Stand Up and Step Out!

“Stand Up and Step Out!”

That’s the title of the church’s theme for 2017. The words reflect the primary purposes of two of our session committees—Justice and Peacemaking (“Stand Up” to advocate for the poor and marginalized and for peace) and Mission (“Step Out” in service to those in need). We want to challenge more members of the congregation to become involved in our work, in addition to the good ministry you do within our congregation.

This past week has been a busy one for both ministries.

Last Sunday we celebrated our partnership with Bread for the World, reminding us of the need to continually pray and advocate for the hungry and malnourished.

On Tuesday night the church hosted a gathering of approximately 125 people, both from GPPC and from the greater community, to hear a challenging presentation on systemic racism in our culture. From presenter Bay Love we learned that studies have confirmed the existence of race as the most important factor in significantly poorer outcomes for blacks than white across all our systems—education, health care, criminal justice, social services, and financial services.

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Part of the crowd at GPPC to learn about systemic racism.

This conversation comes at the end of a two-month Sunday School class on race led by the JP Committee, and just prior to the study of Jim Wallis’ book on racism, titled American’s Original Sin. We hope to help bring to the congregation and community a heightened awareness of the role race plays in our culture, as well as thoughtful responses for us as a Christian congregation to the injustices caused by the sin of racism.

Wednesday evening three of our members participated in the Air Horn Orchestra outside the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh, to bring attention to the injustice that HB2 has brought to the LGBTQ community in North Carolina.

Meanwhile on Wednesday morning, a team of eight hardy souls left on the annual mission trip to Washington DC, where they will work in various ministries related to poverty and homelessness. They will represent us well as they extend the love of God and the hand of fellowship to those in need, helping provide direct services through various ministries there. 

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The eight members of the GPPC mission team ready to board the bus.

This extended trip caps off a busy season of the Mission Committee’s regular ministries to feed the hungry through GUM, Interactive Resource Center, A Simple Gesture and Hot Dish and Hope, as well as sponsoring the annual Blood Drive, the current Habitat for Humanity build, and the CROP Walk.

Many of these ministries will continue through Advent and into the new year.

And coming in July 2017, an international mission trip!  The Mission Committee held an informational meeting on October 18, and looks forward to serving our international community on the trip.  More information to come for members of the congregation interested in joining.

Together Justice and Peacemaking and Mission represent a good part of our congregation’s effort to share the love of Christ with the world outside our church walls. They do not compete, but complement each other. As Frank Dew so beautifully illustrated in his recent sermon, when the sink is overflowing with water we need to both mop up the immediate problem of the water on the floor (Mission) and turn off the water to address the long-term source of the problem (Justice and Peacemaking).

Stay tuned as we challenge you in 2017 to Stand Up and Step Out!

–Melanie Rodenbough (JP Committee) and Peter Isakoff (Mission Committee)

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