Earlier this summer I posted about the remedial complaints that resulted in Stays of the dismissal. Well, 7 congregations have now finally left our Presbytery of Los Ranchos. People staying in the presbytery are grieving their leaving. At the Gathering last week, September 18, we prayed by laying hands on them. Today, I continue to pray for God's blessings on all of us, the churches leaving, those staying, those discerning whether to stay or leave. Most of all, though, I pray for the Spirit's comfort and guidance of those whose faith has been negatively impacted by us. This is not one of our finest moments. Tom and Forrest have said it well in their posts Where Are We Now? (taking time and space to grieve) and Church Departures: What's Next? (for church member, pastor, inquirer/candidate, member of a presbytery committee, etc.). Here's what happened.
The Synod PJC, today at the pre-trial hearing, approved the settlement agreements between the complainants and the Stay of Dismissals on 7 congregations was lifted. The 7 congregations that are no longer a part of our presbytery are : 1) Christ Presbyterian of Huntington Beach,2) St. Andrews of Newport Beach,
3) Good Shepherd of Los Alamitos, 4) Christ Pres (Lakewood) and 5) Community Long Beach
(which have merged and become one), 6) First Pres. at Westminster, and 7) Trinity at Santa Ana.
The settlement agreements, which in every case increases the money to be paid to the presbytery than was agreed to in the Joint Solution, indicate that the dismissal process was flawed. Sad.
So, here's the status of the season of discernment that started in the fall of 2012: 10 congregations and one new church development requested to be dismissed last year and were dismissed this summer. Remedial complaints were filed against all of them with the exception of the Wintersburg and the new church development (Cornerstone). Earlier this summer Wintersburg Presbyterian of Santa Ana was dismissed. In a gracious gesture the Presbytery also voted to waive the negotiated settlement for Wintersburg and apologized for our Church/denomination's silence of the unfair internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. 7 were dismissed today bringing the total to 8. Two other congregations that are not a part of today's settlement agreement continue to have remedial complaints pending against them. They are Journey Evangelical and First Pres. Church, Anaheim.
Thank you for continuing to keep our presbytery brothers and sisters in your prayers. May the unity and harmony of the Trinity prevail among us.
My heart continues to be burdened for those whose faith is weakened or destroyed by our actions. I praise God for all those whose faith is increased but especially people who comment, "this is why I will never join a church; they just divide people" continue to tug at my heart. Please stand in prayer with me for these folk. May Christ's Church be a light that draws people. Thanks.