PC(USA) offers Twitter chat on navigating change in an ever-changing church landscape

Office of Theology and Worship to host #TheoConvo Twitter chat Nov. 17

November 10, 2015

Karen Russell, program manager for the Company of New Pastors.

Karen Russell, program manager for the Company of New Pastors. —Gregg Brekke

LOUISVILLE

The Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Theology and Worship is hosting its third Twitter chat on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. EST. The conversation will be moderated by the Rev. Karen Russell, program manager for the Company of New Pastors.

In her paper, entitled “The River’s Flow: Transformation, Leaders, Congregations,” Russell invites readers to explore change and transformation; to imagine leadership—pastoral and congregational—through the lens of pilot and crew guiding a towboat and barges carried by river waters.

Russell, who serves as program manager for the Company of New Pastors, a transition-into-ministry program, previously worked with the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey prior to entering seminary.

“I was based in Paducah, Ky., with Ministry on the River, which served crews of inland river towboats and their families,” Russell said. “Since I have lived on or near the Ohio River most of my life, I have spent most of life entranced by the moving and changing river water. I suspect that one of the things that attracted me to the Presbyterian Church after a lifetime as a Southern Baptist was the language of the moving waters of baptism that claim us. For me, moving water is a metaphor for call.”

Theological Conversations, which launched May 24, is a new series of free resources designed to draw church leaders into theological conversation, whether in session or presbytery meetings or adult education. The four sets of materials to be released throughout 2015 are designed to foster rich conversation in the church. Each set includes a study resource and accompanying conversation questions.

Among the questions to be addressed during Tuesday’s chat are:

  • How is the life of your congregation like the picture of a towboat and its crew directing barges on a river? How is the life of your congregation unlike that picture?
  • How does a session as a whole engage in the congregational leadership and life pictured in this paper?
  • Is transformation different than change? In what ways?
  • “Every trip up and down the river is different. The river is always changing, . . .” Change in congregations often seems either non-existent, or very slow. And yet congregations too are always changing. How can congregational leaders see slower moving change and respond?

The office of Theology and Worship hosted two previous Twitter chats on the papers published to date as part of the Theological Conversations series. The first, with the Rev. Cindy Cushman, focused on the paper she authored entitled, “Mary, the Magnificat, and Race.” The second Twitter chat, held Oct. 1., was moderated by the Rev. Dr. Dean Thompson, author of “Our Presbyterian Virtues,” the second paper in the series.

The Nov. 17 Twitter chat can be followed using the hashtag #TheoConvo.

  1. My father introduced me to Seamens Church Institute in 1940's and my Grandmother, Mrs Mary (James) Duguid to PCUSA World Missions. God Bless your ministry and service to new pastors.

    by PAstor Jim Shotwell, Retired

    November 11, 2015