Dear sisters and brothers,
After church on June 30, 2013, I am leading a Town Hall Meeting in our Fellowship Hall at 11:30 a.m. My goal is to report to you on the current history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and in the Presbytery of Los Ranchos. I have written a lengthy paper as background for our discussion-posted here on our church website (CLICK HERE to download a PDF of Jerry Tankersley’s Report on the PCUSA_1)
I hope that many of you will go to the trouble to download and to seriously read the paper. It expresses my take on what is happening and my response to it. The paper was not dropped from heaven on plates of gold, but seeks to interpret the facts and their meanings. There has never been a time in the history of American Presbyterianism when we were not in major conflict about issues before American culture and religion. The present is no exception.
There are pastors, members, congregations, and Presbyterians who are alleging that the PCUSA has become apostate, heretical, and unworthy of our support. It is argued that the only remedy is to seek dismissal into a Reformed body that will be more faithful and in which God’s mission may more successfully be pursued.
Since January the Presbytery of Los Ranchos has been in a process of discernment around these issues. Apparently, there are a number of our congregations who are planning to ask the Presbytery to be dismissed with their property from the PCUSA. On June 15, 2013, a Property Policy was approved by the Presbytery that outlines a process by which Congregation and Presbytery may seek reconciliation or dismissal with property, but not without cost. There is no formula and no precedent will be established by any one decision. All decisions will need to be approved by vote of the entire Presbytery.
It is a painful and dangerous time for us all. We are a covenant community with a long Reformed faith tradition. We need God’s wisdom to move into the future. Please pray for our Presbytery. We have sought to be a faithful and servant presbytery and to participate in God’s mission together. This time feels like a divorce and alimony settlement. It is my pastoral responsibility to interpret to the children why the parents want to part and go their separate ways. Pray that God will help us all.
I hope you will be in church and at the Town Hall Meeting that begins at 11:30 am in Tankersley Hall. I hope that you will also read the paper.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jerry Tankersley
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This is an enlarged image of the graphic included in the report. It is borrowed from Bradley Longfield, Presbyterians and American Culture: A History (Louisville, Kentucky, Westminster John Knox Press, 2013), Appendix.