Mid Councils Newsletter August
I lived in Louisville a few decades ago. My husband and I attended seminary in the city. We arrived in January of 1977, having been married for six days. I had been a wife for six days, a college graduate for one month, and an adult (well twenty-one-years old, at least) for three months. Kind of an eventful time! We arrived in the middle of the three worst years for snow in Louisville for decades. Schools closed for six weeks at a time since the city owned very few snowplows and were relying on private citizens with snowblades on the front of their trucks to clear the streets. So it took us awhile to notice a phenomenon. People ran yellow lights. All the time. They sped toward yellow lights instead of braking. Which meant you had to really wait at a green light for a couple of extra seconds to be sure it was safe to proceed. Just one of the many new things to learn as we started so many new aspects of our lives all at the same time.
Fast forward thirty-seven years. I am now in Louisville for several days a month as I come to town for meetings and other duties of this new call. My first week here I stayed in a hotel downtown and did not drive very much. Now when I am in town I am living in an apartment on the same seminary campus where I lived so many years ago. And, I live in a tiny apartment that has the same floor plan as the one we lived in for the first nine months of our married life. It seems so much smaller than it did all those years ago when I shared it with my husband and a cat I talked him into getting. Kind of déjà vu all over again!
But the apartment is not the only thing that is the same as all those years ago. People in Louisville are still running red lights. One day last week, on my short commute to work, I saw a car and then a motor scooter each run separate lights. They were either brave or crazy or both.
What strikes me about this is how cultures prevail and are passed on to new generations. I doubt that either the driver of that car or the rider of the motor scooter were the same people I saw running lights almost four decades ago. I don't know if they are native Louisvillians. But one way or another they have learned the culture of the place where they now drive. The culture persists.
What persists in your mid council? Are there bad habits or just outmoded habits that persist far beyond their usefulness or wisdom? Have you talked with the leaders there about them? Have you discovered anything interesting about why they persist? Might be a good conversation to have.
The Annual Polity Conference will be in Louisville this year, October 19 through October 21. We will begin with worship on Sunday evening. We will end with worship on Tuesday evening. In between there will be time to talk about the actions of General Assembly this year, especially those actions relating to mid councils. As always, it will be a time to meet with your colleagues from around the country. Registration will open in the middle of August, but mark those dates on your calendar now.
Get these dates on the calendars of your synod or presbytery moderators: November 7, 8, 9. Those are the dates for the annual Moderators' Conference in Louisville. It will start first thing on the morning of the 7th, so people will need to travel on the 6th. It ends before noon on the 9th. More details will be available soon. For now, help them to set aside those dates and help the presbytery to identify the funds for this important gathering as we follow up on mandates of the General Assembly to talk about realignment of synods, about reconciliation across the denomination, and as we help your moderators to more fully live into their call to this special ministry.
Suwann Missildine—the mother-in-law of Steve Benz, transitional executive presbyter in St. Augustine Presbytery, and the mother of the Reverend Dr. Cindy Benz—recently completed this part of life. Steve can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.”