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2013 monmouth state of the presbytery



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  • Trauma  is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. normal response shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions , flashbacks , hammers on the roof smells traffic strained relationships stress on all relationships ... let’s not talk about it, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. There is no doubt that Monmouth Presbytery has experienced severe trauma* this year * difficult word, but helps to name the depth of our woundedness ... and realize it’s not our fault ... Stuff Happens
  • and Stuff Piles UP ... adding to the stress Hurricane, Snow, Additional Floods, Secondary effects, Fire Travon Martin ... may seem to have been an exaggerated reaction to one court ruling ... BUT it was a media filled week for Black Americans: 1) Supreme Court Ruling on Voting Rights Act 2) Paula Dean’s comments 3) history of racism/slavery etc. Presbytery ... June meeting ... Mt. Holly Dismissal and Thelma’s death ... Not all trauma or stress on a system like ours comes from BAD things ... Wedding Trauma/Stress (promise we’ll get to the good stuff , too)
  • The Perfect Storm ... Len Sweet ... Church is suffering ... budgets, buildings, bodies ... attendance, buildings, cash ... irrelevancy ... lost “place” (influence) by mainliners ... demographic shifts ... picture of a church in Detroit ... “abandoned” ... what goes on in our hearts, minds, guts when we see this? What if dealing with Stuff ... trauma ... is the new normal? The pace of change ... the pace of “stuff” happening ...
  • Resilience Organization ... adaptable to handle stress, change, etc. Sitting on the beach on the Bolivar Peninsula ... less than a year after hurricane Ike changed the landscape ... dune grass, smelled something different ... sitting on a sage plant ... someone’s herb garden? Something new always comes up. Forests after wild fires. How to build a presbytery that will be resilient? Reading a book by Zolli and Healy, “Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back” Sensing Scaling Swarming
  • sensing ... what’s going on in the organization? Electrical grid has a feed-back loop ... when something is not working in one place the system knows, and it responds ... re-routes to other paths, so that the impact is minimal. The heart of our feedback loop ... is in our connectionalism ... not in a top/down, or a center/hub, but in a web of relationships Many church organizations don’t have a problem with connectionalism when it comes to rumor or gossip How can we build on those relationships ... and make them the foundation of our organization, not adjunct to the organization?
  • It’s all about Relationship ... relationship built on trust ... not transactional, you rub my back and I’ll rub yours TRUST in God over TRUST in ourselves, our polity, our committees, our “rules” transparency integrity -- speak the truth in love mission of the church
  • community is built on those shared values ... is contextual ... who and what we are, being honest and self-aware, living boldly not easy for 21st century Americans ... not about shopping, about community Jin Kim, confronts me with the reality that we don’t really know (or want?) community takes work, takes vulnerability, takes time ... and we’re so busy already What would a presbytery meeting look like that was based on COMMUNITY rather than business?
  • Swarming ... Can see great examples of this in our Sandy response Community, web of relationships (built on trust) ... can respond to needs quickly Just Do It ... (permission giving) Rob Morrison, raising money for Belmar after Sandy, getting it matched by the presbytery Allentown responding to Tuckerton and helping with per capita Walt’s recruitment for SRT work teams sent immediately to Mannasquan and Toms River Gift Cards, calls from the office, center out ... others church to church
  • Contextual ... Confessional Church, is one that understands the Gospel must always be translated into a context. NFOG ... Permission giving ...document not every model works in every congregation, or presbytery ... we need to understand our core values ... and take responsibility for action (or inaction) some of my core values (not exhaustive) Faith in Jesus Christ Witness to the Kingdom “ Who” we are is more important than “What” we are ... people over structure, pastoral care over polity, how we behave over decisions made Responding to Human Needs Transparency in Action Mission over Structure Congregations are the life blood of the Church Pastors are leaders of Congregations Continued education/training of Pastors and Lay Leaders Technologically adept Willing to take risks, not sustain the status quo It’s ok to change things that are no longer effective ...
