The formal launch of the first gathering of one of the three Missional Communities of the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina was interrupted by the sudden appearance of masses of Zombies who tried their dead level best to keep things as they always were.
After all, as one of the living dead told this reporter, “We can’t imagine doing anything differently. It’s working so well for us now – just like it always has in the past.” This occurred during the first meeting of the Central Community held on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville.
Following this amusing skit, Rev. Evan Harrison, pastor of Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, invited the capacity crowd gathered around tables in the fellowship hall to remember all that God has done for us and our churches in the past – and then to forget it! since, as Isaiah tells us, God is doing a new thing – a thing bigger even than the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea! At the conclusion of her sermon Evan led those in attendance in the creation of an electronic directory of everyone who was there through the creative use of smart phone cameras.
The rest of the worship service included praise music and hymns led by Revs. Sally Henry and Rick McDuffie and the Lord’s Supper led by Rev. Michael Garrett. An offering for the Fayetteville Habitat for Humanity produced $560.00 for their work.
Rev. Jordan Davis of Union Presbyterian Seminary invited wide participation in “Union on the Move” when members of the faculty of the Seminary will present workshops at the Presbytery’s E3 Event on September 17th at the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church. Seminary President, Dr. Brian Blount, will be the keynote speaker. Registration materials were given out to each congregation represented.
Rev. Ernie Johnson, chair of the Strategic Planning and Organizational Review (SPOR) Committee reminded the gathering of the Listening, Learning, Dreaming – Together process that helped to lead to these Missional Communities in each of the three Presbytery’s three Communities and introduced Missional Transformation Coaches Beverley and George Thompson who encouraged pastors and congregations to take advantage of multiple ways to explore what God is up to in this new day for our congregations.
Lunch was served by members of the Launch Team and volunteers from Westminster and other Presbyterian churches. During Lunch attendees of the Gathering were able to visit mission displays brought by a number of congregations in the Community.
After lunch the Missional Community re-gathered for a brief Presbytery business meeting which saw Rev. Clarence Page elected as moderator of the Central Community and CRE Bebe Briggs elected as clerk. Teaching and Ruling Elders who passed away in 2015 were remembered, the Community approved the matching fund for the bridge church through 2017, and received as first readings the 2017-2018 presbytery budget and minimum terms of call for pastors. Members of the Community’s Steering Team were elected and installed by Rev. Steuart Link, Mission Coordinator for the Central Community.
Following the business, the Thompsons returned to lead the group in table discussions about how we might imagine using their gifts and interests in increasing the spiritual energy or congregational vitality in the Community. In a short period of time those gathered there came up with a significant list of possible ways to increase the unity, vitality, and spiritual life of the Central Community including the following:
- a Community Music Festival
- a Multi-Church Book Club
- a Game Night
- Joint Church visits to Senior Homes
- a Movie Night
- Shared Cantatas
- Joint Support Groups (grief, addiction, divorce, etc.)
- Joint Prison Ministry
- Joint Outdoor Events
- Story Reading/Telling Sessions
- and other ways to come together for Hands-On Ministries.