Dear Friends –
I hope this note finds you well and enjoying a respite from the frigid air and nasty weather! I, for one, hope that the last vestiges of winter are behind us.
As promised, this letter and attachment are intended to keep you fully updated on the work of the New Jersey Missional Structures Working Group. On February 13, Stated Clerk Warren McNeill, Co-Moderators Rev. Valencia Norman and Rev. Dan Martian, and I attended a meeting with representatives of the six other presbyteries in New Jersey, as well as members of the New Jersey Missional Structures Working Group. As you will recall, CRE Doris Peterson and Elder Laura Phillips have been representing Newark Presbytery on that Working Group.
Following the large gathering, the smaller Working Group re-convened and, as a result, have produced the document which I attach to this letter, entitled “Invitation to Participate in New Jersey Missional Communities.” Within that document, you will find, as Appendix IV, the Overture that was the impetus for putting into motion this New Jersey Missional Structures Working Group. I invite you to read through this invitation thoroughly. Perhaps even a few times. And I invite you to pray about it.
At the May 11, 2019, Presbytery meeting, we will have a period of meaningful dialogue facilitated by Doris and Laura, as well as a time of questions and answers. And while there will be ample time at the meeting for your questions, we invite you to send any questions you have prepared ahead of time to [email protected]. Those questions will then be shared with Laura and Doris as they prepare. Please send your advance questions by Monday, May 6.
After the dialogue and discussion, the VAB will propose the following motion to the presbytery for a vote. (However, if the Co-Moderators deem that the body needs more time for discussion and discernment, the official vote may be moved to the September 2019 Presbytery meeting.)
“The VAB recommends that the Presbytery of Newark respond to the February 2019 Invitation to Participate in New Jersey New Missional Communities as follows:
Whereas the February 2019 “Invitation to Participate in NJ Missional Communities” cover letter states that “An affirmative vote from the presbyteries will give this new working group a mandate to move forward – using this Invitation document and its proposed map as a guide,”
And whereas an affirmative vote from the presbyteries will result in presbyteries nominating individuals to serve on the NJ Missional Structures Design and Implementation Team which will in turn bring a detailed plan back to the presbyteries for vote at a later date the Presbytery of Newark accepts the invitation and endorses the formation of the NJ Missional Structures Design and Implementation Team to be guided by the February 2019 Invitation and proposed map.”
This is an exciting time to be a Presbyterian in the State of New Jersey as we have the opportunity to confirm that this is indeed a kairos moment – “[a] special time[s] appointed by God for turning and transformation; for a new thing to spring forth.” (Invitation to Participate, page 3).
Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Smith
Transitional Director of Presbytery Ministries