Centreville, MS (September 9, 1997)-The 89th Stated Meeting of Grace Presbytery was hosted by Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church. TE E. C. Case preached from Matthew 23:1-39, "The Killer of the Prophets." He also administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, including the fencing of the table; and the elements of the supper were distributed by elders from the host church. A portion of Psalm 103 was sung in closing. The current Moderator, RE Sam Duncan, was without opposition elected Moderator of this meeting. Mr. Duncan was also the Moderator of the 25th General Assembly.
The report of the commission to ordain and install Bradley D. Chittenden as Pastor of Ellisville (MS) Presbyterian Church was approved, as was the report of the commission to install Rev. Michael J. Ganucheau as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Hazelhurst, MS. Presbytery approved TE Martin D. Payne, Pastor of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Mize, MS, also to be a Chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol.
Grace Presbytery had sent to General Assembly, under the provisions of BCO 41, a "reference", in order to seek advice with regard to a complaint. The complaint has to do with a session giving only ten days for the submission of nominees for church office. The Presbytery stated that it is almost equally divided on the Constitutional question as to the propriety of this procedure, and thus was seeking help. The General Assembly Committee on Constitutional Business (CCB) answered: "1) a session may require that nominations for church officers be tendered by a deadline short of the minimum one-month period of time between the announcement of a meeting to elect officers and the occurrence of that meeting; and 2) it would seem that, ordinarily, a session would wish to set a significantly longer period of time than the minimum time allowed, in order to accomplish the instruction, examination, and reporting explicitly called for in BCO 24-1." A motion was made and seconded that this advice from the CCB not be printed. That motion failed. A motion to receive this advice as information and printed in the minutes was approved.
Mr. Robert Lotzer, who was ordained in a Southern Baptist church, was examined by the court for reception. Upon approval of the exam, the Presbytery approved a call to him from Waynesboro (MS) Presbyterian Church, with a salary package of $30,000 plus free use of the manse.
Presbytery approved a Manual of Operations for its Christian Education and Missions Committee. The Mississippi Reformed University Ministries was designated as the recipient of the 1997 Love Gift from the Presbytery's PresWIC. $20,000 of current funds was held in reserve for future church planting efforts, with the balance being used to make up any deficits in previous commitments.
The Presbytery authorized "the Moderator to appoint a special (or temporary) committee to investigate and report back at the next Stated Meeting of Presbytery an answer to the following question: What avenues are open to the Church, apart from cases of Judicial process, to provide for the open and intelligent discussion of difficult theological questions which, apart from resolution, may threaten the peace and purity of the Church? Also how can ministers without Call help vacant churches?"
The Stated Clerk reported that the pulpit supply of Union Church (MS) Presbyterian Church had resigned, and that the church is presently looking at a Belhaven College professor, a PC(USA) minister, for help.
The Moderator appointed a three-man commission to approve the minutes of this meeting.
TE Eugene C. Case, Stated Clerk
PO Box 851
Woodville, MS 39669