Blog post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
This past weekend the presbytery had a visioning retreat with the team and sub-team leaders. It was a time of stimulating ideas, great conversation, and rich fellowship. As we met with one another, we realized what a blessing we have when we come together in fellowship. Saturday will be another opportunity for us to meet face to face and get to know one another a little better at our stated Presbytery Gathering.
But first things first! We will be voting on eight amendments to the Book of Order. These include:
- Bringing clarity to the constitution of a nominating committee.
- How to handle Ministers of Word and Sacrament who renounce jurisdiction while in the midst of a disciplinary proceedings, and then want to return to the denomination.
- Preventing congregations from supporting a political candidate.
- Clarity on rules regarding a minister laboring beyond the bounds of a presbytery.
- Clarifying wording for pastors and commissioned pastors.
- Clarifying when children should receive the Lord’s supper.
- Adding sexual abuse as misconduct.
- Eliminating the time limit sexual abuse can be reported.
Some see the Book of Order as a manual of archaic rules that impose limitations on the activities of congregations and ministers. These amendments remind us that the Book of Order is a living document, responding to the challenges of our time. It is an attempt to guide the life of the church. The amendment process keeps the Book of Order updated. When presbyteries and sessions around the country experience a problem that the Book of Order does not address, is fuzzy on interpretation, or outdated, the amendment process addresses these needs.
The challenge for Saturday is that the commissioners will need to read the amendments, rationales, and recommendations. This is real homework! But it is a way to be informed when we vote on Saturday.
In other parts of business, we will hear about some exciting congregational initiatives for 2019 as we lay out the budget. I’m looking forward to our panel discussion on Creation and Science with Ellie Stock and Sara Miles. Sara will be our preacher for the afternoon, and we will serve communion.
Most of all I’m looking forward to seeing the commissioners, Teaching Elders, and visitors. As I travel throughout our presbytery, I’m enjoying the worship and fellowship. We have some really good people in our presbytery, and I am blessed to serve as in Giddings Lovejoy.
Rev. Craig M. Howard