Wednesday, March 16, 2011
March Presbytery meeting--nFOG & Chain of Lakes presentation
This past Saturday I participated in the second meeting of the year of the Twin City Presbytery. I had a slow drive to Valley Presbyterian Church as the freeways were partially covered with snow and ice. I took it as a good sign that when I pulled into the parking lot I met Ward Sessing, chair of the Property Task Force for Chain of Lakes Church. Both of us were excited about the presentation that folks from Chain of Lakes were going to share later in the meeting.
When I arrived I quickly set up a table for Chain of Lakes. At every meeting I hand out newsletters from our new congregation and take time to let people know what is happening. I was able to distribute all 15 newsletters while still talking to Martha Rockenstein, the POINT person for the Presbytery with whom I shared a table.
The meeting quickly got interesting when Chaz Ruark shared his reflections on the recent disciplinary case against Erwin Barron. Chaz shared his regret that the media had reported on the case. He wrote a blog about the case at: http://presbyterytwincities.org/2011/03/04/press-presbytery-and-privacy/#comments.
I am still unclear about the rules and regulations regarding privacy in a Disciplinary hearing. At a small group in which I later participated, many of us wondered if the privacy regulations are in the Book of Order or are Presbytery policies. I think the policy of waiting until the Presbytery meeting to announce the decision of a case didn’t serve us well in this situation.
Tim Hart-Anderson spoke and appealed to the Prosecuting Committee in this case not to appeal the decision of the Presbytery’s PJC. To learn more about the case go to: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/faith/117119988.html.
Someone pointed out to me later in the meeting that we Presbyterians have a judicial system where even if someone is declared not guilty of a charge that an appeal can be made—unlike the secular courts.
We then transitioned into discussing the New Form of Government--nFOG. I thought the discussion was wonderfully run and conducted. Our Presbytery has vastly improved the way we discuss overtures and contentious issues. People against nFOG were allowed to speak for ten minutes. Some of the arguments that were raised against nFOG were it will blur the distinctions between governing bodies and that it will be too easy for Interim pastors to become Installed pastors. I rose and spoke in favor of nFOG. I argued that in our Form of Government we we need a constitution and not a manual of operations. Issues like whether an Interim can become the Installed pastor can be in a manual of operations. The vote in favor of nFOG was 118-35.
By far the highlight of the meeting for me was the presentation by folks from Chain of Lakes for the Presbytery. This was one of the first time where members of Chain of Lakes were able to share with the Presbytery their excitement about our new church. Tiffany Godfrey shared her passion for social media and on-line media and what we are doing at Chain of Lakes. She said she wants to get all of her unchurched female friends to come to Chain of Lakes. Jonathan Tse talked about how appreciative he was at how the people at Chain of Lakes welcomed him and his family. He said he was very unsure what sort of reception he would receive. Jonathan became Presbyterian when he lived in the Cameroon. Both of his daughters have been baptized at Chain of Lakes. Dave Nyberg talked about the many times he’s witnessed a “wow moment” at Chain of Lakes. He talked about the Grand Opening service, and watching Bill Fink be baptized last Easter, and watching a man who has never participated in a Bible Study learn about the Bible.
I could hardly have been happier about these presentations. I know pride can be a sin, but I’ve rarely been more proud of the folks at Chain of Lakes. They were terrific.
After these presentations, I left the meeting—I had to get finish my own preparations for worship at Chain of Lakes.