Monthly archives: July, 2017

Prayers Are Needed – Sudan/South Sudan

This past Tuesday I had the privilege to be part of the Sudan/South Sudan Mission Partnership Network gathering and much of the conversations was about the human tragedy going on in the two countries.


South Sudan

What is happening is dreadful: rape, torture, assault, mutilation, looting, people starving to death, the destruction of homes, and other war crimes is almost everywhere. The United Nations Human Rights Watch is calling this an ethnic-cleansing campaign by the government. Yet the average American hears or reads very little about this tragedy that is going on there.

Why is South Sudan Confronting Genocide?

While most of the world are by-standers watching and hearing shocking stories of what is going on, Presbyterians are doing their best to respond by working together through World Mission, Presbyterian Disaster Relief, Mission Engagement, and the Sudan/South Sudan Mission Partnership Network, and other International Relief Agencies in the region helping people of all ages in dealing with trauma, humanitarian needs in providing food and water, and finding ways to educate about peace, where there never has been a lasting peace for the people who live there in recent years.

The Synod of the Trinity had me cover the netowrk conversations because of Redstone, Shenango, and Pittsburgh Presbyteries who received $12,000 collectively In recognition of our region’s continuing participation in world mission. The three presbyteries applied for global mission grant monies from the synod to be used within their being partners with Christian friends in the Sudan/South Sudan region. These funds are being used for humanitarian and disaster relief with the unfolding crisis each day. All three presbyteries thanked the synod for this grant supporting a humanitarian response to sisters and brothers in great need.

Debbue Braaksama from World Mission of the PC(USA) announced there will be a new campaign beginning this up-coming month by the PC(USA) “Give Hope To South Sudan” that asks for prayer, for action, and to give in support of humanitarian efforts to help people there. Go to

“In 2015, the world’s youngest nation fought itself, inflicting great human suffering and displacing many people.  My country has never been the same economically, socially, or politically.   However, hope remains for people who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, for all things work for good as Paul wrote in his epistle to Romans.  It takes faith and hope to live here.:

Angelo Wello Agwa

A story from a former Peacemaker who worked in Sudan for Peace on Passages …

Listen to Bill Lowrey’s audio on Sudan attempt at peace

Genocide Warning: Sudan – United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

You have outside in this exhibit that was so brilliantly prepared by the Holocaust Museum staff, 12 pictures. Those pictures tell you more than thousands of words can tell you. I hope all of you if you’ve not already seen them will look at them and look at the brochure.



Facing Tough Times – Dealing with Cancer

James Connor shows up for Steelers training camp that begins today as a survivor of cancer.  Connor a standout as a Pitt running back got drafted by the Steelers earlier this year.  The young athlete has performed well in the college ranks, has great character and will be a local favorite as he begins his NFL career.

Friday marked the first day of Steelers rookie minicamp on the South Side, which means it was the first day we could catch a glimpse of James Conner in a Steelers uniform.

James Conner is a hometown favorite as a pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Angel Elderkin woke up from what should have been a fairly routine procedure to remove a cyst on her ovary to hear three of the scariest words a doctor can tell a patient: “You have cancer.”

Passages stories from a survivor of Hodgkin-Lymphoma …

Ann deals with finding out about cancer in being a young mother and daughter.  Listen to her story on Passages.


Passages stories from the stadium to the grid iron …

Listen to the late Art Rooney Sr. talk about how to treat people and the importance of faith on Passages.


A football story about a great running back in the NFL.  We remember “Sweetness” Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears.

We pray for all those doning a football helmet and playing a game that is rough and tough that safety and good health comes first!


Tradgety Hits the Music Industry Again – Bennington

Chester Bennington lead singer for Linkin Park takes his life. To find out more about Linkin Park go to

More information on Chester Bennington suicide at

Another source on suicide by lead singer

Here is the response from the Linkin Park members and family on Chester’s death and responses from fans

Bennington was close friends with Chris Cornell from Sound Garden.

Survivors and Passages Stories on Suicide  …

On Passages Lenee takes us inside her depression that leads to her attempting to take her life … give a listen


Ann has faced a lot of death is her life experience. She shares on Survivors about thoughts on suicide … give a listen


There appears to still be some questions for investigators going on for both Chris Cornell’s and Chester Bennington’s deaths. We pray for resolve for their family, friends and fans.


Winning off the field and on the field!




Pirates take 4 games from the Brewers, most importantly pitcher Jameson Taillon did a fine job against a really tough Milwaukee batting order. Now lets go back to early May, Pittsburgh’s Taillon landed on the disabled list with what was termed “groin discomfort.” Days later, he underwent surgery to treat suspected (and later confirmed) testicular cancer. Click on the link for his come back from cancer.

He has made a great come back to have pitched in one of the biggest games of the season, Jameson struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings to get the win helping the Buc’s to be at .500 for the season. Click on the link for his performance and the Pirates overall sweep of four games from the Brewers.

