Mid Councils Newsletter | September, 6, 2016
When I am working at home in Peoria I often watch television while I am eating my lunch. Sometimes I watch the news, just to see what is happening in the world, but then I usually switch over to HGTV, Home and Garden Television. If you have never watched this network, then you need to know that there are some members of my family who think most of the shows are kind of silly. For instance, one of my sons-in-law says that we would never accompany strangers as they visit houses with a realtor so why do we want to tag along on television? There are all kinds of shows about people shopping for property: beachfront bargains; foreign places where people are moving for a little while or permanently; fixer uppers; there is even a show where they are trying to decide which whole island to buy. It is kind of like a travelogue on intimate terms or a makeover show for houses instead of one dealing with hairstyles and makeup.
One of the things that interests me is that when it is one of the shows where people are going to renovate a home, they almost always want an “open concept floor plan.” Mostly what that means is that they want the kitchen, living room, and dining room to be one, big open space. I have a daughter who has bought three new homes in the last seven years or so in three different communities (all job-related moves). Each of these three houses is so similar that I cannot really remember which little details were in which house. They all have this open concept. The public area on the main floor of the house is a kitchen separated by a high bar from the dining area, which is really just one end of the living room.
I live in a house that was built in the early 1940s, with an addition made in the 1970s. The original part of the house is a living room separated from a dining room which is separated from a kitchen. A big family room was part of the renovation. That means that our living room is really kind of like an old-fashioned “parlor,” or as I call it a big waste of space, which we mostly use as a hallway. My husband sometimes sits in there to read, but otherwise we are mostly in there to open Christmas presents around the Christmas tree. See, it’s a parlor.
Here is what strikes me about the difference between my house and the houses I see renovated on television or the ones my daughter has bought. Each of them is trying to solve a different issue. When my house was built there were still people who could remember living in very cramped quarters where kitchen, living room, and sometimes bedroom were all one thing. Have you ever visited a little historic site in the Midwest where they show you a log cabin? Putting walls between where you ate and where you cooked and where you sat to play the piano or read or listen to the radio was quite an innovation. It answered the problem of spending too much time together, of having the whole house smell like whatever last night’s dinner was and so on.
Now when people move in to houses like mine, at least if you believe HGTV, they are trying to figure out how to open it up so that cooking, dining, television watching, homework, LEGO building, etc., can all happen in the same space. What problem is this trying to solve? Many families today have very little time together. If they are going to be able to chat about their days while somebody tries to get a nourishing meal on the table, they need to all be in the same room. The solution to the problems of seventy-five years ago needs to be undone in order to solve the problems of today.
What problems did the current structure of your mid council solve when it was put into place? Are those still the problems of today or are there new issues that you need to address? How can you take down the walls that served a purpose when they were put in and create more openness for today? If it is anything like what happens on HGTV, there will be a snag along the way. There will be inadequate wiring in the wall; there will be a heat vent that has to be moved; or there will have to be a beam installed at great expense because the wall that needs to come down is load bearing. Maybe we could get our own “reality” show: “Mid Council Fixer Uppers!”
Congregational Ministries Publishing invites your presbytery to send two people to receive in-depth training on denominational curricula. The POINT network (Presbyterians Organized in Nurture and Teaching) will be a pre-event to the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators annual event in Denver. Participants may choose 5:30–8:00 p.m., January 24, OR 8:00–10:30 a.m., January 25, and the POINT reunion lunch, 11:00–1:30, January 25. For more information, contact
Malinda Spencer, Associate for Curricula Training and Promotion.
Be sure to mark your calendars and share these dates with others in your mid council. All of these events will be in Louisville.
Moderators Conference: October 28–30.
Association of Mid Council Leaders (AMCL) and Association of Stated Clerks (ASC): October 28–30. (If you need more information about these organizations or would like to join, please contact Jeff Hutcheson in San Francisco about AMCL and Doska Ross in the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii about the ASC.)
Stated Clerk’s Polity Conference: October 30–31. This conference will end the evening of October 31.
Also PLEASE TAKE NOTE. If you have attended the Polity Conference before then you know that there is a price break for the first two people from a mid council who attend. In the past, this was assumed to be the stated clerk and the executive/general presbyter. With all of the changes in the way presbyteries are organized, there were some questions about this last year. This summer all mid council stated clerks will receive a request to let the Office of the General Assembly know who will be the two people designated to receive this invitation.
New Stated Clerk Orientation: October 26-28. For more information or to register, please contact Diane Minter (firstname.lastname@example.org).