This blog is formed for members of the Presbytery of the Cascades to share their stories, resources and concerns in the midst of COVID-19. How are you creatively connecting with the people in your community?
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Hearing the Cries: Healing Injustice is a regional summit to equip people of faith and goodwill to support their neighbors impacted by the legal system. This one-and-a-half day event will bring together those with lived experience, professionals, and faith communities to share opportunities to help change hearts, minds, and society itself. Our focus is empowering our community to Heal Injustice by understanding the issues surrounding the criminal legal system as a matter of faith in action.
Barbara Campbell gave a report on the “Vital Congregation Initiative” at the November presbytery meeting. She highlighted the seven marks of a vital congregation – noting what vital congregations are and are not. They are:
LIFELONG Discipleship Formation VS Complacent “Christian” piety, simply teaching good morals, or offering the latest programs.
Intentional Authentic Evangelism VS “Jesus freaks”; “Christian” Hypocrisy; A committee.
Outward Incarnational Focus VS Inward Institutional Survival; Closed communities of assimilation/exclusion.
Empower Servant Leadership VS the Pastor’s job; monopolized leadership; hiring the young energetic pastor; burning out good volunteers.
Caring Relationships VS Any other Social Club; façades, hypocrisy, and judgment of “church” and “religion.
Ecclesial Health VS Unhealthy dysfunction; toxic environments; obsolete and irrelevant buildings The purpose of the Vital Congregations Initiative is to work alongside leaders of existing congregations continually assessing, discerning and living into faithful actions that increase vitality through intentional spiritual practices that take them deeper into following Jesus Christ, so that their own lives are changed, congregations are transformed and the mission of God spreads throughout particular communities and the world. For more information and access to resources click here.
Making an impact and doing Christ’s work, even after our lifetimes
Rob Hagan, Ministry Relations Officer for the Northwest, and Karl Mattison, Vice President for Planned Giving Resources, are hosting an event at First Presbyterian Church in Portland to discuss planned giving.
This seminar will invite you to think and pray about three questions as you plan for the future:
1. How do I share my faith and values with my family and church in my estate plan?
2. What are some ways in which I can accomplish my legacy giving to my church?
3. My life will end but my story continues in the church I love. How can I keep my faith story alive after I am gone?
A catered lunch will be provided, and parking is available at the church.
Registration is now open. There are resources available below.
Presbyterians frequently want to know more about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ministers of the Word and Sacrament who help lead our denomination. The Minister Survey 2019 is an ambitious effort to learn more about these important church leaders; all PC(USA) ministers (retired and not retired) are being asked to participate.
OPTION 1 If you are a minister, please click below and respond to the survey.
Summaries of the responses by all ministers will be shared. This information will help Presbyterians gain a better understanding of the life and work of ministers like you and help PC(USA) agencies better serve your needs.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Blessings as your fall ministries move forward.
Susan Barnett, PhD Perry Chang, PhD
Coordinator, Research Services Research Analyst
Cascades Connections is published weekly. The goal is to provide information pertinent to the The Presbytery of the Cascades and the PCUSA. It also features stories about congregations and ministries throughout the presbytery. Cascades Connections – Weekly Newsletter
Submit Cascades Connections articles or employment opportunities for publication to Steve Parker
In 2019, we gather at a time in which people of faith and conscience are again called to stand in the prophetic stream of those who have come before us, those who were not afraid to stir up #GoodTrouble for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Join us April 5 for Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Gather with your fellow Presbyterians as we look at how our church and our partners are working to organize for change. In plenaries and work shops we will look at the Church as movement and as well as ways to build movements for change. We will hear from inspiring leaders and learn about past present and future efforts to bring about a more just society and world. We will offer concrete tools and strategies for members and their congregations to organize and advocate in their churches and local communities.
After Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day, join the ecumenical community for Ecumenical Advocacy Days, April 5-8. Almost one thousand Christian advocates join us every year for a weekend of workshops, lectures and concrete actions addressing movements for social change.
The 2019 Ecumenical Advocacy Days Conference will draw on #GoodTrouble pioneers from the Civil Rights era as well as inspiration from young leaders to learn from the past, share best practices, and encourage one another for the work ahead. Through worship, educational and training workshops, and advocacy, we will beckon the Spirit to “Trouble the Waters” as depicted in John 5:1-9, calling on God to bring healing to our nation and world. Join us as we envision and train for new ways to stir up #GoodTrouble for the healing of all God’s children.
The weekend culminates in “Lobby Day” on Monday, April 8, when we raise our voices in the halls of power.
In early January 2020 the Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI) workbooks for leaders and congregations arrived hot off the presses from Louisville and were distributed to our first wave of twelve VCI Congregations. The pastors and leaders of these congregations that were trained in 2019, are now busy beginning to map out their timelines for introducing worshippers to the Vital Congregations Initiative and especially the Seven Marks of Vital Congregations.
A recent email from the VCI Office in Louisville reported that they have been working diligently on Spanish and Korean Translations for Vital Congregations material. The translated material will be ready in a few weeks. They also announced that the Second Wave of VCI Congregations will be kicked off with a Gathering and Facilitators Training in Austin, Texas on April 23-30, 2020. Any Cascade congregations interested in training or seeking more information about VCI congregations are encouraged to contact Barbara Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org, as soon as possible. Training may also be available locally for our second wave congregations.
Who is the Vital Congregations Initiative for? It is not for congregations that are no longer vital. Every one of our congregations is a vital faith community in their own way, but many are also recognizing that we are called to some new ways of being the Church in the 2020s. We are all aware of how fast the world around us constantly changes. The Church has met changes in reforming theology and cultural understanding ever
since Jesus first called us to stick together in worship and service and we began meeting in house-churches. The Spirit continues to lead us to marvelous new ways of being the Body of Christ.
The Vital Congregations Initiative affirms and challenges our dedicated disciples and faithful congregations to continue to look for revitalization; for new ways to reach our neighbors with the Good News and care for those in need around us! We celebrate the many gifts among us and the strength that we always find when we pull together toward a common and exciting goal.
At the same time, as always, there are challenges we need to face together and if we don’t commit to meeting those challenges who will? We have the experience of faith. We have the knowledge of how God has been and continues to be at work in us and in the world around us. We have the wisdom that brings perseverance, courage, patience, balance, and grace to being a faith community of diverse individuals. Nothing new there, so let’s use what we’ve come to know and love about being Church to build a new Church for our neighbors who, like stranger from the east, are desperately wondering and wandering, following a star perhaps, to see if there’s anything out there worthy of homage, trust, and renewed hope.
We have asked our first twelve congregations to keep us informed about their VCI work so that we can celebrate with them. Pastor Andrew Hoeksema from Community, Redmond writes, “I preached a real
‘We Can Do This’ kind of sermon about discerning God’s calling for us as a church in the new year and new decade yesterday. Going for it in 2020! At Redmond, we will do the primary sermon series and Adult Ed efforts around VCI in the weeks following Easter instead of the season of Lent. We will feel better prepared with material at that time and in my mind it fits better with themes of resurrection than journeying to the cross.”
Pastor Jeff Binder from Valley Community, Portland reported that Valley Community will be celebrating their Vital Congregations kickoff in worship on Sunday, January 26 at 10 a.m.! Everyone is welcome to join them. Valley has recently completed an assessment on their congregations Seven Marks of Vitality following a sermon series on those Seven Marks last fall.
More to come! Stay tuned!
Barbara Campbell, Cascades VCI Coordinator
Jeff Binder, Valley PC and Bob Barrett, Yachats PC,