Gracious Discernment Policy and Discussion



The video message is an introduction to the newly revised Gracious Discernment Policy from the Gracious Discernment Team.  The team met on December 11, 2012, and made some revisions to the draft after considering the questions and comments of the presbytery at the November meeting.  This is an opportunity to have some discussion on the policy.  Leave comments here to begin the discussion …

Proposed Gracious Discernment Policy 12-12-12



  1. Terry Chapman on

    Thanks for this summary of the team’s work. I appreciate the sincere effort to state the questions for discernment and the invitation to slow the process down so that the questions and the direction they lead us have time to percolate. Let us all pray for the grace to hold these questions with open minds and hearts, suspending, at least for a while, our premature answers and judgments, allowing space for the other and the Other to enter in.

  2. Christina Hindley on

    The Gracious Discernment Policy is certainly gracious and faithful, and Wendy’s video comments set the tone for a prayerful and peaceful process. My comments have to do with the last enumerated items for the Report to Presbytery.
    #4 is important but I wonder if the amount or term of severance may be negotiated. One year may be unnecessary for the pastor or impossible for the congregation.
    #5. I think a payment to the Presbytery is appropriate to memorialize the historic relationship between the church and the Presbytery, and to recognize the contributions of the church’s Presbyterian ancestors in faith who acquired land and built physical structures. A tithe of some value is biblical and feels sufficient and right. To require cash in the amount of 10% of current regular contributions, however, seems punitive because it has no historic context. (In another presbytery, I was on an A.C. that worked with a church which, in the end, got a real estate appraisal and paid the presbytery 10% of the value of the real property. That may not be allowed today, but the I’m sure legal language could be developed.)
    #6 Requiring the paying up of per capita also feels punitive inasmuch as many churches who hold beliefs contrary to the PC(USA) stopped paying per capita years ago.
    #7 YES! And I would add that if the church has a cemetery, the church indemnify the Presbytery and release the Presbytery and denomination from any responsibility or claims with regard to the cemetery.
    Finally, I wondered whether the discernment team could finish the process or be appointed as the AC to finish the process.
    It is always sad to have a church believe it can no longer remain in ministry and fellowship with churches in the presbytery. But if the discernment process is engaged faithfully by all, I believe the way forward becomes clear and there is renewed love, trust and respect between the parties.

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