He instructed us to form up in groups of three, but not with the people we know well. With about 240 participants that would have been about 80 small groups.
He then asked each of us within our groups to share our answers to the following three questions:
1. What are your hopes about the Peace Unity and Purity actions of the GA?
2. What are your concerns about the Peace Unity and Purity actions of the GA?
3. What are some implications for your congregation and how it focuses on its mission in Christ?
4. How do you hope we in Pittsburgh Presbytery deal with the actions of the GA regarding Peace Unity and Purity?
At the end of our small group discussions he invited anybody who felt moved or led to share something they heard (i.e., not something they said). There were some long silent pauses as two hundred forty people pondered what they had heard, and then some stepped to microphones and said what they had heard (perhaps from total strangers) without commentary.
I did not know any of the people in my small group, and I did not go to the microphone. I had heard one elder tell me that she was much more concerned about the Trinity report than about the Peace Unity and Purity actions. I had heard another elder say that he hoped that Pittsburgh Presbytery would deal fairly with any congregations that wanted to leave the PCUSA.
I was glad we went through this reflective listening exercise. It was markedly different from the debates in which the speakers are so full of the importance of what they want to say. I was glad people had the opportunity to value what others had said.
Pittsburgh Presbytery's conversations about the Peace Unity and Purity actions will continue on September 20.
September 20th 7pm, 8:35pm 2006 — Prayerful Conversation in Response to PUP Report— at Great Room, Pittsburgh Presbytery Center, 901 Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15233My other articles about this meeting: A. Preliminary thoughts B. Overview C. Worship D. Ordination Overture E. Reflective listening F. Administrative Commissions G. Vocational Matters
Worship and Dwelling in the Word together (20 minutes) Brief input about the actions of the 217 th GA (5 minutes) Q & A for clarity about the actions (10 minutes) Reflecting with a neighbor (10 minutes) Open conversation as a whole group (40 minutes) Prayer together (10 minutes)