Beaver Falls, PA (April 25-26, 1997)--The spring stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension was hosted by Christ Presbyterian Church. Moderator, TE Leon Ben-Ezra, led in worship, exhorting the presbytery to not loose sight of the primacy of preaching, citing the trend away from Reformed distinctives with its counterpart of making preaching secondary. He also cited Acts 13:48, not so much for its doctrinal clarity, but for the encouragement it gives to preaching. God's gracious appointing of those who will believe takes the pressure off the minister.
The primary business of the Candidates and Credentials Committee was the transfer examination of TE James L. Smith. Pastor Smith, who previously served Granada Presbyterian Church in Coral Gables, Florida, accepted the call as senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Butler, Pennsylvania.
The MNA report gave presbyters a dose of reality, reporting that the presbytery, including the time prior to our division into two presbyteries, including new works and closing of mission works, showed a net gain of zero churches planted. Growing in part out of earlier discussions about who will plant churches in the Cleveland area, the chairman of the MNA committee brought as a personal motion, an overture to give the churches of Ascension in Ohio to the Great Lakes Presbytery as part of a broader plan of Great Lakes to create three new presbyteries. A substitute motion prevailed, communicating to General Assembly and the other presbyteries involved, "that without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with the substance of the overture, the Presbytery of the Ascension asks that this matter, if it comes from other presbyteries, not be considered at the 1997 General Assembly as we have had insufficient time to consider the matter." The motion also asked the churches in Ohio to discuss informally the question of an Ohio or Ohio/Michigan presbytery.
Under the report of the Christian Education Committee, the presbytery heard a report from Mrs. Larry (Betsy) Elenbaum representing the Presbytery Women in the Church organization. Chairman, TE Jerry C. Mead, reported on attending a seminar for presbytery C.E. chairmen in Atlanta in which 15 presbyteries were represented.
Under new business the presbytery, without dissenting vote, approved an overture to the General Assembly regarding questionable actions and issues of inconsistency on the part of the PCA Interchurch Relations Committee. The overture is identical to that being sent up by the Presbytery of the Covenant, asking the IRC Committee of Commissioners "to investigate these matters fully and to recommend any appropriate action."
The next stated meeting will be July 26 at the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Slate Lick, Kittanning, PA.
Dr. Carl W. Bogue, Correspondent
2540 S. Main Street
Akron, OH 44319-1137
Dr. Jay Neikirk, Stated Clerk
PO Box 129, Volant, PA 16156