Ballet at Briarwood: Barbara Barker and the Ballet Exaltation
Airplane pilot, Bible teacher, and minister's wife are all terms that can describe Mrs. Barbara Barker. In the Presbyterian Church in America, she is perhaps best known today for her role as leader of a ballet ministry that performs in public worship--a controversial practice that has drawn the attention of various people who disapprove of it, as well as of others who applaud it.
"I was a dancer before I was a Christian," says Barbara Barker. A lead in the Alabama Ballet, she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., on a ballet scholarship. While in the Chicago area, she purchased an Air Coupe and learned to fly the small aircraft.
Position on Liturgical Drama
At the April 10, 1992 meeting of Mid-America Presbytery, the court voted to adopt the "Report of the Committee to Study the Propriety of Drama in Worship." The ad hoc committee had been formed a year earlier because of "some members of presbytery objecting to drama being used in public worship services in some churches of presbytery."
A Dramatic Debate
On September 21, 1996, at the Fall Stated Meeting of Northeast Presbytery, a debate was held on the use of drama in public worship. Presenting the "pro" position was TE Tom Corey, pastor of Hope Church, Ballston Spa, NY. Presenting the "con" view was TE Stephen Gonzales, organizing pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church, who authored a booklet, The Regulative Principle and Drama in Worship (Greenville, SC: Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Press, 1995). Here are excerpts from the papers which they presented. Eastern Carolina
Wilmington, NC (October 19, 1996)--The Fall Stated Meeting of Eastern Carolina Presbytery met at Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church. Moderator TE James Routszong preached from I Kings 19.
Eastern Canada had a very encouraging meeting September 26 - 28. Reports from almost all congregations indicated growing attendance. The highlight was Grace Toronto with about 200 coming to some part of the ministry every week, including a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds. Grace Toronto is
RE Todd Demeter went to be with the Lord November 7, 1996. He is survived by his wife Tobi, and children Jordan, 11; Bethany, 9; Tess, 7; Benton, 6; and Kendrick, 4.
Todd attended US Grant High School in Oklahoma City, and was the 1977 Big All-City co-player of the year. In 1979, he was the state player of the year, and was the New York Yankees' first selection in the amateur draft that year. He played 6 years in minor league baseball. He retired from baseball and worked in his father's swimming pool installation service. He obtained a degree from Oklahoma University in 1995 and
Gaffney, SC (September 19, 1996)--Fellowship Presbytery met at the Salem Church for its Seventh Stated Meeting. Following the worship service, led by Richard Schwartz, a candidate for ordination, Presbytery observed a season of prayer.
Several upcoming Presbytery events were announced, including a Presbytery Picnic followed by a Hymn Sing at the Hopewell Church on October 5;
Biloxi, MS (September 10, 1996)--First Presbyterian Church of Biloxi is located just across US Highway 90 from the Mississippi Beach of the Gulf of Mexico, and about a mile to the east of Beauvoir, the last home of President Jefferson Davis. Between Beauvoir and the Church, the Mississippi Gulf floats several casinos. A tourist booklet in the Hayes Cottage at Beauvoir introduces its visitors to the Play Ground of Mississippi. The church building is a beautiful old Southern Style of vaulted ceilings with large columns inside and outside. The outside is red brick with large white columns.
The Reverend Dr. Paul Honomichl, pastor of the Bay Street Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, and Moderator for 1996, presided over the meeting.
Life Continues Its Brand of Worship
Since its inception as an Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) mission work over twenty years ago, New Life Presbyterian Church has been noted for several things: discipleship groups ("D-groups"), diaconal ministry to the "down and outs," and a style and practice of worship far from traditional Presbyterian. Founded by the late C. John Miller, New Life Church in its early days met in a variety of places, including the YMCA gym in Jenkintown, PA, before settling into its own building in Glenside--not far from Westminster Theological Seminary, where Pastor Miller was a professor.
