Like the Church of Jesus Christ around the world, Lehigh Presbytery is in a time of transition. At its November 2018 stated meeting, the Presbytery approved a new statement of direction proposed by a discernment team called "Expecting Hope."
For such a time as this, the congregations and leadership of Lehigh Presbytery will partner to challenge and resource each other, so that we may boldly risk our comfort for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.
Based on this statement, we agreed to engage in a season of experimentation and to live into the two-tier structure described in the Expecting Hope report. We created a Vision Board to work with the Transitional Leader: to dream, create, challenge, strategize, and explore possibilities. We also created an Administrative Board to focus on the “operations” of the Presbytery and support the work of the Vision Board.
Of course, we had no idea of the change coming in March 2020 with the arrival of a coronavirus pandemic. Yet, as people of faith, we are still expecting hope; because we continue to believe that though it seems like everything in the world has changed, God has not changed. The ministries to which we are called as the Church of Jesus Christ in our communities have not changed. The need for the Presbytery to support and encourage and resource our congregations as they engage in those ministries has not changed. The need to explore potential partnerships, for the Presbytery and our churches, has not changed. What has changed are the tools we use to do our work and the urgency with which we must do it.
In July 2022, Lehigh Presbytery and Lackawanna Presbytery, our neighbors to the north, entered into an experimental partnership of collaboration by sharing several staff members. By January 2023 we will be sharing a Transitional Presbytery Leader, Administrator, and Treasurer.
We’re quickly learning that collaboration generates energy and teamwork builds community. We’re learning that each presbytery’s unique strengths complement the strengths of the others, and that pooling our efforts has a positive impact on supporting all of our congregations. We’re also learning that we can no longer afford to function as Lone Rangers. Going it alone is simply no longer sustainable.
Lehigh Presbytery is still expecting hope. We believe that God IS doing a new thing. And we want to be part of it!