Weaving Hope Out of Tragedy

It was sad to hear today of the fire at the Whaley Historical home in Flint[1].  This type of tragedy hits close to home when you know people who are involved.  Samantha (Sam) Engle is the Executive Director and an active member of the church where I worship—the Second Presbyterian Church in Saginaw.

Family and friends are all thankful that, while ‘Sam’ was in this historic home when the fire alarm sounded, she was not hurt.  Thanks God!

Now my thoughts turn to the unimaginable work it will take to restore and rebuild this beautiful home.


As these restoration efforts begin, I share this prayer from the Book of Common Worship (PCUSA Pastoral Edition).  Please hold the directors and staff from the Whaley House in your thoughts and our prayers.

“God of compassion, you watch our ways, and weave out of terrible happenings wonders of goodness and grace.  Surround those who have been shaken by tragedy and hold them in faith.  Though they are lost in grief, may they find and be comforted;  through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives and rules this world with you.   Amen.”


[1] http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/11/whaley_historic_house_museum_o.html



Prayers for the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA)

I am calling for prayer for the many challenges the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) in working with the 1001 Worshipping Community program.  After a lengthy and expensive investigation into the improper creation and funding of a newly formed California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, four individuals at the national level of the church were dismissed.  My prayers are with all who work with Executive Director Linda Valentine and Marilyn Gamm, Chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board  (PMA)….and those who were dismissed–Roger Dermody, Eric Hoey, Philip Lotspeich, and Craig Williams.   .

Please lift up in prayer all who are involved in this process as no one should be demonized.  We are all still one part of the Body of Christ and graciousness in all things must be maintained.”  (Bruce Reyes, Chow, former Moderator of the PCUSA)[1] 

These are challenging times in our beloved church.  The issue of trust in the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency will be hanging over many in the church as dark clouds break and trust in national leaders is restored.  I was recently reminded by a colleague that what happens at the national levels of the church has an impact on all of us because we are a connectional church.  Thus the need for all in our church to pray for the restoration of trust at all levels within our church.

We are connectional.  We are not part of a “them/us” church.  We are all members of the one body of Christ.   While it is true we have stubbed our toe at the national level, it’s going to take all of us working together to help this injury heal.

May God continue to help grow and move forward as the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.  While we heal, we need to hold our entire church in prayer.

For more information about the issue that has been hanging over the Presbyterian Mission Agency and our entire church, look at the articles found in Presbyterian Outlook.

The most recent article:    http://pres-outlook.org/2015/06/1001-inquiry-continues-to-unfold-executive-director-review-planned-investigation-report-still-private/

[1]   PC(USA) Ethics Violations and 1001 New Worshiping Communities Controversy