While the New Jersey Missional Structures (NJMS) working group is convened and facilitated by the Synod of the Northeast, the group’s members were appointed through the moderators of each of the seven NJ presbyteries. This is an incredible group of talented, creative, and visionary people, and we are so grateful for their work to imagine a new approach to presbytery life!
At the January 2019 Mission & Ministries Commission meeting, the Mission Working Group (MWG) reviewed several grant applications. At the working group’s recommendation, the Commission approved one Ecumenical Support grant and four Innovation & Emerging Gospel Community Grants. Our partners are doing some incredible work!
One of the values highlighted in the New Way Forward is that of community. The membership of our Synod thrives on opportunities to come together to support one another through shared learning, shared worship, and shared visioning.
To support the goal of increasing opportunities to come together, the Synod hosts a wide variety of gatherings each year and supports an even broader set of gatherings within each of our 22 presbyteries. As a result, there is always something exciting happening in the Synod of the Northeast. So, to assist the various planning teams around the Synod, the Administrative Working Group has adopted a standardized calendar for the Synod’s largest gatherings.
The 2019 January 25-26 Synod Mission & Ministries Commission meeting began the next two-year term for presbytery representatives. As we said farewell to some representatives at the November 2018 meeting, we welcomed at this meeting people elected for the first time to represent their presbyteries. You can see that the new members bring a wealth of experience, gifts, and talents to the Commission that will enhance the Synod’s work over the next two years.
With the term cycle shift approaching with the new year, at its November 2018 meeting, the Mission & Ministries Commission (M&MC) thanked the Commission members and Synod officers who are rotating off its roles and bid them farewell. We are so grateful for their gifts, their service, and their ministry! We will miss each of them, but know that we will continue to see and hear from them in other contexts across the Synod.
One of the primary responsibilities of a Synod is to serve and care for its member presbyteries. In our New Way Forward, the manner in which this responsibility is carried out has changed significantly. Our values now call us to focus on serving rather than directing, listening rather than telling, and working from as close to our grassroots (congregations) as possible. This work is shaped by careful listening.
Over the more than five years since we have started on this New Way Forward it has become clear that most of our 22 presbyteries are struggling to find new ways to meet their own calling. Every presbytery has experienced shifts in demographics, changes or confusion in what is expected from leaders, as well as loss of membership and financial resources. Almost every presbytery has been engaged in creative experimentation in finding new ways to meet this sea change.
As our Synod Mission Team works among our presbyteries, it became clear that we are at a Kairos moment.
In addition to great fellowship and conversations among Commissioners, Young Adult Advisory Delegates (YAADs), and Observers, the Synod Assembly also had the privilege of welcoming some special guests as well…
Amid the many fruitful conversations that comprised the 2018 Synod Assembly’s business, the Assembly officially elected officers for the Synod’s upcoming leadership terms.
The 2018 Synod Assembly was organized by a “worshipful work” approach to our business and conversations. As we moved through the different elements of the meeting, each corresponded with an aspect of the Reformed order of worship, which helped to ground us in our spiritual identity and to remind us of our ultimate purpose of honoring God.
One of the main highlights of the Assembly was a confessional statement that was written and presented by a group of young ministry leaders called “A Confession for Such a Time as This.”