PASTOR’S NOTE:You will be pleased to know that both our Board of Deacons and our Session have had their initial meetings and are already hard at work. Each person has accepted an assignment or a ministry for which they will have responsibility. That does not mean, however, that they will do this task alone! They will be reaching out to all the members of our congregation to serve in some way. In some instances, open meetings have already been held to begin planning, organizing, and praying for God’s guidance and wisdom in all we do.
We believe in a “spiritual gift” oriented church. God has blessed each one of us with a gift or gifts for the common good. Presbyterian congregations are not supposed to be run by its clergy and employed staff. Governance and ministry rests upon elders and deacons who, alongside church staff, prayerfully follow Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church! During the past few months many of you have discovered gifts you did not know you had. Many of you who may have been sitting back before, have now stepped forward to say, “Here I am Lord!” Praise the Lord! We have only just begun.
Last week’s article caught the attention of many persons. I have received an overwhelming positive response to our “stronger stance.” I have also received criticism from some on the other side. Allow me to quote our Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, “Let us be mindful to pray for our congregations that are strategically being led out of our denomination by supposedly ecumenical partners.”
I am not a member of Lehigh Presbytery nor its team responsible for dealing with this conflict. That is not my responsibility. I am most grateful for that. With each passing day, however, I feel more and more like a prophet who is free to declare what she or he views as injustice. With each passing day I feel more and more the injustice so many of you feel was strategically orchestrated by a former pastor, who then deserted his flock for greener pastures at the most critical time. Is that the kind of pastoral leadership ECO is proud of? I do not know what math they are using, but 700 and some votes to leave the PCUSA out of 2,600 members is not a significant majority! We hope and pray the 1,800 and some blessed saints that did not vote to go ECO will stay right here and continue as a PCUSA congregation.
I would be pleased to meet with anyone who would like to talk with me further about the future of the church here in Bethlehem.
Pastor Bill Hess
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