Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Wineskins Convocation V – November 9th

A few more dahlia pics before getting to the blog. These are all dahlias that I grew this past summer. The dahlias in the order they appear are: Fuzzy Wuzzy, Formby Gold, Fleurel and Fire Mountain.

The New Wineskins Convocation V began tonight just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Worship and prayer are going to be major components of the convocation. Worship included time to pray for those countries and Christians where oppression is a way of life. My small prayer group was able to pray for my daughter’s ministry to Muslim women in an “undisclosed” Muslim country.

Dean Weaver, one of the founders of New Wineskins, gave a presentation that was designed to bring “newcomers” up to speed on the history of New Wineskins and to set the stage for the next two days. He summed things up by saying, “It’s not about leaving; it’s not about staying; it’s about realigning to reach the world for Christ.”

The New Wineskins Association of Church is composed of 176 congregations. Some of the congregations are in the PCUSA. Some of the congregations are in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). And, it sounds like there are some congregations that are not a part of the two mentioned denominations. The realignment transcends denominational ties. The realignment is about congregations joining with other congregation that hold the same essential tenants (that are actually spelled out—how revolutionary!) and ethical imparities (also spelled out) in ministry and mission.

One may ask, “Why is there a need for realignment?” All one has to do is attend one of these gathering and the answer to that question become apparent. These is something powerful about joining with like minded followers of Christ, worshipping together, praying together, working together, ministering together and holding one another accountable. It is unlike any other Presbyterian gathering that I have been a part of.

Another question you may be asking is, ‘Why is Pastor Lance at the New Wineskins Convocation?” First, the congregation I serve is not a member of the New Wineskins Association of Churches. Evergreen Presbyterian Church would have no problem with the essential tenants or ethical imperatives of New Wineskins. Joining New Wineskins has not been a priority over the past couple of years—we have had more pressing issues to deal with. Second, Evergreen Presbyterian Church did not pay for me to attend this convocation—I am paying for it myself. I was going to take “vacation” for this trip but the session wanted me to use some of my study leave. Third, I do not know how long I will be in the PCUSA. Actions of the 218th General Assembly have serious affected my future with this denomination. One possible option for me is to stay in the PCUSA but to align with a group (such as New Wineskins) for ministry and mission. I want to see how pastors and congregations live this option out. Another possible option would be to stay within the PCUSA “if” the Presbyterians for Renewal can get their new “synod” model passed. I will talk about this in a future post. Another option for me is to leave the PCUSA and join the New Wineskins Presbytery of the EPC. I want to see how pastors and churches have made this transition. Fourth, I want to see how the area networks (the main backbone of New Wineskins) actually work. I want to see what the leadership of New Wineskins has to say about their future dreams and plans.

Check back each day for my impressions of the New Wineskins Association of Churches Convocation V.


At 12:30 AM , Blogger Red_Cleric said...

It's a God thing that I'm NOT there. I had every intention but Cascades Presbytery voted on our dismissal on Friday at Presbytery and a dear saint was translated to the side of Christ that night. I would not have to be there and try to deal with this coming week.

God knew better, [He usually does. Actually He ALWAYS does, I just don't hear all that well].

Have a good time. I look forward to the reports and check out Presbytery of the Cascades process paper. I think it's buried somewhere on there website.

It was a very gracious process for one of the top 10 progressive presbyteries in the nation.

At 1:34 PM , Blogger Nav said...

Lance, Great to hear you are there and I look forward to hearing your report. I am unable to be present this time but I serve one of the New Wineskins Churches who has been part of it from the beginning and hopes to find a faithful way within the PCUSA by having such an association.

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