Pastoral Notes (Sunday, June 12)

“…to contend for the faith once delivered for the saints.”—Jude 1:3

Each week during worship, we recite this line from the Apostles Creed, “I believe… in the holy catholic church.” When we profess those words together, we are identifying ourselves to be a part of a much larger fellowship—the one universal church throughout all time. On the one hand, this is a humbling admission, for it means we are not the only expression of God’s church in the world. On the other hand, it’s a blessed profession, for it means we are a part of the one people of God, the Church.

If we tease this truth out a bit, it means we should not be surprised when God works in and through many different churches, denominations, traditions, and peoples etc. In fact, we expect it. At the same time, we know God will work in and through us as a vital member of the catholic (universal) church. Understanding the catholicity of the church gives shape to our identity and mission as God’s people.

It’s good to be reminded of these truths, for this week was the national gathering of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA)—the denomination of which our church is a member. Each year the elders of the PCA gather for “General Assembly” to carry out the good and necessary work of the denomination as a whole.

When we meet, the most important thing we do together is worship. We had the privilege of hearing from three tremendous preachers this year—Harry Reeder, Tim Keller, and Mike Campbell. You will be able to find these sermons online very soon. I would encourage you to listen. Aside from worship, we conduct the business of denominational committees, hear reports from our various denominational agencies, vote on various overtures brought by our presbyteries, consider changes to our denominational book of church order, engage actively in pertinent theological debates, and receive ongoing ministerial training and encouragement through seminars. Thankfully, it was a very smooth assembly this year, and I’m pleased to announce that the work was conducted with wisdom and charity.

Thank you for praying for Greg and me and for our denomination as a whole. As time permits in the future, I may revisit this topic again to further elaborate on Presbyterianism generally, so you can get a better handle on how our denomination works together for the good of the church. Plus, as important issues arise within the denomination, or even in the local churches in the presbytery, it’s important that you as a church stay informed. On that note, if you ever have questions about our denomination, or about the Presbyterian faith, please do not hesitate to drop me a line or give me a call. I always love hearing from you.

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