Category: Passages

A Positive Step in dealing with an Addiction!

Today is drug take back day! It can be a big help to combat drug addiction.

Here is a link on more information about today.

Take Back Day

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and anonymous means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse and medications.

Tri-State area Giant Eagle stores … take back boxes …

Here are several addiction stories …

Local Butler County man shares his story of drug addiction …

A community remembers those who have died because of drug addiction.

State of Addiction: Heroin memorial gets attention in downtown Butler

It was once an empty lot.It is now a symbolic image of broken hearts and lost lives swept up by the heroin epidemic.On the corner of North Main Street and North Street sits the Overdose Memorial in downtown Butler.Eighty-six crosses are arranged symmetrically, each bearing a wreath and purple ribbon

Individuals are taking steps to speak to the addiction problems in our communities!

We pray for those going through the state of addiction and the families members, loved ones and friends who are there to love and care for them in getting better from this illness.

From your friends of Media Mission and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

Explore Where God’s Power Can Take You …

Mars & Beyond – Vacation Bible School 2019

I had the joy in doing a greeting as the Mayor of Mars, PA on Saturday, March 23, which was New Year’s Day on the planet Mars, to kick-off unveiling at Unity Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh the new Mars & Beyond Vacation School Bible School materials 2019 to 85 people in attendance and at least 20 churches from the greater Pittsburgh area.

My welcome to the group was to share the medallion I received from NASA’s Chief Scientist Dr. Jim Green on Thursday, evening March 21 at the Mars, PA Blast-Off Dinner to begin the planet Mars new year celebration on earth. NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover medallion was minted using metal from this engineering test unit tee duct from the Mars Science Laboratory’s lower environmental control system.

Though primarily minted for NASA’s use, Winco (creator) has made some of the Mars Curiosity Rover medallions available to the public through select distributors. All to say that it was a real honor to receive this from NASA’s Chief Scientist as a gift Thursday.

It was great fun to work with the Cokesbury VBS staff and Rev. Dennis Molnar on presenting the opportunity of a creative VBS that allows for the sky as the limit for children to learn about faith and life.

Mars Exploration Celebration Days will be May 31 – June 2 in downtown Mars, PA, with a STEAM education event with NASA exhibits, drones, robots, and rockets to just name a few fun activities for children and youth.

Mars New Year and VBS providing a gravity assist to inspire young people to explore Mars and the universe.

Stories from Presbyterian Media Mission about imagining our future as humans …

Ed Lindemann Director of Planning for Rockwell International and putting a man on the moon via Apollo Space Program audio clips about planning for the future ….

Planning for putting man on the moon …

The issue of hope is big regarding human history …

How do you hold on to hope when the future look bleak …

Here is hoping to a successful summer in space with VBS!

Mars Exploration Celebration Days May 31-June 2.

Apollo 11 – 50 Year Anniversary July 20th


Spaceship Square in Mars, PA 


Looking to the Future for Ireland …

What is going to happen in the near future for Ireland?

What is worrying the Irish in Britain about Brexit?

With the UK possibly pulling out of the European union via Brexit there are a number of different possibilities for the isle.  Simon Coveney, Republic of Ireland minister for foreign affairs and trade, speaks with Jason Naselli about his government’s approach to the border, the Conservative/DUP deal and the ‘Brexit bill’.

Some stories of struggle and peace from the historic Catholic and Protestant communities viewpoints in regards to the socio-economic dynamics in the country.

Stories from Rev. Wilford and Father Tom …
Father Tom explains what it is like for some of the Catholic working class in Ireland …

Rev. Wilford Orr a Protestant leader shares about the insecurities felt in that community …


Brexit, what is the Irish backstop and why does it matter?
We pray for peace resolve in moving into the future for Ireland!

Celebrating Stories from Women

International Women’s Day

Here is a link for a special day of recognition and awareness …

Now some stories from 3-4 special women of various generations …

Looking back 91 years with Mavis an international labor leader, give a listen to her legacy … she is special. Click on the audio button below.

She is someone who found her way to an Olympic Gold Medal as part of the USA Women’s Basketball team. Click on the audio button below to hear Suzie’s story …

Thea looks to what she wants to do with her life on Survivors! Reflect on how Thea works through discerning her future with help from a teacher. Click on the audio below to listen to her story.

A woman who gives finds satisfaction in being a generous listener as she works with the poor in Harlan, KY. Click on the button below to hear Valerie’s story.

Celebrating women from all walks of life today!

Passages and Survivors Production Teams pray that all women are able to embrace a story of hope today that makes a difference for them the rest of their lives.

“The Stench of Prison” …. Reflections from the late Chuck Colson

I was just out of technical school and working at WCBG 1590 AM Radio in Chambersburg, PA, recalling August 9, 1974 when then President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first (and to date only) U.S. president ever to do so.  I remember NBC  Breaking news frequently interrupting local programming on what was happening in the nation’s capitol.  As a young DJ, I was a bit annoyed, wanting to just play music all night long.

