A Letter to the Member Churches of the New Brunswick Presbytery
from the Committee on Ministry
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial….Let no one seek their own, but the well-being of our neighbor. 1 Corinthians 10:23-2
The Book of Order makes clear that the treasured members of our congregations put themselves under the leadership of our sessions and higher councils; and that our sessions are responsible for the guidance and governance of the life of our churches (G-1.0103) including when, where and how we gather for worship. While governmental authorities have cleared the way for our churches to return to their sanctuaries, only our sessions have the power to call us back.
The Committee on Ministry holds all of our churches in prayer, knowing that each is wading through multiple guidelines and recommendations from a wide breadth of sources. We recognize what is deemed the right path for one congregation may not be the chosen path of another. We need not share unity in our decisions about re-opening our sanctuaries. But we must be unified in a discernment process that’s faithful, remembering Paul’s words: …whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8).
We advise all sessions to work without haste in a deliberate process which considers all relevant issues and necessary work regarding reopening. A wealth of resources is available on the New Brunswick presbytery and PC(USA)’s websites to assist your sessions in their process of discernment. Below, you will find some specifically recommended by the Committee on Ministry that were chosen in an effort to help provide an accessible framework of conversation for sessions and congregations.
The Committee on Ministry stands ready to gather with any session and/or pastor to offer support and to assist in the facilitation of conversations around the discernment of re-opening. Please contact Sharyl Dixon (chair) or Paul LaMontagne (stated clerk of the presbytery) as a starting place for conversation.