Sardis, MS (August 20, 1996)-Sardis Presbyterian Church hosted a called meeting of Covenant Presbytery. Mr. Greg Hoffman was licensed and approved as the student supply to the First Presbyterian Church in Clarendon, AR.
French Camp, MS (October 1, 1996)-Covenant Presbytery met in its 78th Stated Meeting in the Memphis Guest House at French Camp Academy. The moderator, RE Willis Frazer, called the meeting to order and prayed the constituting prayer. The Moderator Nominee from the previous stated meeting, TE Claude McRoberts, was elected by acclamation.
On behalf of French Camp Academy, Mr. Ed Williford welcomed the members of the presbytery and visitors. He briefly reviewed the mission of French Camp Academy and encouraged continued support for this ministry.
TE Ford Williams presented a partial report of the Candidates Committee. Mr. Jeff White, a member of Grace Evangelical Church, was received as a candidate for the gospel ministry under care of Covenant Presbytery.
Mr. Jamie Gildard addressed presbytery concerning his call to Senegal. He and his family plan to be there by next year ministering on a church planting team there. He noted that Senegal was one of the few Muslim nations which remained open to Christian missionaries. It is a country of great influence in Western Africa.
TE John Stodghill, Committee Chairman, gave the report of the MTW Committee. The committee recommended that presbytery adopt a plan for presbytery missions conferences as follows:in cooperation with the Assembly's MTW Committee line up four missionary couples for a series of missions conferences in Covenant Presbytery; set up four-day missions conferences (Sunday through Wednesday) in eight churches in presbytery (four conferences each week); rotate each missionary between churches so that each participating church will meet each of the missionaries; each church will be responsible for housing, feeding and making sure the missionary gets to his next destination; the conference will be scheduled in the Spring of 1997 and the MTW Committee will line up the churches to participate; the participating churches will be asked to receive an offering on Wednesday to be used to defray the expenses of all the missionaries. After discussion, the recommendation was approved. Presbytery also voted to cover the travel expenses for Dr. Stodghill as he attends the MTW Conference in Atlanta for Presbytery MTW chairmen on October 2-3, 1996.
TE Richard Rieves, chairman of the presbytery MNA Committee, introduced TE Fred Marsh. TE Marsh informed the presbytery of the great need for God to call men into the church planting ministry. The resources are available. Laborers are needed. TE Marsh said that the Thanksgiving Offering this year will go to leadership training. He encouraged all churches to participate. Mr. Rieves offered prayer for the ministry of Mission to North America.
The presbytery was led in worship by TE Grover Gunn, who preached and administered the sacrament of communion. After lunch, TE Ford Williams continued the report of the Candidates Committee. Mr. Clay Harrington, Covenant Seminary graduate and Minister of Counseling at Independent Presbyterian Church, was examined and approved to be a candidate of Covenant Presbytery. Presbytery approved Mr. Harrington's internship to begin at the October, 1996, meeting of Presbytery; TE Durant Fleming will be his mentor.
The completed internship of candidate Shawn Keating was approved and his candidacy was transferred to Mississippi Valley Presbytery.
The candidacy of Mr. Greg Hoffman was transferred from Southern Florida Presbytery and his completed and approved internship in that presbytery was approved as meeting the internship requirements of Covenant Presbytery.
TE Richard Rieves, chairman, prsented the report of the MNA Committee. Presbytery approved a $500.00 gift to TE Andy Silman, Midsouth Regional Director of MNA, to come from the MNA budget. Covenant Presbytery approved the merger of Faith Prison Ministry and BAIC under the following stipulations: We agree jointly upon a statement of creed. The board of the newly merged ministry will maintain at least a representation of fifty percent PCA elders, coming from Covenant Presbytery through the nominating committee of Covenant Presbytery, and the initial board coming from Faith Prison Ministry with the details of their appointment being governed by the by-laws of said ministry. We will work promptly to secure a staff person to focus upon the state penitentiary at Parchman, Mississippi, along with other opportunities for prison and jail ministry in North Mississippi.
Presbytery approved the minutes of the Oxford Commission and spread them upon the minutes of the presbytery. TE Shane Sunn addressed the presbytery and told of God's manifold blessings on the ministry in Oxford. He also thanked the churches and asked for any additional help that the churches could give in setting up the new building which they are using. He asked in particular that if any churches had communion vessels which Christ Presbyterian could borrow or have, it would be appreciated. Presbytery called TE Wayne Herring as an evangelist for the purpose of planting a church in the Arlington-Bartlett area to be on the field between October 1, 1996, and January 1, 1997. The court voted to "entrust to him the powers of an evangelist as described in BCO 8-6."
Presbytery approved the sermons of Mr. Godwin and Mr. Teller preached at the May 1996, stated meeting of Covenant Presbytery, and sustained as a whole the May 1996, examinations of TE Mills, Mr. Godwin and Mr. Teller. These actions had been inadvertently omitted at the May 1996 stated meeting.
