My name is Katy Stenta and I’m the pastor of teeny tiny pastor 30 members, 60 congregants. I attended GA via twitter last year, when I broke my foot and was limited in the running around type of ministry I’m used to. I was so energized and excited about electing 2 women as CO-Moderators and our first African-American Clerk, gender-neutral bathrooms, etc.! I saw some problems (the Young Adult Advisory thing is still way weird and ageist, but still) I saw Vision 2020 unfold and thought the name for a committee that looks at the past and toward the future was perfect!
“The intention is there would be a new vision for the denomination” by the General Assembly in 2020, the proposal states. https://pres-outlook.org/2016/06/way-forward-committee-approves-2020-vision-team/ I’m ready for the vision.
But somehow, we are back to structure. And although it does affect me and my church, I cannot begin to explain what is going on to my church other than “we are trying to restructure.”
But I’d rather be telling my church “we as a denomination are finding our vision”
We with missionaries across the globe, we with a deep history of translating Bibles. We with our Belhar Confession, and our hope to address POC, queer, white culture, gun violence, economic injustice, hunger, etc. We, with more money than small nations are looking at our gifts. I want to say that we are doing the work of faith seeking understanding, that we are providing access to God to ALL people. We are becoming the denomination to go to learn about God.
I want us to be saying “We could plant 100 churches tomorrow if we wanted to”
“We could support a college intern at every church, to help them pay off their student loans and give them leadership skills for their passion”
I want to be able to say “Every local church is a welcome map, with a website that gives salient information about the neighborhood and area to every family in the community”
I want us to have denomination wide advocacy about racism and gun violence in a way that ties us together.
What if we had courses at every church and Louisville as a place to learn about God
I want us to be infinitely supportive of all our children going to camp, of all the chaplains of college and hospital ministries.
I want us to be actively training people to help our ageing population, and our special needs community.
I want us to be just place to work, where people say “go work for the Presbyterians, because they are awesome”
There are so many ideas we can do, and these are just mine. I want us to be in a position to do these great things and so many other, very doable things.
Why do I love church? Because it has the most potential to empower anyone, ANYONE, to do good works. If you have a good idea, church oughtta be a place where you can try to pursue. And age matters (less), Paperwork matters (less), we are still working on issues of justice but if you wanted to truly help people and got a couple of people on your team, church is a great place to pursue that passion.
And I don’t know what to do with a structure conversation which I barely can understand, despite being well-educated and trying to follow it.
I want us to get the structure to a place where it can work for us instead of obsessing about it.
And I am a born and raised Presbyterian, I love decent and in order. I love structures, I am a list person, I recite my schedule constantly, and I rely heavily on having a piece of paper for everything I do (like every stereotypical Presbyterian).
However, I know we can do better than this. This is not a plea to stop the structure conversation, but to try, our hardest, to move beyond it. Do you know HOW MANY PEOPLE applied to be on 2020 Vision Team? There are that many people excited for vision, excited to become the faith seeking understanding church, excited about what is just beyond the horizon.
We have so much potential, how can we help to pursue it?