On December 16, 2012 my Uncle John died. It is only recently that I have slid comfortably into calling John “uncle.” John was, from before I was born, the beloved “friend” of my father’s oldest brother, my Uncle George. Uncle George passed away in 2000 at the age of 89. They lived in California, so growing up, I knew them only from visits to Pittsburgh – mostly in the fall to enjoy the change of seasons. I have spoken of them often, but not by name. As they have both gone on to Jesus, I think I can now.
I am blessed and thrilled to announce that the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Krehbiel, pastor at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, D.C., National Capital Presbytery, will stand with me as my candidate for Vice Moderator. Jeff inspires me by the way his ministry has the qualities of joy and transforming power that we all desire in the PCUSA.
The intensity of this prayer seems way beyond the routines and commitments of my life. And yet, to proclaim the Gospel in our time and place may, indeed, need such faith. We can pray for this devotion to be evident in our church and then see what happens. God could answer our prayer with amazing activity among us.
Recently I was asked a thought-provoking question, “How can someone who is set in their convictions build a bridge with those they disagree with?” This question is an important one to dwell on. As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) enters 2012, we watch as the threat of schism jeopardizes our unity as a community of faith, together, proclaiming the Gospel.
We all have passages in Scripture that rise to the top for us and become a personal sacred canon within the communal sacred canon of the Bible. Parts of 1 John 3—a chapter in the first of three letters ascribed to the evangelist, John, and directed to Christian communities steeped in the perspective of the Gospel of John—have been in my personal canon since I was a teenager.
It is now certain that The Confession of Belhar has failed to receive the votes needed to enter our Book of Confessions, the first part of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It will not live among us as an authoritative statement of who we are, what we believe and what we resolve to do as a church.