Mid Councils Newsletter | November 16, 2015
What do you enjoy most about Facebook, if you are a participant in this way of communicating? Here are a few things I enjoy. First, I really don’t have to send many Christmas cards anymore and in the ones I send I do not need to include an “annual letter.” Anyone who might have the slightest interest in what my family is doing has either seen something about them on my Facebook feed or their own. Second, it acts as kind of “curator” for ideas about the church. That is, the people with whom I am friends often post interesting things from blogs or other sources and then I do not have to try to figure out which ones to follow. Third, I get to see pictures of people I have not seen in person in years—like one of my college roommates. Fourth, I love a funny cat video as much as the next person!
I have noticed for a few of those with whom I am friends that there is a trend toward gratitude. It is clear that for some people it has become a daily practice. Or some adopt this practice for a set period of time. They will talk about one thing for which they are grateful. Or they will list their three gratitudes for the day. So, I thought I would list some of things about which I am grateful in your ministries with the people whom you have been called to serve.
I am grateful for you who are willing to take up the work of leading presbyteries in uncertain times and with shrinking resources.
I am grateful for you who have served as stated clerks for decades, helping people to remember that there are theological reasons for the ways we manage our lives together.
I am grateful for you who have challenges in your own lives or the lives of your loved ones and continue to serve the church with humor and compassion and energy.
I am grateful for you who have run this particular race and are ready to find the next race to which God is calling you.
I am grateful for you who are willing to go one more time to a session meeting where you know you will take the brunt of their anger and fear about the future.
I am grateful for you who are so creative in the ways you put together presbytery meetings and make them places of excitement and enrichment and joy and hope.
I am grateful for you who lead people to take on amazing new challenges.
I am grateful to you who encourage such generosity of both money and spirit.
I am grateful to you who challenge the wider church and the church at the national level to think in new ways.
I am grateful for your faith, for your perseverance, for your humility, for your understanding of your own salvation that leads you to know that you have been blessed to be a blessing.
As you prepare to gather with friends or family for a Thanksgiving feast or as you plan a quiet day near the fire or the beach or the television in the days ahead, I pray that you know that your ministries are appreciated, that your gifts are celebrated, and that your work is never in vain.
Dear Presbytery Leaders,
This is a save-the-date notice concerning an upcoming training event on bi-vocational ministry.
A coalition of ecumenical organizations in which the PC(USA) participates—the Denominational Staff for Theological Education and Candidacy, Ministry Development Council and Professional Church Leadership—is collaborating in hosting the first Ecumenical Bi-Vocational Ministry Conference, April 15–16, 2016, at Epworth By The Sea, a hospitality ministry of the South Georgia Conference of the UMC.
This conference is being presented in an effort to help identify, understand, explore, and communicate the dynamics that bi-vocational ministry presents:
- On the professional and personal track—We want to learn about the experiences from currently serving bi-vocational pastors. How do they grow a congregation while working part-time? What stressors and demands need to be addressed as a bi-vocational pastor? What leadership competencies are needed for part-time pastors? How do we support our bi-vocational pastors?
- On the governing body track—What are the benefit options for bi-vocational pastors? How do you prepare congregations to transition from the full-time pastor model to the bi-vocational pastor? What implications may bi-vocational ministry bring and what advantages and enhancements does bi-vocational ministry present?
We hope to answer these questions and shed some new light on this ever-growing change in ministry. Registration will open January 5, 2016. Please plan to attend and encourage the attendance of bi-vocational pastors in your presbytery.
The Office of the General Assembly is a partner in this event through Mid Council Ministries. Information about registration costs and housing will be available at http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/ministers/ soon. For more information, contact SanDawna Gaulman Ashley at email@example.com or (502) 569-5730.
The Reverend Dr. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley
Assistant Stated Clerk, Manager for Call Process Support and Teaching Elders Ministries
Office of the General Assembly
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is in dialogue with the Episcopal Church. The dialogue team is wanting their work to be informed by work that is already happening in local communities. If there are joint congregational witness (federated congregations) or joint ministries with Episcopal congregations and/or dioceses, please send that information to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, please contact Robina Winbush at email@example.com or 502-569-5431.