North Georgia Presbytery

Smyrna, GA (July 13, 1996)--Smyrna Presbyterian Church hosted the summer stated meeting of North Georgia Presbytery. The Moderator, TE Doug Griffith, preached from Colossians 4:7-18, focusing on "relationships". The moderator-designate, TE Bill Bratley, was elected Moderator.
"Presbytery expressed its gratitude to TE Bob Valentine, Stated Clerk for over 18 years, with a financial gift of $5,580.00 and words of love and appreciation. TE Kennedy Smartt led in prayer for Bob and Catherine Valentine."
RE John White presented the report from the Judicial Commission regarding TE Jim Gearing. For his failure to obey either of two citations, Presbytery voted to depose Mr. Gearing for his contumacy. The court also determined to "exclude the said James Michael Gearing from the Sacraments, and cut him off from the fellowship of the church." North Georgia Presbytery had charged Mr. Gearing with the following: "1. In violation of Ephesians 5:25ff, 1 Peter 3:7, and Matthew 7:3-5, TE Gearing consistently failed to focus his efforts on fulfilling his responsibility to be an understanding, loving, sacrificial, servant-leader, to his wife; and, instead, has consistently chosen to shift the burden of blame for the lack of agreement with some aspect of his views of wifely submission; and, "2. In violation of Proverbs 9:8, TE Gearing over the past two to three years has repeatedly hardened his heart against the admonitions and reproof given to him by several brethren who have tried to cause him to see his need to repent of his failing to be an understanding, loving, sacrificial, servant-leader; and, "3. In violation of Ephesians 5:21 and Hebrews 10:25, TE Gearing has defied duly constituted authority by refusing to submit to the legitimate requirement of the North Georgia Presbytery that he attend Lord's Day worship, all of which has conspired against the peace, unity and purity of the Church and the honor and Majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the King and Head thereof."
Andy Peck, MTW/Wycliffe Bible Translator missionary in Lima, Peru, was introduced, and he shared with the Presbytery his ministry of support for the translators. RE Marvin Padgett, MNA Director of Reformed University Ministries, was introduced and shared the work of Reformed Universities Ministries and International Student Christian Fellowship. TE Robert Jackson introduced RE Stan Edwards, of the Grace Church, Stone Mountain, who spoke to Presbytery concerning Christian Business Ethics.
RE Leroy White of the Ingleside Church, was elected as Presbytery's Treasurer, to begin his term in January, 1997.
The Presbytery voted: 1. to "suspend [a minister] from the pulpit of [his mission work] until this matter is resolved. (BCO 31-10)"; 2. to "seek to resolve this matter by instituting judicial process against [the minister] with a commission of the court to serve as prosecutor (BCO 31-2)"; and 3. to instruct "the MNA Committee of the Presbytery [to] investigate the condition of the [mission] and lend its oversight until this matter is resolved and communicate this action to [the minister] and the church." Presbytery then unanimously reconsidered the first item, and adopted the following substitute motion: "that the MNA Committee of Presbytery appoint a blue-ribbon committee to work with the [mission] and its school, and that the Commission be given time to work with [the minister] and his wife regarding their marital difficulties." The chair then ruled that item #3 was not necessary, and it was stricken.
RE Harvey Anderson presented the report of the Ad Hoc Committee to study alternative methods of training for ordination and examination for the Gospel Ministry in North Georgia Presbytery. "The following recommendations were adopted: "1. that the Membership Committee continue to be responsible for the examining for candidacy, licensure, and ordination, "2. 1) that North Georgia Presbytery Christian Education Committee develop a sub-committee for overseeing the training of interns and ensuring the quality of internships of all candidates for the Gospel Ministry using both the traditional seminary approach and alternative methods. 2) that, if the way be clear, North Georgia Presbytery seek to acquire the funds for a part-time coordinator for this sub-committee. "3. that, if the North Georgia Presbytery approves the above concepts, the C.E. Committee and the Membership Committee meet together with the Ad Hoc Committee to work out the details which will in turn be reported back to a subsequent Presbytery meeting for approval. "4. that TE Ben Wilkinson be granted the powers of evangelist (BCO 8-6) for the purpose of organizing churches, training men for office, ministering the Word and the sacraments, and further, that TE Wilkinson make regular reports on his progress and ministry as requested by the appropriate committee.
Presbytery received Mr. Wes Alford under care as a ministerial candidate, with the acknowledgement of his prior licensing exam by the Presbytery. Presbytery examined and approved for licensure Mr. Chip Sweney and Mr. Kellett Thomas. The internship of David Sarafolen was approved. TE Richard Smith was transferred to Southeast Alabama Presbytery in order to accept the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church, Florala, AL. TE Jim Young was "granted permission to labor outside the bounds of Presbytery and [was] encouraged to join the Presbytery in whose bounds he is ministering." The pastoral relationship between TE George Ganey, III, and First Presbyterian Church, Villa Rica, was dissolved as of July 28, 1996. Mr. Ganey's call as assistant pastor of the Harvester Church, Douglasville, and principal of their high school was approved. "The session of the Harvester Church will install TE Ganey in the above position." Changes in the call to TE Tom Irby of the Harvester Church were approved as follows: salary, $17,640; insurance, $6,000; annuities $3,600; housing, $24,000; car, $8,000; books, $1,000; seminars, $1,500; total, $61,740.
TE Todd Allen presented the report of the Shepherding Committee. TE Steve Collins' request to demit the ministry "was received in accordance with BCO 38-2 as the first step in the process." Mr. Allen led in prayer for TE Charles Sledge, an MTW missionary who had a stroke while ministering in Taiwan, and for Steve Collins and Mitchell Hall and their families.
Reports of the Moral Concerns Committee (presented by TE Ted Lester) and the Cooperative Ministries Committee (presented by TE Bob Sweet) were received as information.
TE Warren Gardner, Stated Clerk
1115 Jefferson Hwy., Winder, GA 30680