June 6, 2020 Session Retreat
Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church
Session Retreat June 6, 2020
Present: Barbara Amago, Greg Behr, Paul Bolig, Stan Campbell, Pat Chappell, Paul Harrell, Paul Isom, Keith Glidewell, Marcia Ladd (clerk), Jennifer Larson, John McDowell, Bruce Raymond, Mary Roodkowsky, Andrew Taylor-Troutman (moderator)
Andrew opened the meeting with prayer at 9:05. The incoming elders – Greg Behr, Paul Bolig and Jennifer Larson – shared their statements of faith.
The elders shared Holy Communion, ending with the Lord’s prayer. Andrew offered a brief update. There appears to be increasing concern about opening the state more as the curve is not flattened. Hence concern about when we can open back up even for outside services. He indicated that he might hold a virtual weekly communion and asked for input. There was discussion about the best way to indicate whether or not you had been served. There was talk of just doing communion in smaller groups. Andrew would like us to move into more engagement and communion is a powerful tool to do that. Session will need to approve communion in this way at their next stated meeting.
The Vespers Task Force is trying to work through how those services will be held. A survey was sent to members of the church to ascertain who will be at the vesper services, the deacons will speak to each of their neighborhoods about the vesper services to determine engagement also. There was discussion about holding the services in the early evening, morning or both times. Stan asked if the microphone/speaker had been worked out. Zach Terry will be lending the church his equipment. We have also ordered recording equipment that will allow us to share services in various ways. There is a question of time resources that the Task Force will drill down on. There is also a privacy issue with recording that we need to examine. One of the things people miss is sharing joys and concerns, but we need to be careful about not recording that for obvious privacy issues.
There was a brief break, Andrew re-opened the meeting in prayer and broke the elders into 3 groups for a half hour discussion. Andrew indicated he was most interested in the groups reporting their discussions. The group re-convened as a whole. Mary spoke from “Worship,” on their passage from Nehemiah. She summarized the passage saying, Ezra brought the people together to talk about the law and reading it to a new generation hearing it for the first time. As the group was together they heard about it differently in community. They were ordered to celebrate about the word and go out and share it with other people. The group’s take away was now that we are in different circumstances we need to think about the church not as a building, but as a community. We as leaders need to help others understand the new paradigm of church. We need to not just grieve, but move on from that and share the good word with others. Mary pointed out the extremely importance of the church being a community and that we learn from others in that community.
Andrew then turned to Welcome. Paul Isom spoke about the Kings Chapter their group discussed. The story was about Naaman who was a commander that contracted leprosy. His wife had a slave girl who set him on a circuitous path to be “cured.” He was convinced by “lower level” folks to take Elisha’s path to being washed 7 times in the Jordan River. The group discussed how important our welcoming factor is. There was talk about what type and kind of messaging we wanted to make as a church about what is going on our country right now. The time may have come for those of us of white privilege to take action. There was much discussion of what actions to take and how do we use our privilege to make a difference?
Barbara talked about their “Witness” group. The reading is from Acts and is about Phillip out proselytizing after Stephan was stoned and the Apostles scattered. Phillip explained that the scripture was foretelling and he moved an official to whom he was preaching enough to ask to be baptized. Phillip goes on from there to do further witnessing. The reading symbolizes what we are called to do in the world by saying who we are and living out our faith in the world. The group talked about what we can specifically do to live our Christianity. It’s not just a sign we hang on our building, but how we interact with our communities, what we teach and practice in our community. We need to think about what did yesterday and what we will do tomorrow to live out our faith. People look to the church to help them understand what they can do, and that can be work for session.
Andrew indicated he liked the idea of Mission and Service having a list of things that individuals can do. We will continue with the idea of asking forgiveness for our original sin during our time of prayer. We are going to have a spring retreat, led by Lashauna Austria that will focus on conversations on race. Also, the vesper services with Mt Zion will be a step forward starting this Sunday at 4.
We are going on Tuesday night at 6 PM to have an installation of the new elders and deacons on Zoom. Andrew asked that this group be on the call. He will record it and play it on next Sunday’s service. Andrew will ask for feedback on the retreat format because it is something he would like to do going forward. Andrew closed the meeting in prayer at 12:05 PM.
Marcia Ladd, Clerk
Approved session 6/15/2020