The church is dying.
This is a familiar sentiment recently heard over and over in numerous denominations bemoaning the apparent demise of not only the universal church, and especially within the specific denominations.
However, the Congregational Vitality Committee heard and reported otherwise. The church is not dying. It is alive. Its mission and work are still vital. Moderator Robin Lyn Valdez, a teaching elder commissioner from Grace Presbytery. introduced three specific reports.
“Educate a Child/Transform the World.”
A poignant story about Mercy was shared, a student that seemed to embody the struggle and hope of people who are in need of a promising future.
“Education is the gateway out of poverty and it transforms lives.” Says Veronica Cannon, committee vice moderator and a teaching elder commissioner from Charlotte Presbytery. The bulk of the recommendation is about acknowledgement, encouragement and intentionally pursuing the education 1,000,000 children in the U.S. and globally over the next four years.
1001 New Worshipping Communities
Finally, 1001 Worshipping Communities recommended directing presbyteries to be a part of initiating new communities and inviting traditional committees to be a part of this movement within their regions.
“The old models are not working anymore,” says Steve Yamaguchi, presbytery executive and soon-to-be dean of students at Fuller Theological Seminary. “We are trying to pay attention to the Holy Spirit. 1001 challenges existing congregations to engage creatively. We need both [old and new communities].”
All three recommendations were approved wholeheartedly and almost unanimously.
There is growing excitement in this 1001 Worshipping communities movement. More importantly, there is increasing vitality and hope in the work of the church, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s role, leadership and initiative.
The report and plenary ended with 250 red beach balls in the air, Pharell’s “Happy” song, and Moderator Heath Rada cutting a rug on stage. This is not the sign of a dying church.