- - Thursday, July 28, 2016

1| Bicycle ministry steering lives toward recovery |Baptist Press

***I love the central thrust of this story: small churches can do big things.

…The basement under the sanctuary of Hurricane Memorial is packed with bicycles, a hundred or more in rows and rows. Gee buys them at police auction — stolen and broken bikes that can’t be reunited with their owners — and brings them to the workshop. New repairman Gene had one turned upside down on a worktable. In his 50s, Gene is one of four men recently released from prison who live in the church’s former parsonage, and who work on the bikes.

Hurricane Memorial has a big vision for Gene and others like him. The pastor characterizes his congregation as a neighborhood church. With 80 members, “we’re really just a small church,” he noted, “but we do a lot.”

“When I first encountered what Hurricane Memorial has done under Pastor Gee’s leadership, I was struck at how much ministry to the community they were doing as a small church,” said Stephen Williams, one of Illinois Baptist State Association’s zone consultants for southern Illinois. It doesn’t take a big church to have a big impact.

The parsonage serves as a halfway house, giving the people who stay there time to get re-integrated into society. With the bike shop, as well as an organic garden and greenhouse, there is no shortage of work to be done.

2| Polish bishops vow to refuse communion to divorced and remarrieds |The Tablet

A senior bishop has said that the Church in Poland will refuse communion to divorced and remarried Catholics despite the landmark family document from Pope Francis which opened up the possibility.

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, the President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, said that giving communion could not be allowed following a period of pastoral discernment - something which Francis has advocated - adding that if remarried divorcees had a valid first marriage they cannot receive the eucharist.

His remarks came just hours after the Pope’s arrival in Krakow for a global gathering of young Catholics and highlighted the tensions between Francis and Poland’s hierarchy. “This [communion for divorced and remarried] cannot be solved in a confessional box in two minutes or even a couple of years,” the archbishop told journalists at a briefing last night. “This is a path for the priests and the laity to walk together knowing that if a marriage has been validly concluded there is no ground to administering communion to remarried divorcees.”

3| An Overlooked Tool for Making Decisions in Our Fallen World,” by Dr. Anne Bradley

***I’m really enjoying the short, daily posts at The Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics. Bookmark their site and check in on a regular basis for articles that explain economics from a theological perspective. Here’s an excerpt from one of today’s writings:

…God has given us economics to help us find our way through a fallen world, where information is almost endless and not all of it is ever known to one individual.

Even though we live in a fallen world, God calls us to work and to prosper – to wisely steward what he has given us.  We see this in the parable of the talents, and in God’s call to his people in exile in Babylon:

Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper. (Jer. 29:7)

Economics provides a framework for understanding how to navigate a fallen world, glorify God through our vocation, and provide for the common good of society.


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