Carmel, IN (October 11-12, 1996)-Christ Community Church hosted the fall stated meeting of Great Lakes Presbytery. God has blessed the six year old congregation with a spacious and beautiful facility.
RE Nat Carswell of Community Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY, served as Moderator in 1996. He is to be commended for conducting the meeting in an exemplary manner.
At this meeting, 37 of the Presbytery's 54 teaching elders were present, and 19 of the 28 churches were represented by 31 ruling elders.
Much of Presbytery's time dealt with the examination of men who desire to serve in ministry. Rev. Tom VandenHeuvel was received from the Christian Reformed Church after 35 years of service. He has accepted a call to be Organizing Pastor of the PCA mission in Holland, MI. Mr. Chris Harper, a recent graduate of Covenant Seminary who came to faith in Christ at Christ PCA in Richmond, IN, was approved for ordination to be Campus Minister of the PCA's Reformed University Ministries at Ohio State. The RUM Coordinator, RE Marvin Padgett, presented the vision of this being the first of many chapters on college campuses within the bounds of Presbytery.
Three graduates of Covenant Seminary, Eric Richards, Carter Sanger, and David Young, passed their licensure examinations and will serve on staff in churches as they progress toward ordination. Mr. Young was transferred as a candidate from Missouri Presbytery and will begin an internship at Christ PCA, Richmond, IN. Mr. Sanger will be required to preach a second sermon for Presbytery; and all three were encouraged "to do further study on the Sabbath, images and creation."
Mr. Kenneth Pierce, under care of Mississippi Valley Presbytery, was received as a candidate, pending receipt of his membership by Seventh Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, where he serves on staff. In 1994, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) dismissed Seventh Reformed, an independent congregation pastored by Dr. John R. DeWitt, because of its refusal to pay its denominational assessment (which was going to support liberal causes in the RCA). Regarding taking under a care a man who would not be a member of the PCA, the court noted, "By unanimous consent this was deemed an extraordinary case."
Presbytery approved the internship programs for Mr. R. J. Stansbury at Northwest PCA in Columbus, OH, and for Mr. Pierce at Seventh Reformed.
The Mission to North America Committee reported that River Oaks Presbyterian Church on the south side of Indianapolis has enjoyed a vital ministry in its first year under church planter Bill Radford. Attendance has averaged 120. Many have professed faith in Christ. On motion, the terms of his call were increased to $63,500.00. Steve Resch has moved to the Gahanna/New Albany area on the east side of Columbus, OH, as Organizing Pastor of the first daughter church of Northwest Presbyterian PCA.
Approval was given to move toward "multiplying" Presbytery into three presbyteries by 2000. Plans are to have separate presbyteries in Indiana; Michigan and northern Ohio; and Kentucky and southern Ohio. Presbytery agreed with the following church planting priorities: Indiana: Lafayette, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Terre Haute; Michigan: Detroit, Holland, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Kalamazoo; Ohio: Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Dayton; Kentucky: Louisville, Northern Kentucy, Lexington, Somerset. The Presbytery "concurred with the petition of a group in Shaker Heights, OH to the Presbytery of the Ascension to allow their church to affiliate with Great Lakes Presbytery."
Pres-WIC President Kim Gardner gave an overview of the group's ministry with a focus on regional fall meetings and support to church planters. Presbyters viewed the 1996 WIC Love Gift video. Funds collected will go to upgrade the facilities of the General Assembly's Adminstrative Committee in Atlanta.
The 1997 Presbytery budget was approved. Askings for the year include $3.46 per member for the general budget and $16.76 for church planting. Membership in churches of Presbytery grew by about 15% during the last year, from 3078 to 3550. On a sad note, Presbytery concurred with the plans of White River PCA in Anderson, IN, to be dissolved as a congregation after they sell their church property. Two churches in Presbytery are going through difficult times and will be assisted by the Church and Ministerial Welfare Committee.
Presbytery heard from three Mission to the World missionaries. One was Tom Nachtergaele, assistant pastor at Grace PCA in Indianapolis, who shared his plans to go to western Germany to minister to Muslims.
Several churches will be going on short-term missions trips in the summer of 1997. Scott Dean of the host church told of the many blessings his youth ministry received from its trip last year. Churches in Muncie, Carmel, and Richmond, IN, and Hudson, OH, can be contacted if more information is needed.
Christ Church of Grand Rapids had presented a paper regarding the position of Deacon. Presbytery responded by citing BCO 7-2 and 9-2 and "recommend[ing] that Christ Church consider ordaining qualified men to the office of deacon." The court also "requested distribution of the study paper to Presbytery before the January meeting."
The winter meeting of Presbytery will be held at the Community Congregational Church in Franklin, IN, January 10-11, 1997, where Paul Doriani, a member of the court, is pastor.