jr. began his rst day in a new call as most pastors do — unpacking many boxes of theological books and praying fervently that he had suf- cient shelf space in his new ofce. The mundaneness of move-in day, though, was broken with a gentle tap on his door. Shaffer had his rst visitor: Moses. "I thought it was a joke when the secretary told me who was here to see me," Shaffer said, laughing. But it wasn't playful church hazing on behalf of the congregation. It was indeed a man named Moses, a 7-foot-tall immigrant from South Sudan, who reached out his hand to the pastor and said, "We've been waiting for you." It was in that moment of white and black hands joining together in a hearty shake that Shaffer's ministry changed course even before it set sail. The predomi- nantly all-white congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington, Minnesota, would become the place of radical welcome and — nally — diversity. Rural Realities White, straight no more Diversity leads to ministries of peace and unity BY DONNA FRISCHKNECHT JACKSON Racial and gender diversity, drugs, hunger — big-city challenges have come to Main Street U.S.A. Presbyterians Today is launching a three-part series, "Rural Realities," to explore the challenges and blessings for today's rural churches as they navigate a new reality. In the •rst installment, PT talks to pastors about the racial diversity and gender identi•cation issues in their small communities. PART ONE IN A THREEPART SERIES GETTY IMAGES

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