Dear Members and Friends of Ark and Dove,
Has the institution that employs you gone through a restructure? Have you been part of a committee that has had a big turnover in members? Have you played on a team that needed to rebuild between seasons? Have you worked with an organization that has rebranded? If you can answer any of the above in the affirmative, you know that institutions and organizations are hard to change.
And yet, the institution that is our denomination has placed constant change at the core of its identity. Following the Church split that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries, our ancestors adopted a saying that was to describe and define the new church from then on: reformed and always reforming. From the European continent to North American shores, Presbyterians (and their Reformed siblings) have determined they will be a church ready to change and transform according to what God is doing every new day.
Church history since then only shows how hard change has been. The faithful have always held certain dogmas, practices, polities, and opinions with tight fists. Sometimes this refusal to change served the church well, like when certain German Christians refused to obey any word other than the Word of God. Many times the church's refusal to change has only hurt others and herself, like when it has excluded people based on race, gender, sexuality, and class. All the while, Presbyterians have been reminded what they are: reformed and always reforming.
The European reformation happened just after the Black Plague and while revolts were ripping through the countryside. As we are enduring a plague and revolts, we are changing. That change has been hard. It will continue to be hard. But I must say that the changes we have made in 2020 have been good, because they have been made by faithful people discerning what is needed now. In a different sense, Ark and Dove has reformed over the last year. It is now reforming. Will you be the change you want to see in the church?