Comings and Goings is a blog written by Theology, Worship and Education Director Charles B. "Chip" Hardwick as he travels throughout the church. God is on the move out and about in the world, working to redeem all things in Jesus Christ. As we join this mission, by the power of the Spirit we see God on the move. This blog contains glimpses of how Chip finds this to be true in his comings and goings.
Yesterday I was in Atlanta for a meeting of the Special Committee on Funding Theological Institutions, a team which has worked since the last General Assembly (at its request) on the question of the best way for the denomination to raise money for the Presbyterian Church (USA) seminaries. There are seminary presidents, development professionals, members of the Committee on Theological Education, lawyers, a recent college graduate, pastors, and staff of the Presbyterian Mission Agency on the committee. We met at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA (just outside Atlanta).
This past week I have been in Princeton, NJ, for alumni reunion events and the inauguration of the seminary’s new president, M. Craig Barnes. It was a week full of interesting lectures by Robert Wuthnow, Elsie McKee, and Bob Dykstra, of connecting with folks from the seminary and the denomination, and of worshiping Christ in powerful ways at both the seminary and university chapels. I was struck by two of the charges given during my time in Princeton.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Ghost Ranch, NM, for the first time, for a meeting of the Presbytery of Santa Fe. The presbytery had invited me to come to facilitate the marriage study, which my colleagues in the Office of Theology and Worship had prepared at the request of the 220th General Assembly (2012). This study provides questions and resources from our theological tradition in order to understand what the church has said about marriage, and, by extension, what we might say about same gender marriage.
As I write I am flying home from an extremely thought-provoking conference at Montreat called “The Church in Purple.” It brought together speakers from the so-called progressive and conservative wings of the church, and asked them to think together about how we can be one church which lives in unity despite our blue/red differences.
Yesterday I was in Detroit for a meeting of the Association of Mid-Council Leaders (where they changed their name from the much more simian Association of Executive Presbyters, or AEPs). I went in order to talk with them about the small church residency program For Such a Time as This, and how presbyteries and the Presbyterian Mission Agency (where I serve) can work together to help small churches to thrive.