LPC to Host International Mission Partner
For three weeks in October, Lakewood Presbyterian Church (LPC) will host an International Mission Partner (IMP) through the Synod of the Covenant’s “Mission to the USA” (MUSA) program. Since 1984, our Synod has invited Christian leaders from other parts of the world to spend three weeks among Presbyterians in Ohio and Michigan. Participating congregations experience mutuality and partnership in Christian ministry with believers in other nations and cultures via their leaders who come to the U.S. for short visits.
LPC Parish Associate Rev. Dr. Steve Gorman introduced this program to our Mission Outreach and Justice Ministry last spring to see if LPC might be interested in hosting an IMP who would spend time with local church members, pastors, presbytery and ecumenical leaders. Some IMPs preach (if they are ministers), but all receive multiple invitations to speak and share about their countries and how they engage in Christian ministry. This unique program is a good example of what is now called “reverse mission.” Rather than a group of people from the U.S. traveling to other nations at great expense, MUSA brings a small group of Christian leaders here and spreads them out among several congregations to give and receive hospitality, fellowship, awareness and mutual transformation.
Most of the expense is covered by a special fund with the Synod of the Covenant, which comprises eleven presbyteries, including our own Presbytery of the Western Reserve. IMPs are hosted by one or more members or member families in participating congregations. Our IMP is the Rev. Ini Ukpuho, National Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. Rev. Ukpuho will arrive in Lakewood on October 11 and depart November 1. Among his many upcoming engagements, he will be a featured speaker during our October Adult Faith Formation Series on Global Christianity.
Message from the Pastor
– The Rev. Dr. James C. Butler
Many of us heard our parents, teachers and pastors remind us “there is a great big wonderful world out there” and it’s different from the one we know so well. There are all kinds of people who speak, eat and worship differently than we do. I never experienced this reality until I moved to places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland and then finally made three trips abroad to the Middle East, South America and then western Europe. That was pretty mind blowing for a white, Protestant, English/Irish kid from rural Indiana!
I believe one of my responsibilities as a pastor is to help open eyes to the diversity of the Christian church across the globe. It is a reflection of the diversity within God’s world, which is why I hope to see you on the four Sundays of October. Beginning on World Communion Sunday, we’ve lined up four modern disciples who either come from outside the U.S. or have ministered in other nations. They will help us gain an appreciation and respect for the many faces of the global Christian church.
Please make a special effort to befriend Rev. Ini Ukpuho, our “International Mission Partner” from Nigeria who will be with us for three weeks beginning October 11. If you would like to have him over for dinner or take him out for a special event, let me know. Let us truly show him the hospitality we claim at LPC.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Peace & Global Witness Offering Received on October 6
The Peace & Global Witness Offering will be received on World Communion Sunday, October 6. The Offering enables the church to promote the peace of Christ by addressing systems of injustice in our own communities and around the world. The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together as active peacemakers, and provides education and exposure to those who show us how to do this work well. It allows us to create resources for dealing with conflict and nurturing reconciliation, and stand in support of our global sisters and brothers, because the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere.
Your gift will join with others as the Church works for peace including an end to gender-based violence and discrimination. The PC(USA) responds by supporting partners in places like Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of Congo working to address the trauma of gender-based violence and advocate for changed hearts and minds. In addition, your gifts aid in developing resources that help congregations respond to this need in their context. By giving to the Peace & Global Witness Offering, we work to share Christ’s peace with one another beyond our doors, beyond our community and across boundaries. The Offering is divided three ways:
- 25% stays with our congregation to support peacemaking and reconciliation in our own community.
- 25% goes to our mid council, joining with other congregations in our area to support peacemaking work in our region.
- 50% supports the work for peace and reconciliation being done by Presbyterians around the globe.
Our local recipient for the Peace & Global Witness offering is the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Their mission is this: Legal Aid secures justice and resolves fundamental problems for those who are low income and vulnerable by providing high quality legal services. They carry out that mission every day by providing legal services at no cost to low-income clients, helping ensure fairness for all in the justice system regardless of how much money a person has. Legal Aid handles cases that impact basic needs such as health, shelter and safety, economics and education, and access to justice. Their attorneys practice in the areas of consumer rights, domestic violence, education, employment, family law, health, housing, foreclosure, immigration, public benefits, utilities and tax. Some of their current outreach includes immigration law and working toward lead-safe rental properties.
Adult Faith Formation Series – October 6, 13, 20 & 27
The Christian Church has many expressions depending on the context. Just consider the many different “flavors” of Christianity represented on the west side of greater Cleveland — dozens of Roman Catholic parishes with strong ethnic/cultural roots; historic European traditions including Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Methodist, American Baptist and United Church of Christ; African American denominations like the Church of God in Christ along with perhaps a dozen historic black Baptist denominations; several unaffiliated non-denominational evangelical and Pentecostal churches; and several ethnic Eastern Orthodox traditions. It can be very confusing for non-Christians. The church of Jesus Christ is not uniform! If that is true here in the U.S., it is also true in the rest of the world to varying degrees.
