Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Form of Government Task Force

The last General Assembly meeting had the “pleasure” of dealing with the Trinity Report. Early drafts of that report had been sent out to various groups for input—very little input was given. Thus, we received the report that we did.

The Form Government Task Force is working on a re-write of the Form of Government section of the Book of Order. This is a VERY important task! The task force is encouraging Presbyterians to carefully read their working drafts and make comments and ask questions. The ball is in our court!

The Book of Order desperately needs to be redone. Toby Brown on his A Classical Presbyterian blog agrees with the New Wineskins Association of Churches’ assessment that the Presbyterian Church was organized around a cultural setting that no longer exists. Culture has changed—the gospel of Jesus hasn’t changed. We need to find new ways of being the church in our time and place.

Before coming to Evergreen I served in the Presbytery of Alaska. The geographical setting of Southeast Alaska presented many challenges. Most of the churches were very small. Travel between towns was best accomplished by plane (jet travel between the biggest towns and float plane with the smaller towns). In that Presbytery we had to “push the limits” of Presbyterian polity. Our attitude had to be one of “if the Book of Order doesn’t forbid it then it is alright to do it.” Conference calls were a way of life. Many Committee of Ministry meetings (and some Presbytery special meetings) were conducted by conference calls. We adapted to meet the needs of challenging setting.

I applaud the efforts of transforming the Book of Order. How we go about organizing and being the church need to change. What we believe as the church must not change.

Go to the Task Force’s web page and read the first section called “The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity.” Tomorrow I will comment on F-1.01 – 1.0304.


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