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30 March 2004 @ 11:58 pm

This past weekend was busier than usual, thanks to my dad and stepmother being in town. Here's the short version:

  • Friday night, we — we being my brother and sister-in-law, my two nieces, my dad and stepmother, and I — celebrated my birthday at Tup Tim Thai, a Thai restaurant in Sterling I'd been meaning to try. The food was good, but the service was spotty.
  • Saturday afternoon, we — which in this context means the seven people I mentioned above plus my nephew — drove out to Charles Town, West Virginia, to see the house my brother and sister-in-law recently purchased. It's pretty cool, not to mention enormously large. It needs a lot of renovation, but when all the work is done it's going to be truly spectacular. Afterwards, we had dinner at John's Family Restaurant, which is widely regarded as one of the finest restaurants in Rippon, W.V.
  • On Sunday, my nieces were baptized. The service was particularly interesting for me, in that it was only the second time I've ever attended a service presided over by a bishop. This probably doesn't seem particularly interesting to anyone who has ever been a member of a church with an episcopal structure, but we Presbyterians don't have bishops. The rest of the service was nice too, though I always find it a little odd to attend a church service in a school auditorium, as this one was. (Not that I've attended many services in school auditoriums. I think this was my second.)
  • And then I took my parents to the airports, and when I got home I watched Arrested Development. K, maybe that one's not quite in the same league as the others. But it was a good episode.
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Futurama
Rusty: emma smilerustydog on March 30th, 2004 09:35 pm (UTC)
Now that I'm done panicking and double-checking your birthdate (I knew it was in April!)... fun weekend! Congratulations on your nieces' baptism. (Does one say congratulations for that? Blessings?)

maybe that one's not quite in the same league as the others. But it was a good episode.

Yeah, even the worst would still be really good. This one amused my dad enough that he called me right afterwards to talk about it. Heh. It seems he hadn't noticed Kitty's, um, asymmetricality until my mom pointed it out.

John Heaton: tvjheaton on March 31st, 2004 07:34 am (UTC)
Congratulations is good enough, and I will pass that along to them.

Heh. You know, I just meant that watching AD wasn't quite as interesting or exciting as the other things I did this weekend. Sort of mocking the idea of giving it its own bullet point. I thought the episode was very good. I also didn't notice the asymmetricality; I'm sure your dad and I were both making every effort not to look at Kitty's boobs, as any proper gentleman would.
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John Heaton: religionjheaton on March 31st, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
Good try. Presbyterian churches are organized around elders, presbuteroi in Greek. It's a small-r republican form of government: the congregation elects members to be ordained as elder and serve on the Session, which governs the affairs of the church. The congregation also calls the pastor, who sits on Session as Moderator.

The same basic organizational principle applies at the higher levels of the Church. All the Presbyterian congregations in a given geographical region belong to a Presbytery, and are represented at Presbytery meetings by their pastor and their elder commissioners. And on a national level, each Presybtery sends commissioners to the General Assembly, which meets once a year (once every two years starting this year) to discuss changes in doctrine and polity.

So in short, it's exactly the reverse of an episcopal church: power flows up from the local congregation, rather than down from the bishop. In fact, there is no position within the Presbyterian Church that is equivalent to a bishop. The unofficial head of the church the the Moderator of the General Assembly, but she (or he, but currently the Moderator is a woman) doesn't really have any real power. It's akin to being President of the Senate: she wields the gavel at General Assembly, and performs certain ceremonial duties through her term in office, but that's about it.
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John Heaton: religionjheaton on March 31st, 2004 09:30 am (UTC)
Well, under the Presbyterian model, pastors are not really supposed to "lead" the congregation. Pastors, or ministers of Word and Sacrament as they're officially known, are charged with "studying, teaching, preaching the Word, administering Baptism and the Lord’s supper (and) praying with and for the congregation." Elders "exercise leadership, government, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a particular church," and "strengthen and nurture the faith and life of the congregation committed to their charge."

That said, these two ministries are not isolated from one another. The pastor is a voting member of the Session, and the section concerning the specific responsibilities of elders begins, "[t]ogether with the pastor." Likewise, the section outlining the responsibilities of the pastor starts with, "[w]ith the Elders."
(Anonymous) on April 1st, 2004 04:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the ride. The plane left 2.5 hours late because of heavy rains in Chicago. Also, I have seen six of the plays yoyu mentioned.