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Pastor's Note | Monday, November 18th

It has been some time since we have had an update concerning our Season of Discernment regarding our affiliation with the PC(USA). So, let me help to bring you up to speed on what has been taking place.

As you may remember, early last summer, after several months of thinking through the issues of concern in Town Hall Meetings and small group gatherings, we conducted a poll to gain a sense of the congregation regarding re-affiliation. Of the 320 responses, 290 expressed the opinion that we should consider re-affiliation. On July 1st, the Session indicated to the Presbytery of Los Ranchos that we would like to begin a formal process of discernment with Presbytery Representatives (PRT) to further determine our course of action.

For a number of reasons it has taken until now for the Presbytery Representatives to be identified and trained. In the meantime, the Session appointed the Congregation Representative Team (CRT) being led by Sue Nelson Brown. Our representatives have also been trained and, along with the PRT will form what is called the Joint Solution Team or JST.

The JST - our representatives along with Presbytery representatives - will work together in the next months (we do not know how long this process will take) to arrive at a Joint Solution that is fair to the congregation, the Presbytery and the Denomination. My observation is that our Presbytery Executive, Steve Yamaguchi and our Presbytery Stated Clerk, Forrest Classen, both hope for and are helping us arrive at amicable and gracious outcomes to the Joint Solution Process, and that there would be on-going shared ministry. I have these hopes too.

At the same time, the Session is evaluating the two denominations that we would consider affiliating with to determine the one that better helps us in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. After this evaluation the Session will make a decision regarding the body we would become part of. Please remember that the Joint Solution Process will result in a gracious separation solution including financial terms. However, nothing happens until the congregation - you - vote to request dismissal from the PC(USA) by the Presbytery of Los Ranchos based on the solution and terms. That request must then be approved by the Presbytery in order for dismissal to be granted.

The next few months will be interesting to say the least. No doubt you have questions about this, and I encourage you to: 1) write your question(s) and drop it or them in the wooden pedestal in the narthex; 2) contact Pastors Curtis or Paul or myself with your questions (email is great!); drop by the main office on November 24th and following Sundays (after the worship gathering) to speak directly with a CRT member.

Thank you very much. God bless you,
Pastor Jim

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