As I have been talking with folks about the current state of the church and our need to adapt to a changing world, one of the questions is always, "Okay, if we buy into this supposed ‘cultural shift’ what does it look like at an institutional level?" This is a valid question. Many folks can get a handle on what a more relational and organic community looks like at a congregational level, but at a national level, it is more difficult. Dare we say impossible.
And then in the middle of denominational despair, collaboration seems to have broken out. Here is a note from current moderator, Joan Gray, about a recent gathering of folks regarding the future of global mission and the Presbyterian Church (USA).
This is just a part of the agreements made at this even held in Dallas in January.
Recognizing that God invites us all to be full participants in God’s mission, we commit ourselves to work cooperatively with one another in the following ways:
- We will affirm and encourage World Mission as it continues to move from a regulatory role to a more enabling and equipping role.
- We will celebrate and encourage diverse Presbyterian approaches and structures for mission while maintaining the unity of our participation in God’s mission.
- We will share responsibility for the education and preparation of all Presbyterians for mission.
- We commit ourselves to seeking more mission personnel who will serve long-term in cross-cultural contexts through the PC(USA), and to supporting them fully.
- We commit ourselves to enabling and supporting our global partners as they send their mission personnel in cross-cultural service.
- We recognize and affirm the growing opportunity for cross-cultural mission in our own increasingly pluralistic and multi-cultural society, and we receive the global community from near and far as mission partners and God’s gift to us. We seek increased integration between local and global mission.
As we move forward together in God’s mission, we commit ourselves to calling the church to ongoing intercessory prayer for God’s mission and to the following tasks:
- We will form a Coordinating Committee to ensure that we will meet together to share and cooperate on a regular basis.
- During the coming year we will work to address two immediate priorities:
a. to coordinate and collaborate in the sending of mission personnel.
b. to expand Presbyterian funding for mission personnel.
- During the next three months we will share this document and invitation with our constituencies.
Advisory Committee on the Constitution
Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship
Association of Presbyterian Mission Pastors
Presbyterian Global Fellowship
General Assembly Council (PCUSA)
Presbyterian Mission Co-Workers
Joining Hands Against Hunger
Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Medical Benevolence Foundation
Mission Networks Presbyterian
Young Adult Volunteers Program
Mission Directors from Large Congregations
Presbyterians for Renewal
Mission Professors from PCUSA Seminaries
New Wilmington Mission Conference
Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries (PCUSA)
Office of the General Assembly (PCUSA)
Relief and Development (PCUSA)
The Outreach Foundation
Pastors from Large Congregations
World Mission (PCUSA)
Pastors from Immigrant Churches
World Mission Initiative
Peace and Justice (PCUSA)
Yes, this conversation is at a very early stage and anything can happen, but this is a good start. The more I talk with folks in the church, the more I am convinced that we are on a good track, there are great folks working towards something new, and there is an openness to exploring new ways of being church at all levels.
I am telling you. Hope is what is all about these days!