We asked several members to express their thankfulness for how they see God working through Tenth in a ministry or in the lives of people. Writers were given the option of being identified as “Anonymous.”
I’m thankful that God works through fellow believers to provide encouragement and affirmation in the face of adversity, and that he works through the various gifts and strengths of the body of Christ to provide support to each individual in need. It never ceases to amaze me how a simple kind word can lift my spirits and act as a reminder to keep guard against my tendency to complain.
I am thankful that God has blessed the creation of our women’s Bible study and has brought us participants in so many different ways. We are growing together in Christ and growing closer to each other with each Tuesday morning. Thanks to God and the lovely people at Tenth who have facilitated the study’s creation.
Every summer in Wide Open World (WOW), our global outreach education program for kids, we have visiting partners talk to kids about their work. This year we used the last Sunday to highlight people God is calling from within our midst. We had WOW teachers and kids standing up and saying that God had called them and their families to serve overseas in India, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Turkey. To see God moving this way—calling our own people—is thrilling! What a joy we have as a congregation to come alongside them as prayer partners and supporters.
I am thankful for the volunteers who planned, planted, and are maintaining the 17th Street garden between the fence and the church building. Philip Maniscola called and offered to do volunteer work at the church. Knowing the garden badly needed weeding, I asked if he would be able to do that. He said he didn’t know anything about gardening, so I said I’d show him, and he came. He easily finished cleaning up the garden—and then he wanted to make it look better to encourage our church and neighborhood with something beautiful. Around the same time, Dale Nemec and his wife Janet were joining Tenth. I heard that Dale works at the arboretum at Swarthmore, sought him out, explained the situation, and asked if he could help. He agreed on the spot and subsequently planned the garden and ordered the plants. We all asked other friends who helped us with the planting—John Michael Harding, Bruce Tilton, and Martin Troutman. The garden has a beautiful selection of textures and shades of green. The plants feature seasonal bloom times and other interest, such as scent, berries, and dried flower heads. Look for the hellebores that are blooming now.
I’ve been thankful to watch ordinary people respond to God’s calling on their lives, being courageous, and starting the journey to become cross-cultural missionaries. This year I’ve worked with one family that left for the field this summer, two families who are in the middle of raising support, and two singles who are leaving next year. It’s a difficult process, but it’s been amazing to watch as God gives them grace on grace for each step. I’m so thankful that God uses everyday people and seemingly mundane activities, such as a simple coffee and conversation, to bring about his Kingdom.
Over the past few months Erin and I have had the privilege of seeing God’s work in the lives of college students at Tenth. I’m thankful to the Lord for our students who are committed to Jesus and his Church. They get up early on Sunday morning to learn and discuss Scripture at our 9:00 AM class. In addition to their busy lives as students, so many have taken ownership of this group and ministry. They come not just to get, but to serve with their gifts and time, loving their unbelieving friends on their campuses, and caring for each other in the group. Seeing this fruit has been an encouraging reminder to me that God is at work.
I am thankful for the Christian friends I’ve met at Tenth. I first came here in 1985 after a broken engagement upended my life. Through the singles ministry, then called Koinonia, I grew spiritually and formed meaningful friendships that continue to this day. I met my husband at Tenth, and in the ensuing years we’ve become close friends with other Tenth members through Bible studies and small groups. Most of my professional colleagues are hostile to Christianity, which makes me value my Tenth friends all the more. They understand how I think and what’s important to me.
I’m thankful for the voices of the children at Tenth Church. The recitation of Scripture memory in the Catacombs, the laughter of little ones at play, the tiny girl who robustly declares the Apostle’s Creed across the aisle from us; these are all delightful reminders of God’s steadfast love to his people. “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
Since my first move away from home in 2004 to a college 13 hours from my hometown in Tennessee, I’ve been continually surprised by the families God has provided. Two moves later I have found that family again within the community at Tenth. I was honestly a little bit nervous about finding “my people”—the ones who really know you, who know what makes you laugh, what makes you nervous, or when you might just need a day away from the rigorous routine of seminary life. I was nervous because of the sheer size of Tenth. But as an intern with Metro Outreach, I have gotten exposure not only to good teaching through programs like the Bible Book Club, but also to folks who share an interest in learning and sharing how to read the Bible in a fresh way. The attendees of Outreach’s Unscripted events are also dear friends, and even dearer for the shared desire to see our neighbors come to love the Lord. So as I spend another Thanksgiving far from the familiar ones back on the family farm, I’m grateful for God’s provision and for the families he has blessed me with here in Philadelphia.
I’m deeply encouraged by evidence that God is stirring those at Tenth to look for ways to serve our Center City neighbors and develop relationships with them. In the last couple years we had both the preschool and playgroup start; this fall we had a Tenth member ask to start a violin class and a sexton begin a midweek Bible study. And our children-with-special-needs team is offering service to the community. We’ve had other members approach us about the possibilities of a sewing class and a weekday ESL class. God is prompting us to look beyond our doors and to think creatively about ministry. What’s notable is these are not staff-driven initiatives but members stepping forward with a vision for outreach. —Terri Taylor
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Dot Boersma. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org