The Statistical Reporting Season for the winter of 2017/2018 has come to an end. I am sure all the Clerks of Session are sighing with relief! This period of time requires a lot of work on the part of the Clerk of Session. I am very thankful that we have such wonderful clerks in this presbytery. They do this tedious work year after year without a grumble. This year we had a 72% congregational participation rate versus last year’s 77% participation rate. We dropped a little in participation, but not too much. Hopefully, next year we will exceed last year’s 77% participation rate. Thank you to all the dedicated Clerks of Session for their work this year. The congregations that made sure they got statistical information into GA were:
Looking statistically at the presbytery, as a whole, our membership dropped from 7026 to 6558. We had 128 total gains and 596 total losses during the year, which equates to a loss of 468 members. We believe this number is not quite accurate, as some of the congregations who did not participate have been healthy and growing. This is one reason we would love to get to a higher rate of congregational participation. We would love to have our figures be more accurate, so we really can see what is happening in the presbytery. Several of these non-participatory congregations have not reported for years, making their statistics way under-reported. We are also aware that we have had some closures of congregations this past year which accounts for some of the loss.
San Gabriel Presbytery is very diverse ethnically. The summary of the GA statistical report gives us the breakdown according to those congregations who have participated. The breakdown of Ruling Elders according to GA categories within the presbytery looks like this: ELDERS – 54 Asian, 3 Black, 2 African American, 1 African, 22 Hispanic, 111 White. We know that we have Middle Eastern elders, but no entries were made in that category. DEACONS – 118 Asian, 1 Black,2 African American, 1 African, 19 Hispanic, 72 White, and 1 Other. Here again, we know that we have Middle Eastern Deacons, but no entries were made in that category. We may actually be more diverse than is recorded in GA Statistical Reporting. But, the diversity in leadership within this presbytery, as recorded, is exciting to see!
The Spring Review of Minute Books will be held at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church, Hacienda Heights on May 5, 2018 at 10:00 AM. The Review Form has been updated to contain the newly added item: Safety Policy for Youth in addition to one we previously had for Children. This is a new item, but we need to be working on this safety policy as it is a new GA requirement. And we most certainly want to keep our children and youth safe while they are on our campuses or on a field trip of some sort. The two policies should look a little different as it takes different approaches to care for the two different age brackets. Please think independently on each. Click HERE to download the Review Form.
I look forward to seeing many of the clerks and pastors at the Spring Review of Minute Books and Registers. Remember, if you haven’t had your books reviewed for a couple of years, we would expect to see those years too. Now, a caveat to that statement: If you are behind in your Minute Books and Registers for some years, but have this year’s up-to-date, please come and bring what you have. It is better to get started reviewing than to continuing remaining behind. We want to help you start catching up.
The Fall Review of Minute Books is still planned for October 2018 at New Hope Presbyterian Church in Pasadena. We will publish the date as soon as we have it.