Westminster Presbytery met for its ninety-seventh meeting at Midway Presbyterian Church, Jonesborough, Tennessee, on October 8, 1999. The Moderator, Ruling Elder Neil Smith, called the meeting to order. The Rev. Brent Bradley preached on "lawful oaths and vows." Host pastor Ross Lindley administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The Rev. Steve Baker was elected by acclamation as the new Moderator.
The Rev. Larry Ball, who had served as Presbytery Stated Clerk since 1976, resigned from that post for health reasons. The Rev. Steve Meyerhoff, who had served as Stated Clerk of Heartland Presbytery, was nominated to be Stated Clerk; nominated from the floor was the Rev. Pat Parham. Mr. Meyerhoff was elected, and immediately assumed the duties of office. Presbytery voted to transfer its files to the new Stated Clerk's office and to donate Presbytery's interest in the printer, copier, computer and furniture to Bridwell Heights Presbyterian Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, where Mr. Ball is pastor, in recognition of his tenure as Stated Clerk. The Rev. Jeff Fulford was elected as Presbytery Treasurer.
The Rev. Dr. Ben Konopa, Chairman of the Committee on Resolution of Conflict, reported. Presbytery voted to continue this committee.
The Presbytery voted not to receive a protest from the Rev. Bill Leuzinger and Ruling Elder Don Kiser "because it is submitted in language that is intemperate." The Rev. Carel van der Merwe, Chairman of the Committee on Overtures and Judicial Business, asked that his negative vote be recorded on this action.
Both this protest and a complaint by Mr. van der Merwe had to do with action by Presbytery at the July stated meeting, in which the court, without trial, drew the conclusion that the members of a mission work in Wytheville, Virginia, and the Session of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Tazewell, Virginia, had acted prematurely and with disregard for presbyterian polity. (The dispute had to do with the apparent inability of the members of the mission work to receive a transfer of their membership from the oversight of the Draper Valley Presbyterian Church, Draper, Virginia, to the Tazewell church-see P&R News, December 1999, page 26.) Presbytery voted to deny the complaint. A motion to reconsider action on the protest was defeated.
Presbytery voted to renew the relationship as Student Supply of Mr. Ron Creech to the Sandlick Presbyterian Church, Birchleaf, Virginia, for one year.
It was reported that the Session of Meadow Creek Presbyterian Church, Greeneville, Tennessee, has withdrawn its endorsement of Mr. Michael Byers as a ministerial candidate. Presbytery deferred action regarding the matter until the January stated meeting, in order to garner further information.
Mr. John Irwin, a recent graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, had been turned down for ordination when he was examined at a called meeting on September 7, 1999. Presbytery voted to examine him for licensure at this meeting, "with special emphasis on those areas where Presbytery and the Committee had objections or concerns." After re-examination, the Presbytery voted that the licensure exam not be approved. Immediately thereafter, Presbytery voted to approve the licensure exam with areas of concern noted (the role of women in teaching men in Christian education classes, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the mode of baptism, Christian education of children, the role of the civil magistrate), "with the understanding that he is not to teach on those areas, and that TE Ross Lindley and TE Cortez Cooper be appointed to meet with him to instruct him in those areas." Dr. Konopa requested that his abstention be recorded; and the following requested their negative votes be recorded: the Rev. Jim Reedy, Mr. Conrad Friede, the Rev. Tom Sullivan, the Rev. Raymond Colgrove, and Mr. van der Merwe. Presbytery then approved the call to Mr. Irwin as Student Supply for one year at the Arcadia Presbyterian Church, Kingsport, Tennessee, in the total amount of $32,704.