Can it be? Exactly one month until the beginning of General Assembly? It is hard to believe, but it is true. This journey began nearly six months ago when I let folks know that I would be nominated to stand for moderator. The Presbytery of San Francisco endorsed me in January and even since I have been trying to listen for what God is saying to the church and discern how my voice may be part of our response to God.
Over the past few months supporters have graciously helped to provide opportunities to listen to the church in various parts of the country in order to help me better understand some of what is going on in the wider church. And while these listening groups have for the most part been gatherings of friends, it has been invaluable in expanding my understanding of the the movement of the Spirit in our church.
Here is some of what I have heard, in no particular order of importance:
There is a movement of hope in the church: pastors, students, new churches, mission workers, etc. These movements are often not connected with traditional structures, but there are pockets of ministry happening that are bring much glory to God in the world that is hurting.
There are cultural shifts happening and we are not sure how to handle them. Somewhat along the lines of my post way back, Problems with a 2.0 moderator, it seems as though the church is having a difficult time dealing with larger cultural shifts.
GAC seems like it is moving in a good direction. In just a few interactions with GAC, OGA folks and some staff, particularly Linda Valentine, there seems to be great energy and a positive tone being set in the Center.
Some are over "it" = [insert church battle of your choice here] while others seem to only know how to exist when engaged in said battle.
There are some relationships where developing a sense of trust and/or reconciliation is no longer possible nor even hoped for.
In many areas, we make HUGE assumptions regarding the impact of the Presbyterian Church (USA) on society and the world.
People engaged in ministry that they believe is good and faithful will continue to do so in spite or despite of the movement of the larger denomination institution.
While frustrated with the denomination in some areas, many folks are NOT ready to give up on trying to rediscover what it means to be 21st C. Presbyterians. In fact, I think some are already living it and trying to find a way to be a part of a more communal understanding and acceptance of their reality.
There are many many many people that love being Presbyterian.
I wish I only had one blog 😉
So there you have it. Just some of the what I have heard, experienced and gleaned from the past six months of this new adventure. It certainly has not been boring and has mostly been invigorating. I firmly believe that our church is in an amazing time of transformation and like so many, I am excited, compelled and excited to be part of it!
See you in a month.