Mission Crossroads

FAL 2018

Mission Crossroads is a three-time-a-year magazine focused on worldwide work of the PC(USA). It offers news and feature stories about mission personnel, international partners and grassroots Presbyterians involved in God's mission in the world.

Issue link: https://missioncrossroads.epubxp.com/i/1024538

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A T T H E C R O S S R O A D S Jose Luis Casal, director of Presbyterian World Mission e are a connectional church." We have heard this statement many times in our churches, but what does this affirmation mean, and how is it related to God's mission? In his book Our Connectional Church: e Hopeful Future of the PC(USA) the Rev. Gradye Parsons, moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016), explores the diversity of Presbyterian ministries in the U.S. He writes, "I sense in many PC(USA) congregations a willingness to connect to our resurrection faith, connect to their community, and connect to the denomination as they move out in ministry and mission." He's describing Presbyterians as connectional people who practice a connectional mission. In a March 2007 Presbyterians Today article about the biblical roots of our connectional system, the Rev. Dr. Michael Jinkins, recently retired president of Louisville Presbyterian eological Seminary, writes, "What the Bible says, then, about the connectional church is … at the root of the very meaning of the word church. We are connected 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' as we learned in vacation Bible school." He continues, "To proclaim today that the church is the body of Christ … is to preach a radically counter-cultural message not only to the society that surrounds the church, but within the church itself." Visiting one of our congregations some time ago, I stopped at the gas station for directions to the Presbyterian church. e response was, "It's the church that feeds the homeless, and that's the most important thing to do in this small city." I heard something similar during a flight to visit one of our international partners. A woman seated next to me began a conversation in which she identified herself as Christian; I told her that I was a Presbyterian pastor. She said, "I know Presbyterians very well." So I asked her, "Are you Presbyterian?" She said, "No, but I know what the Presbyterians do. ey provide help to feed the people in my church's neighborhood, and every year come to work with us to transform that neighborhood. is relationship has indeed transformed the life of our church." e church doesn't have a mission; God has a mission! e church is the instrument that God uses to carry out the mission of liberation and redemption of humankind. God's mission is a journey we walk with God. It is a spiritual journey in which we experience God's accompaniment, and it is also a concrete and material journey that takes place in the context of our daily lives, societies and cultures. e church needs to study the geographic, political, economic and social context in which our journey happens and to strategically discern how to respond to these needs and challenges. at is contextual mission. In addition, the church discerns the strategy to connect the body of Christ, from the neighborhood to the presbytery, the synod, the national church and the world. God's mission covers the whole house of God (oikos) in the whole world (oikoumene), and we do this in partnership with brothers and sisters from everywhere. at is connectional mission. e people around us will know who we are by what we do. at is contextual and connectional mission! "W Contextual and connectional mission Mission Crossroads is a Presbyterian Mission Agency publication about God�s mission around the world through the PC(USA) and our church partners. DIRECTOR OF WORLD MISSION Jose Luis Casal EDITOR Kathy Melvin CONTENT MANAGER Mienda Uriarte PROJECT MANAGER Tammy Warren ART DIRECTOR Anne Walker COPY EDITORS Karen Bosc Jennifer Cash STAY CONNECTED To subscribe or to change your mailing address, contact development.services@pcusa.org or call 800-728-7228. To request additional free copies of Mission Crossroads, email nicole.gerkins@pcusa.org or call 800-728-7228, ext. 5611. SUPPORT WORLD MISSION Give Online: pcusa.org/supportwm Phone: 800-728-7228 Mail checks, payable to: Presbyterian World Mission P.O. Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700 On the cover: Star Street, Bethlehem, decorated for the season of Christmas (Photo by Douglas Dicks)

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