In no specific order, here are FIVE reasons you do not want to miss our February 2nd Presbytery Gathering! Commissioners have the opportunity for voice and vote on the business of the presbytery. Here is a glimpse of some of the highlights.
#1: Keynote on The Global Climate Crisis and the Biblical Response!
Leading our first keynote education hour in a series on Public Witness for 2023, Rev. Dr. J. Clinton McCann is the Evangelical Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. He is active in CROP/Church World Service; Bread for the World; Heifer International; International Partners in Mission and an Associate member of the Iona Community. Clint is active in many local community activities and participates in Senior Olympics! This will be a meaningful, inspiring, Biblically-based exploration of one of the major crises of our time!
#2: Examining a new Inquirer for Ministry!
One of the most exciting events in the life of our ministry together is when a member of one of our congregations expresses they are discerning a life for professional ministry. This is a celebration of the kinds of disciples we are shaping within our community, and our gift as a presbytery to the larger church of Jesus Christ. On Thursday, we will meet Matt Miller, a member of John Calvin Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton and student at Eden Theological Seminary, who will be coming under care of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. There will be an opportunity for commissioners to ask him about his sense of call (but not questions of theology appropriate when an inquirer becomes a candidate).
The Committee on Preparation for Ministry will be bringing the motion to approve Matt Miller to be brought under care. Let’s not miss this opportunity to witness what God is doing!
#3: Worshipping as a Presbytery Community!
We are a body who prays and worships together. So that we may bless one another, worship is that space to take a pause and center ourselves in the midst of our busyness. This Thursday, we are grateful for Rev. Ellie Stock (Honorably Retired), gifted in poetry, music, and a passion for climate justice, will lead us in worship. We will also break bread together and drink of the cup as an expression of our connectedness to the Earth and a sign of our mutuality. Our offering will go to Local Disaster Preparedness, so we can be responsive to one other experiencing crisis and disaster.
#4: Clarifying our Legacy Policy!
In 2017, the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy approved a “Legacy Investment Grants” Policy (Legacy Fund) to designate funds from building sales orchestrated by Administrative Commissions upon the dissolution of a congregation. The policy stipulated that a local mission the congregation participated in, supported, or began may receive “up to 50% of the net proceeds from sale of the property and contents of a dissolved congregation,” determined by an Administrative Commission in consultation with the dissolving session. According to the gathering minutes, at the time of the vote, there were questions raised from the floor about the need for clarification for how the final amount is determined, with a note that “up to 50%” was a concern of some. G-4.0206 in our Book of Order says that, “All property held by or for a particular church, a presbytery, a synod, the General Assembly, or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is held in trust nevertheless for the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).”
Since the approximately four years of this policy and seven Administrative Commissions, we have received feedback from the staff, Administrative Commission members, and formal church members that the policy is in need of clarity and focus. We also received in that time strong encouragements from the General Assembly about the use of funds from building sales towards reparative action efforts around racial injustice. With Administrative Commissions at work on soon to be formed, updating this policy would be of great help!
A revised clarifying policy is being presented by the Vision Team which still fits within the parameters of the older policy, yet will clarify designations moving forward. It organizes around the theological themes of Resurrection, Reparative Action, Stewardship, and Tithing.
#5: Becoming a Matthew 25 Presbytery!
In 2016, there was an overture to the General Assembly called “On Choosing to Be a Church Committed to the Gospel of Matthew 25” that called on the whole church to “recommit ourselves at the congregational level, the mid council level, and the national levels of our church to locate ourselves with the poor, to advocate with all of our voice for the poor, and to seek opportunities to take risks for and with the poor.” After a number of similar overtures in 2018, this call was organized under one umbrella and called the Matthew 25 movement. This text references Matthew 25:31-46 about how we treat our neighbors as essential to the work of the kin-dom of God. It went on to become the focusing lens of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and continues to this day. Congregations and mid-councils are invited to sign on to this movement simply by declare their commitments to any of the three areas:
Focus #1: Building congregational vitality
Focus #2: Dismantling structural racism
Focus #3: Eradicating systemic poverty
At this time, we are only one of two presbyteries in our synod that has NOT declared that we are a part of this movement, and, at 13 congregations having already joined, we have already passed the expectation threshold for a Matthew 25 presbytery having 20% of congregations joined. In other words, we as Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery, is already a Matthew 25 presbytery in practice—we just have yet to formally declare!
Here is a list of our declared Matthew 25 congregations: First Presbyterian Church of Cape Girardeau, First United Presbyterian Church of Belleville, Lovejoy United Presbyterian Church, New Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Charles Presbyterian Church, Florissant Presbyterian Church, Ladue Chapel Presbyterian Church, Webster Groves Presbyterian Church, First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, Second Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, Cote Brilliante Presbyterian Church, Trinity Presbyterian Church, First United Presbyterian Church of Granite City. Is your church on the list?
If you would like to learn more about what this movement is about, check out this link.
The Vision Team will be bringing the motion to the presbytery on joining the Matthew 25 movement.
Feel free to let us know if you have any questions ahead of time! Looking forward to seeing you at the Gathering!
Rev. Ryan J. Landino
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy