Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trinity Listening Session Comment

I am unclear about the measures and indicators of these sessions that you are using to evaluate our readiness to vote, but I’d like to make these comments.

I have come to these sessions with a sense of peace on my heart that this is not a battle, but simply a fork in the road - the result of Trinity's long leadership in sharpening the congregation's spiritual maturity and clarity in a direction that is a departure from the PCUSA. I don’t see the issue going away for PCUSA. I remember talking about these very issues 15 years ago and we are still talking about them. The organizational culture which supports so much time and resource on these and other denomination-centric issues seems a disturbing distraction from what God calls us to be as a church.

That said, the experience of finding ourselves at this fork has been all very healthy, constructive, and positive. It seems to have ignited renewed energy, and sharpened us individually and collectively through deep dialogue and study to understand even more fully who we are as Christ-followers and as a church, what we believe, and what we expect of ourselves - as a body and of our leaders.

I understand that we have been one of Presbytery’s sheep and that for many – including many in this church, it may be difficult to think that we may leave PCUSA. But I look at it differently. If we truly believe we are all part of one church, then we must also believe that a change such as this is simply like moving to another address. We’ll still be brothers and sisters in Christ; still working in the church and through the church to grow God’s kingdom; still part of the Presbyterian family. We’ll just live somewhere else – a place where we feel we can grow and thrive as disciples and not distracted by dynamics that cause us to stay inside our house rather than going outside into the darkness to be the light, the church and the people God calls us to be.
The move won’t be easy and the new house might be a mess. But often a move reinvigorates and stretches us – to dust off the shelves and discard the stuff we hold onto, don’t use, or costs us to keep. We see a new home with fresh eyes that see where we need to make repairs. It stretches us to learn and become engaged in a new community, to reach out; and in having to share with others about ourselves, we rediscover who we are and our purpose.

I know this has been difficult, but I believe we are and will be better for the journey. I’d like to ask you to prayerfully deem our congregation ready to vote on recommending dismissal.

Sandi Scannelli

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