Dear Friends,

Missionaries 

I hope you can join us Tuesday night at 7 pm in the sanctuary for a visit with PCUSA missionaries Elmarie and Scott Parker. I am very curious about their work in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Here is the blurb about their visit:

“Rev. Elmarie Parker and Rev. Scott Parker will lead a discussion regarding current conditions in the region where they work and live, along with how these conditions (including ISIS) are impacting PCUSA Partners and their continuing work of worship and ministry. Though there is much over which to be deeply concerned, there are also stories of hope to be heard and shared. Bring your questions and come ready to hear the witness received firsthand from local church leaders on the ground in these areas of conflict and chaos. 

Rev. Elmarie Parker serves as a Presbyterian Church (USA) Associate for Ecumenical Partnerships in the role of Regional Liaison to Church Partners in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. The Rev. Scott Parker serves also as an Associate for Ecumenical Partnerships working with the Middle East Council of Churches.”
Facebook Event
Elmarie and Scott’s website

Test the Waters

We are hosting a Test the Waters, Saturday, February 9th from ten am to 1 pm in Petersen Gallery. This is an opportunity for those who are new to Southminster to find out more about our ministries, meet some new folks and enjoy a free lunch put on by our deacons. Childcare will be provided. Let me know if you would like to attend and we will have a space for you! 

Schedule

Tomorrow morning I am available for drop-ins at Sharis on Murray and Allen from 7:30-9 am. It might be fun to see what this turns into. Wednesday I have an appointment during that time, but generally Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 7:30-9 is a time to hang out for those who wish. This month I will be at Sharis on Murray and Allen. 

Of course, I am available Monday through Thursday and Sunday afternoons to get more acquainted with no agenda. In groups or one to one.  Email or call/text 503-309-5346 to set up a time!

Credit Card

Unfortunately, the cost of processing Vanco payments to the church is too high to continue, so at the end of the month we will stop that availability. I wish this didn’t have to happen because we never pay anything by check in my house. I am hoping that there may be some creative ideas that will make a way for electronic gifts to the church. A twenty-something told me on Christmas that he would have given an offering but doesn’t carry cash. He asked me, “Do we take Apple Pay?”  I guess not.

Bottom line. I think we need to catch up with the modern world of commerce and not make it harder for people to give to our ministries, but easier. The Trustees had to do this to balance the budget, but perhaps we can find more creative ways in regards to this. How have you seen this work in other churches? 

Speaking of the budget, we were able to restore the tenor section leader staff position and keep COLA increase for the pastors. Thanks to those who gave us a boost! The budget is finalized at the session meeting on Thursday. The annual meeting is Sunday, January 27th. At that meeting the congregation will be able to view a budget summary, vote on terms of calls for Don and I, and elect a nominating committee (a slate has already been selected!)

Program vs. Pastor

In the survey this issue appeared. Are we a pastor-sized church or a program-sized church and what does that mean for our shared work?  This would be a good question for our congregation to wrestle with together in open meetings. There is certainly is plenty of literature out there on this, but I will tell you how I have been operating.

I regard Southminster as a program-sized church and have treated it that way. For instance, the meetings are all run by church members and they run with or without my presence. I try to attend meetings as much as I can but the calendar, agendum, decision-making is done by church members. I mostly communicate with the chairs of these meetings beforehand and after the meeting.

In a pastoral size church (which I have also served), meetings often do not happen if the pastor isn’t there to lead it. If we followed that model at Southminster, it would be frustrating for everyone. Here, things work quite well and it allows us to provide a wide variety of quality programming because of excellent lay leadership. Our meetings are mostly grouped on the first and second Thursday evenings, allowing for choirs on Wednesdays and educational programming on Tuesdays. Happy to hear your thoughts on this as to how I can be helpful as a resource for our programming. 

Also, in a pastoral size church (less than 100 attending on average on Sundays) the relationships are parishioner to pastor. The pastor knows everyone quite well and is the primary engine behind relationships in the church. In a program-sized church, primary relationships are between people and the pastor functions enabling people to connect with each other and pastoral care by the pastor is emergency-focused or counseling by appointment. Again, this is primarily how I have been working. Perhaps that discussion would be good have in regards to expectations of how we work together to care for each other?  

Here is an article that might provide food for thought on this issue, How to Minister Effectively in Family, Pastoral, Program and Corporate-Sized Churches

Monday Morning Questions

Just thinking that this might be a fun space to address any questions you have. E-mail me a question about anything you want and I will address it in a future Monday Morning!

Have a great week!
John