Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Presbytery meeting, July 2013

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the July meeting of the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area which was held in Albert Lea, Minnesota.  Thanks to an invitation by Stephen Robertson, I rode to the meeting on a bus that took commissioners from the Westminster and Oak Grove churches. 
The bus didn’t arrive at the Presbyterian church in Albert Lea until after the meeting started, so I didn’t have the opportunity to set up a table and talk to folks about what is happening at our new church called Chain of Lakes. 
Three conversations were taking place at the start of the meeting.  I attended one called “Talking about same-gender marriage in Minnesota.”  The discussion was more like a speak-out where folks shared their views about same-gender marriage.  People had different views and spoke in love.
After newcomers introduced themselves, the officers of the Presbytery shared reports.  I’m very hopeful that new Moderator, David Colby will continue the tradition of excellence that outgoing Moderator Barbara Lutter shared this past year. 
During worship, delegates to Youth Triennium were commissioned.  They will be leaving for Purdue next week.  I loved the pink shirts!  Their presence reminded me of my first experience at Triennium in 1995—which doesn’t seem that long ago.
During the Speak Out period after dinner, I was able to share ice cream cups with the body to encourage commissioners to attend Sundaes on Wednesday.  Chain of Lakes is worshipping on Wednesdays during the summer at Northpoint Elementary at 6:30 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to join us.  Check for directions.  Rochelle Le Tourneau came up with the idea of sharing ice cream cups yesterday morning.  A big thanks to her for putting the details together.  She bought the ice cream from a grocery store in Albert Lea.  A special thanks to Dwight Netzer, pastor of the Albert Lea church, for allowing us to share ice cream cups in the church’s sanctuary.
The meeting turned joyous when the Presbytery approved three candidates for ordination.  Daniel Vigilante will be ordained as Teaching Elder at Grace-Trinity Community Church.   He is an openly gay man who shared a moving statement of faith.  He skillfully answered all questions with beautiful poise.  Anthony Jermaine Ross is going to be an Executive Director at Nia-Imani Youth and Family Development Center in north Minneapolis.  His gifts as a teacher are obvious.  I was told that he is the first African-American male ordained by our Presbytery.  I’m surprised that this milestone took so long.  Jacob P. Van Pernis is going to serve as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Howard Lake.
All three of them will strengthen the witness of the Presbyterian Church.  It is exciting to dream about how their gifts will be used in ministry.
The meeting ended with a few more reports and then we hit the bus for ride home.  It was a beautiful night to look over the countryside and dream about the future.

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