Spring Stated Meeting

Date: May 19, 2015
Time: 9 am Registration/10 am Meeting Begins
Place: White Bluff, Savannah, Georgia

The handbook and minutes will be available at Events -> Stated & Called Meetings

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From the General Presbyter

An Open Letter from Russell Gladding
General Presbyter of Savannah Presbytery

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

By now, the news is making its way around Savannah Presbytery that the proposed amendment to our PCUSA Constitution has been affirmed by a majority of our 171 presbyteries across the country.  Therefore the new wording will become part of W– 4.9001 within our Book of Order. This will take effect on June 21, 2015.

It is important for all of us to be reminded that in the State of Georgia gay marriage is not legal.  No pastor nor session may legally sanction or perform such a marriage.

It is also important to remember that, should this become legal as a civil matter in the future, there is no mandate for any pastor or session to conduct or to sanction such a marriage being held on their church property. Pastors are permitted to perform gay marriages within states where this is legal. They are not required to do so. It is an individual matter for pastors in each individual case.  This discernment of one’s conscience, as God would speak to the pastor, has long been a hallmark of our discernment in performing any marriage.

Likewise the session, through its responsibilities enumerated in our Book of Order, is given the authority to determine whether any marriage shall be held on church property.  There is no requirement that any marriage, gay or straight, be conducted at a particular church unless it has the approval of the session.

My friends, I have read most of the statements of the different affinity groups within our denomination on this recent passage of the marriage amendment.  I am pleased at what I have read.  There is a spirit of appealing to each other to move forward together, though we are deeply divided, just as our country is on this issue. I believe that Jesus came to give us a picture, an example, of who the God of our lives is.  In painting that picture, he associated and called disciples from a wide diversity of backgrounds and ideologies.  He called them, as they were and where they were, to a new thing he was doing.  His guide was to love God and to love neighbor, which included those he disagreed with.  When the church did not want to hear it, they killed him, but they could not kill this new thing.  He forgave them, and us, and moves ahead of us, alive in our world today.  He continues to call to us to love one another, as he did.

May each of us find our way, with God’s help, to live in that redeeming light of love in this time.  May we seek to follow his commands with unity and purpose during these days.  Amen!

Gladding, Russel_informal

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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Summer Camp – First Ever Alumni Reunion Night!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Hallowed Halls of Camp Ebenezer are calling for its alumni daughters and sons to come back home!  For years Savannah Presbytery has offered a summer camp experience for the youth in the Presbytery, and now, for the first time, we want to invite our college-aged campers back for a one-night reunion!  The experience will begin at supper on Friday, June 26 and end after lunch on Saturday, June 27.  Our best publicity will be our alumni spreading the word far and wide to all of those who have slept amongst the Spanish Moss and killed a mosquito or two.  This one night event will be for college-aged alumni.  Watch for more details!  Put out the word! Let’s have a grand reunion! If you would like to participate in planning the event, please contact Marty Susie at Wilmington Island PC (912-897-1840).

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Advent Post – Russell Gladding

barn_7426cnThere Is No Room

We are almost through Advent once again, as 2014 is drawing to an end. In just a week from today as I write this, many of our congregations will be gathered for Christmas Eve services. We will light the Christ Candle on our Advent wreaths and welcome the babe born in Bethlehem, Christ the Lord.

Yet even in Christ’s Church, someway, it seems that there is not enough time to be prepared for His coming. We say our liturgies on Sundays and read our daily devotionals as a way of preparing, but they are crowded seemingly into a small corner of our lives by all of the other tasks which we have to get done; the shopping, baking, the parties, and yes the planning for the perfect worship service or the special sermon. We are busy, busy, busy!

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself fighting through an empty feeling in all of this preparation for the Christmas celebration. But my American independence coupled with my protestant work ethic quickly washes these feelings away with my remembering the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” and a title of a business conference: “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

I try sometimes to rationalize this as just the way it is. We are good people doing good work in our churches. Being busy is not a sin! Or is it? How many of these important tasks ‘that only I can do’ have become idols in my life?

The words from Isaiah 40 and Mark 1 give me pause as I consider my harried and scurried life of preparing for God’s coming in this season and in all of our lives. God prepared and continues to prepare for by tearing and breaking into this world. I am reminded that it is my job to be still so that God may be with me and in me, so that I may receive this greatest of gifts, so that we all may receive this present and share the Grace and Truth of God through the Love that comes to us, over and over, and is abundantly alive for all of the world.

My friends, it need not be a perfect room, a stable full of open hearts and minds will do just fine. Blessings for you all as we are prepared to make room even in this final Advent week!

Russell Gladding

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