|Rev. Dr. Leanne VanDyk|
Then Dr. Doug Kindschi, director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute at Grand Valley State University, and elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, shared with us the history, contextual need, and the theological grounding for interfaith engagement and dialogue. He described six steps of interfaith engagement: tolerance, hospitality, understanding, respect, acceptance, holy envy. He related these steps to the stages of human development: baby (tolerance), young child (hospitality), preteen (understanding), adolescence (respect), adult (acceptance), and children as parents (holy envy). He shared the story of Grand Rapids' recent interfaith initiatives and examples of what congregations can do, such as the "Pieces for Peace" Project of the First Presbyterian Church in Holland. Women of various faiths who were concerned for peace gathered this winter and made squares for a larger quilt, as a joint witness for peace. The spiritual challenge is, can we recognize God's image in someone who is not like us? If you are interested in receiving copy of Dr. Kindschi's powerpoint file, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy to share it with you.
The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance of PMA announces June 20th, World Refugee Day in the following link: http://pda.pcusa.org/page/world-refugee-day/ #WeChooseWelcome is a rallying call from Presbyterians across the U.S. expressing their commitment to welcome refugees of all nationalities and faiths. Several of our congregations are sponsoring refugees: First Presbyterian Churches in Holland, Kalamazoo, Jackson, and Westminster in Grand Rapids. They all have welcome stories to tell.
We welcomed Rev. Amber Nettleton, the new pastor at Pine Island Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo. She comes to us from the Presbytery of Cascades and is the daughter-in-law of Rev. Doug Nettleton. We welcomed Rev. Troy Hauser Brydon, the new lead pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Grand Haven. We welcomed Rev. Deborah McCreary, who is serving Benton Harbor, First during Rev. Laurie Hartzell's sabbatical. We welcomed Rev. Deborah Semon-Scott, an Episcopal colleague serving as interim pastor for Coldwater, First. We examined and welcomed candidate Christina "Chrissy" Westberry, to her new call as associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Kalamazoo. Welcome to this ministry! We also heard from inquirer Austin Wicks, the son of Revs. Mike and Sally Wicks, and moved him to candidacy. Austin has just graduated from Louisville Theological Seminary and is seeking a field placement during his candidacy year.
|Vice Moderator, Rev. Karen Kelley|
The Buchanan Church hosted our meeting. The members greeted us, helped us find parking, met us at the door, fed us. The air conditioning in the sanctuary was a gift on a 90 degree day!
|Hesperia Presbyterian Church's New Entrance|
|Rev. Paul Tomlinson with Elder|