[Photos: Erin Dunigan]

Last week I hung out in Southern California attending the Presbyterian Global Fellowship Inside Out conference in Long Beach – pics above – and then preaching at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.

The PGF event was a good time of worship, fellowship and engaging conversation.  I reconnected with some friends at this event and was glad to see San Francisco Presbytery’s own Rev. Dr. Mark Labberton give a good push for us to be able to love the enemy.  Alan Hirsch was also impressive with his style and content.  He was really pushing the church to rethink our very understanding of church.  This was also the unveiling of the Missional Web, PGF social networking and resourcing website.  With my trusty iPhone, I registered before the intro presentation was even finished.  Feel free to "friend" me over there @ reyes-chow.

I went to two workshops lead my Micheal Walker that were an introduction of some the thinking that has been happening within the leadership of Presbyterians for Renewal*, The Presbyterian Coalition and others to address decisions from the 218th General Assembly.  Church politics aside, from my observations, these workshops were safe places for folks where are in strong disagreement about decisions out of the 218th General Assembly to engage in some conversations about the future of the denomination.  Michael presented some ideas about parallel or non-geographic presbyteries and/or synods.  I have heard strong reactions to this idea, but I think there is still a wait and see feeling that was communicated.  Not everything has been thought through as I think folks are still trying to get their bearings after GA.  While I think there were some folks who wanted to move the conversation into more of an "us/them" mode, I did appreciate Michael’s intentionality about language and characterizations that communicated a willingness to try to build partnerships and find a"way forward" that had some integrity for most folks. 

Here are just a few other reflections on the event that I have found.

On Sunday I then was able to preach at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles.  Immanuel is a progressive downtown church that is living an interesting model of a bi-lingual church.  With Spanish service beginning at 9:30, I preached and served communion with a translator, then we moved into a bi-lingual worship for about 45 minutes and then the English service at 11:15 where I preached again. This was quite the morning.  The music was rocking and I must give special props to Associate Pastor, Elizabeth Gibbs Zehnder, who flowed seamlessly in between Spanish and English for about three hours straight.  Amazing!

All in all a great week in Southern California having the privilege of experiencing the breadth of our denomination.

* And a little bit of technogeeky props, looks like PFR has redone their website, looks great.

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