The hearing in Washington D.C. with Michael Cohen being questioned by Senators brings back memories of my working on editing, a number of years later after being a young DJ, an interview that Dennis Benson did with White House conspirator Chuck Colson who pleaded guilty and went to prison.  Here is the Passages show featuring Colson telling about life in prison …

Executive Producer for Passages Dennis C. Benson wrote in a Facebook post in fall of 2018 about Colson ….

“Stench of Prison”

I am alone for breakfast in my usual booth. My news feed on my iPhone stuffs another criminal politician story into my conscience. Is it power that corrupts? Is it the money that blinds our leaders from being true to higher moral values?

A few years ago, I spent some time with a corrupt politician who found his way back to an ethical life.

“It was before Watergate really closed in on me. It was the realization that out of all the things I had done into life, the great American Dream, hadn’t provided fulfillment. I plead guilty. I went to prison right after I left the White House.”

“Went to prison. That’s a year after I had become a Christian. And as of those Nixon law and order men, I used to think of
prison as a place for criminals who belonged there.”

“I got to prison, and the first shock was seeing men around me who didn’t belong there. Men who were there for incredibly trivial mistakes.”

“And I saw a lot of human suffering, people who were forgotten. We started a little Bible study group when I was in prison. Men would come to us, night after night , and gave their lives to Christ. And I would see their lives changed, transformed.”

“So when I left prison, though I wanted to forget it, and put it behind me, because it is a horrid place, and I still had the stench of prison on my clothes, and I wanted to forget the place and I wanted to walk the fields, look at the birds, pick the flowers, and take some time with my family, but–I still couldn’t forget the men I left behind in prison.”

“So after wrestling with God for a year, I made the decision to go into the prison work full time. And now that’s where I spend my life.”

“I have been in more than 250 prisons since I got out myself. The amazing thing to me is that when I got to prison, there was a guy in the next bunk who was doing three years for a $3,000 tax aversion. And there was a kid across the way who cashed a bad check for $84 dollars!”

“There was another fellow there who killed 26 people. Here was a hit. You will find the whole range of people in prison. And it is one of the problems we have, one of the reasons we have not reformed the present system the way we ought.”

“We are very self righteous. We think that it is good enough. Those criminals have committed a crime, put them in there, and throw away the key and forget about it.”

“Those are our brothers and sisters. They hate people who have made a mistake, some of them for very minor mistakes.”

“Remember when Jesus was marched up that hill, to hang from the cross, he did as much for that man or woman in prison as he did for us.”

“Prisons do not rehabilitate. They don’t defer crime. We have more people in prison, and we have more crime. They are not working.”

“I almost feel like I am back in prison. I travel perhaps two weeks at a time. I am on the tail end of a two week trip right now.”

“Then I take two weeks to read and write. It’s really hard. Everyone thinks the Christian life is a bed of roses. It’s got its ups and downs. And sometimes you get out on the road, staying in second rate hotels.”

“Sometimes you get awful tired and awful weary and worn down. And I do. I used to feel self pity about it.”

“I don’t anymore because I realize that it is a great privilege to serve the Lord even though it is pretty exhausting.”

Chuck Colson died in 2012.

(© 1/6/13 by Dennis C. Benson 616 510 0873. All rights reserved.)

A reflection from what seems like just yesterday!


God Loves You! Valentine’s Weekend

A number of churches on a Sunday near Valentines Day focus on that “God Loves You,” a time to share how God loves us all!

It goes without needing to say it, but this should happen not only every Sunday, but everyday.

It is a good time to make the connection with young children that God is the ultimate when it comes to defining and understanding love.

1 John 4:7-21 New International Version (NIV)    God’s Love and Ours

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

Here are several audio stories on love and relationships …

Dave’s love is obvious for all that his wife Kim brings to the world to share with him and others. Listen to him tell in his own words on Passages about Kim …

Sometimes what appears to be love can be misleading and a problem. Mary is a young woman who shares about an abusive relationship and her needing to break it off to find healing. Listen to Mary share her situation on Survivors …

A college student has the experience of a lifetime in having his mom go to school at the same time that he does and at the same school. Listen to Sherry talk about this time with her son and the fun they had together. Listen to Sherry on Passages …

Rachel had a rough relationship she worked through as a teen and is now married with a child having learned about love and life. Listen to Rachel share here story on Passages …

Here is a special treat when it comes to God’s love! A half-hour of jazz music on “Friendship” by Jeff Kellam, award-winning media producer and Presbyterian minister. Enjoy!

Healthy relationships with each other and the good Lord makes for a special Valentine’s Day weekend!
God loves you and we do to at Presbyterian Media Mission. Hug a special person today!

Football on Our Minds!

Here are some stories of football and hunger that lead us to one of the biggest days of sports and food/snacks of the year! Super Bowl LIII is an upcoming football game between the two-time defending American Football Conference champion New England Patriots and the National Football Conference champion Los Angeles Rams to determine the champion of the National Football League for the 2018 season. Sunday, February 3rd, 2019, will be the Super Bowl with the big game of feeding our appetite for sports and food, as we reach out to care for those in need of food in our communities across the nation.

