Tag Archives: Larissa Kwong Abazia

Dear fellow Presbyterians

The Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia, vice-moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has posted a call to Presbyterians to “stand up and demand more, both of ourselves and others” in responding to gun violence. Her words apply to all of us; the resources she cites may be used by anyone.

Dear friends and colleagues,

You have seen the facts: we’ve had more mass shootings this year than there are days, we are 5% of the world population and account for 1/3 of its mass shootings, and that there was not one but two shootings in our country on December 2 (and that’s what made the news).

I spent much of last night posting overtures and reports from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I didn’t do this just because I am the vice moderator and feel as though I need to inform others about the resources that our at our fingertips. Each Sunday when I opened the bulletin of my church, I would read, “We are all ministers of the church.” I didn’t really think that much about the statement growing up. There is not a hierarchy. There isn’t a boss who demands certain actions. We are all ministers doing the work we are called to on this earth.

We are a denomination of words. We’re great at policy making and debate. Some would even say experts! But as I watched the news unfold yesterday and today, I am reminded that we are all ministers.

It’s time for us stand up and demand more, both of ourselves and others. We have the policies and words to back us up. We know what the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) states about gun violence. It’s now up to us to do something about it. We can no longer avoid the tough conversations with our neighbors in the pews, leave the messaging to the preacher in the pulpit, rely on our pastors to do the leg work in our communities or believe that a statement from the denomination will be enough.

We are all ministers. We are all the Church.

We’ve engaged in a churchwide conversation about the identity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I want us to continue to engage in policy and statement making because it’s a way that we have a voice in the national conversation. But I also hope that our identity involves the local congregations to presbyteries to synods to the national leadership doing the hard, tough work of educating/engaging one another and our politicians in demanding changes to address gun violence. I want to be a part of a denomination that recognizes the historical reality of America that racializes others when faced with fear and decides to respond with love; we need to look no further than the Japanese internment, a black teenager wearing a hoodie, a Sikh man questioned about his Muslim beliefs, or news outlets that yesterday said the shooters names sounded, “foreign.” I want us to remember the photographs of Aylan Kurdi washing up on the Turkish beach and we open our doors to welcome more Syrian refugees because others pull back in suspicion.

Let’s not just talk about who we are as a denomination…let’s live it.

Gun Violence Prevention from 221st General Assembly (2014)

Gun Violence Policy from 219th General Assembly

Resource created for congregations based on the policy from 219th General Assembly

“Trigger” (A film created by David Barnhardt based on the policy from 219th General Assembly. It includes 4 lesson discussion guide if you purchase from PDS)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent, Antiracism, Current Events, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Meaning of Children: Letter to Jonathan

In May, my friend Mihee Kim-Kort is hosting a series on her blog, First Day Walking, that features stories from people in many walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. All the posts are amazing. Here, my friend Larissa Kwong Abazia, vice-moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) shares part a letter she is writing to her son Jonathan about facing breast cancer. The courage, grace, faith, hope, and love of Jonathan, Dan, and Larissa move and inspire me.

The Meaning of Children

In May FDW is hosting a new series on  stories from people in all walks of life and their observations of children and what they make us. Click here for more on the series and a list of the contributors. This post was written by my wonderful and beautiful friend Larissa Kwong Abazia. So honored to have her here.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2015. This is a portion of a letter I’ve been writing to my three year old son, Jonathan.

Dear Jonathan,

I’m writing you this letter trusting that I will be around to see your first day of kindergarten, watch you graduate from high school, and be a part of every single step in-between (and after!).  Writing to you during a time that you may or may not remember is important to me. I want you to know how you are an important part of…

View original post 717 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Friends

Career move?

As the Presbyterian participants in the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women gathered for an orientation, I discovered that I had to hand write two name tags.

11024722_875801315791982_6215896611103693162_n

Do I have a career in font design?

See you along the Trail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Friends, Photo, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, United Nations

What We Need To Hear

Larissa Kwong Abazia, Vice-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reflects on what the story of an interaction between a Syrophoenician woman and Jesus teaches the church today.

What We Need To Hear.

Leave a comment

Filed under Current Events, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Things that Make for Peace

Larissa Kwong Abazia, Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) visited the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, where I work, for a celebration of the International Day of Peace. Check out what she had to say about her experience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

From a moment to a movement #2

Thanks to the Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia for gathering sermons, prayers, and reflections from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on responding to the killing of Michael Brown and the response in Ferguson and addressing the systemic racism which ensnares us all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

From a moment to a movement

People are more important than labels. Get involved in the movement for justice. A reflection on the biblical story of the Canaanite woman and Jesus by the Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia, Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014). I am grateful for her words. I am honored to be her friend.

Leave a comment

Filed under Antiracism, Current Events