Presbytery Gathering Reflections

Jun 4, 2023

By Susan Thornton

The June 1st presbytery gathering was held at Shepherd’s Grove Presbyterian Church. The day began with a very well attended workshop led by Dr. Marcia McFee. Drawing on her experience in the world of dance and musical theater and also on her studies in theology, liturgy and ethics, Dr McFee encouraged all who plan worship to engage all the senses and to pay attention to all the ways people learn and process the world around them. Her energetic and creative presentation left all wanting more.

After a brief break, commissioners returned to the sanctuary for the business meeting. Maggie Goodwin shared a very brief overview of the Strategic Task Group’s Report, recently given to Council. Staff Relations Committee Moderator, Leanne Strommen, presented the rationale for dissolving the Co-Executive positions and reestablishing the position of Executive Presbyter. After responding to questions regarding their thinking and the amended position description, the presbytery elected Rev. Tom Cramer to the position of Executive Presbyter.

Other business included the first reading of the new Property and Proceeds Policy, electing new members to serve on the Trustees and Committee on Ministry, an invitation to consider standing for election as a commissioner to the 226th General Assembly to be held in Salt Lake City in 2024. The Administrative Council for Norwalk Presbyterian Church was dismissed with thanks. We learned the Administrative Council for New Hope and St. Paul’s will continue due to technical issues regarding the Synod’s ownership of the property. The Strategic Coordinating Team reported on its generous grants to churches and new worshipping communities, some of them from the newly established Bliss Fund. Finally, commissioners were reminded of the Learning Conversation, Cultivating Vital Partnerships, to be led by Jonas Hayes and Maggie Goodwin today (Monday, June 5th) at 4:00 p.m. via Zoom (Register here).

The meeting was closed with prayer, followed by a delicious BBQ dinner compliments of Shepherd’s Grove.

The gathering closed with a communion service designed by Dr. McFee and led by her, Mark Davis and Shepherd’s Grove musicians. The service modeled all that Dr. McFee had shared earlier in the day – music, movement, and inclusive and expansive language liturgy. Welcomed to Christ’s table of love, we heard, tasted and saw God’s goodness in the bread and the cup and in one another and were charged with allowing hospitality to move through us to others as we went out into the world.