Getting It Out The Mud

On August 8th Lincoln Park Presbyterian hosted a luncheon for members of the Presbytery of Chicago on the topic of Gun Violence. It was a very energic and exciting event with 24 participants from 13 congregations in attendance. Pastor Beth Brown helped lead a group that was diverse in gender, race, and social-economic areas of Chicagoland. One significant learning from the event is that there are congregations across the presbytery that are doing great work in social justice and anti-gun violence. What is lacking, is connection. Many feel isolated and are unaware that others in the presbytery have the same interest.

Bringing the anti-gun violence luncheon together and connecting people with one another is an example of a primary role of the presbytery. The presbytery of Chicago is a platform for bringing people, ideas, and ministries together to further God’s kingdom in the Chicagoland area.

Recently, after preaching a sermon in which I talked about Ebed Melech pulling Jeremiah out of the mud (Jerimiah 38), a parishioner came to me afterward and said, “Chicago is in the mud, and the presbytery has to help pull it out.” Don’t you hate it when people turn your words back on you!! One of the learnings at our luncheon is that one single congregation cannot do this work alone. In the story of Ebed Melech, he had to get three others to pull the prophet out of the pit. Working together they pulled Jeremiah up, and in the process put hope back into the land. We must work together. Furthermore, the presbytery cannot do the needed ministry in Chicago without leveraging relationships with those already involved. We are challenged to shift from Presbyterian alone to Presbyterian and . . .

I am excited because the next location for the anti-gun violence luncheon will be at First Presbyterian, Chicago on the Southside. My hope is that even more people will come and join us. The date will be in October and will be published as soon as it is confirmed. May we work together to do God’s good work in our local communities, and the city of Chicago.

Rev. Craig Howard