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A Letter from the Pastor to Presbytery

“I Have a Dream”
April 29, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. immortalized these words, galvanizing a movement with an historic speech anchored in this phrase. Everything he strove for served his dream, and he was able to articulate it clearly and powerfully enough that many others began to dream with him, and continued to press forward into that dream long after he was felled by an assassin’s bullet.

To call people dreamers can carry negative connotations. Dreamers are said to have their heads in the clouds, to be out of touch with the real world. They may be caught up in delusional thinking, living in an imaginary world such as “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” People of faith are often dismissed as wishful dreamers by the worldly-wise.

Yet without dreams, we are captive to the status quo. Nobody makes a difference in the world without living into a dream of how things should be. Dreams breed ferment and birth new ways of living.

While they are not exactly synonymous, we may well speak of “dreams” as “visions.” As part of my orientation to my new work as a presbytery leader, the Association of Executive Presbyters has appointed for me a professional coach with whom I have monthly conferences. Recently he has asked me to develop a personal vision statement – what is the dream that motivates my personal reach?

I’d like to direct that question toward presbytery: What is the dream that animates and governs our mission? Why do we choose to do this and not that, in conducting the work we do? I have been prayerfully pondering that question over the past several months and plan to use this space over the next several weeks to detail a vision for presbytery that is rooted in the Gospel, and toward which presbytery’s mission might purposefully aim.

Last week I met with two clusters of congregational leaders as part of my rounds to get to know members of presbytery more quickly and closely than is possible just through quick hellos at presbytery meetings. Five more of these free lunches are scheduled over the next several weeks; please consult the presbytery calendar to see when and where they will take place, and by all means attend one if you possibly can. One of the great benefits to me, and perhaps to others as well, is that part of the meeting is an open forum to share our dreams for presbytery. What can presbytery be and do that which moves us forward? Where are we failing to articulate or live into a persuasive vision of God’s calling upon us? My imagination for presbytery’s potential is being expanded and clarified as I hear us struggling together with these questions.
Perhaps you will find my dream for presbytery interesting, even compelling; perhaps not. In any case, I invite you to join me in a conversation about the dreams that shape our life together and witness in the world – whether by joining in one of these luncheons or by calling or emailing me directly. Here is the main question in a nutshell: What is the vision God is giving us for Pittsburgh Presbytery? Let’s dream together for a while. Who knows what the Spirit may stir up in us as we do so?

Eyes on the prize,

The Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, Pastor to Presbytery

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