West Springfield, MA (January 17, 1998)-Winter weather has in previous years wreaked havoc for Northeast Presbytery's January stated meeting. This year was no exception, as a greatly-abbreviated meeting started a day later than normal.
The Candidates, Credentials, and Internship Committee, whose report usually takes up much of the court's time, did not even meet or report.
Dr. T. David Gordon, who has been Moderator for two years, turned the gavel over to TE Brad Evans, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Coventry, CT. Appreciation was expressed by the new Moderator for Dr. Gordon's moderating abilities, including his wit. Also retiring from a key position was RE Norman Therrien, who was replaced as Stated Clerk by TE Steve Magee, Pastor of Exeter (NH) Presbyterian Church. The Presbytery gave Mr. Therrien an ovation.
The pastoral relationship between T. David Gordon and Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashua, NH, was dissolved, pending approval by the congregation.
The court heard from one of its members, TE Jeff Marlowe, and from Miss Jan Buchanan, regarding their work on a Mission to the World team in Dakar, Senegal.
Presbytery heard reports on various mission works from MNA Chairman Preston Graham. A proposal to divide the Presbytery into three presbyteries in 1999 was put forth to be studied by the Sessions. Tentatively, the groupings would be Coastal New England; Interior New England; and upstate New York.
Presbytery approved a budget for 1998 of $17,600.
Without dissent, the court adopted an overture to the 26th General Assembly, calling for a repudiation of the report to last year's General Assembly by the Permanent Interchurch Relations Committee (IRC); and for the resignation of all IRC members who approved of or helped to write that report. Central to the thrust of the overture was concern for vindication: four presbyteries, including Northeast, which had overtured the 1997 Assembly with regard to the actions of the IRC, had allegedly been slandered in that report. Attached to the overture was a three page evaluation of that report, which points out purported inconsistencies. Administration Committee Chairman Chris Baker commented that the overture was "in temperate, though sometimes pointed, language." The Presbytery also approved an instruction to the Clerk that copies of the overture be sent to the other three presbyteries-Ascension, Covenant, and Western Carolina-with the encouragement that they adopt the same or a similar overture.
Responding to correspondence from Heartland Presbytery, Northeast instructed the Session of Affirmation Presbyterian Church, Somers, NY, to respond to various allegations with regard to its operation of a news service. This is in preparation for a "pre-trial hearing" at the May meeting, to determine whether to proceed further or not.
In order not to take time to elect a new slate of committee members, the Standing Rules of Presbytery were suspended to extend by one year the classes of all the committees.
The spring stated meeting was scheduled again for West Springfield Covenant Community Church.
TE Steve Magee, Stated Clerk
12 Patricia Avenue
Exeter, NH 03833