Member Church News: Blessings, Paintings, Sharings, Greetings

What has become an annual ritual for many churches—the “Blessing of the Backpacks”—has taken on special importance at First Presbyterian Church in Findlay, Ohio. This year, the event was integrated into the larger concept of commemorating milestones within the life of the church and its members, with back to school being just one of them.

This past summer artist Joel Schoon Tanis, a member of the Reformed Church in America, spent several afternoons painting a mural on the separation wall between Israel and Palestine. An RCA pastor interviewed Joel about painting on the wall and the role of the artist in the church’s life and witness.

The Niebuhr Medal, Elmhurst College’s highest honor, was awarded to the Reverend Dr. Walter Brueggemann, one of the most influential Biblical scholars of our time and Eden Theological Seminary faculty member from 1961 to 1986.

During the Korean National Conference in Australia, leaders of Korean congregations shared their ministries across Australia and beyond.

Pope Francis sent greetings to the participants of the Waldensian-Methodist Synod held last week in which he said the differences between Catholics and both confessions “do not prevent finding ways of collaboration in the field of evangelization.”

As part of its 100th anniversary celebrations this year, a Chinese university museum is commemorating the unique cultural contribution made there by a Scottish missionary and sinologist. His family have been told that, apart from a tribute to Eric Liddell this is the first time China has recognised and highlighted the contribution of a Christian missionary. Sichuan University Museum, Chengdu—previously the West China Uninon University Museum of Antiquities—is celebrating “120 years since the arrival of Thomas Torrance,” who sourced and donated many of the artefacts now on display.

On 1 September churches worldwide will come together to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and to observe the Season of Creation between that day and 4 October, a day for celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Many Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican organizations will join to encourage 2.2 billion Christians worldwide to pray and act on ecological issues next month.

As wars and conflict continue to force thousands of families to flee their homes every day, the World Council of Churches appeals to all people of good will to support the UNHCR’s #WithRefugees campaign.

The Christian Conference of Asia is inviting applications for a month-long intensive ecumenical formation training—an Asian Ecumenical Institute (AEI)—which will be held at the Payap University, Chiang Mai from 24 October to 23 November 2016.

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