I was all mad this afternoon, because due to a tight schedule I was not able to do EVERYTHING i wanted to do. I got to watch 95% of the MODcast but I had to leave during the praying because the church's Trustees Committee was meeting with the Eastern Oregon Presbytery Trustees Committee (can you believe all these Presbyterians had better things to do than watch our moderator talk to a computer?) (also, try imagining how guilty a Calvinist would feel about signing off just as the prayers begin).
So I arrived at our joint Trustee meeting huffy and a little resentful. Besides, this meeting was a resentful business to begin with. The Lostine church people arrived at Presbytery last month with a request for a loan so that we can finish the construction of a handicapped-accessible ramp. The paperwork had not gone through all the right venues, and we were publically chastized on the floor of Presbytery. Harrumph.
But oh, goodness, did my attitude change. It was great to hear our church people talk about the project, and how we were consistently under-running our budget by 50% due to the great amount of volunteer input (we have a friendly contractor who will consent to direct volunteer laborers). Then, it was great to hear the positivity in our financial reports. This church is not ailing, at all, and seems to be up-swinging. The county is less affected by the current recession than other counties (possibly because we never really emerged from the last recession, and people got used to being unemployed)
THEN the Presbytery Trustee Chair asked two particularly heart-opening questions and my attitude shift was solidified:
1) How does this construction project aid your mission as a church?
(YES, WE BELIEVE that handicapped accessibility is a ministry, and that inclusivity is a virtue, and that the elderly deserve to attend our chili feeds just as much as any other community member to whom we are reaching out.) (it's just good to re-state, re-claim, and AFFIRM that belief)
2) How can Eastern Oregon Presbytery support or help your church in your mission?
(Pray for us, and talk to us, and help us get out of ourselves -- to encounter outsiders, get out of our county, re-vitalize our own spirits by meeting yours -- Come visit us! as you have done -- encourage us to go to conventions -- connect us)
AGHH i just LOVE seeing the rubber hit the road. It might seem stupid, ridiculously encumbered, circuitious of us to have committees overseeing committees (if we were a Catholic congregation, the bishop would just rubber-stamp the deal and get us the money) - but then we get together! and the prayers and connections and support and communal discernment process just SHOW us that God is with us, and in us, and among us, and between us.