The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area met for their July meeting this past Tuesday evening, July 12 at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington. Kathy Brevig, Chain of Lakes Administrator, joined me in attending the meeting. She attended the Pre-Presbytery meeting on Board of Pension changes while I talked to people at a table I set up for Chain of Lakes church.
After worship and a report from the Board of Pensions, the Presbytery heard a report on from the Administrative Commission on General Terms for Departure of First Presbyterian Church in Albert Lea. That church is in the Gracious Separation process. The terms for departure are in the link for the Presbytery packet for the meeting and the link for the minutes for the meeting at: http://www.presbyterytwincities.org/PresbyteryMeetingInfo
During their report the Administrative Commission reported that 65 percent of the congregation supports leaving the PC(USA) while 35 percent are either against leaving or are undecided. This difference of opinion became apparent when a person from the church spoke out the church leaving the PC(USA). The pastor of the church spoke in favor of leaving, and for a while it seemed like a significant squabble was about to happen.
The clock saved the squabble from happening as a Special Report was shared by Denise Dunbar-Perkins, the new Presbytery Leadership Team Chair. In her report she announced a plan for serious conversations about race within the Presbytery. Alika Galloway—pastor of Kwanza in North Minneapolis—read from letters written from middle school youth in Kwanza’s 21st century middle school academy. These letters shared thoughts by middle school students about the recent shootings of African-Americans by police. Around the dinner table we had more conversations about race.
After dinner the Presbytery took up again the Albert Lea Administrative report. The Presbytery chose to trust the wisdom of the Administrative Commission and approved the General Terms for Departure. The vote was not unanimous, but the conversation was civil.
Sue Rutford, new Moderator for the Presbytery, nominated five people to serve on the Administrative Commission for Chain of Lakes Church. That Administrative Commission has been asked to make a report about the ministry of Chain of Lakes and possible uses of future property at the November Presbytery meeting. As the Organizing Pastor for Chain of Lakes I had asked Sue to appoint a slate that is open-minded about Chain of Lakes. The five people nominated were Anne Foote, Vince Gin, Barbara Anne Keely, Rob Smith, and James York. I joined the Presbytery in unanimously approving this group of people to serve on the Administrative Commission. I know that the Steering Committee of Chain of Lakes looks forward to sharing with the Administrative Commission our excitement about the ministry of Chain of Lakes, and our vision for the property.
A moving part of the meeting was the commissioning of Youth Triennium participants. A large number of youth blessed the Presbytery with their presence. Another moving part of the meeting was the ordination exam for Alanna Tyler, an African-American woman who came from the Kwanza church. She passed with exam with ease. We learned that seven people from Kwanza have become ordained as Teaching Elders. Yay, God!
David Lidle reported that the Administrative Commission for the Eden Prairie Church had appealed a recent court decision regarding who owns the church property where the Presbyterian Church does ministry. He said that the Presbytery was ordered to and paid $19,000 of the church’s legal fees. Despite the court decision, the Presbytery still views the church as a PC(USA) congregation.
The meeting adjourned by 8:00, and I was able to get home to watch the All-Star game.