(This is part 2 of a series on the mission statement of the Presbytery of Chicago)

Presbytery of Chicago Mission Statement 2023

Pursuing worship, service, and communities of justice, we are the Presbytery of Chicago, flourishing together by relating people, neighbors, and churches to one another in Christ Jesus.

The last Presbytery Assembly was a wonderful celebration as we welcomed Elias CabarcasArroyo to ordained ministry as the Presbytery Evangelist and organizing pastor of Comunidad de Fe Dia Nuevo (Dia Nuevo). Dia Nuevo is a new worshipping community located in the former Christ Church, Hanover Park building. The presbytery entered into a covenant with Dia Nuevo during the same meeting.

The commissioners gave witness and support of this new project with a 100% vote on all 4 motions. Wow! It was a moment of witness to our new mission statement as we experienced “flourishing together.” To flourish means to thrive, to be in a vigorous state, to be successful and to prosper. Flourishing happens when we come together in mission and ministry, when we are focused and connected.

Last Wednesday the New Worshipping Communities Committee hosted a workshop on Multi-use Space Strategies at Park Ridge Presbyterian Church. This was the first live presbytery event since the pandemic. It was well attended with over 60 pastors, members, and guests from churches stretching from the northside to the southside and from the north suburbs to the west suburbs. As we attended workshops, asking questions, and brainstorming solutions, the space was filled with energy, vitality, and hope.

In his recent book, After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, Wille Jennings speaks of the value of coming together and what we can achieve collectively. “There is nothing inherently good about gathering people together, but there is something inherently powerful.” Jennings goes on to challenge us to use this power to move past greed, control, possession, and mastery and instead use community for sharing and mutual ownership. I would add that when community (or the presbytery) becomes reimagined as sharing and buying into the ministry of one another, we experience flourishing.

What made the Presbytery Assembly exciting and created energy in the Multi-use Workshop was how churches took part in helping one another succeed in ministry. The desire to support Dia Nuevo and Dia Nuevo’s commitment to share in the ministry of other congregations is a model of the presbytery that focuses on ministry as a gift exchange. Similar ministry exchanges were seen as Fourth Presbyterian and Friendship Presbyterian shared wisdom to help other congregations with building and space challenges.

As we continue to live out our new mission statement, may we reimagine a new presbytery of churches sharing, and exchanging gifts that go beyond financial transactions. May we give ourselves to one another in the name of the risen Christ. Amen. 

Rev. Craig Howard