Mid Councils Newsletter, December 15, 2014
Whew! Are you able to catch your breath yet? December was often a time for me to kind of get caught up when I worked in a presbytery office. We had very few meetings in December (I know that some of you have presbytery meetings, but hopefully even those are now past.) I usually spent my late December days kind of cleaning up my emails and the folders in which I kept everything as well as contacting those churches that had not yet paid their per capita in full, reminding them of our deposit deadlines and encouraging them to participate in the life of the larger church. (That is, of course, except when there were those exceptions like the session that decided to put their pastor on administrative leave starting on December 23 one year.) We always closed our office from Christmas Eve through whatever made sense after New Year’s day. The mail went to the post office so that the financial person could pick it up once before the end of the year and make the last deposit. I sometimes used one of those days to sort out the books that I did not really think I would use again and do some planning for the year ahead. Sitting at my desk in the presbytery office when the phone did not ring and very few emails arrived was a gift I gave myself.
How will you spend the days between now and the beginning of your busy 2015? How will you prepare yourself for what lies ahead? Will you be able to set your cell phone and other electronic “impediments” aside so that you can be fully present with your family or friends for holiday celebrations? Can you slow your pace down enough to just sit and think or sit and read or just sit? Will you find a place to worship on the Sundays around Christmas and on Christmas Eve itself where you are not there to help or evaluate or be “on”? Can you enter into the wonder of the message of Christmas?
Because, after all, those who are leaders in Mid Council leadership these days need to hear that message again in its fullness. The gift that God has given us, that we celebrate again every Christmas, is that the coming of the reign of God does not depend upon us. No matter how many COM meetings we attend; no matter how many angry session meetings we endure; no matter how many times we call a pastor just to see how things are going; no matter how many hours we work in any one day, we do not bring about anyone’s salvation, not even our own. I wish you the gift of time and ease and perspective over these quiet days of Christmas. May you experience again the wonder of the word and the good news that the gift of grace is always and only just that—a gift that we neither create nor deserve but have received nonetheless. Merry Christmas.
Another job opening for a transitional executive. This one will be eligible to be elected to the permanent position.
The Office of Gender and Racial Justice in Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries is continuously engaging with all levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to teach how injustice, power, and privilege impact society and church, and how the Church can be change agents by responding with compassionate action and prophetic witness. Click here for more information.
Big Tent 2015
University of Tennessee Conference Center
July 30–August 1, 2015
Experience that deep sense of community one would expect at a national gathering of Presbyterians—a great big family reunion! Join us for a wide variety of workshops, all under one Big Tent, a conference that will inspire and equip Presbyterians to live missionally. Click here for more information.
Preachers for Worship Services Include:
Laurene Chan, Director of Youth Ministries, Cameron House
San Francisco Theological Seminary
Paul Roberts, President
Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary
Jana Childers, Professor of homiletics and Speech Communication
San Francisco Theological Seminary