More stories of surviving cancer and competing on the diamond ,,,

Tom Caves is a survivor of testicular cancer, when I interviewed him as a young man there was a lot of uncertainty … listen to two audio files to hear some of the experiences he had to face on Survivors Stories of Hope …

Tom is a  survivor and is married with a wonderful family!

EJ is a young woman athlete who really appreciates her softball coach’s approach to helping her learn the game. Listen to her share on Survivors by clicking on the link below.


John is a former big league pitcher who helps younger players play the game of basrball and life on Passages. Listen to John’s approach to winning at life on Passages by clicking on the audio file below .

We are thankful for God’s direction and healing in life.


More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes …


More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to a new report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report finds that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population –have diabetes. Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years. More from the CDC report out 7/18/17 click on the link below …

Passages Stories on Diabetes …

Leon shares some of the reasons for high cases of diabetes with Native Americans. Listen to him on Passages by clicking on the audio link below …


Glenn is a graphic artist and he is a person with diabetes. Listen to his medical regiment each day on Passages …


Judith has diabetes and her friend does too. Judith cares for her friend by being a listening ear because her friends husband doesn’t want to talk about diabetes. Click on the audio button below to listen to her story.


Roy realizes that diabetes can be deadly. Listen to how Roy handles his limitations in being a person with diabetes. Listen to Roy share his thoughts by clicking on the button below.


Care, support, research, and prayer for everyone with diabetes!


Love is in the Air


1. an intense feeling of deep affection.
“babies fill parents with intense feelings of love”
synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment;

2. a person or thing that one loves.
“she was the love of his life”
synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one’s life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, angel, honey;


1. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
“do you love me?”
synonyms: care very much for, feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, dote on, idolize, worship;

Emma is a survivor of a relationship gone bad. Listen to her story on Survivors …


Gwen is a survivor who has given some thought about how she thinks a relationship should work. Listen to her reflections on what makes up a loving relationship …



Jeanette as a 17 year-old knows somethings about love … click to give a listen ….



Amber approaches love in relationships in an honest and trusting fashion ,,,



Sixpence is featured musically to wrap-up these musings on love with the song “There She Goes” at the end of Amber’s comments.

We need to learn to love individually and collectively. Pray for God’s love to be known!

The tapestry of our stories woven into God’s story of relationships for the common good of caring for each other.

The Brain is a Wonderful and Mysterious Thing!

The scientific and medical world has been exploring the mystery of the human brain for years. New technology is helping us gain new insights and ways to treat the brain regarding injury and illness.

Maria Menounos says she has been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and has announced her resignation from E Cable TV!

A friend to Presbyterian Media Mission for years is the late folk musician David Bailey. Dave lived for years with a brain tumor.

David shared on Passages in both word and song …

We pray for Maria Menounos and others who are on that path of the unknown in dealing with living with the impact of a brain tumor. We pray for the doctors and others in fields of research that help us to learn more and more about the brain.

Waking Up White

“One of the most important books on race in recent memory.”

Presbyterian Outlook article … the experience of two congregations with the book …


Waking Up White the book


A reflection from Lafayette Richardson on Passages about prejudice and racism ….



What are your inner most feelings about people who are different?

Where, when and how do you believe these feelings were formed?

When does your inner most bias towards another race or person with a different skin color than you come out?

How has racism changed for you and those around you on this passage known as life?

Where are you at with God and music?

Music is one of the main reasons for some people to attend worship or go to church!

For others it is the reason that they stay away or stop going to worship or church.

Music is viewed by some people as a universal language of bringing the heart, soul and mind together in a way that moves us closer to God and others.

Yet music wars in congregations can cause much heartache and grief,

What is it about music that draws people together or pushes people a part on the faith journey known as life?

What has your music experience been on your faith journey?

Click on the link below to listen the Newsboys “God Is Not Dead” …

Newsboys – God’s Not Dead

Music video by Newsboys performing God’s Not Dead (Official Music Video). (P) (C) 2012 Inpop Records. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by EMI Christian Music Group,

Read about the trouble a Christian Radio Station found itself in with listeners by clicking on the link below …


Now a reflection on communicating from the late folk singer Pete Seeger on Passages …



God Bless The Grass

Provided to YouTube by Sony Music Entertainment God Bless The Grass · Pete Seeger God Bless The Grass ℗ Originally Released 1966 Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Released on: 1998-04-22 Composer: M. Reynolds Producer: Tom Wilson Reissue Producer: Lawrence Cohn Mastering Engineer: David Mitson Auto-generated by YouTube.


Rehabilitation Can Be a Challenge

Lolla is a teen addicted to drugs.  She even finds herself out of control at rehab.  It takes tough love by the staff to get her to be on the path to getting clean.

Listen to Lolla’s story on Passages by clicking on the link below.


Here is a video story of a unique new ministry in Latrobe that helps infants and their parents hooked on drugs.  It was featured yesterday in a newspaper story and today is picked up by TV news.  Click on the button to view ….

State of Addiction: ‘Angel Arms’ in Latrobe helps babies born into addiction


Prayers for those caught in the abuse of Opioids, their loved ones, and the rehab staff helping them to get clean!