Presbyterian News Service reports that:
The online form for sharing thoughts on the identity and purpose of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as part of a church-wide conversation initiated by the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly will now be available until December 18. The extended period allows time for even more people throughout the denomination to weigh in.
“Please share your insights, wisdom, hopes, and dreams for the PC(USA),” said COGA Moderator Margaret Elliott. “Through careful listening and honest sharing we can create a church for this time and place.”
Talk individually or in groups using the questions from the online form at pcusa.org/identity and a discussion guide downloadable at pcusa.org/discussionguide. Each person is then invited to fill out the form themselves. Hear how to walk through using the guide on information calls:
Wednesday, November 4, 3–4 p.m. (EST)
Monday, November 9, 8–9 p.m. (EST)
Use call in (800) 231-0316, or (314) 696-0504 for international participants
Also join Larissa Kwong Abazia, Vice Moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014), in the second of two Twitter chats on Thursday, November 12, 9–10 p.m. (EST). She’ll be @LarissaLKA using the hashtag #pcusaidentity.
The 222nd General Assembly (2016) will use much of the information gathered to collectively discern God’s call for the church. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or for more information.
The PCUSA is asking for input via conference call or filling out an online form so that, as Moderator Margaret Elliott says, “Through careful listening and honest sharing we can create a church for this time and place.” I’d be inclined to say that the PCUSA just summed up it’s entire existence.
Maybe Jesus might call in or fill out the form?
Its is a sad reality that all the good phrases have already been taken. The UCC has “God is still speaking”, The UMC “open hearts and open doors”. The Quakers own the “Peace is the only way to peace” brand.
I sort of feel sorry for the PCUSA’ers that earn for such a catchy marketing phrase. What professionals in the business call “branding”. I would offer
“We’re the PCUSA, we make it up as we go along” or
“We’re the PCUSA, just fill in the blanks, or your guess is good as ours”
A decade ago, the PC(USA) did produce a marketing campaign called “Here and Now.” The best of the two TV ads for Advent and Lent were narrated by the voice of “Forensic Files”, Peter Thomas whose father was a Presbyterian minister. The biggest problem was that “Here and Now” is not the best church slogan. Also, all the TV ads except for the aforementioned Thomas ads ended with “When you’re ready, there’s a church – Here and Now”. My childhood church and other PC(USA) congregations closed while waiting for people who were “ready.” You can find the “Here and Now” ads on the Internet Archive at https://web.archive.org/web/20071009204312/http://www.pcusa.org/hereandnow.
For a slogan that reflects our Reformed heritage and polity, I would suggest “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Connecting people to God and each other”.
The problem with that slogan is that there would be no truth in advertising. One quite simply cannot give to someone else what one patently does not have.
When I came to the question in the “conversation” asking for slogan suggestions, I typed: “Anything goes!” Then I came to the demographic question about my gender. That question read something like: “Which gender do you most closely identify with?” There was a “Male ____________” “Female _________” (not certain why there were blanks after these), and then “Other ____________” I typed “Canine— proves my point, ‘Anything goes!'”
How about, “We’re the PCUSA. We follow today’s whim tomorrow.”
How about what the Spirit says to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:4b “You have left your first love.”
I came to the PC(USA)from a tiny Open Bible church. I wanted my children to grow up in a less isolated setting, and I wanted to attend church in my town. Central Presbyterian had a neat old building and was within walking distance. At first my family stayed at Open Bible, but when I started teaching Sunday School they began to attend CPC. I was under no delusion about the liberal slant of the church. The members rarely talked about Jesus or the Bible. I saw myself as a kind of missionary to the church. For example I suggested the adult Sunday school class take up a denominational study of church fathers as a way to get them exposed to reformation ideas. I wound up as adult Sunday school teacher for a few years. Then they wanted me to serve on session so I joined the denomination. The gay ordination stuff and gay marriage stuff turned my stomach, but I determined to hang in there. And when half the congregation left our church over these issues, I stayed behind to help heal the wounds. But this last GA went too far. Their authoritative interpretation would have me confessing that black was white. And when they went against Israel I knew I had to leave the PC(USA). So I renounced my ordination and membership vows. I still attend the church because I helped call the new pastor and I want to help. But I am definitely looking for the door. The reason I write now is that I just do not believe the leadership of the denomination are Christians. I think they are secular leftists who use Christianity as a front. I see it in their infatuation with political fads and in the goo-goo language they lapse into when they talk about the things of God. Nouns for verbs and verbs for nouns. They have high jacked a fine old mainline church and now control its wealth and what remains of its prestige. I am curious about the end game. Will the PC(USA) become a private charitable foundation with no one in the pews to complain about the national staff’s behavior? I think the PC(USA) is in an extreme crisis of identity–is it a Christian church or not? Mission will not be set without a genuine revival and change of leadership.
Well stated, Tom.
We know that things and time will change. Things will not remain the same. It is good that we will be talking with each other. Good things will come out of this.