Posted April 19, 2021 in Around the Synod

The Synod of the Trinity held its annual COM-CPM Gathering on April 15-16. The 2021 event was held online using video conferencing program Zoom.

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Demography and Uncertainty Beyond COVID-19 (by Rev. Dr. Tim Cargal)
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Everyone is wrestling with the questions about how many of the pandemic disruptions will become the norm on the far side of the epidemic. But there are demographic trends that are as potentially disruptive to the old norms as the pandemic that will also await us on the other side. This session will present some of these statistics so we can explore together their implications for our congregations.

“Leadership” as We Move into the Mid-21st Century (by Rev. Dr. Tim Cargal)
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How we think about leaders and leadership in both society and church is being reshaped by three factors as we move deeper into the 21st Century. We are moving from a period of “institutional” to “movement” models of leadership. “Intercultural” relationships are making new demands upon leaders. The blending of the “virtual” with “in-person” is requiring new skills of leaders. This session will invite deeper reflection and conversation regarding each of these forces shaping the current generation of leaders in the PCUSA.

Bending the Book Without Breaking the Rules (facilitated by Rev. Dr. Wayne Yost, Stated Clerk, Synod of the Trinity)
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How is a presbytery to fulfill its many responsibilities in an era of diminishing resources (human, financial, technical)? When there are more sessions needing a moderator, worship services to be led, sacraments to be administered, weddings and funerals to be officiated than there are ministers or commissioned elders to meet the needs, what is a presbytery to do? We will share and explore ways we have figured out how to creatively do what needs to be done. Our current Book of Order gives each presbytery the freedom/responsibility to devise its own means of fulfilling requirements.

Panel: Rev. Dr. Matthew Camlin, Stated Clerk (Presbytery of Shenango)
Elder Maureen Wright, Stated Clerk (Presbytery of West Virginia)
Rev. Kevin Porter, Stated Clerk (Presbytery of Philadelphia)
Rev. Dr. Carl Wilton, Acting Stated Clerk (Presbytery of the Highlands)

How do we do Ecclesial Formation in 2021? (by Rev. Ayana Teter, Associate Dean for Students and Formation at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and former Associate Executive Presbyter of Pittsburgh Presbytery)
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When the journey that has led inquirers and candidates to our doorstep is a much different journey than 45 years ago?! There is evidence to suggest that today’s candidates come to CPM having spent less time in Presbyterian congregations, less time at Presbyterian institutions and less time with other Presbyterian clergy. What does this reality mean for our preparation committees? What are the joys and struggles of these realities? How important is a PCUSA ethos to pastoral formation? How have we adapted our presbytery work with candidates (or not!) to meet this new day? Gather prepared to share your experience, ask questions and learn of one seminary strategy for working in this context.

Disruptive Church Trends that will Impact 2021 — the Post-Pandemic Church (based on the work of Carey Nieuwhof ) (by Rev. Susan Faye Wonderland, Transitional Executive, Synod of the Trinity)
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As we look further into 2021 and potentially through/beyond the pandemic: we are likely looking at some changes and trends that will invite us to NOT go back to business as usual in all cases. While obviously these are only educated guesses, let’s look at some being suggested by Nieuwhof’s work and wonder together about what it might mean for ministry. As well, we will consider how important and helpful it could be to name these for our pastors and congregations.

Board of Pensions Resources for Small Churches, COMs, CPMs and (Pastoral) Self-Care (by Rev. Dr. Doug Portz, Senior Church Consultant; Elder Martha Reisner, Church Consultant)
For specific questions, email Doug Portz or Martha Reisner

Are you aware of the resources the Board of Pensions offers to support pastors and CREs serving in small churches? With more and more small churches seeking to partner in “shared ministries,” the Board of Pensions has added new flexibility in the way benefits can be configured  for full-time, part-time and “split-service” positions. In this time of the COVID pandemic, church leaders are undergoing great stress. Opportunities for self-care, as well as health and wellness resources, will be shared. The workshop, which we hope will be conversational, will also touch on those Board resources that require the presbytery to “sign off”  and/or originate a request for assistance for a pastor from the Board.

Moving through to the Other Side (by Rev. Dr. Graham Standish)
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Are we on the edge of renewal after a period of pandemic, polarization, and perplexity? Our churches and clergy have gone through exhausting times, yet this isn’t the first time the Church has gone through tumult. The history of Christianity is one of great transformation after great turmoil. How can we guide our churches to a time of renewal out of our turmoil? This workshop explores how to turn obstacles into opportunities, a desire to reclaim the past into a call to move into the future, how to turn personal and congregational burnout into a pursuit of purpose and meaning, and how to reclaim joy in ministry and mission.