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‘Project Overture’: March sadness

Texas congregation’s proposed overture hits a sour note

April 5, 2010

NEW YORK

Three months from now, more than 102 overtures will be considered during the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which opens July 3 in Minneapolis.

Among them is one of the two proposed overtures that the Presbyterian News Service began tracking  last fall as part of our “Project Overture” series. This Overture is now officially known as Ovt 009 – On Establishing an Annual General Convocation meeting and Moving Meetings of the General Assembly to Every Six Years – From the Presbytery of Foothills.

As for the other proposed overture we were following — from the Session of Ridgeview Presbyterian Church, Farmers Branch, Texas, through Grace Presbytery to create a potential time-and-cost saving addition to the search process for pastors and associate pastors by providing a unified system for posting and distributing one sermon video per pastor and seminary graduate for the benefit of Pastor Nominating Committees and pastors seeking calls — well ...

According to the Rev. Richard H. Rosenfeld, Ridgeview’s pastor, the process proved to be a “learning experience.”

After the Ridgeview Church’s session sent the overture to Grace Presbytery’s Presbytery Council, the former Air Force chaplain and the elders waited.

And waited.

Anticipating slam-dunk approval, Rosenfeld arrived at the next presbytery meeting only to learn that the proposed overture had been referred to Grace Presbytery’s Presbytery Life Committee.

Prompting more waiting but more hope that the Farmer’s Branch team was going in for an easy lay-up.

But, like so many followers of the NCAA men’s basketball championship this spring, Rosenfeld soon discovered that getting out of the first round is never a sure thing. What seemed like a winner going in simply busted his bracket on the way out. 

Rosenfeld learned the overture was being forwarded to the presbytery floor, but without the Presbytery Life Committee’s endorsement.

Tom Tickner moderates the Presbytery Life Committee. He told the Presbyterian News Service (PNS): “The Committee felt there were already ways in place to accomplish what the overture was calling for.”

Tickner also said the committee considered the potential costs involved “in recreating what is already in place,” such as YouTube and candidates’ personal websites.

As for the lukewarm response to his congregation’s proposal? “It’s no one’s fault but my own,” sighed Rosenfeld,  

In perfect 20/20 hindsight, the Tuscaloosa native reeled off for PNS several other reasons why he feels the potential overture became an “underture.”

“I didn’t push it as hard as perhaps was warranted. I also didn’t have a lot of ‘whereases’ and ‘what-fors’ or a bunch of rationales.”

While Rosenfeld is disappointed that his congregation’s overture was not supported,  he believes that the new insights into the whole overture process gained by him and his session have proved to be an overall beneficial experience.

To see the complete list of overtures submitted to GA219 to date, visit the PC-Biz site.

  1. Hi Richard. I got your linked note but I am not a member so I hope this works. It has been 20 years since I saw you in the florist shop on Rhein Mein. I hope all is going well with you and Stephanie. Does this message mean you have retired and now have a church in Texas? I hope to hear from you by email soon. Susan

    by Susan Woods Simon

    July 26, 2014

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