During November the weekly bulletin announcements from the Presbytery are highlighting the work of mission partnerships, covenant communities and task forces. These are all significant signs of partnership in the Presbytery. But the commitment to partnership in the Presbytery also can be seen in a variety of other ways. This coming week-end leaders from across the Presbytery will gather for the Leadership Retreat. It is made possible by generous grants from the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation and the Synod of the Rocky Mountains. Participants pay only for their room and board; all programmatic costs are covered by these grants. We also received word that the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation will continue partnering with us and is granting us $3000 for our 2016 November Leadership Retreat. Further, all our leadership work is grounded in a dynamic partnership between our Presbytery and Highlands Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center.
A partnership between the Presbytery of Denver and the Synod of Mid America has resulted in a new video produced as part of the highly-praised and widely-used Theocademy series. It will focus on both preparation courses and continuing education for Commissioned Ruling Elders and is scheduled to be released in January 2016. Support for the video came from the Jackson-Miller Fund, dedicated to education in the Presbytery.
The Company of New Pastors has been a program of the Presbyterian Mission Agency that focuses on developing relationships and a “good start” in ministry for new graduates and ministers from Presbyterian seminaries. Now, there are plans to extend this program into non-Presbyterian related seminaries. With the cooperative work of the church’s Office of Theology, Worship and Education, Iliff School of Theology and the Presbytery of Denver, there are plans to offer it to Presbyterian students at Iliff and Denver Seminary. It will be the second site beyond a Presbyterian seminary. In addition and in another sign of partnership, two Denver Presbytery ministers serve as mentors for a Company of New Pastors group in another part of the country.
Four Denver Presbytery churches currently are engaged in the New Beginnings process. The entire endeavor is a partnership that includes the Presbytery of Denver, the Presbyterian Church’s Office of Transformation, and the leaders, sessions and members of the participating congregations. All the churches, Arvada, Good Shepherd, Providence and St. Paul, are completing their small group phase and will be moving toward identifying critical decisions for their futures.
New worshiping communities also point to a partnership of our three new worshiping communities, Community of One, Northwest Denver Missional Community, and Pree n’ Pree, the Presbytery of Denver and the Presbyterian Mission Agency. All three new worshiping communities received initial grants of $7500 from both the Mission Agency and the Presbytery and the latter two received Investment Grants from the Mission Agency which were matched with support from the Presbytery of Denver. The Long Term Initiatives Work Group has also approved the Myanmar Christian Church’s application to the Presbyterian Mission Agency to be designated officially as a new worshiping community.
The Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) provides loans currently to nine churches in Denver Presbytery for building and property expansion, renovation or maintenance. The moneys for these loans come from gifts and investments of Presbyterians across the denomination. In each case the Presbytery guarantees the loan.
Last week the Presbytery Council voted to use $2000 of the Presbytery’s portion of the Peacemaking and Global Witness Offering (which comes from the generosity of our congregations) for the work of the Colorado Council of Churches’ Soulful Sundays. This program is a courageous and creative way to encourage inter-racial dialogue in our churches and communities. The grant from the Presbytery will enable the CCC, our partner in ecumenical relations and work, hopefully to expand this program in Aurora. If your church is interested in participating in this program, you can contact the Colorado Council of Churches for more information at 303-825-4910 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global partnerships also are part of our joint work. The Council voted to use $1500 of the Presbytery’s portion of the Peacemaking and Global Witness Offering to support the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance with Syrian Refugees in Europe. At the last Presbytery Assembly it was voted to approve a new Memorandum of Understanding with our partner Presbytery of Zimbabwe. Last week we received word that the Presbytery of Zimbabwe now also has approved and signed the new Memorandum.
Of course, the daily intertwining of our common life, the interdependence of congregations, and the mutual work and support of ministers and leaders are integral to who we are as Presbyterians and as the Presbytery of Denver. We give thanks for that partnership and for all the partnerships that enrich our ministries and mission as Christ’s people in the world today.