Blog post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Earlier this year, I purged the files in my office as part of our move. As I began to go through the hundreds of folders, binders, and files, I was amazed at the good and thorough work the volunteers and staff of the presbytery had done. In many cases, I was able to trace back the origins of a decision or policy, which we now take for granted. I found answers to many questions and used some of the documents to begin plotting a course for the future of the presbytery.
I am not challenging you to go through all of your stuff (although purging old books and papers is not a bad idea)! However, I learned that there are so many questions we have already answered. The answers are often hidden in plain sight, and they can be found if we would just take the time to stop and read.
In a recent Vision Team meeting, concern was raised about the clergy misconduct that has come to light in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. During our discussion, we discovered an excellent Sexual Misconduct Policy on our website. The policy was put together by our own members, and it was hiding in plain sight! I encourage every congregation to access and download the policy here.
Our website is loaded with resources to help our sessions, congregations, and ministry teams. It all comes down to a commitment to search out and read what is already produced. This means taking the time to download the papers for the presbytery gathering on your computer, tablet, or phone, and then reading them; highlighting questions; and talking with team leaders at presbytery about questions you would like clarity on. On Thursday, we will not have candidates read their statement of faith publicly, since the statements are in the papers. This provides more time for questions and affirmations.
Perhaps this can be our new norm: a commitment to read what is sent to us in order to prepare for our meetings and time together. We can also commit to scanning the website for answers and reading the policies that already exist. I know the process is imperfect. You may struggle to find something, find something that is badly written, or not find something where you think it should be. When this happens, talk to us. Let Janice or Leigh know when things are not working as they should. They can be reached by calling (314) 772-2395, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Let’s work together to have an informed and knowledgeable presbytery!
Rev. Craig M. Howard