The final piece of our mission is to mirror the character of Jesus Christ and show his love through service.
The goal of Christian life is both growing as disciples and living out that discipleship in the world. For us, we chose to use the word mirroring to describe our activity. We are called to live out our life of discipleship by reflecting the love and grace of Jesus in our congregation, our community and our world. By the calling, gifting and power of the Holy Spirit, we reflect the attitudes and actions of Jesus in our world. Specifically, we do this through acts of comfort, healing, hospitality, humility and kindness.
"Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
We seek to provide comfort to those who are afflicted by some kind of hardship. For those who find hardships in terms of basic needs (food & drink, shelter, clothing, etc), we seek to provide care as best we can. Because we are a smaller body with limited resources, our members tend to participate in this in conjunction with other agencies in our area. For instance, we support Project HOPE, our local food bank, as well as the local women's shelter in various ways. We also have members who work with FeedMySheep Outreach Ministries, a food and clothing ministry on the south side of New Castle. We also hold clothing and food drives at various times during the year to support the various ministries in which participate.
For those who find spiritual hardships, we seek to be a place of refuge; providing support and prayer for those who seek God's grace and strength in their lives. Our Deacons care for those who are grieving by providing bereavement meals for those who are a part of our congregation.
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - Jesus, John 10:10
We define the acts of healing we are called to perform, not as a magical powers supernaturally cure individuals; rather, we see acts of healing as those acts which both encourage life, uphold a holistic sense of health, and provide comfort and anointing to those who are ill. Pastorally speaking, these actions include visitation of the sick and shut-in, which provides an opportunity to sympathize with the suffering of others, to offer words of hope and promises of healing from Scripture, prayers which affirm the presence of Christ and invoke the healing of the Holy Spirit, and the anointing with oil. Further, we offer an opportunity during these visits for the homebound and sick to receive Holy Communion as an extension of the congregation's celebration in the Sunday worship service. In these ways, we testify to the power of God to heal in the present, the hope for healing in the world to come, and the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ.
We also strive to, as an extension of our stewardship, encourage good physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health in pastoral care, providing resources as we are able.
Finally, our congregation has a visitation ministry that, along with the Pastors and the Deacons, visits members of our church on a generally annual basis. For more information, please speak to Pastor Nathan or Elder Paul Hawkins.
"Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2
We strive to be a church that welcomes all people and all ages regardless of age, gender, race, or other worldly condition. We take quite seriously this call, and encourage our members to both invite and welcome those who are visiting, or find themselves in our midst. Besides our greeters, who provide guests to worship with information about the church, our Mission & Evangelism committee, when able, provides welcome materials for those who are new. We also will, as able, take welcome baskets to new members of our community.
We continue to work on ways that we can both engage our community, and use our space as a gathering place for those in need of such space. Since 2007, we have opened our narthex (church entrance) to the children who catch the bus outside our church. We provide shelter on days with bad weather, we provide a light breakfast item for those who have not had breakfast yet, and conversation with all who gather.
One other way our members and pastor have practiced Christian hospitality is by participating integrally in the formation of the Mohawk Coffee House (MoCo House) of Bessemer, PA, an independent non-profit for the purpose of creating a welcoming space for conversation, study and ministry to happen with those who might not otherwise feel welcome in a traditional church setting.
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many." - Mark 10:45
"And all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble." - 1 Peter 5:5
Humility is one of the hallmark attributes of the Christian faith, for in the person of Jesus, we see the form of ministry as being one of service to others, and one of putting others above ourselves. Thus, we strive to have ministries of service to others as a way of lifting others above ourselves.
The word "Deacon" literally means "those who wait on tables," and is a ministry of humble service to our church. The Deacons principally care for those who are most vulnerable or needy in our congregation as a ministry of service and witness, which they accomplish through visitations, bereavement dinners, and other ministries of service.
Our Presbyterian Women's organization has long been a ministry of service. For over 70 years, they have provided weekly meals to the Bessemer Rotary in exchange for resources to be put toward mission projects. Additionally, they make additional meals each week to share with our congregation's shut-ins.
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness,humility, gentleness, and patience..." - Colossians 3:12
"Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices." - Hebrews 13:16
Finally, we seek to be a church that is kind and generous. Although we freely admit that none of us are perfect at any of these, we seek to encourage one another to act in kindness and generosity toward one another. There are various ways in which we do this - caring for our members in times of need, giving regularly to support the work of our church and our mission partners, rejoicing with those who rejoice, mourning with those who mourn, and above all, lifting one another up in prayer. Beyond this, we constantly seek new avenues to be kind toward others and share as an act of worship to God.
Banner image by Nathan Leslie