Alive and well
January 6, 2012
All of a sudden it’s 2012.
What will we in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) make of this new year?
Here’s what I hope and pray we will make happen during 2012, with God’s help:
- a renewed understanding of who we are and who we serve;
- a renewed commitment to doing mission and ministry together;
- a renewed appreciation for all that is already happening across our denomination in mission and ministry;
- a renewed energy for finding and carrying out new ways of doing mission and ministry.
I don’t want to suggest that all is sweetness and light. We are grappling with serious and divisive issues. It may well be that 2012 will bring about departures of some congregations to other denominations that they feel will better suit their theological perspective.
But these last eighteen months as Moderator of the General Assembly have shown me that the PC(USA) is neither defunct nor dying. I have witnessed a community of faith called the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) where people are living out the gospel with integrity and courage, where people are proclaiming God’s Word authentically and effectively, and where people are coming together to discern where God is leading them.
I’ve seen effective ministries in action: the Hands of Christ project in Charleston Atlantic Presbytery, the migrant health fairs sponsored by the Synod of the Covenant. I’ve witnessed the nurturing of future church leaders at our PC(USA) seminaries. I’ve celebrated with Korean-American clergywomen the 20th anniversary of their fellowship and given thanks for what they bring to our faith community. I’ve worshipped in storefronts, cathedrals, and unprepossessing sanctuaries in small towns where God’s Word is proclaimed in different languages, styles, and music, but always to the same end: proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
The PC(USA) is not perfect. It is not the Kingdom. We need to take seriously our claim to be “reformed, always to be reformed” if we expect to proclaim the gospel effectively into the 21st century.
But as we move into 2012, let’s not let the cacophony of our internal debates drown out the less strident, but nevertheless, effective ministry that is the heart of the PC(USA).
The PC(USA) is alive and well. Thanks be to God.