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Pastor Pen - April PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 20:55

PASTORS PEN
I have often shared with the congregation that our God is a God of detail.  There is nothing too small for his attention.  We see this in His wondrous creation, where even the underside of a turtle is a masterpiece of design.  We see it in the detail He applies to the building of the ark, the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, and culminating in the building of His temple in Jerusalem.  We also see it in the myriad of colors and detail of His throne room.  So, is it any wonder that we, as His people are concerned about the house of worship that He has given us here at Lebanon PC, especially in light of our discernment on whether we should remain a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or find a new theological home elsewhere.  I for one don't know how the discernment process will work itself out.  We will probably schedule our first congregational information meeting with the Pittsburgh Presbytery Discernment team by the end of the month.  However, in the midst of this process, which may require change on the part of the congregation, I have been told that there is a REAL FEAR out there that the congregation might lose our building after it is all said and done.  Allow me to assure you in no uncertain terms, THE CONGREGATION WILL NOT LOSE OUR BUILDING!  Now, some might ask, how can Pastor Bob know?  Can he predict the future?  The answer is no, but what I can do is share with you the process by which the discernment process will work.  Unlike other churches in our presbytery, Lebanon is working through the discernment process ACCORDING TO THE PROCESS ESTABLISHED BY PRESBYTERY.  We are doing everything according to what Presbytery has approved, and therefore, we are legal and aboveboard.  Because we are following the process that
Presbytery has established, the policy states clearly that they DO NOT WANT OUR BUILDING.  As we continue to follow the process and policy, and remain within the rules, Pittsburgh Presbytery will IN NO WAY SEEK TO TAKE THE CHURCH BUILDING.  Now, as I stated last month, and I want to clarify something as well, the discernment process has two parts.  The first part is the Presbytery Discernment Team meeting with the congregation and asking them about their concerns, while trying to share why they think we should stay.  After no less than three meetings, the session will decide whether or not the congregation should be polled on if they believe we should NEGOTIATE A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT with Pittsburgh Presbytery.  This actually IS NOT A VOTE TO LEAVE, but a vote on whether we should see how much Pittsburgh Presbytery will seek to allow us to leave.   If the polling meets the quorum number as dictated within the policy, then a team from Pittsburgh Presbytery and members of the church will begin to negotiate on the financial terms of departure.  If Pittsburgh Presbytery and the members of the church who will negotiate on the congregations behalf cannot decide on a settlement, than both the Presbytery and the church will submit themselves to binding arbitration.  If it comes to that, than whatever the binding arbitrator decides, or the Presbytery and the church mutually decide will come before the congregation and THAT VOTE WILL BE WHETHER TO MOVE TO ANOTHER DENOMINATION AND WHAT IT WILL COST.  If the congregation approves that vote, than Pittsburgh Presbytery and the congregation will mutually stay goodbye to each other after Lebanon pays whatever the agreed upon cost may be.  We do not know what that cost will be, but the policy also clearly states that it WILL NOT HAMPER THE CHURCH'S ABILITY TO DO MINISTRY.  AT NO TIME ARE WE IN DANGER OF LOSING THE CHURCH BUILDING!  If the
congregation does not meet the polling requirement dictated by the policy, than we will remain a PC(USA) congregation in good standing.  One of the things that I do want to point out, AS OF NOW, THE DENOMINATION DOES OWN THE CHURCH.  We need to be clear on that.  However, if the congregation ultimately decides to move to a new theological home, the CONGREGATION WILL OWN THE CHURCH.   I hope this has clarified what will be happening and will assure everyone that there is not question of the congregation losing the church.  We have entered into a process with Pittsburgh Presbytery seeking discernment, and by seeking the TRUTH of Jesus Christ, we will walk the path that God in Christ will lay before us.  By the way, I do ask for your forgiveness in putting so much of this letter in CAPITAL LETTERS.  I wanted to ensure that the main points could be easily seen, so if you need to refer to this letter again, you wouldn't have to read through it.  I hope it was helpful.
In the Love of Jesus Christ, Pastor Bob

