Westminster Presbyterian Church in Butler, Pa., hosted the July 31 meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension. Moderator TE Scott Wright convened Presbytery, and TE Carl W. Bogue preached "In Praise of Extremism," expounding and applying the extremes of sin and grace as revealed in Romans 5:20 and the WCF 15:4.
Utilizing the provision of BCO 38:2, TE James Moore was divested from office without censure.
Much of the morning session was given over to the ordination examination of Licentiate James Funyak, the exam concluding after lunch with the preaching of his trial sermon. Mr. Funyak, a graduate of Grove City College and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, was sustained in his exam and will become the Assistant Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Butler, Pa. Also examined for transfer from Northeast Presbytery was TE T. David Gordon. Dr. Gordon is to be Professor of Religion at Grove City College.
When the Ministerial Relations Committee resumed its report, the issue concerning exceptions to the Standards was again taken up, having been referred back to the committee from previous meetings dating back to 1998. After some discussion, Presbytery approved the following policy with respect to how exceptions to the Standards should be handled:
Any member of the Presbytery of the Ascension or any person who has been approved to labor within the bounds of Presbytery, but who has reported to the Presbytery his exceptions to the Westminster Standards, is to be instructed that unless or until he is able to demonstrate to the church at large that his views, rather than those of the Standards to which they are opposed, are in accordance with the teaching of God's infallible word, and to have our Standards brought into conformity with that only infallible rule of faith and practice, he is not to advocate (i.e., plead for or support) those views in teaching and preaching in his official capacity as an elder of the PCA because they threaten the purity and peace of Christ's Church.
TE Byron Curtis, Assistant Professor at Geneva College and member of Eastern Carolina Presbytery, announced to the Presbytery of the Ascension: "I will file a complaint" against this action.
As part of the MNA report (RE David Shaw, chairman), the petition from West Erie Mission for particularization was approved, with the date yet to be set. Under the Christian Education Committee report (TE Dennis Gill, chairman), TE Jeffrey Noyes gave an encouraging report on a number of summer camp programs.
Under new business Faith Presbyterian Church in Akron, Ohio, brought an overture asking the Presbytery to request the General Assembly to assume original jurisdiction (BCO 34-1) with respect to the report of women preaching in a congregation of the PCA in Tennessee Valley Presbytery. The overture passed with one audible "no" vote.
The Sixty Second Stated Meeting of Calvary Presbytery was held at Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville, S. C., on April 22, 1999. Moderator Ben Shaw preached from Ezekiel 38:1-6, 16-23.
The following changes in call were approved: John Crawford, Jr., Center Point, from $16,500 to $18,000; Lee Moseley, Roebuck, from $30,000 to $41,000; Jerry Lindell, Davenport Road, from $56,900 to $59,360; Curt Rabe, Greenwood, from $53,725 to $55,400.
Mr. Jeffrey Ferguson was examined and taken under care as a ministerial candidate. Rev. Larry Gamble was examined and transferred from Central Georgia Presbytery, to become Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Clinton, S. C. Dr. Jerry Crick was received into Calvary Presbytery, and allowed to labor out of bounds for a year at Bahnsen Theological Seminary in California.
Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relation between Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church and Dr. Rod Mays, so that he can become the Campus Ministries Coordinator of Reformed University Ministries. The pastoral relation between Greenwood Presbyterian Church and Curt Rabe, so that he can take up the call from New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Anderson, to be a church planter in the Belton/Honea Path area.
Pending a congregational meeting of Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Greer, on May 2, 1999, Presbytery placed Pastor Stan Johnson under Definite Suspension "until The Shepherding Committee is satisfied with Mr. Johnson's attitudes and actions before he is restored to the ministry with The PCA, and further that Mr. Johnson is required to appear and address the Presbytery at the July 1999 Stated Meeting." The Shepherding Committee was appointed to become a commission to draw up charges against Rev. Billy Shields, and he was cited to "appear in Presbytery by July 1999, or meet with The Shepherding Committee."
Presbytery appointed a commission to oversee the situation at Rock Presbyterian Church, Greenwood, S. C., and authorized the appointment of a supply pastor; "if this is not satisfactory then we will dissolve their relationship with The PCA."
Upon motion from the floor, the Moderator and Stated Clerk were to "prepare and send on behalf of Calvary Presbytery a letter of inquiry to The Tennessee Valley Presbytery concerning recently published reports of women preaching at stated congregational worship services within her bounds."
The 76th Stated Meeting of Central Carolina Presbytery met at Carolina PCA, Locust, N. C. The Moderator, the Rev. David Alexander, called the meeting to order and opened it with prayer. Dr. Gordon Reed of Palmetto Presbytery preached, and host pastor Patrick Womack administered the Lord's Supper. The court elected Ruling Elder George James as its new Moderator, and the Rev. Alex Coblentz as its Vice Moderator.