Beginning on World Communion/Peace & Global Witness Sunday, October 6, the Faith Formation Ministry has planned a series of four presentations in which we will explore the changing face of Christianity across the globe.
- Sunday, October 6 – The Rev. Dr. Steve Gorman, LPC Parish Associate, will speak about his experience of the Christian church in Egypt, including Protestant (mostly Presbyterian and Reformed “Evangelical”), Roman Catholic and Coptic Orthodox.
- Sunday, October 13 – The Rev. Oommen Thomas, retired Presbyterian minister and native of India, will speak on the arrival of Christianity in India via St. Thomas. Christians remain a very small minority in India.
- Sunday, October 20 – The Rev. Ini Ukpuho, National Director of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, will speak about his role as denominational ambassador to other Christian denominations and non-Christian religions. Rev. Ukpuho will be with us throughout October as an International Mission Partner with the Synod’s Mission to the USA program.
- Sunday, October 27 – Dr. David Ekpe, LPC member and Nigerian native, will speak on the Christian faith in Nigeria including “European” Christianity represented by the Reformed and Presbyterian churches, and the growing popularity of Pentecostalism from the U.S.
The presentations will begin at 11:20 a.m. in Wright Chapel and conclude promptly at noon.
Knitting Service into Our Faith
This year, the youth will focus on mission. We will start out the year by purchasing yarn and circle looms from KidKnits so we can make hats that can be donated locally to the less fortunate. KidKnits was founded by a nine-year-old three years ago. It supports over 50 families around the world in Chile, Kenya, Mexico and Rwanda through the purchase of hand-spun yarn. The KidKnits organization started with Rwanda. KidKnits partners with True Vineyard Ministries (TVM), founded by Diana Wiley. The Handspun Hope program was developed by TVM in 2010 as a means to provide sustainable wages for 10 widows in Rwanda. Each of the women learned to clean, spin and dye merino wool into high quality, handmade yarn. With support from demand created by the KidKnits project, TVM has been able to grow, currently employing 35 widows in the town of Ruhengiri, Rwanda. TVM owns and leases land in Rwanda, and they are steadily growing their own flock of merino sheep. All of the women employed by TVM receive health insurance and assistance in paying for the education of any school-age children. In addition, TVM further supports the local economy by purchasing supplemental wool from other farmers in Rwanda. Kits range from $14 to $28 depending on size. LPC youth group members will be asked to purchase materials to make at least one hat per member. And they will look at the communities we will be supporting, both at home and abroad, and discuss how our faith looks globally. Join our efforts or find out more about KidKnits at kidknits.org.
Tired of Lame Jokes about Aging?
You are invited to join Parish Associate Cinda Gorman for four Mondays in October at 10:30 a.m. at Lakewood Presbyterian Church to share a lively conversation about The Gift of Years (Growing Older Gracefully) by Sr. Joan Chittister. Class concludes at 11:30 a.m. and fellowship continues.
“The Gift of Years reflects on many aspects of aging, the purposes and concerns, the struggles and surprises, the potential and joys. It invites us to embrace older age as a natural part of life that is both active and contemplative, productive and reflective, and deeply rewarding.”
The readings are designed around a variety of topics covered in 5–8 page sections. Participants can read segments in “small bites” on a daily basis. Each week we’ll watch a brief video of Joan’s reflections (with a transcript provided if you miss a week) and discuss this thought-provoking book among friends.
This book discussion is scheduled on a weekday to allow participation by friends from other congregations so they can remain active in their home congregations on Sundays. Feel free to include others by sharing this invitation. Participants can sign up in the church office to reserve one of the bargain $8 copies already ordered or purchase their own copy (new/used or Kindle format).
What’s New in the Library?
- To Heal a Fractured World by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
- All I Need Is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans by Susanna Aughtmon
- Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant
- The Wise and Foolish Builders by Larry Burgdorf (Parable of Jesus)
- Presenting Tanya, the Ugly Duckling by Patricia Gauch
- Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett
- The Little Drummer Mouse by Mercer Mayer (Christmas)
- The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
- Night Tree by Eve Bunting (Christmas)
- Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
- Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett
Calling All Bakers!
The Fellowship and Member Care Ministry is hosting the Stewardship Sunday luncheon on November 17. They are asking for volunteers to contribute favorite cookies, brownies or dessert bars for the luncheon and would like to have a variety of bite-size desserts so everyone can enjoy multiple treats. Baked goods can be dropped off in Lawther Hall on Sunday morning, November 17, before the worship service. If you have any questions, please contact Carole Cox.