Study Guide and An Important Denominational Update

Greetings Good Shepherd Friends,

Here's the study guide (Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat) for the coming Sunday’s scripture passages. I hope you find it helpful as we continue to journey through Advent.

I would like to update you on the work of our Congregational Representation Team (CRT) and our overall process of discernment regarding denominational affiliation.

The CRT has already met with the Presbytery Representation Team (PRT). This combination of representatives is being labeled the Joint Discernment Team (JDT). The JDT has begun the process of clarifying our concerns about the PC(USA) - it’s theological drift and lack of clear mission focus. The PRT will help to ensure that our discernment process has been open, that people have been heard, and that the conclusions drawn warrant the request for dismissal. As part of their work together, the JDT will also arrive at a financial solution that is fair to GSPC, to the Presbytery and to the denomination.

Another aspect of our discernment process is to determine the best denomination to become affiliated with. Our Session has been working on this question for some time. We began by reading materials from the two viable alternates: the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). This was followed by presentations by representatives of both denominations on December 3rd. Session members also contacted those representatives with follow-up questions. Some Session members talked with church members from churches in both of these Presbyterian denominations.

Last evening at the Session Meeting, we worked through a process of evaluation and discernment in order to arrive at a decision on which of these two denominations better supports and enables the ministry of Good Shepherd, now and for the future. After weighing the pluses and minuses of both, the Session voted. ECO was deemed to be the better option for Good Shepherd. This means that the recommendation of the Session is that Good Shepherd affiliate with ECO.

Please note: At the conclusion of the JDT process, we will know the terms of our dismissal from the PC(USA). We now have the Session’s recommendation for the denomination to affiliate with. All of this translates into an action of the congregation to formally request that the Presbytery of Los Ranchos dismiss Good Shepherd with the property, per the agreed upon terms from the JDT process, in order to affiliate with ECO. This formal request must be approved by you - the congregation members - before it can be sent to the Presbytery for action. Hopefully that Congregational Meeting and vote will take place early next year.

If you have questions about the information provided here, please contact me, pastors Paul or Curtis, or speak with Sue Nelson Brown who is chairing our CRT. You can also stop by the main office on Sundays between services to talk with CRT members or submit written questions and drop them in the slotted pedestal in the entry to the sanctuary.

Thank you for reading all this. It is important that you understand what is taking place.

In Christ,
Pastor Jim

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