by Patricia E. Clawson
Hurricane Sandy hit America’s northeast coast on October 29, leaving devastation on Long Island in New York and on the barrier islands and bay in New Jersey. The storm surge flooded homes and churches, shoved houses off their foundations, sparked fires, dumped yachts on roof tops, downed cell towers and tree limbs, and exploded transformers, knocking homes into the dark and cold. Then a nor’easter dumped a half foot of snow on already damaged branches, causing more power outages.
by T. Nathan Trice
It was the “holy chaos” created by the early church’s zeal for mercy ministry that occasioned the first diaconate. It has been a similar zeal for ministries of mercy in the OPC, and the potential chaos that can accompany it, that has occasioned the need for a denominational Committee on Diaconal Ministries. May it ever be so.
Of course, the specific catalyst for the institution of the diaconate in Acts 6 was, sadly, a controversy in the church over money. The Greek-speaking members of the church in Jerusalem were convinced that their widows were being slighted in the distribution of financial support. Scripture never weighs in on whether this charge was true or not; it simply records how the issue prompted the apostles’ response of calling for an election of “seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to whom they could entrust the oversight of this mercy ministry. The new deacons’ first job was to sort out this little tempest in a teapot, and then to maintain the daily distribution to the poor in an equitable way. Read more
by Jamie Dean
In the rolling hills of eastern Pennsylvania, Amish men drive horse-drawn buggies past the quiet buildings at Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community. It’s a serene setting, but for some Quarryville residents, retirement seems like a distant notion.
Take Wendell Rockey. This retired OP minister has lived at Quarryville for four years, but his schedule is full. When I visited the retirement community in November, Rockey calculated he had preached seven times in the last ten weeks. It’s a robust pace for a man set to turn eighty-nine in January. Read more