Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | JUNE/JULY 2018 5 CALL TO ACTION Invite members of your church to share stories of how God is at work among you. Give each person colored chalk and invite them to draw pictures or write words of thanksgiving on your church's sidewalk or in the parking lot. And, if it rains, don't cancel the fun! has a way of speaking the truth in love. When I prepared my sermon for the Committee on Ministry examination, Mary gave wonderful advice, telling me to speak in my own way. I have no idea how much importance seminary gradu- ates and other CREs place on the value of a mentor, but I would advise them to seek out one. Mary and I have had deep conversations, and she is always there with prayer and words of encouragement. Her Christlike spirit echoes for me what our connectedness is all about as a denomina- tion — it's Christ who unites us. Olympia Hine McCrackin is a member of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She was commis- sioned as a CRE by the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley. Seen and heard at Session For 21 teens at Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, the road to confirmation was both exciting and informative. Not only did they learn about the sacra- ments, the Bible and the mysteries of the Trinity, they also got to see the church at work by attending Session. Some of the teens shared what they liked about that expe- rience in the church's quarterly magazine, Sacred Space: • Seeing how many people truly care for this church — Sydney Erickson • The devotion/prayer at the beginning of the meeting — Elizabeth Blass • Seeing the behind-the-scenes of the church — Kylee Herbert • Everyone respects each other and takes their part seriously — Luke Jordan Source: PC(USA) Research Services, Survey of 9077 Clerks of Session and mid council leaders, February 2018. Graphic by Jeffrey Lawrence Top languages spoken in PC(USA) congregations besides English, Spanish and Korean #1 Chinese #2 Vietnamese #3 Arabic #4 French God is with our churches — big and small — in the rain and in the sunshine. Now let us find the faith and the courage to draw in chalk even when the rains are coming down. Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today and a rural ministry network pastor in Washington County, New York. Do you have news to share as to how God is at work in your community? Send stories, 150—200 words, to editor@pcusa.org. PC(USA) Snapshot Mentorship matters Value in the connectional system By Olympia Hine McCrackin If the statistics are correct that more than 50 percent of ministers leave ministry within the first five years, could having a strong mentor walking beside a new minister reverse the trend? I graduated in December from the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary's Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) program. I began my journey intentionally praying for a mentor. I wanted someone who would give me advice with grace and truth, even if it hurt. The Rev. Dr. Mary M. Porter was that person. A parish associate at Shades Valley Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, Mary

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