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Signs of hope

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (OGA) One question I’m asked almost more than any other is, “So, where do you see hope in the PC(USA)?”

A comprehensive answer would take up more than the word limits of this column. But two things stand out.

First, all across the denomination persons are realizing that our structures – born of the corporate mentality of the 1950s – have to change for us to proclaim the gospel effectively in a diverse, multicultural 21st-century world. We don’t know what the PC(USA) will look like in 10 years. Will there be synods? Will there be more presbyteries? Fewer presbyteries? Who knows?

What we do know is this: If we don’t change, we will wither slowly away.

The hope I see comes from the fact that people across the church recognize this and are boarding together into a boat that is setting sail into the future, even if we don’t know exactly what lies over the horizon. We have a new Form of Government that allows us the flexibility to do new things in creative and different ways. We have presbyteries rethinking how they do their work. We have the Mid Council Commission bringing recommendations to the General Assembly this summer for how we structure ourselves. We are in the boat together, transforming ourselves one tiny piece at a time. That gives me hope .

I also see hope is the reality that, even while this boat of transformation and change is setting sail, our ongoing ministry and mission continue to happen. We are evangelizing, spreading the gospel, and bringing the good news of Jesus Christ. I see it in every corner of the PC(USA) – whether it be leadership development in Denver Presbytery, the Hands of Christ project in Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery, or a new group of prospective confirmands at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis.

These ministries aren’t flashy, but they are making life-changing differences. Traveling across the denomination, I get to see this work firsthand, and let me tell you, the PC(USA) is doing remarkable things even as we are being transformed by God’s Spirit.

Want to hear from other ruling and teaching elders about where they see hope in the PC(USA)? Go to