The Pres WIC President, Gail Stein, addressed the Presbytery. Missionaries Frank Newell and Hunter Dockery, and the Rev. James Akavenko of JAARS, also addressed the court.
Two amendments to the Presbytery Manual were approved on a first reading. On a second reading, the following amendment was adopted: "When a candidate takes exception to the Confession or has a disputable interpretation of the Confession, yet it is an issue where diverse opinions are held within the presbytery, let the Committee note the issue and let the Presbytery decide."
Memorials for Ruling Elders George Henry Beaver (New Hope Presbyterian Church, China Grove), James Everett Fitzgerald (Goshen Presbyterian Church, Belmont), Carl Calvin Moore, Jr. (Castanea Presbyterian Church, Stanley), and Ira Wayne Mann (Northside Presbyterian Church, Burlington) were read and spread on the minutes.
Presbytery approved the call from Sandhills Presbyterian Church, Southern Pines, N. C., to Steve Hill as Assistant Pastor (package of $48,000). He had been at Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Centreville, Miss., since 1994. Mr. Hill was later examined and approved for transfer from Grace Presbytery.
Presbytery voted to require church planters to attend quarterly Mission to North America meetings in Spring and Fall only.
The Commission for the South Point Presbyterian Mission, Gastonia, N. C., reported that results in the effort to revive the church have been disappointing. Morning worship services were suspended as of March 1, 1998, and the mission has been operating in the form of home Bible studies. No organizing pastor has been found, and the group has suffered a net decline. Presbytery released David Dickson from supply duties at South Point; and allowed the mission work to continue with hopes of progress by the April stated meeting of Presbytery.
The Rev. Phillip Nelson was examined and received from the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Presbytery unanimously granted exemption to him from the language requirement, due to his long pastoral experience, unique situation and gifts. He has been called as a church planter apprentice, at $1000 per month.
A 1999 budget totaling $104,500 was adopted.
Covenant Presbytery met in its 85th Stated Meeting on Tuesday, February 2, 1999, at the Grenada (Miss.) Presbyterian Church. The Moderator, TE Brad Stewart, led public worship. He read Matthew 18:1-9, preached a sermon on that text, and administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
TE Richard Cannon, President of French Camp (Miss.) Academy, welcomed the commissioners and visitors attending the meeting on behalf of the Grenada Presbyterian Church.
TE Randy Thompson introduced Mr. Chris Miller, who was a visiting representative of PCA Insurance, Annuities, and Relief. Mr. Miller will be available to answer any questions from presbyters during the lunch recess. Mr. Thompson introduced TE Robert Palmer, who was a visiting representative of PCA Christian Education and Publications. He was allowed to show a video about the church's ministry
to the "millennial generation" during the lunch recess.
TE Cannon updated the presbytery on the ministry of French Camp Academy. He reviewed the philosophy of the acquisition of Chamberlain Hunt Academy, Port Gibson, Mississippi, by French Camp. He encouraged members of presbytery to be involved in these worthwhile ministries.
TE Wayne Herring reported that TE Mark Kreitzer is leaving the River Valley Mission in Russellville, Arkansas. He is receiving a severance package of two months salary from the mission. The MNA Committee is reassessing church planting efforts in this area due to the loss of membership in the mission congregation. Presbytery dissolved its relationship to TE Mark Kreitzer as its church planter in Russellville. Mr. Herring reported that the church planting work in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is going well. Covenant Presbytery voted to continue to support this work at the rate of $300.00 per month. Mr. Herring reported that progress is slow for the New Beginnings mission in inner-city Memphis, Tennessee. TE Julian Russell needs our prayers and encouragement. TE Herring reported that Reformed University Ministries within Covenant Presbytery is doing well. The University of Mississippi
ministry will be in transition soon, as TE Jeffrey Lancaster plans on going to New Orleans to plant a new church, and RUM plans on moving TE Les Newsom from Memphis to Ol' Miss. It was reported that there is interest is starting a new PCA church in Conway, Arkansas.
TE Les Newsom, Chairman, presented the report of the Credentials Committee. TE David Bryan was examined and transferred from Calvary Presbytery, to labor out of bounds as Minister to Senior Members (assistant pastor) at the Independent Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tenn.
TE Carter Mills, Chairman of the Christian Education Committee, requested that in light of the death of RE Ken Avis, churches discontinue sending newsletters and bulletins to his address. A new publisher for the presbytery newsletter, the Covenant Reporter, must be found. Mr. Mills reported that funds are again available for transportation or scholarships to approved summer camps. The 1999 Spring Retreat will be at Camp Lake Stevens in Oxford, Mississippi, on April 9-11, 1999. The Retreat format will be similar to the RYM summer conference. TE Ricky Jones will be the main speaker.
Presbytery appointed TE Carl Chaplin, MTW missionary to the Czech Republic, as Presbytery's Evangelist to the Czech Republic and grant him the powers of an evangelist for twelve months in accordance with BCO 8-6. TE Ricky Jones, MTW Committee Chairman, reported that the committee is studying the possibility of holding a presbytery-wide workshop on the benefits of setting up charitable trusts.
