Thursday, September 08, 2005

Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting at Crestfield: 1. The things that won't be in the minutes

Today I attended a day-long meeting of Pittsburgh Presbytery at the Crestfield Camp and Conference Center. I have decided that in blogging this meeting, I will borrow the example of my West Coast colleague Mark Roberts, who serializes his articles. So this will be the first of a series of reports and comments on things that happened at today's meeting.

When the ministers and elders arrive there is always a docket full of important business concerning how the work of the church in the region is progressing, but there are also important things that happen at these meetings that don't appear on the docket and never get recorded in the minutes.

Some of the very important things that happen are in the side conversations with colleagues in ministry. We know something about the struggles of our friends and acquaintances, and may not be geographically close enough to see each other outside of these meetings. The things we talked about, the support given and received, are an important part of the meeting even if it is not the "official" business.

Before the meeting, and over lunch, I had a number of conversations with people about the domestic violence training event that will take place at Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum on September 24. More information about the event can be found here and here. Over lunch someone asked me how it came about that Central was holding this event; readers of this blog may remember reading it first here.

One of the conversations I had was with Anne Keller, a second career candidate for the ministry of Word and Sacrament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary graduate, and member of the Glenshaw Presbyterian Church. She has a strong sense of call to a ministry with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and trauma. She is seeking a call, and would be a blessing to to an organization or church that wanted to develop such a ministry.

Henk Bossers describing camping ministryI also saw my friend Henk Bossers, pastor of the Cheswick Presbyterian Church. As he usually does at the meetings at Crestfield, he had his tents set up to describe the canoe trips and camping ministry he does during the summer. Over lunch he was having a good conversation about the Canadian canoe trip with a number of folks.

Near the end of the meeting we talked a little bit about how churches are responding to Hurricane Katrina. He mentioned the kids who ran a lemonade stand in front of the church through the Labor Day weekend. I discovered that he did not know that the lemonade stand had been reported in the Valley News Dispatch on Tuesday, in a nice article by Wynne Everett. Now he has something to look up.

My articles about this Presbytery meeting are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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