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When SWAT is a Good Thing!

A couple of years ago, one of our elders at First Presbyterian, Jefferson City, invited me to a meeting of a group of Presbyterians representing social witness teams and committees from Presbyteries within Missouri.  This statewide group has been convened in Jefferson City by Missouri Union Presbytery’s Church & Society & Peacemaking Mission Team since 2010.  I was invited to this meeting just to bring greetings from our church.  Before I knew it, Elder Debby Howland had me signed up to be on the SWAT Team- Social Witness Action Team.  This group includes folks from the four Presbyteries with representation in Missouri:  John Calvin, Heartland, Missouri Union and Giddings-Lovejoy.  We have explored issues such as racism, poverty, health care, economic and legislative barriers to equality and our Christian response to these issues.  The group includes decades of experience in legislation, civil rights, health care reform and I am awed by the wisdom, passion and determination of the group.  It has been a great way to see the gospel imperative of Jesus Christ to “care for the least of my brothers and sisters” come alive within a group of modern day disciples.  I have learned more about the legislative process, social witness groups throughout the state, ecumenical partners in social outreach, and the interface between politics, economics and faith.  And, I have a group of friends who feel a common calling not only to be hearers but also doers of the Word.  So, thank you Debby for the invitation to bring greetings to a group of strangers who have become my brothers and sisters in faith.

Rev. Dr. Rob Erickson, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Jefferson City, November 2012