Fairton, NJ (November 16, 1996)--Fairfield Presbyterian Church, described by its pastor, Michael Scheuelke as the oldest in the denomination, hosted the stated meeting of New Jersey Presbytery. Most prominently on the agenda was the attempt to resolved a long-standing controversy concerning the length of the days of Divine creation in Genesis 1. The court adopted the following resolution, articulated in the form of a series of affirmations and denials:
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."
Delegation Fails to Have NAPARC Consider Expulsion of CRC
For the last several years, the matter of the relations of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) has been before the PCA General Assembly. At the 1995 General Assembly, the court voted, unanimously, to instruct the Interchurch Relations Committee (IRC) to use "all due process" to remove the CRC from membership in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) if the CRC did not repent of its decision to open ruling and teaching church offices to women.
Seeks to be Faithful to Westminster, and Contemporary
Founded by a new seminary graduate in 1977, Perimeter Church of Atlanta has been one of the fastest growing churches in the denomination. Moving into new facilities have enabled Sunday morning attendance to expand to over 3,000 people. Under the leadership of Senior Pastor Randy Pope, Perimeter has also spawned a number of other congregations in the Atlanta area.
Suzanne Haley has been Program Director at the church for three and a half years. As such, she works with the programming team, which includes a technical coordinator, drama coordinator, a music minister and pastor, and an associate music director. The larger worship team includes Randy Pope as head and a number of elders and other volunteers.
Birchleaf, VA (October 12, 1996)--Sandlick Presbyterian Church hosted the Fall Stated Meeting of Westminster Presbytery. RE Larry Crigger of Asbury Presbyterian Church, Johnson City, TN, was elected Moderator.
The minutes from the Commission to Organize Bartlick Chapel and Install the Pastor were approved. TE John Whitner, who has labored long in Appalachian hills of Southwest Virginia, was organizing pastor for this mission in Haysi, VA, and is the newly-installed pastor. Also approved were the minutes from the Commission to Install Raymond Colgrove as pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church, Limestone, TN.
the Presence of God. Edited by Frank J. Smith and David C. Lachman.
Greenville, SC: Greenville Seminary Press, 1992. 411 pp. $27.95. Reviewed
by TE Anthony P. Dallison, Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville,
As a student under Dr. J.I. Packer in England many years ago, this reviewer recalls Dr. Packer's occasional "asides" during his lectures, when he would strongly recommend a particular theological book by saying "Sell your shirt to buy this book!" Such a book is this fine collection of essays on the nature, elements and historic views and practice of worship, a symposium written by sixteen Reformed teaching and ruling elders who share the common conviction that worship is the highest activity that man can render to God and that all worship should be God-centered.
Leading in Worship,
by Terry Johnson. Oak Ridge, TN: Covenant Foundation, 1996. 185 pp. hbk
$17.95. Reviewed by TE Iain Wright, Second Presbyterian Church, Yazoo City,
Dealing with a subject in print is often dangerous! Words, once committed to the page, take on a life of their own and can assume a sharpness that was never in the pen. For that reason I am most reluctant to challenge the work of Mr. Johnson in Leading in Worship. I am sure that which unites us far outweighs that which may divide. I join him in lamenting the wide diversity of what passes as "reformed worship" in our generation and with him yearn to see a greater homogeneity.
John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church. Audubon, NJ: Old Paths Publications, 1994. xi, 117 (3)pp, paperback $7.50 [also reprinted, but not seen by the reviewer, Dallas: Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1995. 160pp, paperback $6.95] Reviewed by Dr. David C. Lachman, an antiquarian book dealer in Wyncote, PA, and a ruling elder at Calvary PCA in Willow Grove.
Worship in Spirit
and Truth, by John Frame. Reviewed by Dr. Joseph Pipa, Westminster
Theological Seminary in California.
The book's purpose is to examine the current interpretation of the regulative principle in order to determine if the modern application of the principle is faithful to Scripture and to the original statement of the position in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Prof. Frame states that Presbyterian worship in its early days was "very restrictive, austere, and 'minimalist'" (page xii) and argues that "the Westminster standards actually contain very little of the Puritan theology of worship" (xii). He asserts that much of the historical practice of
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