Summer 2014

To revitalize its mission and ministry, a congregation on Long Island is investing in ways to become more welcoming, passionate, vital, risky, and generous.

It is with great pleasure that the Regional Synod of New York announces that the Rev. Amy L. Nyland has agreed to serve as the executive minister of the synod.

The faces of Camp Sunrise campers light up as greeters hand them brightly colored welcome bags filled with personal care products. The welcome bags and the greeters are from Franklin Reformed Church in Nutley, New Jersey.

Eighties music—it doesn’t exactly conjure up thoughts of a Lenten concert series, but United Reformed Church in Somerville, New Jersey, has a ministry of music that started in that decade. Back then, it consisted of lunch, a brief worship service, and a concert each Wednesday during Lent.

Residents at the Reformed Church Home (RCH), a senior care facility in Old Bridge, New Jersey, keep busy—they can participate in exercise programs, do arts and crafts, join a book club, attend classes through a learning program, and attend a variety of live music performances. 

Before starting a new small group study, one church wrote its own devotional.

The Ridder Church Renewal team at Heartland Community Church (RCA) in Lafayette, Indiana, had been learning a lot, and they wanted to share that with the entire congregation.

Volunteers from “up north” are encouraging the revitalized ministry underway at North Dade Community Church (NDCC), an RCA congregation in southeastern Florida.

With pastor Newton Fairweather leading, NDCC has found new ways to connect with its community, and its ministries are growing. But NDCC’s 1970s-era building needed a lot of work, and the congregation didn’t have the resources to make repairs.

I grew up in a Christian home, but to call myself a believing, faith-in-action Christian would be a stretch. My mom constantly told me that God had a purpose for my life, and I truly believed it up until age nine. I believed it so much that if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would not have given you the typical firefighter or policeman answer. No, instead I wanted to be a pastor.

At age nine, my father died in a one-car accident and good-intentioned Christians told me things like "God has a plan" or "God must have needed your father more than you did."

"Razor wire and prison bars do nothing to stop the grace of God," writes prison ministry pastor Jason Wiersma on the ministry's website, livingstoneprisonchurch.org.

A group of Iowa youth traded in a relaxing weekend to take the plunge, the Urban Plunge—48 hours of working with people in the inner city: feeding the homeless, visiting the elderly, sorting clothing, and serving, serving, serving.

The group, from First Reformed Church in Rock Rapids, Iowa, stepped out of their suburban bubble to discover what life is like for many people who are less fortunate in and around their own community.