Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September meeting of Twin Cities Area Presbytery

The Presbytery of Twin Cities Area met for our regular meeting on Tuesday, September 13 at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton.  I came early to set up a table for Chain of Lakes Church and was joined by Paul Edgett, a member of the Chain of Lakes Steering Committee.  We both enjoyed talking to people and getting re-connected to folks after the summer.

I came into the meeting—which was held in the beautiful chapel at United—when Lewis Zeidner, the new President of the Seminary, was giving a talk.  Not many open seats were available.  Eventually a row of chairs was set up in the back of the chapel. 

After a very moving worship service, Jeff Japinga, Transitional Executive Presbyter, gave a report.  He has been speaking the last months about change within the Presbytery.  His report can be found on pages 12-15 of the following link:
I especially appreciated his note that the Presbytery cannot fulfill our responsibilities by working harder in our current structures.  He shared two possible ways that the Presbytery could be restructured.  Specific proposals will be shared at the next Presbytery meeting.

A very meaningful moment for me was the celebration of the ministry of Clint Patterson.  Clint is retiring as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Kasson.  I got to know Clint when I served in Plainview.  In fact I talked to him about the Kasson church before he even came to the church.  During his short talk at the Presbytery meeting Clint talked about he benefited from many Presbyterians before him who set up structures and systems that allowed him to do ministry.  Clint has always had a special gift for visiting with the elderly in his own church and in the wider community.  My grandmother, Maxine Harris, participated in a Bible Study that Clint led in the care center in Kasson.  In fact it was moving to me that Clint’s ministry was celebrated by the Presbytery on the same day that she would have celebrated her 102nd birthday. 

After dinner Lisa Larges was examined by the Presbytery for ordination.  Many people spoke at the meeting about her long ordination journey through the Presbyterian Church (USA).  She first appeared before the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area at least twenty years ago.  Many people verbally applauded her during the examination for her perseverance in staying with the Presbyterian Church (USA).  Her statement of faith can be found on pages 22-23 of the above link.  It is a gem and is worth studying.   

In a report from the Eden Prairie Administrative Commission, Barbara Lutter said that the lawyer’s representing the Presbytery have filed an appeal of the most recent court decision.   Representatives of the church have thirty days to respond.   Assuming a response from the church, oral arguments would happen after the first of the year—perhaps sooner.  Over $75,000 has been spent by the Presbytery on lawyer’s fees.

Kathryn Breitbarth, chair of the Albert Lea Administrative Commission presented final terms of departure for that congregation to Evangelical Covenant Order (ECO).  The congregation voted on the final terms by a vote of 340-36 on Sunday, September 11.  She and other leaders of the Administrative Commission said the Presbytery would do their best to attend to the concerns of people in the church who do not want to leave the PC(USA).  The Presbytery unanimously approved the terms of the agreement.

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