In Praise of CREDO: A Letter to Frank Spencer and Peter Sime

The Rev. Frank Spencer, President, Board of Pensions of the PC (USA)

The Rev. Peter C.S. Sime, Vice President, Assistance, CREDO & Fund Development, Board of Pensions of the PC (USA)

Dear Rev’s Spencer and Sime,

I write one month after my experience of a CREDO conference to express my gratitude to you both for your support of that program and to lift up the value I found in it.

That Teaching Elders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have an asset like CREDO at their disposal is surely a great strength of our church, even if it is poorly understand by the likes of me and my colleagues. Despite our confusion at a CREDO invitation arriving, unbidden, in the mail, though, the opportunity to spend a week intently focusing on our physical, vocational, spiritual, and financial health with highly skilled (paid) faculty is a transformational career development for many of us.

CREDO renewed my confidence in the PC (USA) as a connectional church. No doubt congregations and leaders need to be planting and cultivating new relational networks both within our denomination and outside of it for connectionalism to thrive in an era such as ours, when the connectional infrastructure–be it shared mission giving or the presbytery docket–feels rusted and full of holes. But CREDO is an experience of our existing infrastructure working powerfully to create community among diverse Teaching Elders, not because they share geography or a theological viewpoint or went to the same seminary, but simply because they are part of the same part of Christ’s body, the PC (USA). That feels very, very valuable.

And yet CREDO is not a vacation. The work required of participants–and even participants’ families–is a major part of why it works. The vocational surveys, the health screenings, and the financial homework that I completed before the conference all had me asking serious questions before I arrived, and the CREDO faculty were ready to hear and speak to those questions in a variety of formats. I found the one-on-one consultations with faculty the most valuable, but their plenary addresses and workshops supported those consultations with helpful context and theoretical background.

Finally, CREDO welcomes Teaching Elders into a very brief season of spiritual reflection supported by daily worship planned and led by thoughtful and creative people. That is a pearl of great price, and I am deeply thankful for those leaders.

I also have great gratitude for my congregation and my Head of Staff, who fully supported the time away CREDO demanded, at a busy time in the church’s life.

Many thanks to the both of you for your work to support CREDO within the PC (USA) and for the particular benefits that accrued to me from my participation.

Sincerely,

Rocky Supinger

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