It was reported that TE Lawrence Rountree has expressed his desire to demit the ministry in a letter to the stated clerk in accordance with BCO 38-2. TE Rountree took this action in response to Covenant Presbytery's request (October 1998 meeting) that TE Rountree report to the presbytery his status as a minister without call. In accordance with the Constitution, the Presbytery will consider this matter at the next stated meeting in May 1999.
Presbytery approved the call to TE McKay Caston as Assistant Pastor of Lawndale Presbyterian Church, Tupelo, Miss. Changes in the calls of the following ministers were approved: Grover Gunn, Carter Mills, Tim Reed and Fred Showers.
Presbytery approved the actions on behalf of the court of the Church Care Committee acting as a commission to dissolve the pastoral relationship between TE Gary McMillan and Northside Presbyterian Church, Sherwood, Arkansas, and to dismiss him to Southwest Presbytery pending receipt.
A called meeting of Eastern Carolina Presbytery was held on June 26, 1999, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, North Carolina. The three purposes for the called meeting were the examination of a minister from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for reception and approval of his call, the dissolution of a pastoral relationship and approval of a new call, and the examination of a minister from another PCA presbytery for reception and approval of his call. The Moderator added a fourth purpose: to act on a resolution which he had submitted. A total of 11 ministers and 12 ruling elders, representing 10 churches, gathered for the special meeting.
It was moved and seconded that the fourth item be delayed until the summer stated meeting.
The Rev. Mr. Doug Peterson was examined and received from First Presbytery (ARP), to become an assistant pastor at Peace Presbyterian Church, Cary, North Carolina. The Rev. Mr. Fred Hofland was examined and received to become pastor of Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, North Carolina.
Presbytery dissolved the assistant pastoral relationship between Peace Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Eddie Brown, and approved his call from World Harvest Mission.
The resolution from Moderator Tom Blackburn reads as follows:
RESOLVED, that Eastern Carolina Presbytery establish a commission to recommend and implement on a temporary basis changes in the conduct of meetings of the presbytery for the purposes of (i) enhancing the unity of the members of presbytery; (ii) effecting greater attention to important substantive issues which should be addressed by the presbytery; and (iii) avoiding unproductive controversies during meetings of the presbytery.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that said commission shall have the power, by unanimous vote, to implement changes to the procedures of meetings of the presbytery to be effective for and only during the next succeeding meeting of presbytery, following adoption by said commission, by prior written notice of such changes; and said changes shall not be effective as to any subsequent meetings of presbytery except to the extent thereafter duly authorized by vote of the presbytery.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the membership of said commission include a representative of each of the three metropolitan churches having the largest membership in the presbytery, an equal number of representatives from non-metropolitan churches and at least two members who have actively promoted the detailed examination of candidates for ministry on the floor of presbytery.
A point of order was made, that the resolution was not in order "because it was not placed properly on the docket of a Called Meeting as required in BCO 13-12." The Moderator ruled that the motion was in order. Upon challenge, the Moderator was sustained. A substitute was moved for the motion to adopt the resolution, viz., to reconsider the prior motion to delaying the matter until the summer stated meeting. The Moderator ruled that substitute motion out of order, in that it would "fundamentally change the subject" of the current motion. Another motion, simply to reconsider the prior motion, was also ruled out of order by the Moderator, due to the current motion still be being on the floor. Finally, a procedural motion was moved, seconded, and carried, to postpone consideration of the resolution to the summer stated meeting as the first item of business.
The meeting, which had convened at 9:00 AM, adjourned at 12:14 PM.
Bethel Presbyterian Church, Clover, South Carolina, hosted the Fifteenth Meeting of Fellowship Presbytery on April 22, 1999. The Rev. Mr. Wallace Tinsley, Jr., was elected Moderator by acclamation.
Candiate Jonathan Dorst preached from John 20:24-28. He was examined and approved for ordination to be Assistant Pastor at Bethel Church, Clover.
Presbytery examined and took under care for the ministry Messrs. Patrick Shealy, Scott Stewart, and Jeff Hooker, and transferred the candidacy of Mr. Tim Taylor from Mississippi Valley Presbytery. Presbytery approved the establishment of internships for Messrs. Stewart and Hooker.
May 6th was set as a "Day of Prayer and Fasting" for revival and evangelism, with a prayer service to be held at 7:30 PM on that date at the Scherer Memorial Presbyterian Church. The Missions Committee was authorized to plan a fall emphasis on evangelism training and outreach.
The Rev. Mr. Patrick Harmon was designated as the Presbytery liaison for the WIC organization. The Christian Education and Fellowship Committee presented several ideas it would like to promote, including: developing a Presbytery calendar; developing an ongoing training program for ruling and teaching elders and potential officers; developing a Presbytery youth training program; and implementing programs for the mutual edification among the Presbytery churches.
