For the past several weeks the class of elders you elected in April have been reading. As of tonight, they will have met three times, sharing their faith, sharing conversation and questions about the reading, and talking about the commitment that accepting a call to serve the church brings. They have also been filling out sheets in a workbook designed to help them learn all the things they have to learn in order to stand up in front of you and answer the constitutional questions with integrity.
As part of their training, they have been assigned portions of the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions, the two documents that make up the Constitution of the PCUSA. They have also been reading chapters in Selected to Serve, A Guide for Church Leaders. One chapter covered the constitutional questions from the Book of Order. Another chapter has thumbnail sketches of our nine confessions and the circumstances in which they were written. (A tenth confession, Belhar, has now been ratified by a majority of presbyteries but won’t be added to the Book of Confessions until after the General Assembly meets in Portland this summer.)
Each time we meet we begin with worship. Then we launch into the assignments together. Tonight’s assignment has to do with Presbyterian theology and the role of the confessions. Perhaps you know that the confessions that comprise our Constitution were each written during a time of change and challenge for the Church. The oldest is the Apostles’ Creed written in the second century. Belhar is the newest, originally written in South Africa in Afrikaans in 1982. Re-stating what we believe in times of challenge is a central aspect of being part of “the church reformed, always reforming.”
After tonight, we have two more training sessions to go, one on worship, governance and discipline, and one on the nuts and bolts of how things work at BPC. So the next time you see Jama Hayes, Andrew Warren, Fred Piercy, Brian Smith or Peggy Kinkaid, you might ask them what they think of the process and thank them for their commitment.
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 55:12-13; Psalm 1; Revelation 22:2
The Prayer List can be found here.