August 22, 2017
What a wonderful day Sunday was, worshipping and praising our goodGod together. Mark and I were humbled and honored for you to officially, as a congregation, elect us as your pastors. We look forward to celebrating our calling together on October 8 at 3 p.m. Mark and I will be installed, but all the pastors and all elected officers will together reaffirm our ordinations as leaders in our church.
Back in June 2016, this congregation overwhelmingly voted to be an ECO Presbyterian church. The vote was the end of years' worth of conversations, followed by a yearlong discernment process. God has blessed us greatly with the theological clarity that came from the vote. With that clarity, we have lived together for over a year. We have worshipped together; we have served our city together; we have taught the next generation. We have grown deeper as followers of Jesus, and we have grown numerically as a faith family.
Yesterday, it was so clear that our congregation is unified. We are together and we have a bright future--as bright as the promises of God. I couldn't be more excited to lead you into this dreaming season. I can't wait to see all that God has in store for us.
The pending legal process will, of course, impact our dreams. As you know by now, the presbytery asserts that our property is held in trust for them. We disagree, and maintain that as a congregation you have never given away your property rights-- ownership rights that have been a part of the church's founding corporate documents from the beginning.
This past Friday, Judge Barratta let us know that he was denying all summary judgements--the presbytery's, PFU's and ours. This is exactly what we expected and simply means we are going to court because he needs more information. The facts of our case are different than others that have been decided in our state.
We continue to work towards a good faith settlement with the presbytery in order to honor our promise to take care of the minority group of members who wished to stay in the PC(USA). This was part of what you voted on last June, and we seek to handle this in a manner that respects all concerned and respects the legal process.
While the trial is public, the seating will be very limited. The best way for you to support our legal team and those who will be testifying is to be praying. The chapel will be open Monday--Friday. Senior staff will be leading prayer services daily from noon to 12:30 p.m.
I would ask for you to commit to pray daily, beginning today. Pray for our congregation, the Lehigh presbytery and the PFU group. Pray for a settlement to happen that would allow us to bless each other into our own futures. Pray for our legal team as they prepare for trial. We have much to be encouraged by--good legal counsel, a wise judge and most important, a sovereign God. We know that our lives and our church is in his hands. Trusting God, we will thrive no matter the outcome of the trial.
Your pastor and friend,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler