Last week we had the Presbymergent Conference at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. I already wrote a brief report of the conference here, but I thought I’d mention a few things here:
- Brian Wallace and the crew from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary did an amazing job putting together this conference, and they deserve a ton of credit.
- We had a good group of around 60 show up for the conference, and I think that is a really great start. We even had an elder from Bend, Oregon fly out for the event. It was fairly diverse in terms of the people who attended: seminarians, professors, theologians, Presbytery staff, elders, pastors and others. It’s encouraging to know there are so many who want to be a part of this conversation. Though it is fairly representative of the people who have signed up on presbymergent.org as well.
- John Franke led the keynote conversations, focusing on Barth, and guided us through some helpful thoughts concerning Reformed theology and emergence in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He focused a lot on the plurality of truth and Barth’s ideas of our obligations and inabilities. It was some good stuff.
- I stayed the night with BJ Woodworth and had a great time getting to know him better and learning about his faith community, The Open Door.
- It was also encouraging to hear from Vera White, who serves as the Director for New Church Development for Pittsburgh Presbytery. Pittsburgh Presbytery is really in a permission-giving phase of trying out new things and being willing to fail with some New Church Developments. It’s very encouraging to hear this and I hope that more presbyteries will take the lead of Pittsburgh Presbytery in this way.
- If you’d like to see some photos from the conference – you can check them out here.
- I do have to say that it’s extremely odd to go to a conference and to hear people using the term “presbymergent” in lectures, discussions and just in small talk. It’s weird to think that something I helped to create might actually take off…
All in all, it was encouraging to know there were so many people who had similar interests and passions and hopes for the church, all of this within some Presbyterian Church (USA) folk. Who knows – maybe there is something to this presbymergent thing…