Presbyterians Today

APR-MAY 2018

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32 APRIL/MAY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay around the United States — and his trip included a stop at the Church of the Mountain to attend worship again. By extending hospitality to strangers, the church is showing God's love in the world, and its passion for hospitality has grown, extending to other missions locally and globally. "God calls every church to missions of the Spirit's choosing," Nickels said. "The hikers ministry is one that Christ called this congrega- tion to. It was right on their doorstep: Dirty, tired, sometimes ill, always hungry hikers were coming through town on the Appalachian Trail. Mission is about giving — and giving some more." Sherry Blackman is the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain. She is also the author of Call to Witness, a story of one woman's battle with disability, discrimi- nation and a pharmaceutical powerhouse. She is working on her next book, Rev-It-Up: Tales from the Appalachian Trail. SHERRY BLACKMAN The Hiker's Center at the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain welcomes hikers with a place to rest, shower, eat and enjoy fellowship with one another. Trail tales David Slaten, 40-something David Slaten, trail name ISO — short for In Search Of —sported a long beard, a telltale sign of a thru-hiker, and had an almost POW-like physique, having dropped dozens of pounds during his venture, which is common among long- distance hikers. He said he'd been craving hot dogs throughout his hike, and he was glad to have reached the Church of the Mountain just in time for the hikers' feed. "The phrase 'free food' is music to most any thru-hiker's ears," he quipped. ISO revealed he was in search of the ability to forgive someone who had wounded him deeply, and he was in the process of deciding what he wanted to do next with his life. But he — like some other hikers, he said — had been wary of hunkering down in churches, out of fear of being bombarded with an evangelistic agenda. "What I found at Church of the Mountain was different. I found a host of people who were happy to share their food and who had a general curiosity about my journey and the unique journey of all the hikers," he said.

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