Columbia, SC (December 5, 1996)-A called meeting of Palmetto Presbytery was held at Covenant Presbyterian Church to dissolve Nursery Road Presbyterian Church. The Shepherding Committee of Presbytery, which stated that it had been asked by the Session of Nursery Road Church to request that the congregation be dissolved, moved that the church be dissolved effective January 31, 1997. Contrary to BCO 13-10, the court voted unanimously to set aside the 60 day Constitutional requirement for announcing the dissolution of the church. The Shepherding Committee then recommended that it be allowed to act as the Session of Nursery Road Church beginning February 1, 1997, in order to issue letters of transfer to the church's members as they desire to unite with PCA or other evangelical churches.
It was moved, seconded, and carried that the Pastor, TE William Vaus, remain on the roll of Presbytery without call under the provisions of BCO 13-11, effective February 1, 1997.
Nursery Road Presbyterian Church was organized in 1981 as a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. The organizing pastor was Dr. Thomas Cross. In the 1980s, two large Presbyterian Church in the United States congregations in the vicinity of the existing congregation came into the PCA. As a result, Nursery Road Church never grew to a large size. Financial concerns led to a cutback on youth ministries, which led to various families going to the larger churches. Average attendance when the church ceased meeting on November 24, 1996, was about 50.
According to all accounts, Will Vaus, the present pastor, did an outstanding job of trying to revitalize the church. He is the son of Jim Vaus, who was gloriously saved by the Lord at the famous Billy Graham Hollywood Crusade in the summer of 1949. He had been involved in organized crime and worked for mob boss Mickey Cohen prior to his conversion. The result was that he gave his testimony often as he grew in the Lord and was the subject of a motion picture produced by the Billy Graham organization. Will's ministry is one of the fruits of Jim Vaus' conversion.
Manning, SC (January 23, 1997)-New Covenant Presbyterian Church hosted the January stated meeting of Palmetto Presbytery. The Moderator, RE William Simoneau, called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. All of the members of Presbytery were especially happy that the Moderator could be present and preside over the court because he had very recently had open heart surgery. However, Mr. Simoneau felt that the Lord had given him the necessary health and strength to enable him to officiate. Many prayers went up on his behalf during the day.
Rev. Kenneth Crosswhite led the worship service and preached the sermon. The Lord's Supper was administered by Rev. Tom Wood and Rev. Bill Powiss.
All of the proposed amendments to the Book of Church Order, except for that one which would allow a church to set a minimum age for voting in congregational meetings, carried handily. This includes the amendments that sprang out of concern regarding the removal of church members as a result of the "Chen" case. [Palmetto had overtured the 1996 General Assembly that "those who hold a different view of church polity should accept the majority view as clarified by the current BCO 46-5 and subsequently interpreted by the General Assembly; and if in good onscience they cannot do so, they should consider seeking another affiliation for the peace and unity of Christ's Church."-Ed.]
During the meal, the MNA Committee met with Rev. Louis Wilson of Fayetteville, GA. He discussed church planting among Afro-Americans. He said that if you take a black student from a white seminary, he relates to white people but not to black people. He stated that such black students need an internship in a black church in order to minister to Afro-Americans. He suggested that church planting should begin with middle class black families rather than in the inner city. He believes that the PCA, as it is today, will appeal to the same socio-economic Afro-Americans as it appeals to this class in the white community. He has planted a very successful church that is Afro-American and would encourage Palmetto MNA Committee to train a church planter for about two years at his church.
During the ministry time in the afternoon, Miss Brenda Hucks, the South Carolina President of "Family Honor," spoke for 30 minutes including a question and answer time. Her group promotes traditional Christian families and marriages, and has excellent seminars for Christian young people and singles groups. Miss Hucks was very well received and several pastors expressed an interest in having her organization come to their churches for a seminar.
Mr. Dan Edwards and Dr. John Harvey passed their ordination exams. Mr. Edwards has been called to become pastor of Union Memorial Church, Winnsboro, SC; and Dr. Harvey is an Instructor in Greek and New Testament at Columbia International University.
The delicious dinner served by the host church included pork barbeque, fried chicken, and other Southern delicacies.
TE Robert Slimp, Correspondent
4636 Crystal Drive
Columbia, SC 29206