PASTORS PEN

 I have often shared with the congregation that our God is a God of detail.  There is nothing too small for his attention.  We see this in His wondrous creation, where even the underside of a turtle is a masterpiece of design.  We see it in the detail He applies to the building of the ark, the Tent of Meeting, the Ark of the Covenant, and culminating in the building of His temple in Jerusalem.  We also see it in the myriad of colors and detail of His throne room.  So, is it any wonder that we, as His people are concerned about the house of worship that He has given us here at Lebanon PC, especially in light of our discernment on whether we should remain a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or find a new theological home elsewhere.  I for one don't know how the discernment process will work itself out.  We will probably schedule our first congregational information meeting with the Pittsburgh Presbytery Discernment team by the end of the month.  However, in the midst of this process, which may require change on the part of the congregation, I have been told that there is a REAL FEAR out there that the congregation might lose our building after it is all said and done.  Allow me to assure you in no uncertain terms, THE CONGREGATION WILL NOT LOSE OUR BUILDING!  Now, some might ask, how can Pastor Bob know?  Can he predict the future?  The answer is no, but what I can do is share with you the process by which the discernment process will work. 

Unlike other churches in our presbytery, Lebanon is working through the discernment process ACCORDING TO THE PROCESS ESTABLISHED BY PRESBYTERY.  We are doing everything according to what Presbytery has approved, and therefore, we are legal and aboveboard.  Because we are following the process that Presbytery has established, the policy states clearly that they DO NOT WANT OUR BUILDING.  As we continue to follow the process and policy, and remain within the rules, Pittsburgh Presbytery will IN NO WAY SEEK TO TAKE THE CHURCH BUILDING.  Now, as I stated last month, and I want to clarify something as well, the discernment process has two parts.  The first part is the Presbytery Discernment Team meeting with the congregation and asking them about their concerns, while trying to share why they think we should stay.  After no less than three meetings, the session will decide whether or not the congregation should be polled on if they believe we should NEGOTIATE A FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT with Pittsburgh Presbytery.  This actually IS NOT A VOTE TO LEAVE, but a vote on whether we should see how much Pittsburgh Presbytery will seek to allow us to leave.   If the polling meets the quorum number as dictated within the policy, then a team from Pittsburgh Presbytery and members of the church will begin to negotiate on the financial terms of departure.  If Pittsburgh Presbytery and the members of the church who will negotiate on the congregations behalf cannot decide on a settlement, than both the Presbytery and the church will submit themselves to binding arbitration.  If it comes to that, than whatever the binding arbitrator decides, or the Presbytery and the church mutually decide will come before the congregation and THAT VOTE WILL BE WHETHER TO MOVE TO ANOTHER DENOMINATION AND WHAT IT WILL COST.  If the congregation approves that vote, than Pittsburgh Presbytery and the congregation will mutually stay goodbye to each other after Lebanon pays whatever the agreed upon cost may be.  We do not know what that cost will be, but the policy also clearly states that it WILL NOT HAMPER THE CHURCH'S ABILITY TO DO MINISTRY.  AT NO TIME ARE WE IN DANGER OF LOSING THE CHURCH BUILDING!  If the 

congregation does not meet the polling requirement dictated by the policy, than we will remain a PC(USA) congregation in good standing.  One of the things that I do want to point out, AS OF NOW, THE DENOMINATION DOES OWN THE CHURCH.  We need to be clear on that.  However, if the congregation ultimately decides to move to a new theological home, the CONGREGATION WILL OWN THE CHURCH.   I hope this has clarified what will be happening and will assure everyone that there is not question of the congregation losing the church.  We have entered into a process with Pittsburgh Presbytery seeking discernment, and by seeking the TRUTH of Jesus Christ, we will walk the path that God in Christ will lay before us.  By the way, I do ask for your forgiveness in putting so much of this letter in CAPITAL LETTERS.  I wanted to ensure that the main points could be easily seen, so if you need to refer to this letter again, you wouldn't have to read through it.  I hope it was helpful. 

In the Love of Jesus Christ, Pastor Bob


 

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