Planning, Planting and Promise

Apr 03, 2017

By Mary Mortenson, Executive Director, Prison Congregations of America

A couple of years ago, I had a vision of how beautiful our little front yard would look with dozens of crocus blossoms, bravely shoving their beautiful heads above the snow, splashing color and light over what would be the end of a long winter. So, I bought several bags of bulbs, and planted all 75 of them all over the front yard, all the while feeding my fantasy of the brave new world that would be spring.  Within a day, the squirrels had dug up every bulb I had planted, leaving the yard pocked with little holes.  Disgusted as I was with their interference, I was sure that we would see a blossom or two, but alas, when April came, like a cruel April Fool’s joke, not a flower was to be seen.  I even looked into the trees, hoping to see some squirrels’ nests in full bloom – nothing.

Planting – for me, anyway – can be like that.  I think I have it all figured out, and then things go entirely another way. Through PCA, we are in the church planting business.  Like my hapless little crocus bulbs, sometimes things don’t go as planned, but no effort is ever wasted, and usually the result is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. 

Over twenty years ago, Rev. Karen Klatt served on the PCA Board of Directors, and promised herself that one day there would be a prison congregation in Wisconsin, where she lives.  There were many conversations, but it seemed not to be – until two years ago, when through a series of circumstances that can only be described as God-guided, she met some people who were not only ready, but eager for a congregation in the prison in which they volunteered.  A week ago Rev. Mark Thompson was installed as the first pastor of Breaking the Chains Church inside the Felmers O. Chaney Correctional Center in Milwaukee!!!  Through this and other equally amazing stories, I am ever reminded that this is God’s work, and will be accomplished in God’s time, with God’s blessing.  So we’ll keep planning and planting, all the while trying to listen to the urging of the Spirit, because in it all is God’s promise.



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