Sparks from the Flint
January-February 2020
*An Introductory Catechism for New and Seasoned Believers and Elders*
A Blessing for Our Life Together!  
Why do we have SPARKS?
What is its purpose?
The SPARKS is produced 6 times a year and serves as a “living library," providing all of you, as its members, with  key reminders and resources that you will need in future months. 

As you establish new habits for this year, please consider sharing the SPARKS with your entire congregation via e-mail if you are not already doing so !

Be sure to set some time aside at the beginning or end of a day to read through this material personally , so you can serve your congregation with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love!

“Tuesday Treasures” will continue to be our weekly updates about the most immediate events and deadlines. 
2019 at a Glance - A Year in Review
from our Executive Presbyter
Why do we have presbytery?
What is its purpose?
May we give witness to the unexpected and holy work
God is up to among us!

The Book of Order powerfully – and beautifully! -- states that every presbytery is responsible for assisting and supporting the witness of congregations to the sovereign activity of God in the world so that all congregations may become communities of faith, hope, and love.  
( see G-3.0301 )

In our small presbytery of 3500 disciples, we enflesh this responsibility by doing the following:
  • empowering member congregations in their local witness,
  • encouraging and strengthening all congregational leaders
  • equipping congregations so they may give voice to God’s story of redemption and renewal
  • engaging in local, national and international mission with emphasis on campus ministry
  • experimenting often around new ways of “being church” in the 21st century.
Instructions for living a life: 
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it. 

from “Sometimes” by Mary Oliver
Why do we have metaphors?
What are their purpose?
more helpful reflections from our EP
Metaphor is a beautiful way to give voice to the inexplicable as well as the mundane in our shared life.

Metaphor provides texture, offers nuance, and expands understanding.

And Jesus used metaphors all the time, so we are in good company!  
Recently, at an ecumenical gathering with Episcopal, Lutheran, and Methodist bishops, I tried to explain the difference between bishops and presbytery leaders.  The presbytery is a car, I explained. Presbytery leaders are not independent drivers who decide when and where to take a car for a spin: we are the chauffeurs. 

In other words, we drive where the people of the presbytery, the passengers, determine “the car” needs to go. 

One year, familiar scenery may be requested. Another year, more adventure may be required. Sometimes, the drive may be quick and fast. At other times, it may be slow and leisurely and calm. And there are certainly moments where we may have no clear idea where we are going, so we simply pay attention and savor the ride -- and the view.
English mystic, Evelyn Underhill once commented that the road to the kingdom is often taken at a slow, steady 35 mph . Her point?  It’s not a flashy journey, but a steady one. The best drivers, of course, are the ones who keep their eye on the final destination, albeit unseen. They also pay attention to their passengers (grumpy or grateful), the condition of the roads (straight or serpentine), and the scenery in view (life-giving or heart-stopping).  
Well-timed questions and unexpected humor help the ride as well. 

So buckle up, Flint River:  it’s time for a drive!

Roll down your windows.

Feel the breeze.

Be filled with wonder and pay attention to all you see.  

No falling asleep in the back seat and pleading boredom! 
And no fussing about small spaces or sibling encroachment either!
There’s enough room for everyone on this adventure.

There’s a world for us to see,
           a world for us to serve!

We Are Connected
Please remember the following pastoral colleagues :

Stephanie Boaz, as she graciously chose to end her current contract at Morningside in light of the fusion between Morningside and All Saints. Their new name as a fused congregation?  New Hope !

Connie Happell , parish associate at 1 st (Columbus), on the death of her aunt.

Richard Hart , as he settles into retirement in NC.

Paula Hoffman, honorably retired, as her dad is very ill and continues to struggle personally with poor health.

Beth Holloway, TRE, on the unexpected death of her brother-in-law. Also, she is currently very ill with a condition called ketoacidosis and is at the Coliseum hospital in Macon.

Paul Luthman, honorably retired, on the engagement of his daughter, Olivia, who will be married later this year.
Elder Training
It’s that time of year when many of our congregations are turning toward teaching and training their future leaders. As you prepare, don’t forget about these terrific online resources:

The Ruling Elder Handbook, a 20+ manual for equipping elders, has been edited by FRP staff and COM for our particular use.

The PC(USA) online archive contains month upon month
of short and thoughtful articles designed to teach elders
and sharpen their understanding.   
These articles are in Korean, Spanish, and English, so be sure to scroll to your language of choice!

Flint River Presbytery
826 Liberty Expressway SE
Albany, Georgia 31705