Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Several years ago, the son of a friend fell off of his bike and somehow broke his ankle. As a result, he had to wear a cast for several weeks. After the cast was removed, a strange thing happened. The little boy still walked with a limp. The ankle was perfectly healed. But the memory of the pain made him resist placing weight on the ankle. Even though he was perfectly healthy, the boy walked with a limp in fear of causing himself pain again.
As a presbytery, we have experienced many difficulties the past several years. There were times when presbytery gatherings were difficult to attend, staff may have been difficult to approach, and finances were short, resulting in promises and trust being broken.
In my first sermon to this presbytery, I apologized for the mistakes and problems caused by the presbytery staff. My hope was to spend 2017 rebuilding trust through transparency and relationships. The staff of the presbytery has attempted to be inclusive, as we have visited every geographic corner, made sure there is racial and theological diversity in leadership, and used the newsletter and other communication to make sure multiple voices are heard.
My hope is that 2018 will be the year we walk without a limp.
The presbytery is now fully staffed, fiscally sound, and ready to dream again. Presbytery Gatherings are energized, creative, and fun! We hope to move into our new space at the end of February. We are planning a farewell worship service for our building, sometime in January. This will mark a change in the way we plan and vision as a presbytery and as Presbyterians.
In 2018, I will continue to preach a future where Presbyterians will own less, control less, and will not have to be the leaders of every event we take part in. It is a future of partnerships. It is a future of collaboration with others, where we leverage the small amounts we have to make a big difference.
This means letting go of buildings, traditional programs, and less emphasis on bringing people into our space, and more emphasis of going into other spaces. The gospel of tomorrow is a gospel that is preached outside of the walls of the church; preached where the people are; preached where God is.
I look forward to fleshing out this missional gospel in 2018.
I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! It is a joy serving as your Transitional Presbytery Leader. I’ll write to you again in 2018!
Rev. Craig M. Howard