Southern Florida

Coral Gables, FL (October 21, 1997)-The Stated Meeting of Southern Florida Presbytery was hosted by Granada Presbyterian Church. Retiring Moderator TE Jan Sattem preached from II Timothy 4:9-17 about the special times when ministers need help. RE Tom Cook, Jr., of Seacrest Blvd. Presbyterian Church was elected Moderator unanimously.

It was reported that Bethany Presbyterian Church had changed its name to Rio Vista Community Church (P.C.A.). In a letter to the Presbytery, Pastor David A. Dorst explained that the Session had voted for the change as part of "our church's efforts to remove any barriers that might stand in the way of unchurched people coming to worship with us. We are beginning an outreach service on November 16 which will focus on attracting unbelievers. All that we have read indicates that denominational names and esoteric biblical references are barriers to many unchurched people. We do not intend to change our teaching or doctrine one iota. However, we believe that the time to educate people is after they have come in the door, rather than before (when we will not, of course, have the chance to address them). This was not a decision that was made lightly. For more than two years, the Session considered and debated it. We now believe that it will be a step, albeit small, in extending God's kingdom in Ft. Lauderdale. It is not a step away from the Presbyterian Church in America. We continue to affirm our commitment to our denomination."

The Stated Clerk reported that General Assembly had taken exception to the minutes for April 16, 1996, as follows: "The worship service for the purpose of organizing a church and installing its pastor included a lady who 'led the congregation in the opening prayer' and another lady who 'read passages of Scripture' prior to the sermon." The Presbytery voted "to request from General Assembly the grounds for the exception."

TE Ronald L. Siegenthaler reported for the Credentials Committee and presented Rev. Samuel P. Lamerson for transfer from a Baptist denomination. After examination, Mr. Lamerson was received as a member of Presbytery without call. He was later elected to fill an open slot on the Credentials Committee. Intern James A. C. Johnson, called as Assistant Minister by Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and Intern Edward L. Reed, called as Assistant Minister by Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Miami, were examined and approved for ordination.

TE Steve Jones reported for the Minister and Church Relations Committee. Presbytery dissolved the ministerial relationship of TE Charles Baldini with Providence Presbyterian Church, West Palm Beach, and transferred him to New Jersey Presbytery. In accordance with the request of the Providence Session, that church was dissolved and formally merged with Cornerstone Presbyterian Church of Palm Beach Gardens.

TE Richard J. Bender was transferred to North Central Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. TE Donis H. Watkins was transferred to Florida Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

The ministerial relationship between TE James Brumet with First Church West was dissolved. The ministerial relationship between TE Manuel Salabarria with El Redentor Presbyterian Church was dissolved, and he was granted the status of Honorably Retired. The ministerial relationship between TE Ronald L. Siegenthaler with Seacrest Blvd.Presbyterian Church, Delray Beach, was dissolved; and Presbytery approved the call to him from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church as an Assistant Minister.

TE O.K. Houston's new contract with Florida Christian School was approved.

Mr. Jones reported that TE Kil Don Choi left Korean Bansuk Church without notice and the congregation has presented a number of allegations against Mr. Choi. The court erected a judicial commission to prosecute the allegations.

Presbytery went into executive session to hear a report about Frank Erdman. The court delayed action on him, and referred the whole back to the Minister and Church Relations Committee for review and recommendation. [Mr. Erdman had announced his intention to join the Eastern Orthodox Church-Ed.]

TE Robert Frazer was endorsed for the U.S. Air Force Chaplaincy.

The Presbytery voted unanimously (32-0-0 and 29-0-0) in favor of the two Book of Church Order amendments.

Presbytery approved the internship program for Candidate Paul Manuel under TE John Montgomery of River Oaks PCA, Lake Mary, FL (Central Florida Presbytery). The credentials of Intern Phil Rich were transferred to Evangel Presbytery where he has received a call from one of their churches.

Under New Business, Steve Jones moved the following amendment to the Standing Rules for Presbytery Operations which was seconded and unanimously approved: "No minister shall be received from another Presbytery or Denomination without a Call to a particular work (save in cases where the minister is already honorably retired) except by a three-fourths vote of the Credentials Committee and of the Presbytery."

TE Michael A. Campbell of Pinelands Church was elected Moderator Nominee.

[NOTE: In its report, the Mission Committee noted that "Committee member, RE Joe High, of Covenant PCA in Fort Lauderdale, has respectfully resigned from the Committee due to advancing debilitation resulting from his illness. Joe has been an active and faithful member of this committee and we thank God for his work. Please continue to pray for Joe."]

RE Daniel J. Domin, Stated Clerk

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