Presbytery opened at 4:00 pm today at Covenant OPC with great fanfare. As each of the representatives entered the sanctuary, they were announced over a loudspeaker to wild applause and a shower of confetti. When all were present, the lights were darkened, and an amazing pyrotechnics display sent a shower of sparks in the air as an enormous banner bearing the OPC logo rose over the assembly.
Well, okay, I was 15 minutes late, so I'm not exactly sure that's what happened. But that's the way I picture it. By the time I got there, every trace of confetti was vacuumed up, the smoke cleared out of the air, and it was all business. In fact, by the time I got there, it looked suspiciously like a bunch of pastors holding a meeting, and what with Presbyterian punctuality and all, it was already well underway.
Not wanting to disrupt, I slid onto an empty little half-pew in the back that was blocked on the left by the church sound system (more on this later). Tom--brave man that he is--wandered over and gave me the handouts for the meeting, thereby running the very real risk of being generally acknowledged as pastor of The One Who Arrived Late. (Thanks, Tom!)
So what was Presbytery like? Well, the sanctuary was quite nice, if somewhat in defiance of the 2nd Commandment (there was a large and rather disturbing stained-glass picture of Jesus at the front). It was spacious and well-lit. There were approximately 60 people present, at least 50 of which were guys in gray suits. I counted five women. Several other women milled about in a kitchen area setting up for the dinner.
As it turned out, the sanctuary was perhaps a bit TOO spacious. Trying to listen in on it was a bit like listening to a golf game with the volume too low--there were murmurs in which I could catch an occasional word, but often not enough to follow the gist of it. I did understand that there was some effort to approve minutes. For a few intense and thrilling seconds, the Presbytery was poised to approve them, until some guy in a gray suit stood up and noted that with the 5mph wind from the northeast and the slope of the green, he really felt that we should use a putter on this shot (or something like that), and the decision was put off until the following day.
Moderator, the woman in the back moves that the representatives be required to use a megaphone.
After a few more preliminaries, the Presbytery turned to examining a candidate for pastoral office. And here at last, microphones were employed to their full potential and things got loud enough to be interesting. The guy asking the questions dragged a small pulpit over and planted it right next to the only open side of my short half-pew (thereby trapping me there for the duration) and he started firing questions at the candidate, who stood at the front of the church behind a larger pulpit that was probably mostly there to prop him up, as the questioning was quite intense at times.
The Candidate (I have forgotten his name) turned out to be an ex-Pentecostal, which made me feel some instant camaraderie but also caused me to hope fervently that someone would inquire into his views on prophecy and tongues. Fortunately, the Questioner had anticipated that (or perhaps they always ask this, I dunno), and, after other questions regarding his basic beliefs, he asked whether the candidate believed that God continued to speak today through special revelation (tongues, prophecy, etc).
"No," the Candidate replied.
*grin* I never get tired of hearing that from an ex-Pentecostal. I think that only those who have been raised Pentecostal fully appreciate what an brilliantly brave thing that is to say, even in front of a bunch of Orthodox Presbyterians. "No, I don't believe it."
Amen, Candidate Dude.
Well, sadly, 5:30 arrived quickly, and thus ended the preliminary meeting of the Presbytery. There was a dinner later ... but, sensing that my husband and children may also be having dinner, I opted for their company instead, and I returned home.
However, I will definitely be back tomorrow morning for the rest of this exciting series. Will the minutes be approved? Will the candidates pass their exams? Will I be able to tell if they do? Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion ... and later in the week for my post-Presbytery analysis
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