I have some worries—I’ll list them in order.
- I worry that the presbytery may follow the PCUSA "game-plan" and go through our congregation trying to find people opposed to our decision and drive them further apart from us. This seems more directly schismatic than what we’ve done already. Our presbytery hasn’t had a history of being vindictive or petty, but the worry is still there.
- I worry about the stress on our congregation. Since we’ve not gone through “the process” there is the possibility of litigation (the same threat existed in the process, as well). We’ll see.
- I worry about people in the Kirk who will be angry and feel alienated by our decision. Some will leave; every loss will hurt.
- I worry about the stress on our staff. We have an already heavy schedule doing what we always do. The added stress won’t help.
- I worry about Lynette and Chrissie (Wayne’s wife and mine). They have to bear the negative comments, etc. that will come, without being able to do anything about it.
- I worry about other congregations who are where we are or just about there—especially smaller congregations with fewer resources.
- I worry about the stress on Wayne and me. Wayne has John to worry about on top of everything else. I’ve got arthritis that loves to flare up with stress.
- I worry a little about personal finances—mostly about retirement, since it’s not that far away and we don’t really know the effect renouncing our jurisdiction will have.
Now, for what I don’t worry about.
- I don’t worry about the future of the church. God will bless our actions.
- I don’t worry about the Kirk’s finances. Our congregation has always been faithfully generous.
- I don’t worry about the cats—they’ll just keep shedding incredible amounts of fur on everything in sight.
- I don’t worry about what people think of me as a pastor or us as a church; I’m satisfied that we’ve done the right thing.
- I don’t worry about the property because God’s will shall prevail.
- I don’t worry about our future ministry. The release from the sense of oppression of the last few years (and the last few months, in particular) will energize us.
I'm also sad.
- I'm sad about leaving many wonderful Christians and congregations I have worked with in Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery in the past 24 years. These fine folk are NOT the enemy.
- I'm sad for the continued erosion of Biblical principles in the PCUSA--this will affect generations of members who think they're being taught the whole truth.
- Again, I'm sad for the pain this may cause for people I love and care about.
I don't want any of you thinking that I'm somehow overwhelmed with worry. In fact, I'm much more at peace after the decision than I was before it. As I look back on this list I see that the balance leans sharply toward a positive future for the Kirk. All we have to do is put one foot in front of the other as we move through what will, temporarily, be a difficult time.
Keep praying—keep the faith,