Things are really coming together all across the country in the Presbyteries of ECO. Meetings are taking place and congregations and pastors are getting to know one another in their new Presbytery home. Here are a few highlights:
The Presbytery of Florida held its first meeting and brought along a special guest speaker, NBA Hall of Fame member, Olympian, and Ohio State University superstar Jerry Lucas. While his athletic achievements are great, his testimony is even better. The Presbytery of Florida also ordained three candidates (David Hancock, Elizabeth Nielsen, and Chris Southard) and elected their new Moderator, Rev. Lucky Arnold from First Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach.
The Presbytery of East Central also had its first meeting. This is one of our largest Presbyteries with over 20 congregations. We heard from a developing, Arabic-speaking church plant in Richmond—they’ve even translated ECO’s Essential Tenets into Arabic. Also, we heard from Wes Barry who has launched Waypoint Community Church in this Presbytery. The Presbytery also chartered Community West Church with Rev. Nelson Ould in Richmond. Rev. Brian Stewart of First Greenville was elected Moderator for this Presbytery.
In the Presbytery of the Northeast , Rev. Jeff Wildrick from First Dunellen, NJ was elected moderator and Rev. Jerry Fourroux shared with the group about the developments coming along for church planting in New Jersey and other areas of the Northeast. It was a great event in Wilkes-Barre, PA, even though my flight was cancelled and I slept in the Atlanta airport while they gathered. I’m looking forward to visiting with them soon!
The Presbytery of the Great Lakes met for the first time in McDonald, PA (just outside of Pittsburgh). Folks travelled in from Ohio, Michigan, Western New York, and Pennsylvania to be part of this gathering. Rev. Tina Hosler of Paris Presbyterian is the Moderator for this group and there were several informative breakout sessions to help equip the churches for mission.
The Presbytery of the Northwest & Alaska held its first meeting in Tacoma, WA with 18 churches represented. Rev. Ron Horn of Haines Presbyterian Church in Alaska was elected Moderator. Rev. Earl Palmer led worship and a Bible study and several workshops were held as well.
The Presbytery of Northern California & Nevada, led by Elder Ken Robbins as their Moderator, have been quite busy receiving new congregations and are planning to meet on May 31 to take up several business items, but more importantly get to know one another’s ministries and all the exciting things God is doing amongst them.
The soon-to-be Presbytery of Southern California met in Santa Ana, CA as an information meeting. It’s exciting to see volunteers are already coming forward to serve. We look forward to them being constituted in June as several more congregations come on board. Rev. Betsy Straeter of Glenkirk Presbyterian church did a wonderful job in getting everyone together to start vision casting for what God is calling ECO congregations to do in Southern California.
The Presbytery of the West and the Presbytery of Texas & Louisiana held a joint meeting where they interviewed and approved two ordinations: Anthony Ceder at Matthews Memorial in Albany, TX and Shelley Homeyer, who will be going to Africa to serve with Antioch Partners. These two Presbyteries will be operating separately in the very near future as more congregations move into the Presbytery of Texas.
A common thread throughout all of these meetings was the importance of accountability and the vehicles to help with this: Mission Affinity Groups and Pastor Covenant Groups. Anna Kent did a marvelous job instructing everyone on how each of these community resources works. In each Presbytery there’s now a point person who Anna will be working with to continue fostering this invaluable piece of our ECO culture.
In all, I see God leading the way as we get the necessary items in place to live into this culture of ECO. The excitement I have seen everywhere is simply contagious.
We are in amazing times, indeed!