Hands & Feet News

Hands and Feet initiative inspires Presbyterians to learn and serve in St. Louis

Stated clerk J. Herbert Nelson articulated a vision for the 223rd General Assembly well before Presbyterians arrived in St. Louis.

Youth group serves in St. Louis as part of the Hands and Feet initiative

When J. Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) put out the call for Presbyterians to come to St. Louis as part of the Hands and Feet initiative, Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville responded. They planned a youth mission trip to St. Louis to spend a few days at General Assembly and a few more days serving with STL Urban Mission, an organization run out of First Presbyterian Church of Ferguson.

Presbyterians put their hands together and stomp their feet for the Hands and Feet initiative at a concert by jazz musician Kirk Whalum

On Thursday, June 21, the General Assembly was treated to a live concert by Kirk Whalum. This was billed as a celebration of the Hands and Feet initiative in St. Louis and a launch of the initiative in Baltimore.

Audience jazzed for Hands and Feet concert
Saxophonist Kirk Whalum performs; proceeds benefit initiative in Baltimore

Before a concert by Grammy-winning gospel/jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum on Thursday night, a video of the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., was played. Nelson echoed his quote printed on the back of the Hands and Feet initiative information card given to concert-goers: “We don’t want the Presbyterians to be simply another convention that comes to town, meets and spends some money, and then leaves without engaging the people and communities there in a sustained effort to support our Presbyterian brothers and sisters in making an impact.”

Youth pitch in to share God’s love in Ferguson
Hands and Feet opportunities combine learning and service

Cleaning basements, tearing down metal sheds and filling dumpsters are hardly the activities most high school students choose for summer vacation. But that’s exactly what two groups of Presbyterian youth are doing in Ferguson, Mo., this week as part of the Hands and Feet initiative. Youth groups from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations in Kentucky and Arkansas are participating in a week of service learning activities sponsored by St. Louis Urban Missions, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church in Ferguson.

Has the church found a new way forward? Bail bond march at General Assembly exemplifies the “Hands and Feet” initiative

Hundreds of Presbyterians gathered in the convention center on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 19. However, instead of sitting down, engaging in parliamentary procedure and passing overtures and resolutions, they filed out of the convention center chanting, singing, and holding signs.

Convention center dinner in a windowless room or service and relationship building in the streets?

Two years ago, Tony Aja and the leadership of the Hispanic/Latinx National Presbyterian Caucus had a vision. Aja is the moderator of the Hispanic/Latinx National Presbyterian Caucus and pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their vision was to get out of the convention hall and into the streets at the 222ndGeneral Assembly in Portland, Oregon. Rather than having a traditional caucus dinner in the convention center or hotel ballroom, Aja found a local organization to volunteer with. The members of the caucus decided to sponsor a mission service project at a Portland homeless shelter.

Youth say ‘Amen!’ to Hands & Feet initiative
Mission teams spread out across St. Louis

David Meeks, a high school student from Charlotte, N.C., aims a drill at the side of a wood bunk he’s been assembling at Mission St. Louis, a nonprofit serving impoverished neighborhoods in the city. “Need a quote, too?” Meek asks, pretending to strike a pose. A yellow bandana tied around his head keeps sweat from falling in his eyes. He is one of 12 students from the Sardis Presbyterian Church participating in a service/learning project sponsored by the Hands and Feet Initiative.

Two fellows chosen to help lead Hands and Feet initiative in Baltimore
Pair will connect Presbyterians with community engagement opportunities in GA224 host city

Two young women have been selected for the first yearlong fellowship with Hands and Feet, an initiative to strengthen mission efforts of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by encouraging partnerships and mission involvement with cities hosting the biennial meeting of the General Assembly.

223rd General Assembly: The Spirit at work in St. Louis
Hands & Feet initiative engages Presbyterians in racial healing

If the apostle Paul had to cite an example of his words spoken to the Romans — “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans” — all he would have to do was point to St. Louis on a map.

Inside out
Stated Clerk pledges national office’s involvement in Louisville community

At a community reception in his honor Monday evening (November 27), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II, pledged that “we’re moving out of [the Presbyterian Center] because there’s a need to get out into the community to make partners so people’s lives are better.”

Hands & Feet team from Iowa builds connections in St. Louis
Stated Clerk’s initiative pairs service with education on community issues

On “Day One” of their “Hands & Feet” mission trip to St. Louis, thirteen Presbyterians from southeastern Iowa spent the morning shoveling compost at an urban garden.

Big Tent 2017 reflects new approach to big gatherings
Hands and Feet initiative prepares attendees to live into the Belhar Confession

“How should the church respond when sin disrupts the church’s unity, creates division among the children of God, and constructs unjust systems that steal life from God’s creation?” This question begins the introduction of the Belhar Confession in the PC(USA)’s Book of Confessions. Put another way, the question could be: How are these same issues manifested in the way we, as a church body, conduct our national gatherings?

PC(USA) co-moderators to lead plenary session at Big Tent
Anderson and Edmiston to speak on the intersection of race and poverty

The Rev. Denise Anderson and the Rev. Jan Edmiston, Co-Moderators of the 222nd Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly, will present a plenary session tentatively titled “At the Cross: Intersections the Church Must Navigate” during this year’s Big Tent. Their talk will be held from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Friday at the gathering of the PC(USA) on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis on July 6–8.

Dirty hands, tired feet, and elevated spirits in St. Louis
First “Hands and Feet” group comes to town from MSU

When General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II, began touting his “Hands and Feet” initiative at last winter’s Montreat College Conference and “Hands and Feet” Manager Andrew Yeager-Buckley talked up the service/learning opportunities of the initiative, the UKirk campus ministry at Michigan State University (MSU) immediately signed on.

Hands & Feet mission initiative leads up to 223rd General Assembly (2018)

Presbyterians are invited to send mission teams to the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy as part of an initiative called “Hands & Feet” leading up to the 223rd General Assembly (2018). The assembly is scheduled to meet June 16–23, 2018, in St. Louis.

The goal of the Hands & Feet initiative is to strengthen local and national mission efforts of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by encouraging partnerships and mission involvement with cities hosting the biennial meeting of the General Assembly.

Hands & Feet initiative launched in St. Louis

The genesis of the Hands & Feet initiative came from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Stated Clerk, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, after his experience at the 222nd General Assembly (2016) in Portland. He had never seen so many homeless people in one place.