Christ is crucified. Christ is risen!

Tom Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor

Christ is crucified.

Racial anguish is palpable in every community...Living for one’s own success is unmistakable in lives, nations and churches as well...The Middle East explodes in war and terrorism that tear apart treasures of the past, life in the present and hope for even a glimpse of peace in the future...Death waits for many who make the desperate journey in the         darkness and through the desert from Mexico to the United States...          Mistrust, jealousy, competition, gossip, and a failure to believe God is at work in the world paralyze the Body of Christ...Young girls are used, misused and thrown away in a world-wide scandal of human 
trafficking....Forgotten women and men die alone...Neighbors throughout Colorado, who possess no documents but do possess a desire for new life, live in constant fear...Disease, civil war and government corruption remain unchecked for whole continents...Our church finds unity a distant reality...Suicide attacks on Pakistan Churches kill worshipers.  An               enraged crowd lynched two people suspected of being accomplices
in the bombings...The homeless sleep on city sidewalks...An ache, a pain, a longing in you will not cease.

Christ is Risen.

Each one recognizes that God is calling all to live uniquely, responsibly, lovingly in the world...Silenced voices are heard, the invisible are seen, the forgotten are remembered...Criticism of our church is replaced with celebration of what God is doing, an embrace of the gifts from the past and hope for all that yet can be...Partnerships of mutuality, deep respect, and persistent love become a way of life for each church, each nation and ourselves as well...Honest, caring dialogue reveals ways to heal the wounds of racism...Diversity becomes an essential gift of God, even in the church...People far from us become beloved neighbors.  People close become treasured sisters and brothers...You recognize the difference you make to others...A belief that there is no hope for the world is replaced with courageous acts that seek justice, reconciliation, and peace and a daily decision to live only from the love of Christ...The longings of your heart find peace.

In the days ahead may we see and hear the Crucified Christ.  And may we receive the abundant life of Christ who leads and strengthens us to     live in boundless hope and endless love.                   

Christ is risen, indeed!

Each week we send out a bulletin announcement to you and also to church offices that includes the weekly Prayer Guide information.  Last week the Guide asked us to pray for the Dema Preaching Station in the Presbytery of Zimbabwe.  Following the distribution of the announcement, we received from leaders of the preaching station more information and specific requests for our prayers.  I thought you would want to hear what they wrote:
         The Dema Preaching Station, being situated in a peri-urban set up, has a lot of joys and concerns.  The  paper work for a piece of land to be used for a church stand is at an advanced stage.  The influx of residents in this area is creating growth in the membership.  Dema is grateful to the Chitungwiza Church and the Presbytery of Zimbabwe for their spiritual support as well as support in resources.  Dema is concerned about the economic and political climate, as well as lack of resources to support ministry, and the prevalence of HIV related health issues.  They are greatly motivated that their brothers and sisters in the Denver Presbytery are committed to praying for them.
I hope you find these weekly encouragements for prayer helpful and also that the bulletin announcements support your work in interpreting the Presbytery’s ministry and mission for congregations.  
Please pray for Steve Poos-Benson and his family at the death of his father this past Saturday. Also, prayers are requested for Kari Coplen, wife of Matt Coplen, whose grandfather died recently.  May God hold them and all who grieve and give them hope in the promise of the resurrection.
Our Next Presbytery Assembly on March 24 will meet at Good Shepherd Church in Northglenn. The pre-assembly event, beginning at 3:00 p.m., will welcome the Rev. Cynthia Holder Rich from the General Assembly Committee to Study The Confession of Belhar and who will present insights about the Confession.  Later in the Assembly the Presbytery will be asked to vote on whether the Confession should be included in the Church’s Book of Confessions.  In the 6:00 p.m. meeting in the sanctuary, we also will be installing the Rev. Cathy Ulrich as our Interim Stated Clerk and celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion in the service of worship; recognizing the retirements of four ministers; receiving further information about policies from the Committee on Preparation for Ministry; hearing a report from Ben Blake of the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program; and receiving reports from Highlands Joint Committee, Commissioners to the Synod of the Rocky Mountains and the Partnership of Zimbabwe and Denver Presbyteries Committee.  Dinner will be served in Shepherds Hall beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Remember, too, that our May Assembly is May 26, the day after Memorial Day and will be held at the Presbytery Center.
Transitional Ministry Training will be held from April 20 -24 at Highlands. Both Weeks I and II are being offered by MALT again this year.  You can register by contacting the Synod of Lincoln Trails or phone 800-566-5996.
The 2015 Summer Pastors’ School, sponsored by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, will be held June 7 – 13 at Hastings College in Hastings, NE.  This outstanding event offers renowned leaders and incomparable hospitality all at minimal cost.  For more information visit here or call, 1-888-244-6714.  
The Presbytery Assembly in August (August 7-8) will begin with a “Staycation” at Highlands. Watch for upcoming details but be ready to join women, men and children for a special time that will include a program led by Tim Mooney, author of Like a Child, family activities and an evening campfire for all.  Saturday, August 8, will include the stated meeting of the Presbytery as well as continued activities.  Don’t miss this time together with the whole “presbytery family!”   
The Untamed Mind of Christ is an experiential wilderness immersion designed to help Christian men encounter, explore and embody the four facets of our innate human wholeness, the image of God, and the Christ nature in our journey to becoming fully human.  To be held August 14 – 16 at Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge in Grand Lake, its cost is $520, which includes guide fees, lodging and meals for three days and two nights. The guides are Dr. Brian Stafford and Associate Pastor at Grace Church, the Rev. Matt Syrdal.  You can obtain more information by calling 303-548-0823, going to the website or speaking with Matt Syrdal.