August 9 ,  2018
Worship for All
by Sue Coller, Pastor FPC Lincoln

Worship should be open and accessible to all people--no matter what their abilities or language. You may notice that we always print the entire Lord's Prayer--even though most of us can rattle it off without thinking.

Why? Because there may be one person in worship that day who didn't grow up in a church, or whose first language isn't English, or who comes from a tradition that says "trespasses" or "sins" instead of "debts." Printing the entire prayer eliminates one barrier to someone fully participating in worship.

In our continuing efforts to make worship accessible to all, we're making an addition to our worship bulletins--pictures for each part of worship. Southern Heights Presbyterian Church recently added icons to their worship bulletins as a way of making worship more accessible to those with autism, pre-readers. new worshipers not familiar with the order  of service, English language learners, and those with dementia or early signs of Alzheimer's.

They learned that these icons, or visual cues, accessed a different portion of the brain that helped people connect with what was going on around them in a way that words didn't. Symbols have long been a part of worship. They connect us with something beyond ourselves.

The symbol of water connects us to our baptism. The symbol of bread and cup connects us to Christ's sacrifice and each other. The symbol of the cross connects us to God's forgiveness, grace, and a call to serve. The symbol of candles connects us to God's presences, and our calling to be light to the world.

Symbols are rich and deep in meaning, and call us to a deeper connection with God, with the community of Christ, and with the world. It is our hope that the addition of these symbols, these icons, these visual cues, will aid the participation of all who gather for worship, and in doing so, deepen our connection with God and each other. 
Go on, Laugh a little


Good Reads

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When two childhood friends die of cancer six weeks apart, the shared experience of loss brings their grieving spouses together. Told from alternating points of view, this remarkable real-life Brady Bunch story is about what it means to endure the unthinkable---and still open our hearts to what's next.
What happened at the 223rd GA?
 Being Black in the PC(USA)

David Benraty, a young adult advisory delegate (YAAD) from Eastern Virgina, spoke to the commissioners' resolution "On the challenge of being black in the PC(USA).: Benraty passionately talked bout the challenges faced in African-American Presbyterian churches due in large part to historic racism and oppression. Sharing a story of being reprimanded for drawing on the walls of his childhood church, Benraty asked his grandfather why he couldn't draw on the walls. His grandfather replied, "Son, this is our church and we have to take care of it." Our black churches need our care."

Leslie Ferrell, a ruling elder commissioner from Seattle Presbytery who served on the mid council committee, spoke in favor of the resolution and noted that 70 percent of African-American churches in the denominations have vacant pulpits.

Thomas Priest, member of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee, also spoke in support so that, "we may stop the bleeding" and Presbyterian African American congregations "can thrive and grow."

The assembly approved by voice vote to direct mid councils to pay "careful attention to issues of inclusiveness and fair practices by the pastor nominating committees and committees on preparation for ministry" and to "raise awareness of the declining nature of black congregations throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the lack of pastoral leadership, in both current and future, for those congregations.
Keep Thinking...

"God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile"
- Max Lucado

Pictures of the Presbytery
Pastor Nancy Tuma of First Presbyterian Church of Falls City,
blessing their prayer shawls during worship. These are given to anyone feeling down, facing medical issues, dealing with grief, or anyone who might just need something to hug. 

Presbyterian Women from all over participated in a Peace Walk during their
Churchwide Gathering in Louisville.