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Grateful For The Harmony

In a recent conversation with one of the members of this Presbytery, I shared how smoothly things were going.  As the conversation was concluding, the individual said I needed to get up at Presbytery Assembly and tell those assembled what I had shared.  So, here goes ….. abbreviated since I only have 5 minutes.

I’ve been on the job now for over a year and have attended a number of meetings with other Presbytery execs from across the county.  What I learned from these meetings is that relationships within many Presbyteries are not as harmonious as we have here in the Riverside Presbytery.  At these meetings, I hear of factions within a presbytery fighting each other.  I hear of major disagreements within churches.  I hear of pastors who, shall we say, do things that would cause most Christ-followers to shudder.

I thank God that I serve the folks in the Riverside Presbytery.  As members of this Presbytery, you have much to be proud of and thankful for.  Two examples.  Through the workshops arranged by the Presbytery, the churches in the Presbytery shared with each other information on how to broadcast worship services.  The first set of workshops were at the beginning of the pandemic last year and recently, another set was developed when skills were needed to broadcast live in-person services.  Individuals from several churches who were experienced in the technical skills needed for Zoom and broadcasting, volunteered their time to assist other churches who were trying to get up to speed with equipment and expertise.  What an example of being connected congregations.

The second example.  Because the Presbytery participates in the Vital Congregations Initiative, the Presbytery had the resources in place to expand pastor cohort groups during the isolation of the pandemic.  These cohort groups provided a safe place for the pastors to share at a very challenging time.  And these four groups continue to this day.

I am thankful for each of you and how you contribute to your church and to this Presbytery.  Thank you!  You are the Presbytery, and you are the folks who make the Presbytery what it is today – a darn good gathering of Christ-followers who love God and love each other.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew, chapter 6.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.  I truly believe that this Presbytery is as good as it is because the churches, church members, and pastors in their daily lives focus on seeking and forwarding God’s kingdom.  Thank you for doing so.


  1. Tom Rennard

    Glad you shared it in this form. I agree, we do not have the factions of pre homosexuality decision that I experienced in San Fernando and San Gabriel presbyteries.

  2. Jim Shepard

    Your comments were very much appreciated. Unfortunately, health issues prevent me from taking an active role in presbytery activities but for many years, in various capacities, I witnessed exactly what you talked about, connected churches working together to help each to serve Christ and the world.

  3. Lee Ireland

    Thanks, Jim. Your service over the years has been much appreciated. Thank you! May God be with you as you deal with your health issues. Blessings, Lee

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