On January 27th, 2013, at a specially called meeting of the congregation, the members of First Presbyterian Church – Houston voted to enter into the Presbytery of New Covenant’s Gracious Reconciliation and Dismissal Procedure. This procedure was adopted by our Presbytery in 2012 to provide a process by which individual congregations who wish to reevaluate their connection with the Presbyterian Church –USA may do so in a structured and Christ-honoring way. By entering into this process, our congregation is essentially seeking to answer this question: Is God leading FPC to remain connected with the PC-USA, or is He leading FPC to seek dismissal from the PC-USA to another reformed denomination?
The Presbytery’s procedure provides as a first step that a Discernment Team be formed, consisting of members both from the congregation of FPC and from the Presbytery of New Covenant. This team has been formed, and will provide general oversight of FPC’s process to ensure that it indeed follows the Presbytery’s procedure and is fair, open, and balanced. However, the Discernment Team will not get directly involved in the detailed design and implementation of FPC’s process, leaving that instead to an internal FPC team called the Gracious Reconciliation Implementation Team (GRIT). This page provides links to further information about the organization and job descriptions for the Gracious Reconciliation Implementation Team.
Seeking to be Faithful: Guidelines for Presbyterians in Times of Disagreement
As Presbyterians, we are called to work for the “peace, unity and purity of the Church” as we seek to be faithful to God’s work in the world. Indeed, all Elders and Pastors in our church have taken an oath to do this. However, disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in the life of any body of believers. The key to being faithful to this call is not to avoid conflict entirely, but to deal with it, and with each other, in a way that honors Christ. The 204th General Assembly of the PC-USA (1992) developed and adopted the Seeking to be Faithful Guidelines below as a suggested way of behaving in times of conflict. All members of our Gracious Reconciliation Implementation Team have promised, with God’s help, to abide by these Guidelines in all interactions and communications pertaining to FPC – Houston’s Discernment Process. Furthermore, the GRIT Steering Committee urges each and every member of our congregation to prayerfully consider adopting these Guidelines as a model for one’s own behavior as we work our way through the Discernment Process. Click here for Guidelines.
Where to direct your questions, comments, or suggestions regarding FPC – Houston’s Discernment Process:
The FPC/Presbytery Discernment Team consists of eight members, four appointed by Presbytery of New Covenant and four appointed by FPC’s Session, plus an ex officio moderator appointed by the Presbytery. This Team’s mission is to monitor FPC’s Discernment Process and ensure that it is fair and open, that all points of view are being given the opportunity to be aired, and that the process conforms to the requirements of the Presbytery’s Gracious Reconciliation and Dismissal Procedure. Questions or concerns in these areas should be directed to: DiscernmentTeam@fpchouston.org
The Gracious Reconciliation Implementation Team (GRIT) is an internal FPC team, consisting of more than 40 members of FPC, and comprised of a Steering Committee and four working groups – Prayer, Worship & Fellowship; Issues Analysis & Resources; Events; and Congregational Communications. Comments, questions, or suggestions intended for the GRIT Steering Committee and pertaining to the internal FPC discernment process should be directed to: GRIT@fpchouston.org