Annapolis, MD (February 8, 1997)--The 29th Stated Meeting of Potomac Presbytery was held at Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The new Moderator, TE T. M. Moore, led the worship service. The sermon was preached by TE Dale Linder, pastor of the host church, from I Kings 19:1-9. Following the sermon, there was a short time of remembrance for RE William B. Smoot, who had gone to be with the Lord in 1996.
For the record, it was noted that Chesapeake Presbyterian Church, Huntingtown, MD, had voted to withdraw from the PCA, effective November 20, 1996.
It was noted that TE John Bash had been received by South Coast Presbytery. The Presbytery voted "that the Clerk send a letter to South Coast Presbytery to emphasize the fact that TE Bash has been working in that area without the approval of this Presbytery and has been officially without call since he left this area."
Presbytery approved the report of the commission to install TE David Silvernail, Jr., as pastor of Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church; and the report of the commission to particularize the Eagle Heights Presbyterian Church, Winchester, VA.
Regarding the budget, Presbytery approved a "grand total askings" of $14.57 per member.
On a second reading, the court approved amendments to the Bylaws with regard to the presentation of committee reports. As presently adopted, the Bylaws provide that each committee "shall prepare for Presbytery a typewritten or printed report showing the business it intends to bring before Presbytery. The report shall be mailed to the Stated Clerk to be received by him 14 days before Presbytery, or the committee shall provide a sufficient number of copies of the docket for pickup by the commissioners before the meeting."
Presbytery voted to send to committee a proposal with regard to when the new members of a committee take office. The minutes read, "There appeared to be a sentiment that there should be some ritual and/or recognition of outgoing officers."
With overwhelming majorities, Potomac Presbytery approved all eight BCO amendments. Item 6 had to do with the "Chen case," which had caused consternation throughout the church, and which had led TE David Coffin to lead a multi-year effort to modify the Constitution. After a unanimous vote in favor of the amendment (62-0-0), "TE Coffin expressed his gratitude to God for the Presbytery support in the voting on Item 6, and prayed to God for His grace in the unity expressed." TE Thomas Wenger moved the following motion, which was unanimously adopted: "Potomac Presbytery gratefully acknowledges the contribution and leadership of TE David Coffin for his work on BCO Amendments listed as 'Item
6'. This leadership protected the Peace and Purity of the Church."
TE Drew Derreth, Chairman of the Christian Education Committee, reported on the progress and care of the following interns: Rob Reames, David Carrick, Pat Guarracino, Mike Horrigan, Jamie MacGregor, Eric Molicki, Jeff Rickett, John Sackett, Kevin Smith, and Bennett Wethered.
Ordinand Brian Sleeth preached a sermon on Spiritual Warfare, based on Ephesians 6:10-20.
TE Dan Faber presented the Mission to the World report. Included in the report was a short video to be used with the MTW/VBS project this year. RE Eric Huber indicated that he was seeking to receive all requisite financial support from within the Presbytery in order to go to Odessa, Ukraine. Presbytery granted the powers of evangelist "to organize churches, and until there is a Session in the church so organized, to instruct, ordain and install Ruling Elders and Deacons therein, and to receive or dismiss members," to TE Larry Trotter for one year. Mr. Trotter labors in Mexico. TE Charlie Powell presented information on "the opportunity for a short-term mission to Chile" and of upcoming seminars at McLean Presbyterian Church. TE David Coffin presented the Committee on Ministerial Responsibility (CMR) report. He reported on the current status of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, "which has been loaned a commission to act as session." He indicated "that the Committee felt that the upcoming seminar 'Managing Conflict in Your Church', was of sufficient importance that the CMR has decided to open the seminar to non-PCA people, but at an increased cost (the Presbytery is subsidizing the cost for our people)."
Volunteers were requested to help in supplying the pulpit at the Hancock (MD) Church in order "to give some relief to TE Ed
James. TE Larry Wanaselja offered prayer in behalf of TE James, his family and the work at Hancock." A new "Annual Report for Change of Pastoral Call", which was approved at the last meeting, was discussed.
The CMR brought to Presbytery's attention the following policy: "1. Concerning Teaching Elders a) When two absences in a row occur, a letter will be sent to the clerk of Presbytery and to the TE who has been absent, drawing attention to the fact, and reminding the TE in question of his responsibilities. b) When a TE attends less than 50% over a two-year period he will be asked to meet with CMR to discuss the reasons for his delinquency. 2. Concerning Ruling Elders a) A letter will be sent to the clerk of Session when attendance falls below 50% over a two-year period."
Presbytery approved the action of the CMR in dissolving the pastoral relationship between TE Michael Harvey and Covenant of Grace Presbyterian Church, effective midnight November 30, 1996. This action by CMR was taken on December 3, 1996, and came at the request of Mr. Harvey (letter dated December 3rd) and with the uncontested concurrence of the session (letter dated November 2nd).
Presbytery approved the "Annual Report for Teaching Elders Employed in 'Needful' Works" as a form "for the CMR's use in fulfilling its assigned responsibility."
Upon review required by BCO 13-2 and 13-10, "and finding no culpable dereliction, nor evident lack of acceptance by the church," Presbytery voted to continue TE David Walker on the roll without call. "This continuance is approved with the understanding that it shall be reviewed annually, and with the understanding that TE Walker shall have the responsibility to
demonstrate that a continued absence of call is not the result of 'breach of his covenant engagement', or 'lack of acceptance to the church.'" TE Tom Osterhaus prayed for Mr. Walker and his physical health.
TE Stephen W. Dawson was dismissed to Cornerstone Chapel, Leesburg, VA, an affiliate of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA, effective today. "RE Eric Huber prayed for the continued effectiveness of TE Dawson and his ministry."
Potomac Presbytery approved an overture to the 25th General Assembly, asking that BCO 20-2 be amended to specify the duties of a pastoral search committee.
TE Steve Gary Hohenberger was examined and approved for transfer from the Mid-Atlantic Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He has accepted a call to Heritage Presbyterian Church, Warrenton, VA. TE William Harper Dever was examined and approved for reception from Mississippi Valley Presbytery. He has been called as Associate Pastor of Chapelgate Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Brian C. Sleeth was examined and approved for ordination. He will be the Associate Pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, California, MD, with responsibilities at the newly
established mission in Lusby, MD. Presbytery approved the exam, "with the understanding that over the next year Mr. Sleeth will continue to work with the Committee on Credentials in order to strengthen his abilities in the areas of expression and communication."
Mr. Daniel Schipper was received as a ministerial candidate.
TE Terry Baxley presented the Mission to North America report. He reported on plans for new churches in the Hanover and Chantilly areas. TE John Chiou reported on the planting of two new churches in Virginia by his congregation, the Chinese Christian Church of Falls Church. RE Stan Frey of Tollgate Presbyterian Church, Owings Mills, MD, "presented a copy of a petition from the congregation asking to participate in the Revitalization program of MNA, and a copy of 'the Antioch Project' proposal presented to MNA." RE Cal Clark stated that about $4,700.00 out of a needed $6,500.00 had been received from various churches of the presbytery toward the moving expenses of the new pastor at Potomac Hills.
Presbytery approved the loan of $80,000.00 to the Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church from the 5 Million Fund. In closing the report, Mr. Baxley remembered in prayer the Chaplains of Potomac Presbytery: Ed James, James Hutchens and John Stringer.
Because of the inclement weather, Presbytery granted excuse to "all missing Teaching Elder and Ruling Elder Commissioners."
RE Richard Larson, Stated Clerk
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