The Spring stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Ascension met April 24-25, 1998, hosted by Hillcrest Presbyterian Church, Volant, Pa.  Moderator RE Ted Georgian called upon TE Stevan Horning to lead in worship. 
	As a part of the MNA report, TE Fred Marsh of GAMNA was introduced and addressed the presybtery.  He spoke of the situation in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as MNA relations with presbytery in general and exhorted presbytery to see and respond to the need for the Gospel throughout the United States.  RE John Bower reported from the committee appointed to respond to an overture in January directing the committee to report on ways to best minister to young people from our churches in colleges and universities in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio, including how RUM/RUF might be utilized.  The recommendation was that the need could best be met for now on the local level, and that a full time worker should not be pursued until there is a target campus.
	In response to an overture brought by Faith Reformed Church in Erie, Pa., presbytery approved an overture to be sent to the General Assembly, the "resolved" portion being: "That the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) declares that the Roman Catholic Church is not a true biblical Christian Church; and be it further resolved that the PCA calls upon all those members of the RCC who profess the true biblical Christian faith to come out of the RCC and join the PCA or some other similar biblical church."
	On Saturday morning Presbytery reconvened with worship, hearing the ordination sermon of Mr. John Kenyon, an exposition of Isaiah 52:13-53:12.  The presbytery subsequently completed and approved the ordination trials for Mr. Kenyon.
	In response to a reference from New Life Presbyterian Church in Alipuippa, the presbytery affirmed that BOCO 24:1 does indeed mandate "training" for all elder and deacon nominees, whether or not they have served previously and/or have been previously trained.  It was noted, however, that session is left with considerable latitude in determining what instruction is necessary and to be required, the BOCO not spelling out the content, length and other aspects.
	A personal overture for the presbytery as well as an overture for General Assembly were approved under new business.  To avoid any misstatements or misunderstandings the text of both is included:
Personal Overture re: exceptions to the Standards:

Whereas the foundation of the church is the inspired Scripture as the very Word of God, and the Word of God only, as that Scripture is faithfully confessed by the church, and

Whereas the church gives expression to this by binding herself, and especially her officebearers, to creeds that clearly, systematically, and faithfully set forth the doctrines of Holy Scripture, and

Whereas Reformed churches have always bound their professors, ministers, elders, and deacons by solemn vow to believe and teach, and never publicly or privately to contradict the creeds, and

Whereas the Presbyterian Church in America has bound herself to this same commitment declaring, "Views and practices that undermine and supplant the system of doctrine or polity of a confessional Church ought never to be tolerated... We believe the system of doctrine found in God's Word to be the system known as the Reformed Faith. We are committed without reservation to the Reformed Faith as set forth in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms", and

Whereas teaching or publicly expressing one's personal preference for any view which is contrary to any teaching of the Westminster Standards is in direct violation of the above obligation to which the Presbyterian Church in America has bound herself before the Lord, and

Whereas there are already members of the Presbytery of the Ascension and others ministering within the bounds of this Presbytery who have recorded their exceptions to the Westminster Standards at various points, and

Whereas the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America has previously ruled that an individual who recorded his exceptions to the Westminster Standards with Eastern Carolina Presbytery, although licensed by the Presbytery, could not teach his views on those exceptions, and has made other rulings based upon this same principle,

Be it therefore resolved that the Presbytery of the Ascension adopt the following policy regarding those who have recorded such exceptions:

	Any member of the Presbytery of the Ascension or any person who has been approved to labor within the bounds of the Presbytery, but who has reported to the Presbytery his exceptions to the Westminster Standards, is to be instructed that unless or until he is able to demonstrate to the church at large that his views, rather than those of the Standards to which they are opposed, are in accordance with the teachings of God's infallible Word, and to have our Standards brought into conformity with that only infallible rule of faith and practice, he is not to advocate those views in preaching and teaching because they threaten the purity and peace of Christ's church.

Presbytery's overture regarding Interchurch Relations Committee:

Whereas, our Constitution reminds us that the requirements of the Ninth Commandment include "the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and care for our own good name, and defending it when need requireth;..." (Larger Catechism, Q/A 144); and that among those things which are forbidden by the Ninth Commandment are "undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others..." (Larger Catechism Q/A 145); and
Whereas the Presbytery of the Ascension joined with three sister presbyteries in overturing the 25th General Assembly to investigate fully the actions of the Interchurch Relations Committee (IRC); and
Whereas, the reason behind the call for said investigation was that, prima facie, the IRC had failed to carry out the directive of a previous General Assembly; and
Whereas, in issuing this call for investigation, none of the presbyteries questioned the motives of
	the IRC in its actions; and
Whereas, in responding to these overtures, the IRC did attack the motives of the presbyteries which had expressed this concern; and
Whereas, the IRC employed harsh language in describing the presbyteries and their overtures ("The IRC frankly is offended by these overtures....Not only do they contain factual errors but also what could be described as deliberate distortions of the truth....We maintain that Christian charity, the command of love to 'believe all things' (I Corinthians 13:7), a concern for the effects of false accusations, for 'the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity...and it is set on fire by hell' (James 3:6), a recognition that the works of the flesh include 'contentions,...dissensions, factions' (Galatians 5:20) and a reminder of the admonition to 'avoid foolish disputes,...contentions...for they are unprofitable and useless' (Titus 3:9), ought to have tempered our brothers' actions"); and

Whereas, the IRC's report alleges that there were numerous factual errors in at least one of the overtures to the General Assembly; and
Whereas, there were no substantive errors demonstrated in any of these overtures;
Therefore be it resolved that the Presbytery of the Ascension ask the Interchurch Relations Committee through the 26th General Assembly to demonstrate the errors mentioned in their report to the 25th General Assembly or to apologize to the presbyteries involved.  

								Carl W. Bogue
								March 7, 1998