Topics in this eDIGEST:
- NOTE: Some highlights from the 224th PC(USA) General Assembly
- STUDY: Start dismantling racism with a 21-day challenge
- LISTEN: Twelve rules of church from the CDC
- ATTEND: Stewardship Kaleidoscope moving online
- REFLECT: Watching White Supremacy – On the 224th General Assembly
NOTE: Some highlights from the 224th PC(USA) General Assembly
The historic 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is in the books. Here are some articles about some actions taken during the first online assembly.
‘Just keep stirring’
224th GA commissioners overwhelmingly approve a second four-year term for the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II. . .
Racial injustice, COVID-19 and support for Native American churches take up bulk of third plenary at the 224th General Assembly
Commissioners say the time is now to speak up on justice issues. . .
‘Far more than all we can ask or imagine’
223rd GA co-moderators embrace GA 224 theme ‘Lament into Hope’ in final sermon. . .
Financial uncertainty leads to adoption of a unified budget at General Assembly
In the uncertainty and unpredictability brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the General Assembly, the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the PC(USA), A Corporation presented to the 224th General Assembly – meeting online because of the pandemic – a unified budget and a request to have the flexibility to make mid-stream adjustments in the next two years as the situation develops. . .
STUDY: Start dismantling racism with a 21-day challenge
Racism is deeply embedded in the life and history of the U.S. Through colonization, slavery and a shameful history of legislative action and judicial pronouncements, our nation created and embraced a system that valued and devalued people based simply on skin color and ethnic identity. People of color were deliberately subjugated for material, political and social advantage. Racism today is the continuing and enduring legacy of this history.
There is a growing awareness among Presbyterians that racism is a crisis and must be addressed. The PC(USA) is strongly committed to the struggle for racial justice.
One way to start is by taking the 21-Day Racial Justice Challenge, which can be done by individuals, churches or groups, and mid councils. Participants are asked to read, watch and/or reflect on something every day to raise awareness about the perniciousness of racism and encourage action. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the article to find the challenge activity schedule and links to the needed resources.CONSIDER gathering a group within your congregation or community to complete the challenge steps together. Gather at set times – via a Zoom meeting or at an outdoor location using social distancing guidelines – to discuss and reflect upon the activities.
This was posted at https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/racism/ as part of resources provided for the PC(USA) Matthew 25 initiative
LISTEN: Twelve rules of church from the CDC
Posted at ResourceUMC website
By the Rev. Kathy Noble | ResourceUMC
As United Methodist congregations return to their sanctuaries for worship, most attendees need to remember new rules for gathering, greeting and giving.
Those attending First United Methodist Church in Covington, Tennessee, were reminded of those new expectations when its Pandemic Praise Team posted a video singing new lyrics to a familiar Christmas tune. “The 12 Rules of Church from the CDC” is quickly becoming an internet hit.
Catherine Phelps, a nurse practitioner by profession and lead soprano at the church, used guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to compile rules for returning the building. Then the Pandemic Praise Team, three families who sing together for the church’s online services, came up with the idea of using humor and music to teach congregants the rules.
The children in the video are the grandchildren of Carole Mathis, associate pastor of worship and teaching at the church. They were present because her daughter is the soloist for rule #2 and her son-in-law is the sound technician.
ATTEND: Stewardship Kaleidoscope moving online
Church is changing in these extraordinary times but the call to be stewards of God’s kingdom has not been put on hold. So, this fall, the Stewardship Kaleidoscope conference is moving online.
The conference will include webinars from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m. (ET) on three consecutive Tuesdays:
- September 22 — Eric Barreto of Princeton Theological Seminary, will speak about the Acts of the Apostles in the 21st century – imagination, vision, and creativity in responding to our call;
- September 20— Consultant Bonnie Ives Marden will examine the ways in which faith shapes our financial health and provide practical tools for church financial management; and
- October 6 — Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will provide perspectives on engaging congregations across the generations, cultures and ethnicity to imagine building the church for forward thinking funding and functioning.
Conference organizers also can refer participants to a variety of workshops about stewardship topices.
Registration for the three presentations will cost $45, and include access to recordings of the speakers and the question-and-answer session following the final week of the series.
For more information about the programs and registration, visit stewardshipkaleidoscope.org
REFLECT: Watching White Supremacy – On the 224th General Assembly
Posted June 28, 2020
By Rev. Ryan J. Landino | Lead Presbyter for Transformation of Great Rivers Presbytery and member of the PC(USA) Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation
Actions during the PC(USA) 224th General Assembly included affirmation that Black Lives Matter and pledges to work against systemic racism. But there were many moments –noticed by those involved with the Special Committee on Racism Truth and Reconciliation – during the virtual meetings that contradict those statements.
One of the committee members, the Rev. Ryan J. Landino, discusses some of these moments in his blog post. Some excerpts are included below,
- I don’t even know how to start this blog other than to say I honestly wondered the other night if we were watching different General Assemblies. Because of that, I am writing this primarily to my white siblings to share my focused experience of this year’s PC(USA) General Assembly. There is a good chance I might make you upset by this blog. Please know I love you, and we are all in this together.
- First, let’s start with that there is so much to celebrate. . .
Rev. Landino proceeds to note the celebrated things include, among other things, election of new co-moderators, logistical and technical successes during the first virtual GA, reelection of the stated clerk, and funding for Native American worshiping communities.
He also notes that he was challenged to watch the GA proceedings specifically through his lens as a member of the special committee.
- . . . This blog is an evolution and culmination of social media exchanges that were inspired by her challenge, as well as long processing phone conversations with fellow white committee member and heavy metal rock star Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence, as well as chats with other beloved members of the committee.
- Now that I am at the other end of this General Assembly, I am going to be honest: I have never seen my fellow colleagues of color on the committee so tired and weary and heavy-hearted as I have seen them at the end of this assembly. This General Assembly ended in a lot of spirit-crushing heartache, and I don’t think everyone understands why. I admit freely that watching this assembly alongside my siblings in Christ on this committee absolutely colored my viewing experience (sure, pun intended), but because I have learned so much from my colleagues of color, I don’t think I could have NOT seen what I saw if I tried.
- What I saw was whiteness on full display; the norms, attitudes, and assumptions that are a natural byproduct of white supremacy culture that our majority white denomination has been co-collaborating with and preserving for 250 years.
As the blog continues, Rev. Landino highlights several situations – including the Assembly’s refusal to engage the report “Disparities Experienced by Black Women and Girls Task Force” and an attempt by a commissioner to derail an intention 8 minute and 46 second period of silence to symbolically stand with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) siblings and corporately lament systemic racism – that demonstrate how white supremacy showed up during the GA.