Disciples News Service

Category: Uncategorized

Seventy-four.

Seventy-four. It’s a big number. It is the number of school shootings since Sandy Hook Elementary where over 20 little bodies were torn apart by bullets. There have been other shootings in other places along the way, making the number of dead much, much higher than a mere 74. Included of course, is the man who was “carrying,” who pulled his weapon and was shot dead himself last week in Las Vegas. Included, as well, are the uncounted, unnamed people, mostly in our cities, who are targeted or caught in the cross-fire of our violent culture.

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Posted on June 11, 2014
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Meet our (Cuban) family

I’d like to introduce you to some of our partners – brothers and sisters in Christ – who I had the pleasure of meeting in Cuba.

Meet Mercedes of the Presbyterian Church of the Resurrection. Eighty some years old and still going strong. She’s always been strong. After the Cuban Revolution many pastors fled – or were forced – from the country. At her church in the city now called Juan Gualberto Gomez, she was the only one left. A leader from the seminary came through and asked her, “Do you want to close the church?” She answered, “Close the church! Of course not. I’m here. We’ll build the church!” And she has. Today there is a small but thriving congregation there providing spiritual nurture and meeting physical needs of poor people in the town. Mercedes makes clear in word and deed: Christians serve a God of resurrection and of life.

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Posted on May 29, 2014
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Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal de Cuba

(Praying and worshiping with Disciples international mission partners is one of the privileges of serving as General Minister and President. Recently that opportunity came in Cuba when Brite Divinity School, as part of a course, sponsored a visit to the island to study pastoral care. Rick Lowery and I tagged along.)

We were nearing the end of worship on this Sunday in Havana. Global Ministries missionary and church history scholar Dr. Carmelo Alvarez called me up to the front of the church. We were going to participate in a tradition, he said – a tradition of reconciliation. Citizens of Cuba and the United States have much to forgive. Christians of every nation, however, have confidence that God’s power through Jesus Christ to reconcile is stronger than what lies between us. And so we prayed.

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Posted on May 27, 2014
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Still Celebrating Easter

My assignment was to talk about interreligious engagement. It didn’t seem too difficult a topic given the recent shooting in Kansas City. The interconnections between Christians and Jews would be obvious. The shooter had meant to kill Jews but unintentionally had targeted Christians, showing that we’re all in this life together. Hate hurts all of […]

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Posted on May 2, 2014
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Disciple, UCC leaders offer reflection, call in wake of KC shootings

Our hearts break for the families and friends of the three people murdered at a Jewish Community Center and senior home in Overland Park on Sunday. We lift them in prayer. We mourn with our Jewish brothers and sisters for this brutal assault on their community. We hold them in prayer. We stand in solidarity with them in this tragic, frightening moment, particularly coming at the holy seasons for both Christians and Jews.

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Posted on April 15, 2014
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One family of God: reflection on Overland Park shootings

In the beginning, God created one human family. We are still one.

The word of shootings at the Jewish Community Center in suburban Kansas City reached me early Sunday evening. An all-too-familiar array of emotions coursed through me – grief for lives cut so randomly short, shock that something could cause a person to arbitrarily take these lives.

I immediately reached out to Jewish colleagues knowing that this would be deeply wounding to them and wanting to stand in solidarity as a friend and partner.

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Posted on April 14, 2014
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Team Movement

“When the journey is shared with others, it’s easier to get where you are going.” Sharon Watkins shares her thoughts on how we are all part of the movement for wholeness.

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Posted on February 18, 2014
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What God's Table might look like

This is one of several posts focusing on four of the key words in the Disciples identity statement. In this case, Dr. Watkins tells of a place she saw the concept of “table” lived out in an Oklahoma congregation.

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Posted on January 13, 2014
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