So I'm going to Presbytery.
At this point, half of my readers are saying, "What is Presbytery?" and the other half are saying, "Was it a ransom demand made by someone who kidnapped your firstborn? Because that's the only reason I would go to Presbytery."
So, okay, for those who don't know (as I certainly did not know a few years ago when I first started attending Calvary), Presbyterian churches are governed by elders, including the pastor and a handful of 'ruling elders'. These are called the Session. Then, every so often, the Sessions of a bunch of churches in the area get together to ... well, frankly, I'm not sure what they do, but I'm sure it involves a lot of big words like 'supralapsarianism' and 'soteriology'. As it turns out, this month, the Presbytery of New York and New England is meeting in Amsterdam. No, not THAT Amsterdam. They are meeting in the little town of Amsterdam, New York, only a few minutes drive from Schenectady. And I want to go.
And now to answer the other half of my readers--why would I want to go? The general consensus among many is that Presbytery meetings have all the fast pace and drama of paint drying and that the only people who would voluntarily subject themselves to these things would be chronic insomniacs desperate for a few hours of boredom-induced slumber.
But that is precisely what I find so fascinating about Presbyterian meetings. I'm an ex-Pentecostal, of course, so I figure that any church event that doesn't involve someone in the pulpit screaming "GLOWRAY!!!" is pretty awesome. But beyond that, I am fascinated by the fact that I am allowed to attend Presbytery meetings at all.
In most of the churches that I attended before I became Presbyterian, the FBI couldn't ferret out their form of government. Most of the time, we weren't even sure who (if anyone) besides the pastor was in charge. We put money in the plate and it simply disappeared. Was it being used to support church programs and outreach? Was it spent on massages for the pastor's wife's sister's cousin's pet poodle? We never knew. Meetings were always carried out behind closed doors. If a decision seemed dubious and we protested, we were merely told, "You don't know all the facts. You would agree with us if you knew the situation." Perhaps, but how could we know that for sure? And these decisions often involved sudden and dramatic changes in direction. The pastor would go to a regional conference, come back with a new 'vision' that God had supposedly given him, and we were all expected to jump on board. Anyone who didn't immediately support it was 'hindering the Spirit'. Every few months, it seemed, the rug got yanked from under us for no discernable reason. We had to jump fast and jump blindly.
So I love Presbyterian meetings. I love the openness. I love the slow pace. I sit back there with a big silly grin on my face, completely enthralled by all the boredom. I look forward to a wonderful snooze-fest in which all the representatives talk too much and nothing much happens and it takes an act of God to end the darn thing on time. Amen. So let it be.
Having said all of that, my experiences thus far are limited to corporate and congregational meetings. This will be my first ever real Presbytery meeting. Although, yes, I realize I can't directly participate in this one (only observe), I am very excited. I also have no earthly idea how to get there.
I am told it is at Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but I have never been there. I asked for directions. "It's behind the McDonalds," a good friend informed me helpfully. Hmmmmm. That doesn't really narrow it down. 'Behind the Pyramids of Giza' would narrow it down. McDonalds are as ubiquitous as bacteria (not that I'm suggesting that there's a connection).
My husband is not a fan of the idea of me simply going looking for it. "That gives me the chills," he says. " Honey, I love you, but you are terrible at finding new places. You will end up in Canada. I just know it." He's right. And if that happens, I may miss the whole first part of the Presbytery meeting. And who knows, that might be when all the exciting stuff happens (although, judging by my experience in Presbyterian meetings, I'm not sure how anyone can tell when we are in the Exciting Part).
Sooooooooooo ... I either have to catch a ride with someone or figure out where this church is.
But stay tuned. I think this is gonna be a lot of fun. More updates to follow.
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