I have been pre-occupied by news of Hurricane Irene this week. The primary reason for my concern is that there are many people I know and love in the storm’s path. I am a native of the coast of North Carolina. Atlantic Beach is a part of the community where I grew up. Most of my family still resides there. Hence, my thoughts and prayers this week have been for the safety of that community as storm clouds gathered on the horizon.
It’s been quite a week for natural events in that area. Earlier this week my mother reported that she felt tremors from the earthquake in Virginia and this weekend they are experiencing the wind and driving rains of one of the largest hurricanes to strike the area in many years. This morning’s (Saturday) report is that the storm made landfall in the Atlantic Beach-Cape Lookout area and will be a major weather event for the entire day. The front side of the storm may have passed but they wait as the calm eye of the storm passes overhead and is followed by the harsh and sometimes more violent backside of the storm.
Preparation for Hurricane Irene was reported by national news as millions of people will be affected by its winds. Many boarded up windows and took precautions to preserve property from the storm’s fury. Some people decided to ride out the storm and others decided to evacuate to safety.
When this storm passes there will be much clean up to be done. There will be some rebuilding to do. There will be some grieving over what has been lost and cannot be recovered. There will be a celebration of survival.
Earthquakes and hurricanes have not been the only things to pre-occupy my thoughts. I’ve been pre-occupied by what I believe can be described as a gathering of storm clouds on the horizon for our denomination. The brief news reports I’ve seen from the gathering of the Fellowship of Presbyterians in Minneapolis appear to me to be the formation of storm clouds within the Presbyterian Church. Some might say that we are already in the middle of a storm and they may be right yet I am concerned that these storm clouds may bring something even more severe than what we’ve already experienced.
The steering committee of the Fellowship of Presbyterians lists four possible options:
- Remaining within the PC(USA) but being more selective in participation in denominational matters;
- Creating new presbyteries within the bounds of existing presbyteries for “like-minded” congregations;
- Creating dual Committees on Ministry and Committees on Preparation for Ministry in existing presbyteries based on support for or opposition to the PC(USA)’s new ordination standards;
- Creating a new Reformed body, with some churches departing the PC(USA) and others maintaining “dual citizenship, at least in the near term”;