Mr. John Collins was removed from the list of candidates, as he is no longer a member of a PCA church. The Rev. David Jordan was transferred to North Georgia Presbytery, pending receipt. Reports were received from several candidates.
The Membership and Administration Committees will work together on looking into the possibility o changing the manual of Presbytery to increase the size of the Membership Committee to help with the enormous work load of that committee. Presbytery determined to change the spring stated meeting from the fourth Thursday to the fourth Saturday of April. Presbytery adjourned, not with prayer, but with the singing of the Doxology.
Mid-America Presbytery met in a called meeting at Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, July 27, 1999. TE Jim Tracy, oldest Teaching Elder present, called the meeting to order at 10:15 AM in the absence of the Moderator and the previous past Moderator. Mr. Tracy was elected moderator pro-tem.
TE David O'Dowd, a member of Presbytery of Southwest Florida Presbytery, was examined for reception and approved. During the course of the meeting, it was moved and seconded to request that Mr. O'Dowd submit in writing to the presbytery at this meeting his views touching drama in worship, women reading scripture and praying in public worship, women in the office of deacon, and on creation. The motion failed, 3-7.
TE John Owen Butler gave notice to the court of his intention to file a protest with the court concerning the procedure taken by presbytery in this matter. It was moved and seconded to note Mr. O'Dowd's position on creation as an exception to the Westminster Standards. Upon vote, the motion failed. It was moved and seconded to reconsider. Upon vote, the motion failed, 4-5.
It was moved and seconded to note that Mr. O' Dowd's position on drama in worship is not an exception to the Westminster Standards. The motion carried, 5-4-1.
It was moved, seconded, and carried to recall Mr. O' Dowd to the meeting to seek clarification on his views concerning women's role in the church.
Mr. O'Dowd stated his belief that Scripture does not speak with absolute clarity concerning women occupying the office of deacon, but is willing to abide by the Constitution of the Church concerning women in the office of deacon. He stated his belief that Scripture does not speak with absolute clarity concerning women reading the Scriptures in public worship and offering public prayer (explanatory minute-TE O'Dowd, and presbytery, gave their assent to the insertion of this statement into the minutes).
It was moved and seconded that due to the statements from TE O'Dowd that they be noted as exceptions to the Book of Church Order. The question was divided. The Presbytery voted, 5-4-1, to note his views regarding female deacons as an exception to the Book of Church Order. The Presbytery voted, 3-7-0, against the motion that Mr. O'Dowd's views concerning women reading the Scriptures in public worship and offering public prayer are an exception to the Book of Church Order.
The Presbytery approved the call to Mr. O'Dowd from the congregation of Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, as Senior Pastor, and he indicated his willingness to accept the call.
It was moved, seconded, and carried to receive TE O'Dowd as a member of Mid-America Presbytery, pending dismissal from Presbytery of Southwest Florida. Upon invitation from the Moderator pro-tem, TE O'Dowd signed the presbytery's ministerial obligation.
TE Joe Staub, pastor in Minco, Oklahoma, presented his request that presbytery fund his and his wife's attendance at the MNA Church Planter Assessment Center. It was moved and seconded to loan from the Church Extension Funds to TE Staub 50% of the requested amount, with the terms of 24 months, with no interest, and that the repayment be waived if he returns to plant a church in Oklahoma within that time period. A substitute motion, that the whole amount be given as a grant from the General Fund, carried.
Ortega Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, hosted the Third Stated Meeting of North Florida Presbytery on April 17, 1999. The Moderator, Ruling Elder Neal Ganzel, exhorted the Presbytery from II Corinthians 11:1-3. Host pastor David Burke indicated that in the forty year history of the congregation, this was the first time it had hosted a presbytery meeting. Dr. Benson Cain was elected the new Moderator.
Mr. Ganzel was examined and approved for candidacy and licensure. He noted his exception to the Westminster Standards, in that he believes that God forbids work, but not recreation, on the Sabbath.
Rev. Bill Lyle was examined and transferred from Southeast Alabama Presbytery, to become Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville. Rev. Steve Jennings was examined and transferred from Gulf Coast Presbytery to become Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville.
Mrs. Barbara Warner, President of the North Florida Pres-WIC, was granted five minutes to address the court. Also addressing the Presbytery were Rev. Rod Whited regarding the Florida Church-planting Network, and Pastor S. Kim regarding a Korean mission work in the Jacksonville area.
Spring Stated Meeting
Midway Presbyterian Church, Powder Springs, Ga., hosted the April 20, 1999, stated meeting of North Georgia Presbytery. The Rev. John Robertson, Business Administrator for the General Assembly Office of the Stated Clerk, and a member of Warrior Presbytery, preached from Matthew 5:1-12, on "The Status of Peacemaking." Host pastor George Mitchell administered the sacrament of communion. Dr. Mitchell was elected as Moderator, to serve during this meeting and the next.
