Messages from Synod

From the Synod ExecutiveCarol McDonald, Synod Executive

“I know the plans I have for you…”

by Carol McDonald

Writing the title “executive” without the prefix “co” feels very strange as I look back at 2010 and ahead to 2011. One thing it reminds me of is that when a year begins, we can never be absolutely sure of what will transpire. We can hope; we can dream; we can plan; we can even make lists. But in the end, as we look back, we realize that someone far greater than you and me has been in charge!

As I look back over 2010, my overwhelming emotion is gratitude! I am grateful for wise and intuitive doctors and for the care of nurses and practitioners and aides. I am grateful for the personnel committee of the Synod of Lincoln Trails, and to all our commissioners and committee members who continually encouraged me to put health before meetings and reports. I am thankful for wonderful colleagues in Suite 210 at 1100 West 42nd Street, Indianapolis, and for amazing executive and general presbyters (and one presbyter for common life!).

But most of all I am grateful for family and friends who have walked with me, prayed for me, encouraged me, suppported me, and cared for me. Saying good-bye to a trusted friend and colleague, Dave Crittenden, brought sadness and some anxiety to the conclusion of 2010. But for Dave’s gifts shared with the Synod of Lincoln Trails and with me – and all of his colleagues – I will always be grateful!

As I look forward, I see an exciting year for the Synod of Lincoln Trails. The prophet Jeremiah says to the people in exile, “I know the plans I have for you…” (ch.29) and though I have no idea exactly what God’s plans are for us in Lincoln Trails, I do believe and know in my heart and soul that:

  • the discernment team appointed by moderator Eddie Knox, and staffed by consultant Tim Jones, will work diligently to discern the synod’s future mission and ministry;
  • the faithful commissioners who continue, and those who will come to this new responsibility, will challenge us to be faithful to God’s calling;
  • our new moderator, the Rev. Christina Berry of Blackhawk Presbytery and our new stated clerk, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Tracy of Ohio Valley Presbytery, will provide us stable and effective leadership;
  • our executive assistants, Judy and Kristi, and our contract staff, Marta and Bill, will continue to provide excellent staff resourcing to the synod and its presbyteries;
  • the office partnership with the Presbytery of Whitewater Valley will continue to grow;
  • we will continue to seek partnerships with our presbyteries, other synods, congregations, and the General Assembly;
  • God will be with us in this transition as God has always been with us!

Looking back into 2010, I am grateful. Looking forward to 2011, I am filled with hope. Thanks be to God!

Dave CrittendenA Message from Dave Crittenden

To my friends and colleagues in the Synod of Lincoln Trails:

I want to thank the Presbyterians of the Synod of Lincoln Trails for making the last sixteen years of my service to Christ a fantastic adventure. My years of serving on the synod staff as associate and then co-executive have been truly blessed. My time with you has been fun, challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling. I will remember those I have been fortunate to work with as elected or volunteer members of committees and synod commissioners. I thank you for what you taught me and that you choose to fulfill your calling by giving of your time and talents to the Synod of Lincoln Trails. A lot has changed and a lot has been accomplished in the last sixteen years. God has worked through us and with us.

I would like to extend a special thank you to the synod staff and the staff of the presbyteries in our synod. A large percentage of the staff that was serving their respective governing bodies when I started over sixteen years ago are still serving in the same governing body. I thank each of you for your collaboration, support, and caring. You have been good friends and fantastic colleagues. The synod staff is a very collegial team. I will miss the fun we had working together more than the work we did.

I take this opportunity to extend a very special thank you to my colleague and fellow co-executive, Carol McDonald. We worked together as part of a four-person team when I began my time with the synod. I think the vision of co-executives grew out of that team. We were a part of the first co-executive team, first three and then two. We learned together what the title meant as we lived out the vision. I thank Carol for being patient with me, for teaching me and being a co-learner. As I go to a new call and different work I will probably miss our collaboration the most.

We know that the Presbyterian family is much smaller than statistics indicate. We will see each other and maybe work together in the future. I am not leaving the family just moving to another part of the whole. May God continue to guide us and bless all that we do individually and collectively. May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ continue to be with us as we choose to continue to follow his lead.