I find myself praying every day for the Middle East. Elmarie Parker, our PCUSA mission co-worker just returned from a trip to Iraq. The stories and pictures remind me of the resilience and deep faith these Christians have. Last year on my trip to Scotland I met CD Weaver, artist-in-residence at Austin Theological Seminary. In an email exchange he shared with me and gave me permission to share with you a work he did “Reflections on the Invasion of Iraq.” I find it a deeply moving icon of the ongoing crisis. I’m using it every day for prayer
Many years ago I remember when congregations supported missionaries in the field. Do you remember such a time? Today, our benevolence giving is pretty much undesignated and we haven’t really increased our giving to the denomination and international mission in a long time. Today, our mission co-workers are supported by individual congregations who provide financial resources to support their ministries. This year we had the privilege of meeting Rev. Scott Parker and Susan and I had the privilege of meeting and seeing first had Scott and Elmarie’s ministry in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. It is exciting to know just how much is being done by the Presbyterian Church and our brothers and sisters in the region even though they minister in such dangerous circumstances every day. Elmarie and Scott do so much to represent us and to communicate with us about the church and its work in this region. Unfortunately, we must raise the funds in the United States to keep this ministry funded. Making a commitment to help support Scott and Elmarie Parker can make a significant contribution to Christian witness in our own church and with our partners in the Middle East. Please pray in the coming months about whether this congregation should include some financial support for their ministry in our 2016 budget. The Session will begin preliminary discussions in August. You could make your thoughts known to any Session Elder.