The "Next Steps" event at Synod drew representatives from all the presbyteries of the Synod of the Sun for a couple of days of discussing the events of General Assembly and anticipated responses from our churches. The four of us from New Covenant were guilty of coveting our neighbor's Presbytery Building: the Presbyterian Center in Dallas is a gleaming, well-equipped new building which is a far cry from our poor-but-proud center in Houston with the duct-taped carpet.
Nothing of note transpired in the discussions. Predictably, there were calls for more "listening to each other", as if listening and understanding the deeply held division of viewpoint would somehow restore unity.
Tuesday morning I met with the "Outside the Box" small group. Members of that group expressed frustration that the structure of the GA does not provide for ways to address the continuing decline of the denomination. I did have a chance to float an idea that I've been kicking around with El Jefe and it got some traction. What if we put together a group of 10 pastors with a demonstrated track record of growing churches and making disciples and asked them to put together recommendations about how the denomination could support and enable its churches to focus on making disciples--by re-allocating resources, changing denominational priorities and staffing patterns, and changing denominational structures? I don't know who should serve on such a group, but I'm sure there are ways to find out.
One of the small groups was "Separation Without Division." That group reported that they believed that separation without division describes the situation in the denomination today. That has huge implications, but it is impossible to specifically project what those implications are at this point.
I try to stay positive when I post about the PCUSA, but I'm not feeling very positive after this meeting. I don't think anyone else did either.