Nov 18, 2011

I Love My Presbytery!!!!!.....When's the Last Time You Heard That?

The Olympia Presbytery met yesterday.

One of the major items of discussion on the docket was the final approval of a gracious dismissal policy. To make this discussion even more difficult and painful was the reality that eight congregations were already in the process of leaving the denomination, and four of the eight have already completed the process and are now ready to move to the financial negotiation part of leaving our denomination.

This presbytery meeting had all the ingredients necessary for things to go ugly.

Unfortunately, far too many of us in the PC(USA) have had too many experiences of things going ugly at denominational meetings.

But it wasn't ugly.

It wasn't easy.

It was still very painful and difficult.

But the presbytery handled this situation in a way that would have totally honored Jesus Christ and his church.

How many times have you ever heard someone say that they love their presbytery?

Well, get ready.

Here it comes.


I love the way my colleagues in ministry handled the potentially volatile and difficult situation with both grace, love, and mutual respect.

Given the difficult circumstances, you couldn't have asked for a better way for people to deal with a terribly difficult and painful situation.

Olympia Presbytery, I am proud to be one of your members. I thank God for the way you modeled a Christ-honoring, mission-prioritizing, mutual-forbearing.

It is a privilege to serve with you and to call you partners in ministry.


Clark Cowden said...

So glad to hear this. It's great to hear about communities coming through in difficult times. What I find interesting is that I seem to be hearing more and more people saying they like their presbytery, but are having major issues with the denomination. What is that telling us?

James Kim said...

Good point Clark. I think you're right about that. How can we make the GA and the denominational experience and reality reflect more what's happening at the presbytery and the congregational level?

It seems that there once was a day when it was okay for the GA and the denomination to dictate and direct the life of presbyteries and congregations, but those days are gone. We need to flatten the experience. If the GA and denomination no longer serves and is longer helpful to congregations and presbyteries, then its the GA and the denomination that must change.

Thanks for reading and posting a comment.


James <><

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall a Presbytery in California adopting a very gracious settlement for a couple of separations… which gracious settlement stood until a couple of presbyters appealed to the Synod. The Synod ordered the presbytery to defend the property interests of the whole church more aggressively -- that MGB influence again. As the guy said, "It ain't over till its over."

Anonymous said...

Hi James,

Just one point of correction. While 4 churches have voted to leave, the other 4 churches have only entered a process of discernment.

The presbytery wishes to paint us as leaving already, however the church I attend is honestly taking the process seriously. Praying, reading scripture, listening to each other, and above all listening for God's will for us. At the end we have two options; stay or go, and we haven't concluded what that will be.

James Kim said...

Thanks for the clarification. You are correct in saying that four out of the right are in the discernment process. My bad.

James <><