Various commission reports were approved and admitted to record. They dealt with the following matters: ordaining/installing Mr. Howard Brown as Assistant Pastor, Redemption Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, Ga.; installing the Rev. D. Charles Frost, Jr., as Senior Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Ga.; ordaining/installing Mr. Bryan Lee Pierce as Assistant Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Ga.; installing the Rev. David Robinson as Associate Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Fayetteville, Ga.; installing the Rev. Mr. Scot Sherman as Senior Pastor, Intown Community Church, Atlanta, Ga.; ordaining/installing Mr. C. Benson Bottoms, III, as Associate Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Athens, Ga.; ordaining/installing Mr. Steven Na as Assistant Pastor, Open Door Community Church, Atlanta, Ga.
The Rev. Jerry Schriver reported on Y2K readiness, and showed a 20 minute video by Perimeter Productions. A preparedness plan was presented and Presbytery was invited to join Perimeter Church in a network of churches in preparedness. The Rev. Al LaCour presented The Rev. John Woodside of the Kilkenny (Ireland) Presbyterian Church, to report on what is happening in the land of Eire.
Changes in call were approved for the Rev. Mark Rowden at The Rock Presbyterian Church, Stockbridge, Ga., and the Rev. Ross Bair at Grace Community Presbyterian Church, Blairsville, Ga. Messrs. Adam Tisdale (Christ Church, Athens), David Brown (Grace Presbyterian, Stone Mountain), and Patrick Davis (Redeemer Presbyterian, Athens) were examined and taken under care as ministerial candidates.
The Rev. Bill Frisbee of Louisiana Presbytery and the Rev. Rob Rienstra of the Presbytery of New York and New England of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church were examined and transferred. Messrs. Doug Graulich and David Jordan were examined for ordination and approved. Mr. Graulich has been called by Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, and Mr. Jordan as Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Cedartown, Ga.
Presbytery created an Affiliation Agreement with Reformed University Ministries. A subcommittee for campus work under the Mission to North Georgia Committee was approved.
The Review of Sessional Records Committee reported exceptions to the minutes of two of the six churches whose minutes it examined. However, the particular exceptions were not noted in the Presbytery minutes.
May Called Meeting
A called meeting of North Georgia Presbytery was held on May 25, 1999, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Ga. The court examined and approved the Rev. Tim Kay for reception, so that he can become Assistant Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Atlanta. He was transferred from Warrior Presbytery. The installation service was to include Mr. Kay's father, the Rev. Tom Kay, also of Warrior Presbytery, as an invited guest.
West Springfield (Mass.) Covenant Community Church hosted the May 22, 1999, stated meeting of Northeast Presbytery. Mr. Jim Stuart, a ruling elder from First Presbyterian Church, Schenectady, New York, was elected Moderator pro tem, as the Moderator, the Rev. Brad Evans, was absent, being occupied on Presbytery business with a judicial case.
Resolutions were adopted in memory of Morgan Jones and Lionel Brown, honorably retired ministers who had passed away.
Several ministers were dismissed: Chris Baker to Missouri Presbytery, T. David Gordon to Ascension Presbytery pending receipt, and Frank J. Smith to North Georgia pending receipt.
Presbytery approved the call of the Session of Grace Presbyterian Church, Laconia, New Hampshire, to the Rev. Walter Bjorck. The part time call guarantees $2,000 annual remuneration.
Presbytery approved the minutes of its Northern New England Committee, acting as a commission, to receive the Rev. Joseph Trombetta, as pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashua, New Hampshire. Mr. Trombetta had been a minister in the New Jersey Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
Presbytery approved Ruling Elder David Milligan's internship at Exeter (N. H.) Presbyterian Church.
The licensure of Mr. Bob Bjerkaas was approved, as was his being stated supply at Trinity Presbyterian Church, St. Albans, Vermont.
The New York State Committee had examined the Rev. David Ketchen, a member of Great Lakes Presbytery, to be received in order to become stated supply at the Duanesburg (N. Y.) Reformed Presbyterian Church. Mr. Ketchen had previously been pastor of the congregation. It was moved, seconded, and carried to accept the report of the Committee, with the exception of its granting to Mr. Ketchen the liberty to practice his exception to the Book of Church Order with regard to participation in the Lord's Supper: he believes that church membership is not requisite to partake of communion. His exceptions to the Westminster Standards-mild limited use of recreation on the Sabbath and limited use of pictures of Christ in Sunday School literature-were noted. Mr. Ketchen was received into the Presbytery pending release from Great Lakes Presbytery.
The Rev. Steve Froelich had been examined and approved for transfer from Mississippi Valley Presbytery. He has been called as Evangelist at New Life Presbyterian Church, Ithaca, New York. His salary package of $60,253 will come fully from the mission work. His exception to the Westminster Standards regarding "recreation" on the Sabbath was noted.
