Northshore Presbyterian Church, Middleburg, Florida, hosted the Fifth Stated Meeting of North Florida Presbytery. The Rev. Jonathan Jones, host pastor, led the opening worship. Ruling Elder Brad Bradford, a candidate for licensure, preached from I Peter 5:10-11 on the theme, "Called to be Restored."
The Moderator, Ruling Elder William Zvara, called the meeting to order. The Rev. Chuck McArthur was elected as the new Moderator.
The Administrative Committee recommended that the Standing Rules be suspended for the day in regard to the Credentials Committee examination of ministers. The Committee proposed that "After the questioning by the [Credentials Committee] in these four areas, the minister can be examined for five minutes on the floor of Presbytery. . . . The time limit can be extended by a simple majority of Presbytery." Following discussion, the motion was withdrawn and referred to the Credentials Committee.
Approved unanimously, as a first reading, was an amendment to the Standing Rules which would expand the membership of the Credentials Committee from six to eight members, each with a four year term.
The Year 2000 Askings from North Florida Presbytery's churches was distributed. An askings of $20 per communicant member was requested, to propose a Year Budget 2000 of $58,360.
In light of this report, and the request by Northshore Presbyterian Church for financial aid, the Presbytery voted to invite Lewis Wilson and Archie Parrish as resources to talk and counsel with Northshore's Pastor and Session.
Mr. Bob Bishop of the denominational Insurance, Annuities, and Relief explained the ministry of IAR in the Life and Health insurance fields.
The Presbytery heard from the Rev. Andrew Lamb, a staff member of Mission to the World and a member of Southwest Florida Presbytery. He reported that, thankfully, the debt on the PCA office building in Atlanta has been retired. However, there remains a $125,000 deficit due to the financing of the 25th Anniversary Celebration.
With respect to MTW, Mr. Lamb reviewed New Directions in MTW. He highlighted a Refocus on Reformed Theology, relational changes with cooperative agreements, and growth in the number of career and short-term missionaries. He emphasized that "grace" was the motivation in MTW and the desire to deal interpersonally in a grace-based way. MTW has committed to be more Efficient, Encouraging, and Effective.
Historically, team-based missionaries were the model for forming a church nucleus. However, a recent shift in missiological thinking incorporates the "national first paradigm" which seeks to facilitate the national church. Mr. Lamb stated that he is concentrating on a third model which seeks to partner churches in the U. S. with national churches and pastors on the field. This "partnering relationships" model seeks to interact, encourage, mentor, resource, and facilitate the national church and their pastors.
It was later moved and carried that Mr. Lamb be appointed as a consultant to the MTW Committee with the rights of committee discussion, but without out. It was also moved and seconded that Presbytery confer upon Mr. Lamb the designation of Missionary in Residence with privileges of the floor, but without voting privileges, pending approval of his presbytery. This designation would be simply honorary, and should not be considered a call nor intended in any way to compete or conflict with his membership in Southwest Florida Presbytery. The intention by this "honorary designation" would be to encourage the churches and committees of the presbytery to utilize him as a resource person while he is living in the geographical area. A substitute motion prevailed, which referred the matter of this designation to the Administrative Committee, the MTW Committee, and the Stated Clerk.
After lunch, the Presbytery was reconvened with the singing of the praise song, "Praise the Name of Jesus." The Presbytery divided into small groups as it was directed in a time of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Various members mentioned items for praise and prayer.
The Rev. John Findlay was transferred from Gulf Coast Presbytery, to become Associate Pastor at Pinewood Presbyterian, Middleburg. He stated that he has no exceptions to the Westminster Standards. His call, with a compensation package of $70,000, was approved.
Mr. Bradford, who had preached a trial sermon at the beginning of Presbytery, was examined and licensed to preach. He denied being a theonomist or charismatic in the modern sense of those terms. He noted his exception to the Westminster Standards with regard to allowing recreation on the Sabbath. However, he affirmed the priority to keep the Sabbath day holy.
The Rev. Dr. Benson Cain, Chairman, presented the Shepherding Committee report. As a first reading, the following amendment was added to the Standing Rules: "The committee will cultivate a confidential relationship with the ruling and teaching elders of North Florida Presbytery, seeking to establish a forum for the private discussion of issues facing teaching and ruling elders." The Clerk noted that "It was further clarified before presbytery and understood that this confidentiality would not prohibit the Shepherding Committee in certain cases to report to Presbytery those issues the Committee believed necessary to promote the peace and purity of the Church."
The Bills and Overtures Committee Chairman, the retiring Moderator, reported that the B&O Committee had considered the overture offered by the Rev. Bill Lyle with regard to Presbyterian International News Service. The Committee offered amendments to this proposed overture, and also recommended approval of the overture after a process of review by the Presbytery. Amendments and written comments were encouraged to be sent to the B&O Committee through the Stated Clerk. The B&O Committee was empowered as an ad hoc committee to make recommendations to Presbytery at the next stated meeting with regard to this overture.
Ruling Elder Richard Johns of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, was nominated as Moderator-in-nomination for the Sixth Stated Meeting, January 14, 2000. He was approved by acclamation.
The Stated Clerk reminded the presbyters to pick up the gift bags which the Northshore Women in the Church had prepared and offered to the presbyters' wives.