A simple prayer: “Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat” is inspiring a youth-led movement to help hungry and hurting people around the world.

This prayer, delivered by Brad Smith, then a seminary intern serving at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, gave birth to an idea. Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice. 

As you care for those around you, by not just giving this weekend, but all year long to help those in need and less fortunate, remember these stories as you do!

Stories of faith, football, and hunger from Media Mission:

Are you and I the problem with hunger? Listen to what Ron knows about plate waste by clicking on the audio button below …

A humorist sports story that captures the truth about the need to learn how to block in football! Click on the audio button below to hear this story told by Carl …

Giving handouts to people in need of food is important, but to be confident they are able to prepare the food, is a question that needs answered says Otis. Click on the audio button below to hear what Otis has to say …

The Walter Payton Award will be given out this weekend! One of the greatest NFL players on and off the field, Walter Payton was special. Listen to what John has to say about Walter on Passages …

Many refugees in the world suffer health problems that often is a result from hunger and lacking clean water to drink. Listen to Bill tell what he experienced …

A special era in the NFL is shared by All-Pro Defensive Back Mel Blount who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s. Listen to Mel talk about those glory days! Click on the button below.

Here is a fun and spirited song called “Big Joe” by the late David Bailey who has inspired thousands in looking at themselves and their relationship with each other and God.  Enjoy!

Please help out those in need of food in your community! Give to your local food bank.  Thank you!
The PMM Leadership Team and Passages Production Team

Walter Payton Award winner will be announced this evening!

NFL announces nominees for Walter Payton Man of Year award

The NFL announced today the 32 nominees for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award presented by Nationwide. Representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, each of these players was selected as his team’s Man of the Year and is now eligible to win the national award.

“A holiday for All God’s People” Remembering MLK Jr.

Minister Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching

Laura got to know Martin Luther King, Jr.  She shares about being in his presence on Passages.  Listen to the two audio short stories from her below.

Here is an audio short story from Lena who grew up in an all white community.  She goes to camp as a youth and then to college to discover diversity and all of God’s people.  Listen by clicking on the audio button below.

A friend, mentor & colleague most of my adult life is Dennis Benson. He wrote in a recent post on FB about his personal encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that took place several years prior to the march in Selma–before he received national attention. King was the little known speaker at a Monday evening chapel service at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago where Dennis was going to school.

Dennis writes, “I was a new student, a fresh graduate from the University of Michigan. I was in Chicago to study theology for the next four years. I was innocent about the great issues of the time. That evening Dr. King jammed an emotional crowbar into my locked political safe.”

It is strange how King’s low-key presentation to a small group of students, Dennis went onto tell in his post, “was so revolutionary to many of us. Three or four of us gathered around Dr. King after his sermon. I don’t remember asking him any questions. I just wanted to stay in his presence. I suddenly longed for his passion for justice.”

Well Dennis was able to share some of that passion for justice in being one of the co-producers for the ecumenical award-winning radio special “All God’s Children” that was heard on stations across the North America on the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, January 20, 1986.

Give a listen to an edited version for the web of “All God’s Children” from SandCastles and the Presbyterian Media Mission (PMM). Click on the audio button below.

A holiday to be celebrated by all of God’s people!

Have a blessed and rewarding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday! Do something special for someone who is a little different than you today and everyday!

What if, a wall was erected that first Christmas?

What kind of Christmas would it have been, if Caesar Augustus erected a wall, so no one could enter Bethlehem of Judea? Wonder if, Egypt, where Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus escaped from King Herod didn’t allow the holy family in?

What about a fence or wall blocking that first refugee family?

What about immigration this Christmas?

Something to ponder this Christmas Eve and Christmas day!

1 Helen Hays reading the first Christmas Story about the refugee family.

2 Helen Hays continues reading the first Christmas Story about the holy family.

3 Helen Hays reading the first Christmas Story of how simple love was displayed  and how poor the holy family found themselves.


Song Silent Night Click on audio file below …

Have a blessed Christmas from the Passages Production Team: Dennis Benson, Bill Wolfe, Gregg Hartung, and a host of others through the years!

Merry Christmas from the PMM Leadership Team: Dennis Molnar, Dave Roberts, Steve Smith, Sue Washburn, Ron Wanless, Donna Christopher, Mike Givler, Christy Ramsey, Jim Mohr, and Balajiedlang Khyllep.

Dennis Benson host and Executive Producer of Passages demonstrating in Michigan against current immigration policy that is separating families.



Fred Rogers – King Friday and Jingle Bells

Fred Rogers enjoys being King Friday with Passages host Dennis Benson in ringing in the holiday! The king teaches us how to do the royal version of the holiday favorite Jingle Bells.  Click on the audio file below.

Jingle Bells Rock by Bobby Helms

A Christmas gift from the Passages Radio Show and Presbyterian Media Mission

Passages Radio Christmas Program featuring Fred Rogers, David Newell aka Mr. McFeely and host Dennis C. Benson of Passages by clicking on the audio file below.

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!