Pastor's Note | Saturday, March 29th
Growing up in Southern California meant delight-filled days at the beach. One of those days found me, my mom and dad swimming off the shore of Huntington Beach. But our pleasant ocean romp turned into a terrifying ordeal when we were caught in a rip tide that pulled us farther from shore with an unexpected, quiet forcefulness. I remember the panicked expressions of my parents and my own feelings of fear - despite our best efforts to swim to shore we continued in the opposite direction. Thankfully, after several minutes, the unseen pull loosed its grip, we angled toward shore, and joined my two sisters there.
As a congregation we have found ourselves in the grip of unseen forces.
Certainly our culture is changing and attitudes toward church, worship, relating to God are changing dramatically. We have seen changes in the PC(USA) denomination in past decades that have led us to seek to affiliate with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Doing so puts us on a new trajectory that will facilitate our focus on helping others to become disciples of Jesus who Connect with God, Grow in faith, and Serve in love.
Our Joint Discernment Team (JDT) is nearing completion of the Joint Solution document. This will be presented to the Session on April 15th sand to the Presbytery of Los Ranchos on April 24th. We will then mail and email the Joint Solution to you during the week of April 20th. Then, on April 27th and May 4th there will be opportunities for Questions and Answers in Zirbel Hall following both worship services. On May 31st or June 7th the Presbytery will vote on our request for dismissal. Once the Presbytery votes to approve, we will hold a Congregational Meeting to ask for your vote to approve the Joint Solution.
Stay tuned and keep praying!
On another note, I want you to be aware of the actions taken by our Session at its last meeting on March 25th. We welcomed Chuck Wakamoto, member of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos, who walked us through an action to recommend Werner Ramirez to be enrolled as an Inquirer. This is the first in the process of ordination as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church. In other words, we recommended and endorsed Werner to pursue and prepare for his call to serve as a pastor. What a wonderful moment it was as we affirmed this call in Werner's life knowing God has gifted him and is leading him into a vocation in ordained ministry!
The Session also acted on its earlier agreement to evaluate the Children's Check-in Center in the narthex. The Center highlights our commitment to reaching families with dependent children, provides for the safety of our children, and offers convenience to parents. The previous action was to place a Check-in Center in the narthex "in an appropriate location." After consideration, the Session approved the current location of the Check-in Center. It also asked the Facilities Team to find a way to make the cabinet shallower so it is less intrusive in the narthex area.
Finally, the Session approved the purchase of books entitled David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell, to be offered to visitors on Easter Sunday along with an invitation to come to worship the next four Sundays when our teaching will be drawn from the themes in this book. This is a deliberate and intentional effort to reach out to and connect with people who are not yet committed to following Jesus and help them connect with him through this widely-read, popular, New York Times Best-Selling book. Please pray for God to draw people to himself through this effort to connect visitors with Jesus and his church. Read more about Malcolm Gladwell's return to faith at RELEVANT Magazine or Religion News Service.
Please continue to pray for Good Shepherd:
- Give thanks to God for the work of the JDT
- For the Presbytery of Los Ranchos to readily approve the Joint Solution
- For confidence that despite the forces that attempt to pull us in the wrong directions, God is sovereign and the risen Lord Jesus reigns in heaven over all things