Presbyterians Today

OCT 2018

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OCTOBER Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay "People got involved because it involved our youth," Halva said, noting, though, "Had we been spending our money and not grant money, there would have been more or louder resistance." Still, he says, the conversations on diversity in his rural community will continue. "If we are raising children in faith to be citizens of the world, then we need to help make them aware and remind them that the world Jerusalem appears in is a world of many races, creeds and colors, and that is the world Jesus sends us into as well," Halva said. Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today and a rural pastor in Washington County New York in compartmented areas, but that are moving around and into new commu- nities and neighborhoods." To begin the conversation on racial diversity in his congregation, the church received grant money to send members to a Montreat conference called "Neighbor: Being Christian in a Multifaith World." At the same time, a Young Adult Volunteer from Halva's congrega- tion was serving a year at DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Re‹ection) at First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, California, and learning 'rsthand about poverty, race and home- lessness. The intersection of the two experiences led First United Presbyterian to invite DOOR rep- resentatives to talk about race and poverty, Halva says. The Rev. Mike Wilson of Prineville Presbyterian in Prineville, Oregon, knows about loving people where they are. While the only changing — and growing — demographic he sees in his predominantly white congregation is retirees, Wilson is aware of the growing Latino presence outside the church walls. A community garden offering affordable plots on the church's three-plus acres was a way the church had hoped to connect with its Latino brothers and sisters, offering "neutral" ground to meet and get to know one another, Wilson says. But it didn't. What is promis- ing is the new Latin Community Association that recently opened in Prineville. There, Wilson hopes for the congregation to get involved and begin to get to know those in the community. A peace pole, featur- ing prayers for peace in different languages, given to the church by a member and placed outside for all to see, has also become an announce- ment to the community that differ- ences do not mean divisions. "No one church can be everything to everyone. Today it's all about working with other organizations outside of the church. It's about the community working together," he says, echoing Kot'la's rural ministry philosophy that "if you start inward, the path outward very rarely happens." 'Citizens of the world' In Marion, Illinois, the Rev. Wade Halva of First Presbyterian Church says that while they are "pretty white" according to the Census report, there is growing diversity. Halva has seen an Asian population coming in to serve medical facilities and an increase in Latinos working in orchards, "who once were migrants but are now 'nding permanent housing." Halva also says there is a small African-American community in southern Illinois that "often lives COURTESY OF KATE KOTFILA Election signs were repurposed into prayer signs in the rural community of Cambridge, New York. Cambridge United Presbyterian Church's prayer lawn is one of the ways it is connecting with neighbors.

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