Presbytery appointed the Session of Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven, Ct., and the Rev. Mr. Mel Sensenig as a Commission to organize Trinity Presbyterian Church in Providence, Rhode Island, on June 6. Presbytery also approved the terms of call to Mr. Sensenig, who had been organizing pastor, to serve as pastor.
The pastoral relationship between Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Cambridge, Mass., and the Rev. Terry Gyger was dissolved, and he was transferred to Metropolitan New York Presbytery, pending receipt, so that he can take up a new call with Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City.
The Presbytery approved the examination of Mr. Tom Morrison, a licentiate who has completed his internship. He has been called as an associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church, New Haven.
Presbytery voted to make Scott Lawry an intern of Northeast Presbytery, and to apply his prior ministry experience from 1996 to 1998 as a youth director as part of his internship requirement. Mr. Lawry has been a ministerial candidate of the Presbytery.
The Sixty-Second stated meeting of Palmetto Presbytery was held at First Presbyterian Church, Dillon, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 22, 1999. The Moderator, Ruling Elder Dean Ezell, opened the meeting with prayer. The Rev. Dr. Harry Schutte, a founding minister of the Presbyterian Church in America and now an Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) minister, preached from Mark 15:33, and then administered the sacrament of communion.
A memorial for the Rev. Kenneth M. Kepler, Sr., was spread on the record. A former missionary to China, he died on January 25, 1999, at the age of 93.
Presbytery approved the following commission reports: to ordain and install Mr. Robert G. Cox as Assistant Pastor, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sumter, South Carolina; to install the Rev. Dr. Fred Mau as Pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church, Ballentine, South Carolina.
Among those who gave reports to the court were: the Rev. Wesley Holland; Carolyn Roman, PresWIC President; the Rev. Dr. Roy Taylor, General Assembly Stated Clerk; the Rev. Rod Culbertson from Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte; the Rev. Robert Edmiston of the denominational Christian Education and Publications Committee; the Rev. John Uhl, organizing pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Mission in Columbia, South Carolina; the Rev. Berry Hudson, campus minister to the College of Charleston and The Citadel.
Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relationship between the Rev. Michael Austin and Trinity Presbyterian Church, Orangeburg, South Carolina, and declared the pulpit vacant. Also dissolved were the following pastoral relationships: between the Rev. Bobby Farmer and the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, Blythewood, South Carolina; and between the Rev. Andrew Kornreich and the Northeast Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina. Mr. Kornreich was granted permission to labor out of bounds at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, an ARP congregation.
It was moved and seconded that the requests of several ministers-Tony Bryant, Craig Hess, N. A. Beadles, II, and Mel Wright-to remain on the rolls of Presbytery as without charge, for one year, keeping Presbytery informed of their ministerial activities. This request was referred back to the Shepherding Committee, with a suggestion to be presented to the summer stated meeting of Presbytery.
Presbytery approved the establishment of internships for Messrs. Howard Haines and Andy Newell. Mr. Haines will be working at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Irmo, South Carolina, under the Rev. Whaley Barton, and Mr. Newell will intern at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Orangeburg, with the Rev. Ray Cureton serving as Intern Subcommittee Representative. Presbytery also approved the completed internships of Messrs. Robert Cathcart (under the Rev. Clenton Ilderton at Hilton Head [S.C.] Presbyterian Church) and Dan Ratchford (under Mr. Barton at St. Andrews Church).
Mr. Cathcart was examined and approved for ordination, to serve as Assistant Pastor at Hilton Head. Also examined and approved for ordination was Mr. Thomas M. Campbell, who will be an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Irmo, South Carolina, while he raises support to return to the mission field.
Taken under care as ministerial candidates were Messrs. Kurt Scharrenberg and John C. Black.
The 28th Stated Meeting of Potomac Presbytery met on May 8, 1999, at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Manassas, Virginia. Pastor Steve Hohenberger of the Heritage Presbyterian Church, Warrenton, Virginia, led the opening worship. The Rev. Michael Mang, pastor of the host church, preached a sermon from II Kings 8-10, entitled, "What happens when Sin gets the upper hand."
The Presbytery dismissed with thanks the following commissions: The Interim Session of Westminster (Md.) Reformed Presbyterian Church, having dismissed all members of the church and transferred the property to the Presbytery; To ordain and install John Gordon Sackett as Associate Pastor of the New Covenant Church, Abingdon, Md.
The Rev. Allan Dayhoff, who was the Presbytery's fraternal delegate to the OPC Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, reported on his attendance at that meeting.
The Rev. Barry Marshall Smith was examined and transferred from Southern Florida Presbytery, to become Associate Pastor of Severna Park (Md.) Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Messrs. Thurman Williams and Paul Wolfe were examined and licensed to preach. Mr. Scott J. Simmons was taken under care as a ministerial candidate, and Presbytery also placed him under an internship at Chapelgate Presbyterian Church, Marriottsville, Md.
