Saturday, August 19, 2006

Presbyterian Global Fellowship - Atlanta, Aug 2006

I've been loosely involved with efforts of my church to start a new movement within the Presbyterian denomination.

A number of us are fed up with actions and statments by our 'leadership' in the head offices located in Kentucky.

So, we've been trying to organize and define ourselves. This week Peachtree Presbyterian Church is hosting the inaugural conference for the Presbyterian Global Fellowship. The purpose of this conference being mainly to meet with others who are fed up with our leadership and determine what exactly we want to accomplish with this sub movement.

There are plenty of folks who are ready to leave PC USA. Some just want to vent and be reassured that they are not alone in their contempt for those in power. Others want better accounting for the congregation's money that is sent to the umbrella oganization for mission work. A lot of folks seem ready to follow anyone ready to lead them as a counterpoint to Presbyterian headquarters.

Little has been defined ahead of this week's conference. I think mainly this gathering was meant to bring those with similar feelings together to define what they wish this new movement to be. A big brain storming session to put the movement in context. The organizers have stated the goal of this group is to not leave the denomination but to offer something that the attendees feel have been lacking. Namely a collective voice that has not been heard from within the current framework.

Big and small churches alike have sent representatives to the host city. All are concerned about the past and trying shape the future of the denomination. At the very least they want to feel like they have more say and control over donations and statements in their name.

This morning, I woke to a session (broadcast over the internet) regarding more pressing matters than mainstream politics colored through the eyes of a Presbyterian bureaucrat in Kentucky. The lady, Sharon Cohn serves as the Vice President of Interventions for International Justice Mission, told the attendees about the ongoing problem of real slavery, child prostitutioin and indentured servitude in the world. I thought it was rather timely given the recent developments regarding John Mark Karr and his life in Taiwain post JonBenet Ramsey. I've heard Sharon Cohn speak before and the subject matter is quite depressing. But it helps cement the fact that there are much bigger fish to fry in the name of the Lord than our arguing over ordaining homosexuals and boycotts in the name of underpaid tomato farmers. Those debates are important in their own right, but there is true evil to be fought in the world. I think our efforts are better spent there rather than on the political debate du jour.

But I'm just an ignorant, Southern layman. :P