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PBM Has Bold Plans for the Future!

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PRESBYTERIAN BORDER REGION OUTREACH

244 N. Resler

El Paso, Texas  79912

 March 13, 2013

Friends,

I write to bring you very encouraging news for the future of ministry on the Border!  

Over the past year, representatives from the six Border Ministry sites, the six border Presbyteries in the United States, and PC(USA) World Mission have met numerous times in person and by conference call to discern God’s future for ministry on the Border.  After much prayer, discussion, and discernment we have decided on the following: we have a new name, a concise mission, and we are going to hire new staff to help all six sites in this ministry. 

Our new name is Presbyterian Border Region Outreach (PBRO).  Our purpose is: Living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ holistically on both sides of the US-Mexico Border, in partnership with other faith organizations and non-profits to reduce poverty and violence in the Border Region. 

PBRO will be an umbrella for ministry sites to help facilitate our holistic approach in addressing root causes of poverty and promoting reconciliation in cultures of violence.  In all of our work we are accountable first to our Lord Jesus Christ, and through His Spirit to one another, always responding to God’s image in our neighbor.

To help PBRO and each of the six ministry sites, PBRO will utilize a new fulltime mission co-worker through PC(USA) World Mission.  This person will help to facilitate faithful and effective mission at each of the six border ministry sites. 

While there are many other details to this renewed organization and staff, the central point is clear, ministry is alive and well on the border!  We hope you will join us in spreading the word and supporting us with your prayers and financial gifts. 

Peace,

Rev. John M. Nelsen

President--Presbyterian Border Region Outreach

The INPM and the PC(USA) Reach an Agreement on the Future of PBM

September 13, 2011

Leaders from the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM), the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.) [PC(USA)], and representatives of the Council of Presbyterian Border Ministry (PBM) reached an agreement on the future of PBM and its six ministry sites. 

The agreement allows the INPM to keep faith with its recent Assembly's decision to sever the official relationship with the PC(USA) and allows PC(USA) presbyteries and congregations to continue to respond to God's call to mission along the US/Mexico border.

Because the issues of poverty among women and children, evangelism, and violence have emerged as PCUSA World Mission's highest priorities, World Mission is committed to the future of mission along the US/Mexico border.  World Mission will be assisting the PBM sites and participating presbyteries with a thorough collaborative evaluation of the shared work and strategic planning for the future.  Between now and the end of December, 2011, PBM and its six ministry sites will be involved in participatory evaluation of future ministry.  By the beginning of the new year, each site could move forward with a strategic plan for the future.  God's mission on the US/Mexico border will continue as we respond to God's call to share a holistic gospel with those who live along the 2,000 mile border.

The official agreement is as follows:

An agreement regarding Presbyterian Border Ministry was reached by the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM), Presbyterian World Mission and Presbyterian Border Ministry (PBM) to establish a transition period through the end of December, 2011, with the following process to be followed regarding each of the six local ministry sites of PBM:

  • Each Mexican presbytery on the U.S./Mexico border needs to decide as soon as possible about its participation in the ministry site.  If the Mexican presbytery decides to refrain from participation, the ministry site board will decide on its future ministry and partners.
  • If the Mexican border presbytery decides to participate, it will dialogue with its counterpart presbytery(ies) in the U.S. and with the board of directors of the ministry site, in order to see if the U.S. presbytery(ies) agree(s) to submit to the condition of the INPM: to disavow the PC(USA) 2010 General Assembly action on Amendment 10-A regarding ordination standards.  If the U.S. presbytery(ies) choose(s) not to submit to the INPM’s condition, the ministry site board will decide on its future ministry and partners.
  • If presbyteries from both countries agree, they will then be able to establish a local covenant, and the ministry site board will develop its ministry plan.  If no agreement is reached, the ministry site board will decide on its future ministry and partners.
  • During this period of transition, Presbyterian World Mission will facilitate a process of participatory evaluation -- together with the ministry site board -- to determine its involvement, according to World Mission’s strategic plan.
  • The PC(USA) and INPM will maintain open dialogue during this time of transition.

The six local ministry sites are:

  • Pueblos Hermanos, based in San Diego, California/Tijuana, Baja California
  • Compañeros en Misión, based in Nogales, Arizona/state of Sonora
  • Frontera de Cristo, based in Douglas, Arizona/Agua Prieta, Sonora
  • Pasos de Fe, based in El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua
  • Proyecto Amistad, based in Laredo, Texas/Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas
  • Puentes de Cristo, based in McAllen, Texas/Reynosa, Tamaulipas

The main office of Presbyterian Border Ministry, Inc., is located in San Antonio, Texas.  The only employee of PBM is Micaela Reznicek, Funds Development Coordinator.  To request the latest PBM newsletter, please write to:  info@presbyterianborderministry.org

 

National Presbyterian Church of Mexico terminates partnership with PC(USA)

by Dave Thomas, PCUSA Regional Liaison for Mexico

On Friday, August 19, the General Assembly of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM for its initials in Spanish), in a special legislative session, voted to immediately terminate its partnership with the Presbyterian Church (USA). As PC(USA)'s regional liaison for Mexico, I was the only representative of our denomination present during the meeting, held in Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana "El Divino Salvador" (Divine Savior Presbyterian Church) in the town of Xonacatlan, located between Toluca and Mexico, D.F., in the state of Mexico.

