Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Presbytery meeting

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area met for their July meeting on Tuesday, July 14 at Associated Church in Owatonna.  I enjoyed the lovely drive from the north Metro to Owatonna, relishing the beauty of the lush land.  I set up a table before the meeting to talk to folks about Sundaes on Wednesday at Chain of Lakes.  During the summer our new congregation worships on Wednesdays.  We enjoy a meal at 6:00 p.m. followed by worship and ice cream sundaes.  Anyone who is out of town on the weekends is very welcome to worship with us.  At the table next to me were folks from Houses of Hospitality.  I enjoyed talking to them and learning more about this important young adult ministry.

After a rousing worship service and challenging sermon by Dr. Paula Sanders, the Presbytery received officer reports.  This was the first opportunity for Dr. Jeff Japinga to speak to the Presbytery as the Designated Executive Presbyter.  He shared that in the next 120 days he is going to focus on four areas.  First, he intends to earn trust by getting to know people in the Presbytery.  Second, he is going to commit himself to congregational vitality and church leadership.  He shared that the Presbytery is only as strong as its congregations and leaders.  Third, he is going to help the Presbytery begin to envision its future and where God is calling us.  Part of this is developing clear parameters around the use of funds the Presbytery has received in gracious separation agreements.  Fourth, he wants to give intentional energy and thinking to communication.  

I found it refreshing to hear our Executive Presbyter lay out his intentions and direction. 

He has one more week of teaching at Mc Cormick Seminary and then will be able to give his full attention to Presbytery work.  The talk he shared for the Presbytery can be read at:  http://files.ctctcdn.com/17207f49001/4b1d6934-3e3c-473a-b3db-8f1f6f4ef86e.pdf

In his remarks Thomas Ruter (chair of the Presbytery Leadership Team) shared that a Task Force of the Presbytery Leadership Team is developing a proposal for parameters around the use of funds the Presbytery has received in gracious separation agreements.   I missed the first part of Tom’s presentation as I had to take a phone call, so I’m unsure who is serving on this Task Force.  No written information was shared about this.

During the Stated Clerk’s report Barbara Lutter shared a detailed report on the law suit with the Presbyterian Church in Eden Prairie.  She shared that lawyers from each side are sharing discovery requests.  Thousands of pages of records have been gathered by the Administrative Commission.  The next step is depositions that hopefully will take place before the end of the summer.  A mediator has been chosen to work through an alternative dispute resolution.  She shared that the Administrative Commission hopes and prays for a negotiated settlement.  Unfortunately the process could be lengthy and expensive.  The Administrative Commission has set up a web page about the case that is on the Presbytery web site.  The link is: http://www.presbyterytwincities.org/EPPCAC

Luke Roske-Metcalfe shared a very detailed report about research he helped lead regarding Latino Ministry.  The report is worth a reading.  It can be found at on pages 23-26 of the Presbytery minutes: http://www.presbyterytwincities.org/PresbyteryMeetingInfo

In her report Rochelle Letourneau shared that a Task Force has been formed from the Committee on Congregational Vitality which will help with the implementation of the new structure of the Presbytery.  People serving on this Task Force were asked to stand. 

Al Zdrazil shared that the Advocates for Integrity in Ministry as proposing a change to the sexual misconduct policy of the Presbytery.  His report can also be found in the Presbytery minutes.

The meeting concluded at about 6:20.  The leaders of the Associated Church treated us to a wonderful meal.  I enjoyed visiting with my friends from Community Presbyterian in Plainview and hearing how the Spirit is alive in that congregation.