Kittanning, PA (July 26, 1997)--The summer stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension met July 26, 1997, hosted by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Slate Lick. Host Pastor is James Moore. The Moderator, TE Leon Ben-Ezra, invited TE Scott Wright (Covenant Reformed Church in Aurora, Ohio) to lead in worship. Pastor Wright preached from Galatians 1:1-9, calling for faithfulness to the unchanging Gospel of grace.

The first major committee business came from the Candidates and Credentials Committee. The major business was a licensure exam of TE William Voorhis, a former member of Ascension Presbytery who became a part of the new Pittsburgh Presbytery when Ascension was divided. The purpose of the licensure was to permit Pastor Voorhis to accept a call as interim pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Alliquippa, Pa. Presbytery approved his exam. The court also received two men as candidates: Mr. Brian Hutchinson, a member of Christ Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls, Pa., and Mr. David Sabella, a member of Hillcrest Presbyterian Church in Volant, Pa. Mr. Sabella's internship proposal was also approved.

TE Jerry Mead reported for the Christian Education Committee, speaking for the camp board on some issues regarding the Presbytery's camp. Mrs. Leon Ben-Ezra reported to the Presbytery on WIC activities.

Under the Ministerial Relations Committee report Presbytery approved the transfer of TE Michael Harvey to Ascension without call, pending release by Potomac Presbytery and examination by Ascension. Candidate Mark Bell was approved as stated supply for a UCC congregation. Returning with an issue referred back to the committee at the last meeting, a first reading was received for a change in the standing rules of Presbytery as follows: "If a church or Teaching Elder receives a letter from the Stated Clerk indicating that they have not had Ruling Elder and/or Teaching Elder representation at two consecutive meetings of Presbytery and if no valid excuse is offered at the next Presbytery meeting then that becomes a chargeable offense by Presbytery." The report adopted by the General Assembly in 1986 (Minutes, pp. 103-105) was cited as one of the guidelines for this.

Among ongoing items from MNA, there was an update on a core group in Cleveland and their movement toward seeking mission status.

The relatively smooth completion of business almost an hour ahead of the normal adjournment gave opportunity to ponder some issues often neglected. Did the rural setting and peaceful tranquillity of Slate Lick expedite business? Were those beautiful wild flower arrange ments on each table really "center pieces," or were they works of art? They made a great lunch all the more enjoyable. And how many elders needed a written explanation from the Stated Clerk as to why they were getting home so early? Nice questions to ponder.

Butler, PA (October 17-18, 1997)-- The Fall stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension was hosted by Westminster PCA. Presbytery convened

with a celebration of the Lord's Supper on Friday evening. Host pastor,

James Smith, preached on Matthew 16:13-28, emphasizing the ongoing

priority of the cross.

Candidate John P. Kenyon sustained his licensure examination. Mr.

Kenyon is the son of TE Walter Kenyon, Pastor Emeritus of Gospel

Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Valencia, Pa. The elder Kenyon has

eleven children, including seven boys. In addition to John, there are two PCA ruling elders and one

PCA pastor among his sons.

TE Bruce Gardner reported for the MTW Committee on a variety of MTW

matters. He reminded presbytery of the continuing issue

denominationally, that 40% of PCA mission giving goes to non-PCA


Saturday morning was used to involve all the presbyters in the reading

and reviewing of sessional records. This was followed with a season of

prayer prior to recessing for lunch.

As part of the MNA report, TE Chairman Nick Protos introduced TE

Carl Derk to present the work of Reformed University Fellowship/Reformed

University Ministries within Ascension and adjoining presbyteries. A

discussion of the mission work in West Erie, Pa., included some possible

options for a building to be purchased.

TE Earl Fair reported as chairman for the Ministerial Relations

Committee. The presbytery and the committee were not on the same page

in two significant items of the report. A vote to amend the Standing

Rules of presbytery to make un-excused absences from presbytery meetings

a "chargeable offense" was defeated, thus continuing the unsolved

problem of what to do with those who have not taken responsibility in

this area. Another motion from the committee was strongly contested and

the intent defeated by means of a substitute. The motion recommended

the termination of permission of a teaching elder to labor within the bounds of

presbytery who had failed six years earlier to sustain an examination to

have his credentials transferred to the presbytery.

The presbytery voted to approve both proposed changes to the Book of

Church Order, 30-0-1 and 31-0-1.

Dr. Carl W. Bogue, Correspondent

2540 S. Main Street, Akron, OH 44319-1137