The CRCDS Worship Committee publishes a weekly program for the week’s worship services, highlighting alumni/ae, students, classes and activities within the school community. The committee members for the 2018/19 academic year are: CRCDS students Jen Lessard and Katelynn Roffo, Dean Stephanie L. Sauvé, and Dr. Mark Brummitt, .Below are two article that appeared recently in the committee’s programs.

CRCDS In the World Spotlight ~ by Jen Lessard

A VISIT TO CHURCH OF THE BEATITUDES, ST. PETERSBURG, FL

While visiting Florida this summer, I had the great pleasure of visiting the delightful community at The Church of the Beatitudes in St. Petersburg, FL. Rev. Phillip Miller-Evans and his wife Janel are both graduates of CRCDS as are their fathers, James Miller (CRDS ’63) and David Evans (CRDS ’53) and Janel’s mother, Grace Norton Evans (BMTS ’52). Rev. Phil’s father currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the school and Janel’s mother is a life trustee. Janel is an ordained ABCUSA clergy and is chaplain at a local retirement community. The Church of the Beatitudes was established in 1962 by retirees from ABCUSA up north that had difficulty finding a “southern” church that felt like home. For many years the church was a retirement church. Rev. Phil came to be pastor in 2002 with the express charge and call to reshape the church into a multi-cultural, multi-generational community of faith. We truly live out our mission statement to be a welcoming, affirming, diverse, progressive non-judgmental community of faith.

Rev. Phil filled me in on their exciting new venture. Three congregations Beatitudes (ABCUSA), Redeeming (Alliance) and 1st Presbyterian (PCUSA) have embarked on a shared ministry. They now share resources of staff, facility, equipment and talent to do education, mission and ministry more effectively. All three now share a location at the 1st Presbyterian location in St. Petersburg. They welcomed my husband and I at worship with open arms and I encourage you to follow the Church of the Beatitudes on social media to see their very active missions, including the Micah Center focusing on breaking the chain of poverty in Pinellas County.

CRCDS Alumna and D.Min. student Rev. Nicole Iaquinto visits the Mexican Border

Rev. Nicole Iaquinto (CRCDS ’17) recently visited the Mexican Border. She shared her experience with the CRCDS Worship Committee.

Rev. Nicole Iaquinto with The Rev. Amy Jacks, Dean of North Carolina. Both are serving communion on the Mexican side of the border wall.

 “I was given the amazing opportunity to help serve communion at an ecumenical service on the US/Mexico border wall. We are on the Mexican side. The people you can see you through the dense mesh are on the US side. Every Sunday, 10 (used to be 25 until the new chief arrived) people are let through to the wall on the US side to come talk to loved ones through that mesh. You aren’t able to approach the US side normally, because it’s blocked by the *second* US border wall. The holes in the wall are so small, you can’t even get a pink finger through. Many of the people coming to talk to loved ones on the Mexico side have been deported from the US. Deported veterans. Mothers separated from their children. Dreamers. People in love. People who can’t go home.

I served because I believe in the power of The Body of Christ. Communion is a powerful symbol of our shared humanity. I believe that nothing can separate us from one another, nor from the love of God. Not steel walls, not walls made of iron and concrete, mesh and razor wire. I don’t believe my life has more worth than my neighbor’s because I happened to be born in the US. I don’t believe in arbitrary border walls and the increased militarization of the border in the name of “safety.” Not when the majority of people crossing the border are families attempting to get into US to make better lives for themselves.

How about instead of building walls, arming border police with military style weapons, and spending millions of dollars trying to enforce a wall that will never work, we invest in the infrastructure to help make Mexico a more stable place, you know, since we pretty much were the ones who helped destroy its economy and quality of life in the first place?”