  • need diversity for resiliency ... potato famine, can’t plant one variety of corn in the field ... we need to hear fresh voices ... race, age, social class, etc. find ways to get info from the people who are actually DOING the work ... let them lead! example: Genesis Center
  • Resiliency is about Renewal, not so much Recovery Resurrection not Resuscitation Not going back to the way things were, but GROWING into the Future God has in Store for us
  • In order for resurrection to occur, what has to happen? Death ... Trauma ... It’s important to both realize the price and the cost ... but also the possibility of Stuff Happening to us, and within us. Congregations ... new mission possibilities, new Spirit, new energy ... in response to Sandy
  • Not only a fire to be “fought” but a fire that “ignites” us Fire of the Spirit, Fire of the Sun ... Creation itself ... On Fire for Christ ... That’s where our strength is, where our trust is, where our hope is ...


  • 1. We Didn’t Light the FireWe Didn’t Light the Fire (with apologies to Billy Joel)
  • 2. We Didn’t Light the FireWe Didn’t Light the Fire (yeah, the intro is pretty long)
  • 3. Marie begins, email news, Constant Contact sign- ups tooSandy Superstorm hits hard, then add a foot of snow
  • 4. Walt recruited right away, visits made with PDA Donations, gifts cards, coming in, SRT’s a go.
  • 5. musical interlude ...
  • 6. Congregations on the shore though wet themselves open the door,mission work groups coming in from local and afar.
  • 7. Need to hire Mary-Lynn; emails, calls, connect us inVillage hosts identified; grants and volunteers arrive
  • 8. (if you know it, sing it ...) We didn't start the fire,It was always burning since the world’s been turning
  • 9. We didn't start the fire,No we didn't light itbut we try to fight it
  • 10. (ok, my turn) Congregation crises hit (can't get into most of it);Clif Christopher at Manasquan; per capita review
  • 11. Deficit, reductions loom, new database makes office zoomGracious Discernment Team, Policy approved
  • 12. Mount Holly, prayer and fasting, votes, report to presbytery notes,Thelma, cancer, what a loss, all there at Principe de Paz
  • 13. Mother of the Bride, it’s true. Two busses needed for Purdue,Mission Week Experience, Grand-opening of Genesis
  • 14. (Now EVERYBODY Sing!) We didn't start the fire,It was always burning since the world’s been turning
  • 15. We didn't start the fire,No we didn't light itbut we try to fight it
  • 16. fade out ...
  • 17. State of the Presbytery Monmouth Presbytery September 24, 2013
  • 18. Billy Joel
  • 19. STUFF Happens
  • 20. Studebaker, television North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe, Rosenbergs, H-bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom Brando, "The King and I" and "The Catcher in the Rye" Eisenhower, vaccine, England's got a new queen, Marciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc, Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dacron, Dien Bien Phu falls, "Rock Around the Clock" Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team, Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland, Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev, Princess Grace, "Peyton Place", trouble in the Suez Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac, Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, "Bridge on the River Kwai" Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball, Starkweather homicide, children of thalidomide,Buddy Holly, "Ben Hur", space monkey, Mafia, Hula hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go, U-2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy, Chubby Checker, "Psycho", Belgians in the Congo, Hemingway, Eichmann, "Stranger in a Strange Land" Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion, "Lawrence of Arabia", British Beatlemania, Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson, Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex, JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say? Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again, Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock, Begin, Reagan, Palestine, terror on the airline, Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan, "Wheel of Fortune", Sally Ride, heavy metal suicide, Foreign debts, homeless vets, AIDS, crack, Bernie 40 years 1949 - 1989
  • 21. “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
  • 22. On June 9, 1955, a fire broke out at a shop on the corner of Ocean Terrace and DuPont Avenue in Seaside Heights. Driven by 50 mile per hour winds, the fire spread south, until it was finally placed under control at Stockton Avenue in Seaside Park ... the fire destroyed three blocks of the boardwalk. -- David Chang, NBC -- David Chang, NBC
  • 23. We didn't start the fire,No, we didn't light it, but we try to fight it
  • 24. Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. -- American Psychological Association
  • 25. STUFF Happens STUFF Happens STUFF Happens STUFF Happens
  • 26. Stuff Happens
  • 27. resilience
  • 28. connected
  • 29. relationship
  • 30. community
  • 31. response
  • 32. flexibility
  • 33. diversity
  • 34. renewal
  • 35. resurrection
  • 36. We didn't start the fire,It was always burning since the world’s been turning It was always burning since