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Making room for the little shots

Online conference gives everyone a chance to discuss PC(USA)’s future

June 1, 2011

SANTA ROSA, Calif.

The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 218th General Assembly (2008) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), wonders what wisdom is possessed by Presbyterians who may not travel in the movers and shakers crowd at General Assembly or keynote national conferences, or even lead a regionally influential congregation.

He wonders what they have to say about the future of the church, about where and how God is at work in the PC(USA).

So he’s throwing an online conference called We Are Presbyterians.

The concept ― and invitation ― is simple: record an 8-minute video answering five questions, post it on YouTube, notify Reyes-Chow and then watch a full day of the videos being streamed while interacting online on June 22, beginning at 8 a.m. PDT.

“We’re looking for people who don’t normally have a chance to speak to the whole church,” Reyes-Chow said. “There’s a perception that the two recent conferences where people are trying to talk about the future, Next and The Fellowship, are funded and led by big church, tall-steeple pastors. While there’s a definite need for their expertise and experience, there are also a lot of people who have some great ideas or at least a different perspective to the whole thing.”

Reyes-Chow is aware that the expense of hosting or participating in a face-to-face conference is a significant barrier to making room for lesser-known speakers.

“No one has to get on a plane or spend all that money on renting meeting rooms so a small group of people can listen to a few people. Technology allows more people to be heard by more people,” he said.

The project’s goal is to collect and stream at least 50 videos during the day.

“One of the challenges is helping people navigate the technology,” Reyes-Chow said. “I get that not everyone has a video camera, but you know someone who has a web cam on their laptop. Someone around you and you can just record straight into that camera and post it to YouTube. You don’t have to edit it.”

Reyes-Chow noted that a couple of the videos received so far do incorporate editing, music and entire congregations.

“It’s pretty cool to see the diversity already,” he said.

“This is not in opposition to anything,” Reyes-Chow said. “It’s more like a message: ‘Remember the church is bigger than those who have the emotional, ecclesiastical and physical resources to gather and come up with options.’ It’s a way to add some other flavors into the mix. We’ve talked about wanting to have our voices included, or have a multitude of voices included, and this is one way to step up and do this.”

Instructions on how to record and post a video can be found at Reyes-Chow’s website. To watch a video about the project, click here.

The deadline for posting a video is June 15, midnight PDT.

Anitra Kitts is a free-lance writer in Santa Rosa, Calif., and a candidate for the ministry under the care of Cascades Presbytery. 

  1. We've diminshed the Reformed Tenets of Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide and Soli Deo Gloria in favor of the idolatry of "Sola Diversity". We are no longer Reformed.

    by the <"))))>{

    June 15, 2011

  2. The 10% or there about have kept hammering until they got their way. We conservatives have sat on our laurels and let it happen. I for one would have been happy to let them leave and take their property with them. They want us all to agree to disagree, but only on their terms. I wonder if they will allow us to leave and take our propertry with us. They say Christ included all outsiders, but fail to recognize that it is with conditions of repentance. Surely we all fail and fall short of the glory of God, but thank God if we believe and are " repentant" by his grace we are saved. There are many examples in the Bible of those who fail to obey and are condemned. Jesus talks of Hell 33 times in the new testament. Far more times than he talks of heaven. So is he all inclusive for those who do not repent? I think not. It seems man is capable of rationalizing anything to make it o'k.

    by Leland Meyer

    June 7, 2011

  3. I like the idea of giving more people a voice in the pcusa, but it's ironic that a former GA moderator has to go outside the pcusa network to let them be heard. I too wonder what it means to be a Presbyterian; it seems like one can believe contradictory things & still be a part of the big tent. How much can the big tent be stretched b/4 it breaks? Or are we already witnessing the split? There was a time when I was proud to be a presbyterian, but in recent years, I don't say much about it anymore. We've become the sideline church in rapid decline.

    by Randall L.

    June 6, 2011

  4. I am a Elder in our church, and what i hear breaks my heart. I believe in what the Bible and what God tells me. And i pray for all those that want to change God's will. You just can't change what the Bible tells us, so i pray you do the right thing.I ask this in God's name. Amen

    by Judy Laird

    June 3, 2011

  5. Bruce, Yes, we are Presbyterian. However, I for one no longer know what that means. If the N-Fog passes, and with the passage of A-10, I am no longer rejoicing at my commitment to be Presbyterian. Everyone lifts up change, but I am not sure the change is representative of "Presterianism" as it has been defined by the Reformed Faith. The word "diversity" makes me want to throw up with all it means in this denomination. Mans effort to create unity in diversity is like building a tower of babel and we know how God reacted to that. Well, I am a member of the PC(USA) but I no longer am sure what that means and like many will be weighing my choices. So, I just cannot see why you are celebrating "being Presbyterian."

    by l.lee

    June 2, 2011

  6. Will the last ones out of the demon ination please turn the lights out.

    by Calvin

    June 2, 2011

  7. While gathering input from those "who don't normally have a chance to speak to the whole church" is a laudable action, the implications in this article are astoundingly divisive. You set up a perception that Next and Fellowship are like tall steeple country clubs that have "the emotional, ecclesiastical and physical resources" to meet and connect without regards to or connection with smaller churches which is wholly untrue. All churches have been welcomed to participate in the conversations they are having. Your phraseology also implies that the larger churches, while nice for their experience and expertise, are not welcome to participate indicating they have less “flavor” to add. You make it seem like the larger churches have all the say in the national church which is also untrue. The larger churches have been systematically denied representation in the general assembly congruent to that of the smaller churches. You have not stated it directly, but the message to all large churches is clear: You are less. If this is your attempt at unification, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

    by Burns

    June 2, 2011

  8. God is not at work in the PCUSA. The Devil is. Jesus Christ has spewed this denomination from His lips. Apostate is the only word to describe what this denomination has become.

    by Caleb

    June 1, 2011

  9. Okay so what are the questions?

    by Loretta Credo

    June 1, 2011

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