Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sad, Mad, Bad, Glad

We had a long, useful, and thanks to the weather and no air-conditioning, exciting and sweat-drenched presbytery meeting tonight.

Some of the business was sad: We agreed to terms to dismiss one of our congregations to another denomination. The process was earnest, but withal gracious and amicable . . . now we get to see if our denominational headquarters stirs up our synod to challenge the decision. It's happened before, to other presbyteries.

Some of the business was mad: Some very bizarre decisions came out of the latest General Assembly, and we're still considering the best way to respond to it all.

The weather, for awhile, definitely got bad. I dashed downstairs to the ladies' lounge right after the Executive Presbyter's report, thinking I'd never get through the hour and fifteen minutes of business scheduled before break if I didn't. But as I started to come upstairs, I saw my colleagues streaming down.

"We're in a tornado warning," they said. "We're breaking now for refreshments, since they're set up down here."

And that's what we did, until word came in that the storm was tracking just three miles north of us. Grabbing cookies and cheese and crackers as we went, we, like a very discursive and not wholly biddable flock, were herded down to a lower level still, to the activity hall below the fellowship hall.

(A lady from the church was upset that such a thing should happen when they were hosting presbytery; I said, no, it's great: Their building gave us a safe place for us to reconvene, and we were using all their facility.)

And with business and happenings sad, mad, and bad, we had some that was glad.

It was glad news to hear that our presbytery is outstanding and first in the denomination for taking up the official 2007 challenge for every church to support a missionary in some way.

And it was glad because we successfully examined two of our own ministerial candidates, a father and daughter, who'll be taking up pastorates in other presbyteries. And we held examinations for three new colleagues who will be coming in.

I was wondering if I'd have to commit an act of ecclesiastical disobedience for awhile there: It was proposed and adopted that given the amount of business tonight, the examinations would be divided up and which presbyters dealt with which candidates would be determined by what color index card you were randomly handed at registration. There were two of the incoming candidates I'd been looking forward to seeing and perhaps questioning, and I didn't want to lose the fun!

One was a fellow blogger, with whom I've exchanged post comments on this blog and on his. Another was a former colleague from the presbytery of my first call. (I was recalling old times to him during the refreshment time, and he kept saying, "Well, cover me with batter and fry me!" Hilarious!)

In the end, I was where I wanted to be. All three of our candidates (for a bonus, we also had a neophyte coming in from another Pennsylvania presbytery) weathered their examinations well, despite the lights going out a time or two. And in case any of them were wondering, there was no debate while they were out of the room: It was AllinfavorsayayeAYYYYYE!!allopposedsamesignokay,examinationsustained.

We got out sometime after ten, a little excited, somewhat nervy, and very tired. The air was cool, the skies mostly clear. I had a drive of an hour or more to get home; it'll be a longer drive into the future before we see what comes of what we accomplished tonight.
More photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/RevdArchitect/BeaverButlerPresbytery. They're the last ones posted; no captions yet.


Sandy said...

Sounds like a busy evening. I'm glad the nasty weather missed you!

Toby Brown said...

I hope you avoided the egg salad...

Thanks for the pics!