January 4, 2017

In This Issue


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Prayer Calendar
Stinky Shepherds

 By Jeff Binder designated Pastor Valley Community
Presbyterian Church, Portland


There is something about the outdoors that invites us to think about the ‘bigger things’ in life. I love to be outside. I love to run. I love to hike. I love to camp. I love to sleep on the ground, to feel the brisk chill of the early morning, to sweat in the summer sun, to get muddy and dirty, and physically worn out; it all makes me so happy! And the thing I love most about the outdoors is that I feel closer to God when I’m outside. There is something to be said for getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily living, getting somewhere a little quieter, where the air is a little sweeter, the skies are a little clearer, and there are less distractions between us and the Divine.

There was one experience I want to tell you about. There was this group of 6 teenage Confirmation students (Confirmation is the process of joining the church as a teenager) from a church I worked with back in Virginia. Well anyways, this group was one of the highest energy, talkative groups you could ever come across. The pastor, Chuck, is a friend of mine, and he and I shared a common love for the outdoors. So one day Pastor Chuck called me up, and said, ‘Jeff, I have this idea.’  Now, whenever Chuck would tell me he had an idea, I always had to prepare myself. Chuck is filled with ideas, and each one is usually more outrageous than the next! He said, ‘I’m thinking of taking this group of crazy Confirmation students out for a few days on the Appalachian Trail.’

Read the whole blog    or     Listen to his sermons Online

Florida Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Network sees           long road in Hurricane Irma recovery

    Disaster Response December 27, 2017

Cleanup is going well, but compassion fatigue is
becoming a problem

     by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service


Roof damage from Hurricane Irma at Mision Peniel (Photo courtesy of Mision Peniel)


LOUISVILLE — While most people are spending their Christmas break relaxing with family and friends, the cleanup work continues for people living across Florida, still recovering from this fall’s Hurricane Irma. The powerful storm caused significant damage to the state in September, but authorities say early preparation and evacuations kept it from being much worse.

“We are still doing response work in several areas. National disaster organizations are still doing debris removal and mucking out homes and businesses,” said Kathy Broyard, director of the Florida Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Network (FLAPDAN.)“There are still several pockets across the state that have areas in need of help.”

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 Beloved: A Resource for this Sunday
         And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;
with you I am well pleased.” – Mark 1:11

This is Jesus’ name
given at baptism,
a sign of God’s affirmation,
but we disregard his voice
and disobey his teachings.

This is the Earth’s name
given at creation,
a sign of God’s intent,
but we contaminate the waters
and pollute the land.

This is everyone’s name
given at birth,
a sign of God’s compassion,
but we label some enemy
and engage in wars.

This is the church’s name
given in Scripture,
a sign of God’s covenant,
but we betray our calling
and promote discord.

God of new beginnings,
draw us near to the cleansing waters
of your Word,
submerge us in the purifying warnings
of your prophets,
that we might honor the name you have given us
and descend on the world bringing peace like a dove.


Magdalena I. García is a PC(USA) Minister of Word and Sacrament and a hospice chaplain for Vitas Healthcare in Chicago. She is a graduate of McCormick Theological Seminary and a recipient of the 2008 PC(USA) Women of Faith Award. Her personal blog is Permission is given to use the content in worship with credit to the author and blog. For permission to re-print through other means, please write to

The Parish Paper

The January Parish Paper is Now Available on the Website

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Sexual Harassment and the Church

Creating a place for truth-telling

By Susan Maxwell Rothenberg | Presbyterians Today

When the news about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment became public, women flooded social media with the hashtag #MeToo. In solidarity with women who were harmed by Weinstein, women shared their personal stories of being emotionally and physically demeaned by men.

I searched my Facebook and Twitter feeds to see how many of my female pastor friends would share their stories. The stories included a colleague who was forced out of her call after telling the session about repeated sexual harassment by a beloved staff member; colleagues in my female pastor support group who frequently talked about men in their congregations who referred to them as “honey”; and a colleague who was kissed on the lips by a male pastor in a room full of pastoral colleagues.

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