Presbytery proceeded to examine Mr. Toby Yelverton for ordination under the extraordinary clause (BCO 21-4) for the following reasons: Mr. Yelverton does not have the necessary credentials in the knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages. Shongalo Presbyterian Church and Blackmonton Presbyterian Church have been without an ordained pastor since October, 1991. There is a real need for biblical, reformed preaching and teaching, and there is also a need for oversight and leadership. Mr. Yelverton has been at the churches on a semi-regular basis since August, 1995, and a regular basis since January, 1996. His family moved to Vaiden on May 30, 1996. Since January, he has been teaching, preaching, visiting in homes of members, and visiting members who are confined to the nursing home in Winona. There were no pastors with the proper educational credentials available to fill this opening. Mr. Yelverton has prepared himself academically to teach in Christian schools which he has done for the last twenty years, and he has felt called to the ministry only in the last two to two and one-half years. He has two college degrees and two seminary degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary in the areas of biblical studies and Christian education. Mr. Yelverton has agreed to "diligently commit himself to the practical study of both Greek and Hebrew for using the languages in an applied way." The approval of the recommendation was unanimous as follows: For - 44, Against - 0, thus satisfying the 3/4 majority requirement. The Presbytery found Mr. Yelverton's call in order, deemed it for the good of the church, and voted to place it in Mr. Yelverton's hands.
Covenant Presbytery approved the call of Main Street Presbyterian Church to TE Sam Riddell. After examination, he was received as a member of Covenant Presbytery pending his dismissal from the Southeast Alabama Presbytery.
The Presbytery voted to purchase liability insurance as it is offered through the PCA Stated Clerk's office. This is a $1,000,000.00 policy with a $15,000.00 deductible and a yearly premium of $720.00. Also approved was the increase of the amount paid to members for travel on Presbytery business from 24 cents to 27 cents per mile traveled. Covenant Presbytery admonished the permanent committees of the Presbyter to submit their operating budgets to the Administration Committee in a timely manner so that the budget may be presented and approved at the October meeting of the Presbytery, and voted that these committees submit their 1997 operating budgets to the Administration Committee so that they may be considered at its January 14, 1997, meeting and the Presbytery budget presented for approval at the February, 1997, meeting.
A memorial to the late RE Arthur L. Rogers, Jr., by First Presbyterian Church, Osceola, Arkansas, was read before the presbytery and spread upon the minutes. Noted in the memorial were the facts that "in 1945 he and his bride were the first couple to be united in Holy Matrimony in the sanctuary where we presently worship"; that "he served his Lord faithfully not only as an Elder locally, but also on many Presbytery and General Assembly level committees"; that "he was instrumental in leading this church into the Presbyterian Church in America in 1976"; and that "in his life and death he gave a substantial portion of his earnings and property to the PCA denomination, the First Presbyterian Church of Osceola, the Presbyterian Christian School, and the Mississippi County Christian Academy." Mr. Rogers died on October 31, 1995.
Presbytery voted to send its stated clerk to the annual stated clerks' meeting in Atlanta, GA.
The Christian Education Committee encouraged the presbytery that they would gladly inform presbytery and promote conferences in presbytery churches. The committee informed the presbytery that two of the four proposed regional conferences have been scheduled for the following: The Memphis area, January 18, 1997, at Riveroaks Reformed Presbyterian Church, Germantown, TN; The Delta area, February 1, 1997, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greenwood, MS. The other two conferences are still in planning. The committee reported that the PresWIC conference in Louisville, MS, was a great success. The committee encouraged presbytery churches to take advantage of the Covenant Reporter and submit news about their ministries.
Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relationship between TE Robert Hastings and New Life Presbyterian Church and Mr. Hastings was designated as honorably retired (BCO 22) with thanksgiving for his faithful service to Christ in His church. A resolution in this Scotsman's honor noted his pastoral work in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Illinois churches of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod and predecessor bodies, and his associate pastorship at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, TN. He served as stated clerk in the Philadelphia Presbytery and in the General Assembly. "Known by his friends and Christian brothers as _Scotty,' he has served in Covenant Presbytery as stated supply pastor of the New Life Reformed Presbyterian Church in Munford, Tennessee from 1980-82, as pastor of that congregation since 1982, as a member of Presbytery committees, and has served as Moderator of Covenant Presbytery. In all of his service to the Lord, he has been faithful in upholding the truth of the Scriptures, loving the people of God, and presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the benefit of lost people. This ministry in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ has spanned more than half a century, beginning in 1940 and continuing until the present."
Presbytery approved the call from New Life Presbyterian Church to TE John Wingard as stated supply.
TE Ken Camp was designated as honorably retired. The resolution passed in his honor noted his prior work in real estate brokerage and with the Chattanooga Housing Authority as a project director. "Around 1967, the Hixson Presbyterian Church was born in the living room of the Camp home. This church was one of the very first on the rolls of the Presbyterian Church in America. Almost from the beginning, Ken served as a Ruling Elder in this fledgling work." In 1981, at the age of 48, Mr. Camp received a diploma from Reformed Theological Seminary. After serving the Utica (MS) Presbyterian Church while in seminary, he then received his first and only call to the Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church.
RE Frank Aderholdt's licensure was renewed effetive May 1995. The relationship of TE Robert Penny with Houston Presbyterian Church as stated supply was renewed. The change in call of TE John Rhodes to Hospice of North Mississippi was approved. The Presbytery elected RE Ralph Lawson to serve communion at the 1997 General Assembly.
Clarksdale, MS (November 7, 1996)-First Presbyterian Church hosted a called meeting of Covenant Presbytery. TE Lee Bloodworth was examined and transferred into Covenant Presbytery based upon his call to be the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianola. December 8, 1996, was the date set for his installation.
TE Grover Gunn, Stated Clerk
PO Box 201, Carrollton, MS 38917