Learning New Words and Making New Plans
Learning New Words and Making New Plans
Dear Saints and Friends of Cherokee Presbytery,
I learned a new word this week: VUCA. It stands for Volatility. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity. There is even a Wikipedia entry for it!

It comes to us from the business and military worlds. But it has a resonance in church life. Even before we embarked
on living with the COVID-19 pandemic, the realities of being vulnerable in an uncertain, complex and ambiguous world were all around us in Cherokee Presbytery and in our world. In fact, the commitment of the Presbytery and seven churches to participate in the Pneumatrix study process was a recognition that we need to find a way forward - individually and together. Even if your church did not participate in this study, we are all still working out what it means to be the Church in this VUCA world.

At the top of this page is the image of Cherokee Presbytery. It has all the names of the congregations plus Validated Ministries, i.e., teaching, chaplaincy, mission partners; and Honorably Retired Ministers. We cut a wide swath with our connections not only in northwest Georgia but through mission partnerships around the world.

The one line vision statement of Cherokee Presbytery is at the bottom of that image: One Church. Many Locations. Following Christ Together.

The Pandemic has made us admit what we may have known but were not eager to admit. The world around us is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. There is high anxiety as circumstances are changing. Folks have not always been willing to acknowledge the depth of challenge. But here we are.

You, the churches and members of Cherokee Presbytery, have responded in some wonderful and amazing ways. Cherokee Presbytery has applied for five emergency grants from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). All five have been accepted totaling $17,500 for hunger ministries and emergency assistance for ministries at Brazilian Christian, Macland, Heritage, Ebenezer Ghanaian, and First - Cartersville. Two of these - Macland and Cartersville - support partnership ministries with others in the community.

The Coordinating Team of Cherokee Presbytery met via a Zoom call on Tuesday and approved a proposal from the Congregational Health Team (CHT) to grant each church $1,500. The application form can be found here.

With each application, please share how this grant will assist your church in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. After you complete the grant, tell us a story of how you are being One Church. Many Locations. Following Christ Together.

Finally, the statewide shelter in place order has been lifted. I strongly encourage church pastors, sessions and leaders to be cautious moving forward. The virus still exists. Data points can be arranged and argued. When asked what the greatest law was Jesus replied: “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. [Luke 10:27]

Many congregations of Cherokee Presbytery have members, visitors, and friends who are at risk in this pandemic. We also have community partners, contacts and non-church going neighbors to whom we are connected as well. No one will intentionally share a virus with someone else. But good intentions are not enough to keep people healthy. Meaningful actions are needed by church leaders and by each person.

Church services are places of greeting and singing. Yet handshakes, hugs, and singing are known ways of transmitting this virus. Previously shared resources: Questions to Ask and Returning to Church; still have good information and provide useful questions to ask and actions to take.

Please plan your next steps carefully and deliberately. Continue to share online worship, classes and meetings. Continue to do mission as you are called. Take time to get things right - not just for our own well being, but for the sake of our witness to God in Christ. Jesus came so that we might have abundant life. [John 10:10]

The words of 2 Timothy 1: 3-7 have long been a source of comfort and challenge. Gratitude is a primary response to God''s love in the world. Memory of the witness of others stirs our hearts. And the gift of God''s Spirit is power, love and self-control. Maybe there is another new word: PowLoSecon.

No doubt that we live in a VUCA world. But we do so with PowLoSecon. There have been so many faithful witnesses by what has been done in this pandemic. May we continue to move forward in the courage of faith and the promise of life.
You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.
[1 Corinthians 12: 27, CEB]
In these unrelenting and unforgiving times,
May the Peace that passes understanding enfold you
May the Grace we need surround you,
May the Hope we find sustain you,
May the Thanks we have transform you,

In Christ may we find 
  • the harmony of God’s creation, 
  • redemption for all people, and 
  • the ability to live together through the power of love.

Joel

Joel L. Alvis, Jr., Ph.D.
Mission Coordinator and Stated Clerk
Cherokee Presbytery
P.O. Box 1839
Cartersville, GA 30120
678-591-8743
Cherokee Presbytery www.cherokeepresbytery.org