by Amaury Tañón-Santos
The Synod Commission, in its September meeting, approved the formation of two new networks: The Immigration Action Network and the New Beginnings Network.
New Beginnings was a program provided by the Presbyterian Mission Agency as a tool for congregational assessment and discernment for mission in this new time. During the spring meeting of the Synod Collegium (the gathering of presbytery missional leaders) it quickly became apparent that, by and large, this process had led congregational leaders through much needed introspection, a heightened awareness of the communities they are found in, and of anxieties and hopes for future mission. It was also revealed that there is a great pool of persons trained throughout the Synod in the New Beginnings process, and of experiences with other congregational assessment tools. The New Beginnings Network will seek to serve the Synod community by:
- Bringing together leaders experienced and trained in leading congregational assessment and discernment;
- Identifying effective program resources for congregational assessment processes;
- Gathering congregations across presbyteries at different phases of assessment for joint learning and story sharing;
- Developing plans, resources and leadership for congregational decision-making and implementation phases.
Presence: Immigration Action Network comes out of the many ways leaders, congregations and presbyteries throughout the Synod are engaged in immigration issues. After a training and gathering on immigration advocacy sponsored by the Synod, the General Assembly Office of Immigration Issues and the Stony Point Center, conversations about a Network continued. The main foci of the Network will be:
- To gather leaders from throughout the Synod for an annual synod-wide learning event around immigration issues;
- To communicate other opportunities for learning, training and organizing around presence and justice on immigration issues;
- To share resources available at many levels in local communities, from regional partners, and from the national church for organizing, learning, worship, and action;
- To broker relationships on the many ways local leaders and communities can engage issues of immigration, advocate for justice, and be present to immigrant communities. There are many Presbyterians and other partner organizations already engaged in different aspects of justice and advocacy which can be easily joined and have impactful results.
We are in the process of developing the webpages for these new networks and will announce those as soon as we have them on social media.