Just as the former Book of Order included specific instruction, so did our former Plan of Presbytery. We have found with nFOG (the New Form of Government of the PCUSA), we have been given trust, freedom and agility to work within our context and time. One might say we have used nFOG as a lens. We want our new structure to give our work here in central NJ trust, freedom and agility. And along the way, we are always thinking about how much change is needed and how the specific culture of our Presbytery will meet and adjust to change.
There are two cultural changes that we see coming in our future:
First, not all of our work will be done by a standing committee of the Presbytery. In other words, we will not keep all of the standing committees we once had. And yet we imagine some of the work of the standing committees will remain active by faithful presbyters. What does this mean?
Before we entered into this intentional transition period (January 2015-December 2016), we were discerning ways to do our work with more agility. One constructive idea was that “working teams” could form so long as 1 Teaching Elder from a congregation, 1 Teaching Elder from a specialized ministry and 2 Ruling Elders from two different congregations were part of the team. This idea seems not only agile but highly connectional. Rather than the nominating committee fill the working teams, the validation of the working team will come from the work itself and the connectionalism of the membership of the team. A great example of such a working team is the current Social Witness committee.
Second, we are going to have to adjust days and times of our stated Presbytery meetings. We’ve already tried out a Saturday meeting (which allows attendance by some who cannot make night meetings, allows others the opportunity to share the meal together because while they can make the meeting, dinner is too early and of course it allows us some flexibility to offer different kinds of programming.) But in addition to Saturday meetings, we anticipate small time changes to the Tuesday evening agenda.
5:30pm Dinner – this is a change of 15 minutes earlier than it used to be
6:30pm Worship – we have included updates on ministry and mission during worship at the last few Presbytery meetings and hope to continue this type of reflective, thankful, prayerful reporting
7:30pm Equip/ Empower Segment – this is a change of an additional element to what the meetings used to be
8:15pm Business – this is a change in that we will continue to do our business in one hour. The cultural shift here is that information is given ahead of time and we commit to reading the information ahead of time.
9:15-9:30pm We have 15 extra minutes, just in case we need them.
These imagined changes produce questions of viability, anxiety about how we will get our work done, and stress about letting go of things we have always done so that we can begin doing what we need to do in our context at this time.
Talk to us – what do you think of the changes we have planned and are imagining in the future? Do you have a better idea for the Tuesday evening schedule that we could think about trying in 2017? How would you like to see the Task Force help our Presbytery manage the needed changes?