Oh how I dreaded going to Presbytery today! We had before us an overture from the sessions of three of our congregations which sought to "clarify ordination standards" by declaring that all the ordination standards in G-6 of our Book of Order are "essential." This was, of course, very controversial and I expected there to be some fireworks at today's meeting. However, that is not what happened, thank God!
The wisdom of the Presbytery (53-30) was to postpone voting on this motion for one year and charge our Connecting Congregations committee to develop a plan for us to engage in the work that General Assembly has charged us to do in adopting the recommendations of the Theological Task Force on the Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church. So, in the next year, we will be creating theologically diverse groups to join together in worship, bible study, prayer, sharing our stories, and listening to one another. In other words, we'll do our best, with God's help, to move beyond our "positions" and see each other as sisters and brothers in Christ as we discuss these issues that we all believe to be very important.
I know that there are those who are very disappointed and angry that the Presbytery took this action, and I pray that they will be willing to enter into this time of discernment with the rest of us. We need their voices and experiences. I know that I will need to be reminded of this fact time and time and time again!
Thank God, there is hope for us yet!
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
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I'm glad it went so well. God's blessings to you on this journey of discernment.
Good luck with the discernment.
Our experience in trying that a couple of years ago was that no one really wanted to do it. Finally the task force assembled by presbytery for the purpose of leading discernment discussions in different churches was disbanded for lack of interest.
If your presbytery has more success in getting participation I'd be very interested in hearing how it goes.
We are doing similar thing in our presbytery where we will take a sabatical year from regular presbytery meetings and have weekend long retreats (we will still do our "bussiness") but spend time in mixed group discussing stuff. Hopign this will prove successful, but it was met with some disagreement.
Just spoken w/ church member who is quite upset over the various things "going" on in our denomination. I try to point out and highlight the good things(i.e. folks fed at shelter, people learning trades to help themselves through SDOP, youth expressing interest in ministry, and ecuminical groups forming to discuss and learn of each other's similarities and differnces).
And yet, we argue and forget what it means to be a church.
Blessings on this journey.
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