Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November Twin Cities Area Presbytery meeting

After tucking my daughter, Hannah, into bed last night I put the following post on my Facebook page: “Excellent Presbytery meeting. 100% better than Sept. Moments of inspiration, hope, despair, pain-- and very well run. And done at 8:30!” 
The meeting had moments of Inspiration
I was touched by the Youth Initiative that was shared early in the meeting.  It’s wonderful to see our Presbytery paying attention again to our high school youth. 
I was also touched by the opening comments by our terrific Moderator, Barbara Lutter.  She shared that after the September Presbytery meeting—which many people, including me, criticized—the leaders of the Presbytery committed themselves to changing the format of the meetings.  There would be longer consent agendas—they must have read Sarah Bigwood’s blog!!—along with less talking heads, less committee reports and less speaker time.  And they promised the meetings would be done by 8:30 p.m.  I especially appreciated the Speak Out time that was given to people right before dinner.  Thanks to the leaders of the Presbytery for paying attention to the many comments that flowed after the September meeting. 
The meeting had moments of Hope
I thought it was cool that the new, and I think all young—30’s and under—pastors led worship.  Thanks to Adam Copeland for sharing a presentation on the new Presbyterian Hymnal.  I enjoyed listening to him sing and singing with others.  I don’t know too much about the new Hymnal, but I’m willing to take a look. 
The meeting had moments of Despair
The Presbytery approved a budget for 2013 that was very difficult to pass.  To fill a hole of almost $100,000 the Presbytery is transferring that amount from a catastrophic reserve fund.  That didn’t sit well with many and a motion was passed to develop a solution.  I’m not sure what that means.
Our new church receives a significant part of our budget and a small percentage of the overall Presbytery budget from these funds.  I’m certainly glad that the Church Development Team budget was not cut.  We have achieved significant progress in 2012 at Chain of Lakes.  To cut our budget now would be like removing an oxygen line to an infant.
I read every Treasurer’s Report of the Presbytery which are on-line and are public information.  One simple—though admittedly difficult—solution would be to collect all unpaid Per Capita amounts from past years.  At of the end of June of this year churches owed a total of a half million dollars in uncollected Per Capita from previous years.  I was the pastor of a church that always paid our Per Capita, so I know how difficult this can be.  But I also know it can be done.  Community Presbyterian in Plainview does not owe any money in past Per Capita.
The meeting had moments of Pain
It was hard to watch the public rebuke of Rev. Jin Kim.  I was on the Permanent Judicial Commission which rendered a verdict on this case.  Many people spent many hours on this case.  I am praying that the victims can experience closure,that Rev. Kim can successfully go through his rehabilitation, and that Church of All Nations will thrive as a congregation. 
This was an excellent meeting.  Great job to everyone who organized it and provided leadership.

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