As a second reading, Presbytery approved the following addition to its Rules for Keeping Sessional Records: "Records of executive sessions of Session are not exempt from the general requirement that the Session's activities shall be recorded in the Session's minutes (even if 'sealed' or kept separately) and shall be submitted to the Presbytery for review. A Session may ask that the Committee on Sessional Records deal with the Minutes confidentially. However, any exceptions to these Minutes must be submitted to the Presbytery through normal procedures, cf. RAO [Rules for Assembly Operation] 14-3e(6)."
Presbytery restated a provision in its Bylaws to read as follows: "When Presbytery has received a request for dissolution of the pastoral relation, but Presbytery is not scheduled for a meeting in sufficient time to dissolve the pastoral relationship and grant permission to leave the field, the CMR [Committee on Ministerial Relations] is hereby commissioned by the Presbytery with the authority to so act, and shall, if necessary, hold a special meeting for that purpose. Such power shall be exercised by the CMR only under the following circumstances: (1) When there has been an uncontested request from the congregation to dissolve the pastoral relation (BCO Chapter 23-1), which matter has been handled through a duly called congregational meeting, and (2) When the teaching elder is in good standing, with no charges pending nor problems known to prejudice his relationship with either the congregation or Presbytery. In such a case, the CMR shall submit a report of its action at the next Stated Meeting of Presbytery."
Under the Mission to North America report, the Rev. John Chiou reported on the progress of the church under the supervision of the Chinese Christian Church, Fairfax, Virginia. The Rev. Ron Bossom reported on the extension work going on at Harvester Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Virginia, and asked for help in finding personnel.
It was reported that the Westminster, Maryland, property was valued at approximately $80,000, and that early taxes were about $700. Presbytery voted to retain the property and "monitor its zoning and value for future prospects of sale or ministry development."
The Rev. William Sutherland reported for the Committee on Special Ministries, and presented information regarding the timing of placing a campus minister at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Rev. Takashi Uehara reported on the work of the Japanese Christian Church, one of only two PCA Japanese works in America.
The Rev. Mark Mylin, MTW missionary to France, reported on the mission work in France, and on the Rev. and Mrs. Eugene Boyer, who have been serving the Lord there for 50 years. The Rev. Ed Bradley reported on the work of Oak Seed Ministries. The Rev. Dan Broadwater informed the court that he and his family would be in London this summer, serving under MTW/IMPACT in an outreach to Muslims.
The Rev. T. M. Moore reported on the work of Chesapeake Christian Training Center. Mrs. Grace Honeywell, President of the Potomac PresWIC, was given the privilege of the floor to report on the Women in the Church work in the Presbytery.
The Rev. Thomas L. Shields, III, was dismissed to Central Carolina Presbytery, to accept the call of the Castanea Presbyterian Church, Stanley, North Carolina, as pastor. The call of the Rev. Thomas S. Poehlman to serve as Associate Pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church, Kent Island, Maryland, was approved. Increases in salaries for various ministers were approved.
Presbytery gave permission to the Rev. Ronald V. Jenkins to labor out of bounds at Faith Bible Church. This is in addition to his call with Wayside Christian Ministries.
Presbytery received and approved the annual "needful" work reports from the Rev. Mr. Jenkins and the Rev. Mr. Stephen Smallman, Sr. Five ministers were directed to submit their annual reports (either "needful work" or "without call") by the September stated meeting of Presbytery.
The Committee on Ministerial Relations was commissioned to act on all matters relating to a proposed dissolution of the pastoral relationship between the Rev. Larry Wanaselja and New Covenant Presbyterian Church.
The minutes of several churches were approved. The minutes for Glen Burnie (Md.) Evangelical Presbyterian Church were approved, with the exception that there were no session minutes for the meeting where elders and deacons were ordained; the same exception was taken to that church's minutes in May 1994.
Presbytery approved, as a first reading, Guidelines for its Committee on Sessional Records [see separate box].
Chattanooga, Tennessee (July 13, 1999)-Tennessee Valley Presbytery met at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Chattanooga today for its summer stated meeting. The Moderator, Ruling Elder Mark Wilson, convened the meeting and presided.
Presbytery approved the internship of Candidate Jeff Jenkins, under the tutelage of Raymond (Miss.) Presbyterian Church. Mr. Mark Jenkins was taken under care as a ministerial candidate. Candidate Travis Hutchinson was examined and licensed to preach.
Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relationship between the Rev. Tim Rake and West Hills Presbyterian Church, Harriman, Tennessee, and the assistant pastoral relationship between the Rev. Patrick Dare and Evergreen Presbyterian Church, Sevierville, Tennessee. Mr. Dare was approved to labor out of bounds as an Air Force chaplain. The Rev. Randy Nabors was given permission to labor out of bounds in South Florida during his sabbatical, from September 1, 1999, to June 1, 2000.
Ruling Elder Max Sells presented the Mission to the World report. He read a quote from Amy Carmichael, telling the Presbytery "that he assumed it was all right to have a woman address the [Presbytery] since she was dead."
