A Message from Pastor Scott

Turning Down the Amp

I cannot believe school has started. Summer wasn’t lazy and hazy, but it seems the demands have just amped up. Am I alone? I don’t think so. Plus, I just have to take care of myself and my vocation, I don’t have many family obligations at this stage. I want to let all of you with children and teenagers, that my prayers are with you and I am impressed by all you are doing. Life is hard, balancing work and family.

 

As you begin the rush of responsibilities, carve out a few minutes, breathe and think about the next few months. Sit down and write down what is important. Then, write down the tasks you are doing that you are looking forward to doing. Finally, write down the activities you are either not excited about or even dreading. Then, ask yourself, and then write down, what would happen if you decided not to participate in an activity you are not excited about or especially dreading. Perhaps your teenager would be devastated, then you may want to think twice. But, if the child is not totally committed, long term, to the activity, then give it up.

 

When we were raising our daughter, we had the “one times three plan.” We gave her the choice of one after school activity, one church event (along with weekly worship), and one community activity. If, for example, she wanted to do two church activities, she had to give up the community activity for the semester. She couldn’t give up the church activity, however. This gave her time for studying, and God forbid, time for herself. It also gave Jill and I time to spend with each other and as a family. Now, this was hard enough, just having one child. Making a plan and sticking to it is even more important when you have more than one child. Devise your own plan but be sure to make one that everyone understands. Otherwise, your life will not be your own.

 

I hope I am not sounding like an authority. We made our own share of mistakes. One of the reasons I am sharing this article is because too often I lost control of my life and didn’t take enough time for my family. You don’t get those years back. That is why it is so important to make the plan. You need to be more than simply a taxi service. You deserve better, and so do your children.

 

Pray over your plan and the decisions you make in the following weeks. God’s Spirit will assist you as you seek to carve out your life. These years can be the most fulfilling of your life. The control you take over these years will make all the difference. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy your life, and those children of yours. All you need to do is turn down the amp!

 

General Assembly

The Presbyterian Church (USA) just finished their 223rd General Assembly. This year it was in St. Louis, Missouri. Our GA (General Assembly) meets every other year. This year our GA addressed many serious issues in the life of the Church and in our world. While this article does not have room to describe every issue, I would like to take a moment to lift out a few of the actions you might find interesting.

 

Again this year, the GA debated the ongoing Israel-Palestine/Middle East issue. The following actions were taken by the Assembly.

  • Asked RE/MAX, LLC, to end its sale and rental of property on occupied, disputed land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The vote was 393-55.
  • Voiced support for all efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together peacefully.
  • Asked the state of Israel to fully comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in order to stop discriminatory practices and called on the U.S. government to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Condemned the recent violence along the border between Israel and Gaza.

 

The GA approved increasing their share of Per Capita. Per Capita is a payment each church pays for each member of a congregation. The Presbytery gets the largest share of the Per Capita, then Synod gets a share, and finally, the GA gets their share. The GA will now get $8.95 per member which is an increase of $1.25 for each member of the PC(USA). This includes each member of Westminster.

 

The GA also addressed the serious issue of Immigration. The assembly called upon the federal government to end the family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, to immediately reunite parents with their children, to inform every parent where their children are being held and their condition, to stop using separation of children from their parents and their separated children in any ways they can. The assembly also addressed war, violence, and human rights in Central America (particularly Nicaragua), South Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Madagascar, and the Korean Peninsula.

 

Gun Violence was also a topic of continued concern for the General Assembly. The assembly reaffirmed previous General Assembly policies designed to reduce gun violence, called all Presbyterians to pray for a movement of the Spirit to engage Presbyterians in nationwide actions to prevent gun violence, and urged them to create opportunities to study the issue of gun violence, with an emphasis on resources produced by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

 

Finally, the issues of Racism/Poverty/Violence were addressed. Some of the resolutions decided are as follows:

  • Initiated the arduous process of possibility including Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in the Book of Confessions.
  • Changed the church’s nomenclature from “racial ethnic people” to “people of color” and the name of the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns to the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee.
  • Authorized a five-member task group with a black women majority to raise awareness of issues adversely affecting black girls and women in society and the church, and to develop action plans to address those issues.
  • Affirmed and celebrated the “full dignity and humanity” and gifts of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

 

These are just a few of the actions taken by our General Assembly. I encourage you to go to PCUSA.org if you have interest in finding out more about decisions made by our denomination’s General Assembly.

 

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