PRESBYTERY OF LONG ISLAND
Elder Magalene McClarrin, COM Moderator
February 24, 2014
"We are One in God's Sight"
"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3: 18 (NIV)
In July 2013 during an exit interview with COM, Rev. Jinsuk Kim, from the Faith Korean Presbyterian Church, voiced an idea that had been percolating under the surface of our meetings since Arumdaun announced its intentions to leave this Presbytery. One lesson Rev. Kim hoped the Presbytery would embrace is being "more proactive and interested in the culture and life of the Korean Church".
Propelled by alienation and a lack of connecting during Presbytery meetings, Arumdaun members expressed this as one of their bases for leaving. Their isolation was further exacerbated because of cultural and language differences. COM looked at the impact of this disaffection beyond the gates of Arumdaun to see that others within our bounds may feel disenfranchised and disconnected: Hispanics, Blacks, women, and other ethnic or racial minorities. Whether teaching or ruling elder, deacon, or the neighbor in the pew, some of us face a dissonance created by a lack of understanding, empathy, and "thoughtfulness" on the part of some of the majority.
By lack of "thoughtfulness", I mean a Korean, Hispanic, Black, or female member's name may not come to mind in order to fill a vacant slot on a committee as often or as quickly as it may with other members of our Presbytery. We sometimes lack sensitivity about how the nuances in our decisions may impact a member of color as opposed to another member, even if the circumstances are similar. Even the choice of words, unwittingly, may wound. Racial and ethnic diversity helps us to minimize or avoid hurtful and exclusionary actions and words.
The establishment of a Racial/Ethnic Committee or our consciously intentional act of inclusiveness can help move us toward more togetherness and strength and help lessen the hold of an insular mentality. We would be better equipped to understand and tolerate our differences and to embrace our diversity, becoming the relational church Christ calls has called us to be.
"I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right. So, if God gave them the same gift He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God's way?" Acts 10:34-35; 11:17 (NIV)
Please pray for:
All those congregations that feel disconnected and disenfranchised and
That this Presbytery may move toward a more conscious intentional inclusiveness.