I’ve spent the past two days at the first regular meeting of the Fellowship of Presbyterians/Evangelical Covenant Order. It’s too complicated to explain the name. Briefly, these are two closely related orgs that spring from one version of Presbyterianism, PCUSA. One branch, ECO, is leaving PCUSA to form a new organization. The other, Fellowship, is staying in but forming an affinity group that will be closely related to ECO.
I’ve been to the two previous organizing meetings, and as with those, I came away encouraged. Here are a few things I liked.
*Two of my very favorite preachers, Tim Keller and Rich Mouw, spoke yesterday. So much knowledge and depth worn so lightly. So much generosity of spirit.
**Congregational singing. The 600 or so people who came know how to sing, and it was glorious to fill the space with sound. Whether we’re talking contemporary music or traditional it’s the same: most people don’t know how to sing. When you hear people who do–and it can be taught, except hardly anybody takes the trouble to try–the result is wonderful. In my opinion, this is what worship music is meant to be.
**For a group that is fundamentally unhappy with their home denomination, the spirit was extraordinarily positive. Not one word of complaining and moaning about other people or other groups. The focus was entirely, unrelentingly and joyfully on what we as Christian people need to become to serve God and our world. Not a hint of self-righteousness or self-congratulation that I detected. I think this focus took considerable determination in the first meetings a year ago, but I believe it’s now become part of the culture.
The whole effort is an underfunded, underorganized and uncertain endeavor. There are tons of unanswered questions, and I guess there will be for some time to come. However, I’m hopeful.