Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

4/5 2012

Stations of the Cross on Good Friday

The Open Door (a Church Plant started by two PTS graduates) is sponsoring the Stations of the Cross Art Exhibition on Good Friday. One of our own students, Will Jackson, has an original piece that will be presented. The station that he has chosen is the one in which Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns. This piece will reflect the pain and suffering that goes on in the world. It will reflect the nations, thus he gives it the title, Missio Dei, or the Mission of God. He will be presenting an airbrushed scroll which will be newly unveiled for the community.

By His Wounds is an invitation for artists to participate in The Open Door’s 7th annual Stations of the Cross exhibition, on view Friday, April 6, 2012, 11:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. at the Union Project 801 (N. Negley Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206). Held on Good Friday each year, this exhibition is intended to encourage contemplation and artistic response to the last hours of Jesus’ life, leading up to his crucifixion. By His Wounds invites artists to create works in response to one of the traditional Stations of the Cross. In doing so, artists are welcomed to consider the reality and cost of suffering — both personal and global, as well as its transformative (and even healing) power. Artists are encouraged to consider how such suffering intersects with the wounds of Jesus. All attendees of the exhibition are invited to engage the works on view and participate in a collaborative artwork. This exhibition is free and open to the public. It will be featured as part of the First Friday art gallery openings.

The Rev. John C. Welch, MDiv graduate, and Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students

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3/8 2012

Jail Ministry

My time at the Allegheny County jail chaplain’s office has taught me many aspects of ministry. As a jail chaplain one has to work with the inmates and their families on the outside. This context of jail ministry involves bridging the gap between society and those who are on the fringes. The setting of the jail is made up of 2,600 inmates at one given time. There are 8 floors for men and three pod units for women. There are three levels of incarceration from maximum, medium, to minimum security for the inmates. The inmates consist of all walks of social life. They come from upper class, middle class, and working class families.

The ministry context about which I am writing in my situation is applying Christian education to family ministry. Christian education in jail ministry settings is essential for bringing forgiveness and change. Sharing the gospel through scripture is a powerful experience for not only the inmates, but for me as well. Often, I bring Christian devotional resources to encourage the inmates to continue to study. I have learned that ministry is not a pew-to-pulpit relationship and I feel that God has called me to serve in the Jail. My education at PTS through classes like Pastoral Care has helped me to share the love of Christ with those who desperately need a message of hope. Every time I walk through the doors of the jail, I draw upon what I am learning here.

Tony, Senior, MDiv student

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11/24 2011

Thanksgiving Meditation

For Those Who Are Persecuted

Psalm 25:2

 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.” 

This prayer of the Psalmist is not one that most of us have needed to pray, at least very often. However, this is a daily prayer for many who follow Jesus. It is a prayer of tiny minority Christian communities in overwhelmingly Muslim countries across North Africa and throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. It is a prayer of brothers and sisters in Christ under unfriendly Communist governments in China and Vietnam. It is the prayer of Christians who stand up for oppressed minorities in the Philippines, Myanmar, Columbia, Madagascar, and elsewhere.

There have been more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than in all of the centuries since the death of Jesus. I will never forget shaking the hand of a Nepali Christian who spent three years in prison for being baptized and counted it as nothing for the sake of knowing Jesus. Nor will I forget a conversation with a Sudanese believer who lost his wife and children when he decided to follow Jesus. On this Thanksgiving day, we indeed give thanks for our brothers and sisters around the world who risk so much in order to bear witness to our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Prayer: Lord God Almighty, provide for all who are persecuted for your name’s sake. Be their strength, grant them courage, embolden them in the Spirit, give them perseverance, and bless them with joy in the midst of suffering for the sake of Jesus. Amen.

The Rev. Dr. Don Dawson, Director of the World Mission Initiative and New Wilmington Mission Conference

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