[PC(USA) World Mission may be a source of joint support, aspects of the Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Foundation, Presbyterian Global Fellowship, Presbyterians for Renewal conferences, Outreach Foundation, etc.];
An atmosphere of support for congregations both within and outside of the PC(USA).
We invite like-minded pastors and elders to a gathering on August 25-27 in Minneapolis to explore joining this movement and help shape its character. Our purpose is to LIVE INTO new patterns as they are created, modeling a way of faith: the worship, supportive fellowship, sharing of best practices, and accessible theology that brings unity and the Spirit's vitality.
- A Fellowship: The most immediate change we intend is creating a new way of relating in common faith, a Fellowship (name to be determined). The primary purpose of this Fellowship will be the encouragement of local congregations to live out the Good News proclaimed by our Savior, increasing the impact of the Kingdom of Heaven. This Fellowship will exist within current presbyteries for the time being, but energies and resources will flow in new directions. It is an intermediate tool to bring together like-minded congregations and pastors, to enable us to build a future different than our fractured present.
- New Synod/Presbyteries: In the near future we will need "middle bodies" that offer freedom to express historical, biblical values amid ordination changes in the PC(USA). More importantly, we long for presbytery-like bodies with theological and missional consensus rather than fundamental disagreement over so many core issues. We need new processes that identify and support the next generation of leadership differently than the current model, which unintentionally weeds out the entrepreneurial persons we so desperately need in our congregations. Many current functions should be removed; some, like curriculum and mission relationships, have become less centralized already. We will work with the Middle Governing Bodies Commission since changes to The Book of Order will be needed to step fully into this reality.
- Possible New Reformed Body: Congregations and presbyteries that remain in a denomination that fundamentally changes will become an insurmountable problem for many. Some members of the Fellowship will need an entity apart from the current PC(USA). It is likely that a new body will need to be created, beyond the boundary of the current PC(USA), while remaining in correspondence with its congregations. The wall between these partner Reformed bodies will be permeable, allowing congregations and pastors to be members in the Fellowship regardless of denominational affiliation. All kinds of possibilities exist, and much will depend on how supportive the PC(USA) can be in allowing something new to flourish.
- Possible Reconfiguration of the PC(USA): We intend to continue conversations within the PC(USA), and have met with both Louisville's leadership and that of the Covenant Network in the past few months. We believe the denomination no longer provides a viable future and perceive that the Covenant Network also sees a broken system. We hope to work together to see if some new alignment might serve the whole Church.
Any model that includes an entity outside the PC(USA) does mean fewer remaining congregations, pastors, and elders to fight the challenges of the current PC(USA). Votes will swing in directions that had not been desirable before. For many this outcome simply acknowledges that fighting is not the way we choose to proceed; our goal is not institutional survival but effective faithfulness as full participants in the worldwide Church. We hope to discover and model what a new "Reformed body" looks like in the coming years, and we invite you to join us, stepping faithfully, boldly, and joyfully into the work for which God has called us.
We invite you to:
Download and share a PDF of this letter. Or download and share a PDF of the white paper "Time for Something New", or visit our temporary webpage for more information, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and/or would like to be a signatory on this letter.
Vic Pentz, Peachtree Presbyterian, Atlanta, GA
John Crosby, Christ Presbyterian, Edina, MN
David Peterson, Memorial Drive Presbyterian, Houston, TX
Jim Singleton, First Presbyterian, Colorado Springs, CO
David Swanson, First Presbyterian, Orlando, FL
Rich Kannwischer, St. Andrews, Newport Beach, CA
Mark Toone, Chapel Hill Presbyterian, Gig Harbor, WA
G. Christopher Scruggs, Advent Presbyterian, Cordova, TN
Mark Brewer, Bel Air Presbyterian, Los Angeles, CA
Allan Poole, Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian, Durham, NC
Rick Murray, Covenant Presbyterian, Austin, TX
Tim Harrison, Crossroads Presbyterian, Mequon, WI
Bob Burkins, Elmwood United Presbyterian, East Orange, NJ
Doug Pratt, First Presbyterian, Bonita Springs, FL
Mateen Elass, First Presbyterian, Edmond, OK
Rich McDermott, First Presbyterian, Fort Collins, CO
Richard Gibbons, First Presbyterian, Greenville, SC
Dan Baumgartner, First Presbyterian, Hollywood, CA
Jim Birchfield, First Presbyterian, Houston, TX
Jim Davis, First Presbyterian, Kingwood, TX
Jerry Andrews, First Presbyterian, San Diego, CA
John Sowers, First Presbyterian, Spokane, WA
Jim Miller, First Presbyterian, Tulsa, OK
Jack Peebles, First Presbyterian, Yakima, WA
Don Baird, Fremont Presbyterian, Sacramento, CA
Doug Ferguson, Grace Presbyterian, Houston, TX
Bill Teng, Heritage Presbyterian, Alexandria, VA
Ronald W. Scates, Highland Park Presbyterian, Dallas, TX
David Lenz, Hope Presbyterian, Richfield, MN
Paul A. Cunningham, La Jolla Presbyterian, La Jolla, CA
Bob Sanders, Lake Grove Presbyterian, Lake Oswego, OR
Kevin Pound, Mandarin Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, FL
John Ortberg, Menlo Park Presbyterian, Menlo Park, CA
Jeff Ebert, Presbyterian Church at New Providence, New Providence, NJ
Douglas Garrard, Palm Desert Community Presbyterian, Palm Desert, CA
Paul Detterman, Presbyterians for Renewal, Louisville, KY
Mike McClenahan, Solana Beach Presbyterian, Solana Beach, CA
Steve Hartman, Third Presbyterian, Richmond, VA
David Joynt, Presbyterian Church of Toms River, Toms River, NJ
Douglas J. Rumford, Trinity United Presbyterian, Santa Ana, CA
Patrick H. Wrisley, University Place Presbyterian, University Place, WA
George Hinman (Senior Pastor) and Tim Snow (Executive Pastor), University Presbyterian, Seattle, WA
Peter Barnes, Westlake Hills Presbyterian, Austin, TX
Baron Eliason, Westminster Presbyterian, Lubbock, TX
*Signatories represent themselves, not necessarily the Session or congregation of their respective churches.