The Presbytery of Twin Cities Area met for our regular meeting this past Saturday, January 24th at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. I arrived early and set up a table for our new church, Chain of Lakes. I handed out purple bracelets that said, “I helped make it happen.” The “it” refers to our move to our new home that happened last month. As the Presbytery has helped Chain of Lakes with this move, everyone who came to the meeting helped. Thank you!
Bill Chadwick gave the local church host welcome by sharing that Oak Grove is the second oldest Presbyterian Church in Minnesota. Their congregation has an excellent tradition of social justice ministry. They have recently formed a “sister church” relationship with Chain of Lakes, which Bill highlighted in his report.
During worship Oak Grove’s choir helped us experience the divine. I enjoyed the liturgy developed for the service. It was moving to me to celebrate Communion.
The agenda was full on Saturday, and I can no way highlight everything in this short blog. The transitional Executive Presbyter team made a report. They are hopeful that they can bring a candidate to the May Presbytery meeting. They are encouraging people to apply for the position by the middle of February.
I especially appreciated the recognition given to Cal Cooper. Cal has helped many pastors and elders in the Presbytery with his wisdom. A Scripture that has guided his ministry was shared, Proverbs 20:5, “The purposes in the human mind are like deep water, but the intelligent will draw them out.”
A man from Oak Grove Presbyterian Church shared how churches can save significant money in working with their energy companies in supporting solar power. His report will be shared on the Presbytery web site. A congregation wouldn't have to put up solar panels on their church building to receive these savings.
The issue of the day was voting on Amendment 14-F. Presbyteries across the country are voting on this (and other) Amendments to the Form of Government. This Amendment changes the Directory for Worship so that marriage would be recognized as between two people instead of between a man and a woman. The exact wording of the amendment can be found at: http://www.pcusa.org/site_media/media/uploads/oga/pdf/2014-proposed-boa-electronic-version%5B1%5D.pdf
The Presbytery had a spirited and intense discussion about the amendment. The discussion was certainly civil and showed yet again how this issue divides Presbyterians. Thirty minutes was allotted to the discussion that was split evenly between those in favor of the amendment and those not in favor. After thirty minutes the discussion was stopped. People were still waiting to talk when that happened. I do understand the need to keep to the agenda (which was packed), but I believe allowing at least 15 more minutes of conversation would have been helpful.
The vote was conducted by paper ballot. The result was 121 Yes and 24 no.
Our new congregation was asked to share a report with the Presbytery about what is happening with our ministry. At the request of the Church Development Team I had written a five page report. I encourage people to read it at: http://www.presbyterytwincities.org/PresbyteryMeetingInfo
After Rochelle Le Tourneau, chair of the Church Development Team, briefly talked, we shared a video about our ministry. I encourage people to watch the video. The link is at: http://vimeo.com/116901271
I talked for about eight minutes about our excitement in moving to our new home on Davenport and about two of our ministries—our Youth and Family ministry and our ministry with homeless teenagers. For time reasons I wasn’t able to respond to questions in my report that people had submitted about Chain of Lakes prior to the meeting.
No one asked a question about the ministry of Chain of Lakes from the floor. If people do have questions about what is happening with our ministry, please call us at 763-208-8049 or E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our leadership team wants to respond to any question that people have.
One of the last items was to recognize Elona Street-Stewart, new executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. She gave a fascinating report about the history of the area and shared some history about many of the native peoples that have lived and are living in this geography.
The Presbytery’s agenda was packed. We had a lot of business to cover. My only request is having fewer agenda items and giving more time to the people presenting.