The Rev. Fred Marsh from the denominational Mission to North America Committee gave a report. Various reports were received, including with regard to the mission work in Morristown, Tennessee, the work in Dalton, Georgia, and the Reformed University Fellowship group at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Rev. Daniel Waterman reported on his work as a U. S. Army chaplain, and the Rev. Tom Gibson reported on the New Horizons Revolving Fund. Mr. Gibson also reported that First Church, Chattanooga, will provide a $50,000 matching fund to help finance planting new churches in the Presbytery.
Mr. Nabors presented the report of the Mercy Committee. The Rev. Kip Slawter reported on the fire which destroyed the sanctuary of the East Ridge (Tenn.) Presbyterian Church.
In executive session, the Presbytery discussed exceptions to the minutes of First Presbyterian of Chattanooga, and the ecclesiastical role of women in teaching (see related stories in this issue).
Under new business, the Moderator was instructed to appoint a committee to explore the possibility of dividing the Presbytery.
April Stated Meeting
The ninety-fifth stated meeting of Westminster Presbytery was held at Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church, Bristol, Tenn., on April 10, 1999. The Rev. Raymond Colgrove preached on the topic of the Sabbath Day. Host pastor Rick Light administered the sacrament of communion.
Ruling Elder Neil Smith of the Midway Presbyterian Church was elected as Moderator.
An update report from the Committee on Resolution of Conflict was received. Both Rev. Ben Konopa and Rev. Larry Ball stated that they were encouraged with the progress of the Committee, which had been elected at the January meeting in an effort to resolve ideological and theological conflict within the Presbytery.
Presbytery adopted two overtures to General Assembly. The first one asked the higher court to join the Presbytery in its "decrying" the circulation of the Statement of Identity. The second one warned about the homosexual agenda being promoted in the public schools.
The candidacy of Mr. David Queener was transferred from Tennessee Valley Presbytery.
May Called Meeting
At a called meeting on May 11, 1999, at Abingdon (Va.) Presbyterian Church, Dr. Cortez Cooper, formerly Coordinator for the Mission to North America Committee, was transferred into Westminster Presbytery from Southeast Alabama Presbytery. He accepted the call of the Draper Valley (Va.) Presbyterian Church, with a salary package of $49,300. Mr. Bill Carr was examined and approved for ordination as a Mission to the World missionary; his call (including MTW administrative expenses) is $72,000.
An additional matter had been added to the purposes of the called meeting, viz., that Presbytery consider the request of Christ Presbyterian Mission Church, Wytheville, Va., to change the oversight of the work from the Draper Valley Session and the MNA Committee to another church within the bounds of the Presbytery. The Rev. Jack Bowling, MNA Committee Chairman, presented his committee's recommendations, to wit:
1. That Westminster Presbytery and the MNA Committee express regrets to the Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission about our misunderstanding.
2. That Westminster Presbytery and Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission affirm that we are not independent churches or missions, but we are a connectional church under authority.
3. That Westminster Presbytery and Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission affirm the integrity of our Presbyterian procedures in order to fulfill the Biblical mandate of doing all things decently and in order.
4. That the MNA Committee communicate to Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission that they abstain from meeting with the Trinity Session or any other session without the approval of the Draper Valley Presbyterian Church session and the MNA Committee.
5. That all future requests for meeting by Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission be fully detailed and in accordance with Book of Church Order requirements for called meetings, i.e. only the business included in the call can be dealt with.
6. The MNA Committee recommends to Presbytery that the Committee on Resolution and Conflict meet and have discussion on the way this matter was added to the docket and the way the matter originated.
7. That the matter be tabled, and not considered May 11th by Westminster Presbytery, that MNA Committee be given time to review Christ Covenant Presbyterian Mission request and meet with and listen to the people there, and receive the requested reports from them before making a final decision about their request.
After Mr. Bowling gave a short history of the events leading up to the present situation, it was moved and seconded that Presbytery extend the privilege of speaking to Presbytery, to the representatives from the Wytheville Mission Church, before the remainder of the Committee report. The motion passed, 22-11. Three representatives from Wytheville, Messrs. Keith Blankenship, Philip Spraker, and James Helbert, addressed the court.
The Presbytery then substituted the following motion for the Committee's recommendations: "That Presbytery instruct the MNA Committee, in consultation with the Draper Valley Session, to reconsider as soon as possible, the assignment of the Wytheville Mission Church to the Draper Valley Session, giving consideration to the action of the members of the Wytheville Mission Church on 4/25/99, and bring a recommendation to Presbytery at the July Stated Meeting."
[Editor's Note: At the April Stated Meeting, Westminster Presbytery, upon recommendation of the MNA Committee, had changed the oversight of the Wytheville Mission Church, without informing the members thereof. The Committee, as reflected in the above seven-part set of recommendations, had also inadvertently changed the name of the mission work, also without informing the members thereof.]