The ​
Center for EQ-HR Skills
​will be​
 conducting EQ-HR workshop
​s​
 at the Senacle Center in Chicago, January 26-30, 2015. This training will raise the inter-personal, intra-group skills of your church professionals.  Clergy who are unable to make meaningful connections with their congregation will normally find themselves in conflict with certain congregants. 
 
We are also sponsoring a workshop in Delray Beach, Florida, February 2-6, 2015. 
 
You will find information on this workshop in an attachment.
 
Roy M. Oswald
Executive Director: Center for EQ-HR Skills.
Alban Institute Senior Consultant for 31 years.
Ordained ELCA Pastor
www.eqhrcenter.org

 

August 19, 2014

LOUISVILLE

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8, NRSV)

In this time of angst and anger, frustration and fear over the shooting death of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) calls for calm and prayer as justice is sought and righteousness pursued.

We, along with the rest of the world, mourn the loss of this child of God, and are pained that his future was brought to an abrupt halt.

We, along with the rest of the world, seek answers to why an unarmed human being was shot repeatedly, and question the way in which local law enforcement handled the aftermath.

We, along with the rest of the world, are stunned by the violence that has erupted in Ferguson, and acknowledge that the turmoil is rooted both in Michael Brown’s death and in years of disenfranchisement and hopelessness for many in that community.

We, along with the rest of the world, cry out in sadness over the troubled state of race relations in the United States, a situation born out of centuries of unreconciled issues that too often have been translated into distrust, fear, anger, and violence.

Therefore, as people of Christ committed to justice and love, we call for calm in Ferguson as work is done by state and federal officials to seek answers and bring justice. We appeal for an end to the violence, the looting, and the aggressive force, and urge all involved to suspend activities that perpetuate the negative cycle under way.

We also call on our nation as a whole to pray without ceasing for healing in Ferguson, and for real dialogue and action at local, state, and national levels to improve race relations in the U.S. The PC(USA) stands firm on its historic commitments to equality and human rights, and will continue as a denomination to press for fairness and justice for all of God’s people.

O God, with heavy hearts we turn to you. Another life taken. Another future robbed. Another young person of color killed. One death that led to injury, violence, and unrest in the days that followed, exposing divisions and systems of injustice. Struggle and confrontation that continues today.

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

Family, friends, loved ones, and neighbors of Michael Brown unable to mourn in peace because their backyards are filled with tear gas, rubber bullets, violence, and military force. Children unable to attend school. A place where the shadows of night bring uncertainty instead of rest. A place that could be our place, too.

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

A time where hands in the air not only mean surrender but solidarity. As differences seek to rule the day, we search for another path, a new way to live in community. Change our hearts and transform them from places that see “otherness” to ones that honor your image in each person. Guide us to use our voices to name the racism still thriving in our midst, striving for systems of accountability that maintain justice for all people. Strengthen us for the difficult, but beautiful, work of dismantling racism and building a community where all are welcomed and honored.

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

There are no excuses. There are no reset buttons. There is just us, your faithful people, seeking ways to bring hope into a time in such desperate need of it. Stir our hearts, free our minds, guide us to follow your way. Help us to push aside our complacency to make room for your Spirit, calling us forward from this place. Make us instruments of your peace.

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

The Reverend Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada
Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)

The Reverend Larissa Kwong Abazia
Vice Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)

Ruling Elder Linda Bryant Valentine
Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency

Reflections on General Assembly

 

By GA Young Adult Advisory Delegate Will Owens

 

I stepped off the plane in Detroit and made my way to the baggage claim. The first person to greet me was a COLA (Committee on Local Arrangements) volunteer. I immediately recognized the man in the teal apron as Raeshawn, a member of my small group at the 2010 Presbyterian Youth Triennium. The Presbyterian community truly is a small one. After Raeshawn and I did a little catching up, he showed me to the shuttle and I was on my way. The important part of this story is community, but I’ll come back to that later.

On Saturday, with the assembly beginning, I made my way to my seat, K58. The average age of the people on my row was approximately 60. Naturally, when the technology began to fail right away, the other younger people and I jumped into roles as tech assistants. We connected our peers to the internet, got them onto PC-Biz, and showed them how to vote using a clicker. I was happy to prove my worth to the commissioners and earn their respect in the opening stages of the week.

In my committee, I found that the 80/20 rule was in full effect. That is, 20% of the people did 80% of the talking. Instead of speaking my mind, I would just wait for one of them to get up and say exactly what was on my brain. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to participate, they just beat me to the mic every time and I didn’t want to be that guy that repeats what’s already been said. The toughest part of committee was building a close relationship with my tablemates and then voting opposite of them right to their face. Something about that just made me feel awkward inside, as if I was betraying them.

I hit the fatigue wall after committees ended, just in time to start plenary.

Three things stick out in my mind from this year’s plenary sessions: 1) AI and the definition of marriage, 2) divestment, and 3) the red ball fight set to Pharrell’s Happy.

Marriage and divestment were polarizing issues. Even if one agreed with what the body decided, it was extremely painful to hear the hurt in people’s voices as they acknowledged that their church would likely be leaving.  

Lastly, there was the strongest sense of community that I felt all week. As we wrapped up the evenings’ work, hundreds of red balls were released onto the floor and the 900 commissioners and advisory delegates became engulfed into a frenzy of stress relief. As Pharrell sang his once catchy, now annoying hit, calmness came over me. No matter what decisions we made in Detroit, we will always be community. Whether we are worshiping together, arguing together, eating together, or throwing big red balls at each other, we will always find peace in our love for God.

 Will Owens

221st GA YAAD Will Owens, Ruling Elder from Highland Presbyterian Church

Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Meet to Celebrate and Contextualize the Accra Confession

By The Rev. Dr. Antonio (Tony) Aja

 

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Accra Confession. Representatives of the member churches of the Alliance of Latin American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, AIPRAL by the Spanish language acronym, met in Barranquilla, Colombia, June 2 – 6, 2014.

The Accra Confession of 2004 was drafted and adopted by the former World Alliance of Reformed Churches, now the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), at their 24th General Council, which met in the Ghanaian capital. “The Confession is based on the theological conviction that the economic and environmental injustices of today’s global economy require the Reformed family to respond as a matter of faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Accra Confession calls upon Reformed Christians around the world to engage injustices in the world as an integral part of their churches’ witness and mission.”

As a result of this consultation, the participants drafted a document which will be presented to the November WCRC Global Consultation meeting in Hannover, Germany. The AIPRAL churches covenant to:

  • recuperate a proper spirituality that will challenge a culture of consumerism and individualism;
  • develop pedagogical processes to educate and encourage all member churches to include the Accra Confession in their books of Confessions or catechism;
  • place the principles of the Accra Confession in public forums such as world banks, governments and other international organizations;
  • participate and support community efforts that build economic, cultural and political  alternatives that place human dignity and care of the environment at the forefront and;
  • make stronger alliances with our sister “northern churches” to develop new economic systems that give God honor and glory for the welfare of all of God’s people.”

The Accra Confession continues to be a watershed document for the church. Its principles and challenges, however, are yet to be adopted fully by Christ’s church. The gap between the rich and the poor grows uncontrollably, especially in Latin America and other “Global South’’ areas. The Confession, and AIPRAL’s document challenges the global church to live into its witness and mission to be an active voice for all of God’s people, particularly those most vulnerable.

Editor’s Notes: Tony Aja, Mid-KY coordinator for Hispanic/Latino and Immigrant Ministries, represented the Hispanic/Latino National Presbyterian Caucus.  PCUSA has not yet adopted the Accra Confession.

 

 Latino CMIR Photo