Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 11th Presbytery Meeting Summary and Resources

The Presbytery of Lake Michigan meets four times each year.  We met for our first meeting this year on Saturday, March 11th.  Minister members of Presbytery and commissioners from our congregations gathered at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.  Please find here highlights and links to some documents and resources shared at that meeting.

 The Rev. Sarah Schmidt-Lee preached a powerful message at worship!  Find the text of her sermon here:  Sermon: Do We Believe This Is Good News?   Following worship Professor George Barfield led us in a second conversation on race.  He is a retired sociology professor for Ethnic and Race Relations who taught at Indiana University and Lake Michigan College, a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Benton Harbor, and now lives in Spring Lake, Mi. Here is his power point Barfield Conversation on Race PowerPoint.  He presented a You Tube Video clip from the ABC's TV show "What Would You Do? which you can see here:  Bike Thief    Each congregation was given a copy of Debbie Irving's book, "Waking Up White, And Finding Myself in the Story of Race." Reverends Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, the 222nd General Assembly co-moderators, have called the PC(USA) to a denomination wide study of this book, which introduces white privilege and prepared a book study guide written by provided by the Office of the General Assembly:  Waking Up White Study Guide   Our Church Growth Committee has purchased a copy of this book for every congregation in the Presbytery.  The book was distributed at the Presbytery Meeting.  Read it, share it, discuss it.   Other recent resources provided by the Office of the General Assembly on addressing race can be found here:  Office of the General Assembly Resources  Rev. Denise Anderson is scheduled to preach and present at the September 13th Presbytery Meeting at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson.

During the business plenary Presbytery voted on amendments to the PC(USA) Constitution sent to us by the 222nd General Assembly.  All the amendments were approved by our Presbytery except for two: 16 D 1 and 2  relating to the Relationship to the PC(USA) of a Person Who Has Renounced Jurisdiction of the Church while under a disciplinary investigation.  Most significantly we voted to approve a revised Directory for Worship.  If passed by a majority of presbyteries, it will replace the existing Directory for Worship.  We now wait to see how other Presbyteries will vote.  Presbytery also passed a resolution statement to be sent to the President of the United States concerning his recent executive order on refugees. See it here: Resolution Letter to the President

Presbytery is often a mystery to people.  In order to interpret the mission of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan, I have asked Presbytery committee and ministry team leaders to prepare reports of their work in 2016 on our behalf.  Please find that year end consolidated report at this link:  PLM 2016 Annual Report  Find a scripted powerpoint prepared by the Office of the General Assembly explaining Per Capita, tweaked for the Presbytery of Lake Michigan here:  PerCapita Powerpoint  These resources will remain available on the Presbytery's web site:  http://lakemichiganpresbytery.org/  Our website is now functioning more efficiently.  I have contracted Roosien Communications, Inc. for upgrading the site.  It will soon have a new look and organization!

"The purpose of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan is to challenge, encourage, and equip worshiping communities of faith to make disciples of Jesus Christ with the gifts God gives them."  Please help your pastor and elder commissioner share and use these resources to assist your congregation's witness to Jesus Christ in our world today.

Yours in Christ
John Best, General Presbyter