Marriotsville, MD (September 20, 1997)-The 31st Stated Meeting of Potomac Presbytery was held at the Chapelgate Presbyterian Church. Host Pastor TE Ronald Steel preached from John 13, and the Lord's Supper was administered.
The court approved the minutes of the following commissions: to install TE Mark Cary as Assistant Pastor of Chapelgate Church; to bring Mr. Andrew Webb under the care of the Presbytery; and to install TE Barry Cureton as Associate Pastor of Liberty Reformed Presbyterian Church, Owings Mills, MD.
TE Drew Derreth presented the report of the Committee on Christian Education. The Presbytery heard reports regarding the following interns: Robert Beames, Patrick Guarracino, Michael Horrigan, James MacGregor, Eric Molicki, John Sackett, Kevin Smith, Bennett Wethered, and Jeffrey Rickett. The Presbytery voted to approve Paul Wolfe as an intern; to approve Timothy Hudson's previous experience as equivalent to internship; and to approve John Sackett to receive Lamb Fund aid at Covenant Theological Seminary for the 1997-98 academic year.
TE Forrest Todd Williams was transferred from Pittsburgh Presbytery, in order to become Assistant Pastor of the Annapolis Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Mr. Williams "had an exception to the WCF requirements on the Sabbath in that he believes that some family activities, particularly with children, are acceptable." Mr. Santo Garafalo was licensed to preach the gospel. He "indicated that he was uncomfortable with the Sabbath restrictions in that he believed that some family activities such as walking or tossing a ball with his children would be acceptable." Mr. Louis Schuler was taken under care as a candidate for the gospel ministry. It was moved and approved to remove the following men from the list of candidates, for the reasons stated: Luke Davis (no longer senses a call to the ministry); Patrick Guarracino (no longer pursuing ordination); Todd Stiegler (no longer pursuing ordination; has left PCA). Mr. Guarracino was also removed from the list of interns.
TE Marvin Padgett (Nashville Presbytery) reported on the activities of Reformed University Ministries at Towson University.
TE Terry Baxley presented the report of the Committee on Mission to North America (CMNA). The Presbytery expressed gratitude for the $45,000 gift from the Munson Hill Church (a Falls Church congregation which had been dissolved); and voted "that this money be set aside in a revolving fund to lend to church plants and revitalization works with their agreement to replenish the fund in time. CMNA is to present procedures for the working of the fund."
Presbytery approved its 1998 budget on a first reading. The Committee on Administration and Stewardship is to send a letter to each church "to state clearly the askings for next year and get their pledges by telephone." Presbytery voted to take an offering during the worship service at the November meeting for TE Thomas Shields, III.
Presbytery approved an increase in salary of 15.4% to TE Gary Yagel, Shady Grove Presbyterian Church. On a second reading, it was approved to divest TE James Fishel at his request, and to assign him to the membership of Liberty Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Session having approved.
The court directed the Committee on Ministerial Responsibility (CMR) to "study the relation between one honorably retired and Presbytery, and bring a recommended interpretation, or proposed clarification for the BCO, to the November meeting for Presbytery's consideration if possible."
Presbytery approved several actions of the CMR, taken July 1st. The resignation of TE Christopher F. Ribaudo from his pastoral charge as Pastor of Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church was accepted; the pastoral relationship was dissolved as of midnight June 30th; he was granted permission to leave the field as of the week of July 27th; and he was dismised to Northern California Presbytery, pending reception, in order to accept a call from Coastal Presbyterian Church, Los Osos, CA.
Potomac Presbytery voted to resubmit an overture to the 26th General Assembly, which the 25th Assembly had returned for refinement. In order to be of aid especially to newly-organized churches "where members may not be fully acquainted with Presbyterian practices and procedures," the proposed amendment to Book of Church Order 20-2 would spell out the duties of a pastoral search committee.
Potomac also voted to send an overture to amend the BCO that would seek to resolve tension between BCO 13-2 and 13-5 regarding receiving a minister who has moved to within the bounds of a presbytery but has no call. The amendment would add two new phrases to the latter paragraph, so that it would now read, "Ordinarily, only a minister who receives a call to a definite ecclesiastical work within the bounds of a particular Presbytery may be received as a member of that Presbytery except in cases where the minister is already honorably retired, where the minister is without call and circumstances appear to him to require relocation within the bounds of that Presbytery, or in those cases deemed necessary by the Presbytery, subject to the review of the General Assembly" (the italicized portion being the new phrases).
After having consulted with Mr. Daniel Shank, Sr. and TE Garry Knaebel of Grace Reformed Fellowship, the court voted that "no action under BCO 40-5 is necessary."
Presbytery directed "the commission serving as the interim Session of Redeemer Presbyterian Church [Kingsville, MD] be directed to meet with the Committee on Ministerial Responsibility on Tuesday October 7, 1997 at 8:00 a.m. to give account of its failure to meet since May 1997; and that the Committee on Ministerial Responsibility report to [Presbytery] at the November 1997 meeting concerning the proper functioning of the government of that congregation, with any recommendations it deems necessary."
The Commission Acting as a Session for Westminster (MD) Presbyterian Church recommended the dissolution of the pastoral relationship between the congregation and TE Thomas L. Shields, III as of October 19th, with Presbytery providing a severance package of $21,500.00. Presbytery concurred. The court also voted to dissolve the Westminster Presbyterian Church.
The Moderator appointed a nine man committee "to investigate and report a plan for the division of the [Potomac Presbytery] by May 1998."
RE Richard R. Larson, Stated Clerk
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