May 18, 2017

Dear First Pres,

I’m so grateful for the way that our congregation has been hard at work to host our Presbytery of the Pacific meeting, which kicked off today. Remember, Presbytery is our regional network of EPC churches. Elders & Pastors from every EPC church in the region (the entire West Coast) make up the voting body and do the business of the Presbytery. Our business mostly includes examining incoming pastors, caring for those in the ordination process, doing what we can to help local congregations thrive, and joining together to plant new churches in our presbytery and around the world.

For some of you, the thought of sitting in a presbytery meeting all day Friday and half of Saturday might make you yawn. And yes, for those of us who regularly participate in Presbytery, they are long meetings. However, for me, they are also encouraging, interesting, helpful, and fun. On Sunday, when I encouraged you to come to our Presbytery worship service happening in our Sanctuary on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., I said that our Presbytery is vast geographically, but quite intimate relationally. Those relationships make our gatherings something I genuinely look forward to attending.

Here’s the bottom line. I believe with all my heart that being part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and our Presbytery of the Pacific is an incredible blessing to First Presbyterian Church Fresno. Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • It’s a community of churches that shares a common vision for being on mission with Christ.
  • It reminds us that we’re a part of a larger body of churches and it lifts our eyes to care for those other churches in places like Oregon City and San Diego and Wenatchee and Fairbanks and Redding and San Francisco.
  • It provides a layer of positive accountability to the leadership of our congregation.
  • It pushes us to consider how we might partner with other congregations to launch new congregations to reach more people with the Gospel.
  • It helps us to have a growth mindset as we learn from other churches and are inspired and challenged by their testimonies.

Okay, I promised a “few,” so I’m going to stop there. Being part of the EPC is a great thing for our church. That’s why I’m so grateful for the many folks who are working to host our Presbytery meeting. It is a special meeting because soon we will be making our presbytery into two presbyteries. We’ve grown too large, so we have decided to multiply so that we have continued capacity to grow. And, it’s special because two folks connected with FPC Fresno will be participating in significant ways. Meagan Bergem, our Junior High Director, is coming under care of the presbytery as a candidate for ordination, and Rev. Greg Ehlert, former Associate Pastor of our congregation, is transferring into the presbytery (Greg is scheduled to be up at 3 on Friday afternoon; Meagan is scheduled to be up at 4).

How can you get a taste of our presbytery? I think the best way is for you to come Friday night for our worship service. Come a bit early (it starts at 7p.m.); sit in the front half of the sanctuary; be prepared to greet those around you as they make their way into the room; ask them where they’re from; ask them something about their congregation; and then join them in worship of our awesome God.

Blessings,

Jeremy

 

P.S. You are welcome to come and observe the official meeting, as well. We’ll be meeting in the Fellowship Hall all day Friday, and on Saturday morning. Just make sure to check in at the registration table as an “observer.”

Tags: