I returned from our June 14th Presbytery meeting with a light heart and lifted spirit! These are dynamic times for the church. News of the ratification of new ordination standards and a new form of government was a lot for us to digest. In that context we were blessed by the gifted hospitality of the First Presbyterian Church in Spring Lake. The worship liturgy and music resonated and ministered to us, and I trust was also pleasing to God. The strong singing was wonderful! Our moderator, Rev. Linda Knieriemen’s message grounded us in the word (John 10:1-18) and the Word, Christ Jesus, the door/gate. The presence and wisdom of six honorably retired honorees, Rev. Donald Gordon, Rev. Richard Johnson, Rev. Richard (Dick) Jackson, Rev. James Rea, Rev. Buteyn, Rev. Willard Curtis, representing 320 years of ordained ministry, gave witness to the healthy DNA, which is rooted deeply in this presbytery, and blessed us with perspective. We heard the witness of Elder Judy Burnside in her “This I Believe” statement, and James Lunde, II in his statement of faith and in his responses as we examined him for ordination. We also met two new colleagues, Rev. Jennifer Rund-Scott, a new chaplain at Spectrum Health Systems, Grand Rapids, and Rev. LaVerne Davenport, the new pastor at Fairplain Presbyterian Church in Benton Harbor, who is also a son of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lansing. We learned from Jane McGookey about some communications tools for our ministry, learned also about PALMS, a support group for church secretaries (Presbytery Association of Lake Michigan Secretaries), met some Education Resource persons, called POINT Educators, who are available to assist congregations in planning education ministries, and we learned about Michigan Presbyterian Pilgrimage who sponsor a spring and fall weekend of Spiritual Nurture. We commissioned a delegation of five to visit our Ghanian Partners. I felt the gentle breeze of the Spirit bless us. I hope you did as well.
“I thank God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel…I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-6)