By Emily Enders Odom, Presbyterian News Service.
Luis Antonio (Tony) De La Rosa’s first day as interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency was far from business as usual.
As expectant worshipers entered the chapel of the Presbyterian Center for this year’s Advent service—eager to meet De La Rosa and welcome his preaching and his leadership—each was handed a peppermint lifesaver.
The unexpected token was a tangible reference to De La Rosa’s sermon title, “Lifesavers,” and—unbeknownst to them—to every employee of the six independent agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) housed at 100 Witherspoon Street.
After first offering the congregation a word of apology for his “late appearance” here today—De La Rosa had been expected to begin his new role on Dec. 1—he opened his meditation by unfolding the tale of how his original departure plans “went awry in the bitter cold on that early [Thanksgiving] morning, when a dastardly sidewalk curb snuck up in front of [him] and caused irreparable damage to one of [his] car’s tires.”
As he then described with both humor and poignancy the circumstances of his subsequent Thanksgiving Day “rescue,” De La Rosa said that “all sorts of miracles” came his way.
“Both friends and strangers came through in ways that looking back on it were signs of grace from a beneficent God,” he said. “Satan and his henchmen, Chaos and Disappointment, were not about to have their way.”
Deftly interweaving the story of his own Thanksgiving travel mishap with reflections on the two scripture passages for the day—2 Peter 1:12-21 and Psalm 33—De La Rosa reaffirmed the Psalmist’s conclusion that “God knows best.”
Another example of poorly spending money on a burocratic machine and not dealing with how many mission personnels are going back to the US and will not return to their fields. Why there is a need for executive, to do what?. Sadly to say, too many bodies in the offices , though they have been downsized , however, still many running around there. Too many positions such as Area Liason need to be eliminated ? Why does one need them for? If there are only a few missionaries in each country … this position is another wasted of $$$$. Too many poor decisions by so call” leaders” this is why PCUSA is in this mess! When a man thinks he knows more than GOD , this is a serious situation that he is in with no help from Above.
Mr. De La Rosa is many things to many people, and represents many things to many people. One thing he is not though is an idiot or fool. I think he knew three things in taking this position. 1. He is here to clean up the god-awful mess left by the previous administration. 2. That process will be painful for all concerned in terms of riffs, firings, layoffs, call it what you will. 3. His biggest task is not so much restructure, but convince others PMA still has a right to exist or is relevant. On that matter I wish him well.
At the end of the day the PMA will fail because the PCUSA is in systemic and structural failure and collapse. That is both an economic and demographic fact which cannot be reversed. I sense he is man of integrity and honesty, who will do his best, but as with all who associate themselves with the PCUSA, they chew them up and spit them out. He will come to that realization soon enough, like GA 2016.
I agree, I’m just sick at what’s happening in our Church, however it’s louisville’s decisions that has us where we are.
Your statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Presbyterian polity. The staff in Louisville implements the decisions made at General Assembly by the commissioners. They take their direction from the GA, which is made up of elected members who come together as a community to discern where God is calling the church. Everything that comes out of Louisville is consistent with GA policy.
That sounds nice on paper, but it’s not really how it works.
Every other year, the presbyteries send delegates to the General Assembly, purportedly to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but who more often than not are guided by the spirit of the age. In preparation for GA, each delegate is given a large stack of bills and overtures to sift through, and given time demands by work and life, very few delegates actually have the time to sort through and understand all the materials they’ve been given well enough to make an informed decision. So in order to “help” the delegates make “wise and informed” decisions, Louisville sends most of its staff to assist the delegates as “resource persons”, who then advocate on behalf of Louisville programs. Consequently, the General Assembly typically votes to pass those measures Louisville favors or to reject those that Louisville does not.
Consequently, it is more correct to say that GA policy is consistent with everything that comes out of Louisville, rather than the other way around. It’s a nice system that keeps the bureaucrats in power and effectively keeps genuine reform out of the governmental structures of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Greg, I know exactly how things work in the pcusa, louisville for years was going against the will of the majority of the churches creating this entire mess. It wasn’t until congregations and people left in droves that your ilk was able to get what they wanted, so yes it was the decisions of louisville that created this mess over many many years.