The special meeting of the G.A. actually had three parts:

  • A two-day "concilio" (theological consultation) on the ordination of women
  • A judicial hearing on a personnel matter, held during the morning of the third day
  • A legislative session dealing with revisions to the denomination's constitution

It was during the afternoon legislative session that the executive committee of the G.A. presented a declaration that was drafted following a meeting three days earlier with representatives from PC(USA):

  • Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk
  • Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell, Director of PC(USA) World Mission
  • Maria Arroyo, Area Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, PC(USA) World Mission
  • Dave Thomas, Regional Liaison for Mexico, PC(USA) World Mission

The declaration outlined the reactions of the executive committee and the leaders of the church's four ministries (evangelism, education, resources and relations) who had attended the pre-GA. meeting in Mexico, D.F. on Tuesday, Aug. 16.  The two-hour dialogue with the PC(USA) delegation was aimed at resolving concerns by the Mexican church over the implications of Amendment 10-A regarding ordination standards.

The executive committee's declaration at the special G.A. legislative session included a proposal that the partnership with PC(USA) be temporarily suspended until the next regular meeting of the INPM's G.A., which is scheduled in July, 2012, in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon (northern Mexico).  It also recommended that a sentence in the church's Book of Order referring to the INPM-PC(USA) partnership be removed, and that between now and next July, the matter of Amendment 10-A be analyzed and studied, with results and a recommendation to be presented at the meeting in Monterrey.

After the reading of the declaration by the denomination's secretary, several motions were made from the floor.  At that point in the meeting, on Friday afternoon, only 138 voting delegates were present as approximately 45 delegates had already left to return to their homes. The first motion, which was similar to the proposal from the executive committee, was that the partnership be left intact for now, but that the reference in the Book of Order be removed. That motion received only 17 votes in favor. A second motion, to immediately break relations with the PC(USA), and to remove the Book of Order reference, passed overwhelmingly with 116 votes. There was no need for a count of votes in opposition. This motion also included a provision that the INPM would consider renewing relations with PC(USA) if Amendment 10-A were revoked at some future time.

Throughout our ongoing dialogue with the INPM's leadership, we have jointly turned to God in prayer seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to maintain mutual respect despite our differences. But in the hours following the meeting, it became clear to me that the INPM will take a firm stand regarding the end of our 139-year relationship. I would ask you to keep our mission co-workers serving the border in your prayers in these coming days:

  • Rev. Rachel Anderson
  • Rev. Mark Adams (currently in the U.S. on interpretation assignment)
  • Miriam Maldonado Escobar (currently in the U.S. on interpretation assignment)
  • Chris McReynolds
  • Rev. Andres Garcia
  • Gloria Salazar-Garcia
  • Susan Thomas
  • David Thomas
  •  

Dialogue with executive committee of INPM

by Dave Thomas, PCUSA Regional Liaison for Mexico

On Tuesday, August 16, one day before a special meeting of the General Assembly of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico (INPM for its initials in Spanish) was to convene, a delegation from PC(USA) met with the executive committee of the INPM to discuss the implications of Amendment 10-A to our denomination's constitution. Meeting in Mexico City were:  Rev. Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk; Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell, Director of Presbyterian World Mission; Maria Arroyo, Area Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Dave Thomas, Regional Liaison for Mexico.  In addition to the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer, the INPM was represented by leaders of the Mexican church's four ministries:  evangelism, education, resources and relations.

The purpose of the meeting was to dialogue about concerns within Mexico over constitutional changes to ordination standards in the PC(USA).  The INPM had sent a questionnaire to all of its 68 presbyteries and 16 synods, asking for their reactions to the favorable vote on Amendment 10-A by the 173 presbyteries of the PC(USA).  It was expected that there might be a vote on the PC(USA)-INPM partnership during a special legislative session that was scheduled during the special meeting of the INPM's General Assembly.

Many of the questions were related to biblical interpretations, and were answered mostly by Rev. Grady Parsons and by Rev. Dr. Hunter Farrell.  Our Mexican partners expressed serious concerns over changes to ordination standards that resulted from the passage of 10-A and its ratification by presbyteries of the PC(USA).

Although the PC(USA) delegation requested a "grace period" in which to resolve many questions that would arise if a rupture should occur in the 139-year relationship, no decisions were made during the 2-hour meeting.

On Monday, Aug. 15, the day before the meeting, the PC(USA) delegation visited two educational facilities that were initiated by Presbyterian missionaries from the U.S. during the past two centuries:

  • Instituto Juarez, a private school founded in 1945 that offers classes for students from pre-school through high school (in the photo, the school's director, Porfirio Carrillo, shows some facilities of Instituto Juarez to (L to R) María Arroyo, Gradye Parsons, mission co-worker Susan Thomas, and Hunter Farrell)
  • Seminario Teologico Presbiteriano de Mexico, established in 1882 (where the meeting was held the next day)

That evening, the PC(USA) delegation invited the executive committee of the INPM G.A. to an informal dinner in a local restaurant.  Following Tuesday's meeting, the PC(USA) delegation was invited to lunch in the seminary dining room with the executive committee of the INPM G.A. and the leaders of the four ministries.

Just three days after the dialogue session, the G.A. of the INPM, meeting in a special legislative session in Xonacatlan, state of Mexico, voted to immediately terminate the relationship with PC(USA).  In a statement released on Friday following the vote, Stated Clerk Rev. Gradye Parsons was quoted as saying "“We had a very honest and direct conversation, I deeply regret their decision to end a relationship that has brought blessings to both churches.”

Presbyterian Border Ministry • 319 Camden • San Antonio, Texas 78215 • 210-299-5011 • info@presbyterianborderministry.org
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