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First Presbyterian Church in Dickson, Tennessee, was in a rut. The pastor of more than 30 years had retired a year before, and the six-member session was keeping the church together. But they were barely surviving. It was all they could do to keep up with their regular tasks, let alone start any new creative ventures.
Changes in organization and mission present challenges and opportunities
The Synod of Alaska-Northwest continues to live into a new and creative way of being a synod. After decades of being a large program body, it has recently moved to a reduced function as provided for by the Book of Order. Although mission in the form of programs no longer occurs, the ties between the member presbyteries are perhaps stronger than in the past. The synod does mission only in terms of how it supports its member presbyteries, taking seriously the mandate of the 211th General Assembly (1999): to “develop, encourage, equip, and resource congregations and their leaders, . . . enhance the effectiveness of congregations, and find simplified, flexible and more responsive ways to . . . work in a rapidly changing environment.”