Presbytery Transition Report – January 2020

This is the report presented to the Presbytery of Newton on January 11, 2020

When we last met not all the New Jersey Presbyteries had voted on Invitation for the NJ Missional Structure.  As of that November all have voted overwhelming to move forward with the next steps in the Transition.

We are at the threshold of something new.  Each presbytery meeting we will take time to keep your informed or have conversations about or invite you to engage in the next steps.  We will also be posting regularly on our webpage, Facebook and Twitter about where we are in the process.

Where we are today, right now. The Synod has formed a Working Group who will have the responsibility to address the technical issues that include the realigning of boundaries, finances, corporation and legal issues and all other types of things that might emerge.  Each presbytery will provide two representatives for the working Group. Our representatives are Becky Moody, our treasurer, and Nancy Young.

Last the Synod has provided a part time Synod Staff person to help shepherd the Working Group. Joe Martinoni is that person. He may be called upon in the future to provide updates.

The Presbytery Coordinating Team has appointed a Transition Team who will be meeting soon to work on the other issues of transition such as building relationships, creating opportunities for community, designing a discernment process for visioning our future. The team at this time is 4 people. When we are a little further down the road to having our boundaries clarified we will invite others from the other three presbyteries to be part of the team.

Presently our boundaries will be Sussex, Warren, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon and the Northwest part of Passaic counties.  This takes in approximately 58 churches from Newton, 3 churches from Palisades, 8 churches from Elizabeth, 13 churches from New Brunswick.  I am anticipating that there maybe a few churches shifting.

The PCT has already been working to begin Phase One – Building relationships. Over the next several months COM liaisons along with another person from presbytery teams will be visiting with sessions. The first list of 20 congregations are being contacted with the next list to come out sometime in the spring.  The purpose of the visits is to build community, to have conversations, to listen and learn about the transitions. Moderators and Clerks of sessions when you get the call to set up the meeting please say yes.

I am in the process of setting up Pastor gatherings throughout the Northwest New Jersey Presbytery.  Presently we have tentative dates in February for a gathering in Flemington and one in Clinton.  Working on dates and locations for the Morris and Somerset county area and the Sussex and Passaic county area.

The Committee on Ministry, The Presbytery Coordinating Team, The Missional Ministry Team and the Newish Pastors group are all reading the Book “How to Lead when you don’t know where you are going- Leading in a Liminal Season.  This book lays out what a liminal season for a church may look like and how to walk together in discerning where God is calling the group to go.