On July 18, 1998, Eastminster Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach, VA, hosted the Ninety-first Session of The James River Presbytery. TE Robert Hobson presided over the worship service, and TE Joe Mullen preached on what it means to serve God rightly through prayer. The Moderator, RE Dan Carrel, presided over the business portion of the meeting.
The Stated Clerk reported that there are two complaints against actions of Presbytery regarding the ordination examination of TE Andrew Conrad, Assistant Pastor at Sycamore Presbyterian Church. The first complaint was by TE Byron Snapp, et al., "who felt the examination should not have been approved because of TE Andrew Conrad's anthropomorphic view of creation." That complaint, having been denied, has been taken to the Standing Judicial Commission. A second complaint by TE Bill Harrell et al. maintained that Mr. Conrad's view should be regarded as an exception to the Confessional Standards. That complaint had been sustained at the winter stated meeting, "along with the instruction that TE Conrad not preach or teach his anthropomorphic view of creation." TE Howard Griffith et al. complained "against that portion of the second complaint that forbade TE Conrad from preaching or teaching his views on creation." Mr. Griffith's complaint was denied; however, "Presbytery then approved a motion to suspend the action of Presbytery (sustaining the second complaint) until the complaint was heard by the higher court, which motion was adopted . . . by more than the required 1/3 vote to suspend the action of Presbytery."
Presbytery recognized that TE Norman (Scotty) McLeod had just celebrated his eightieth birthday. [Mr. McLeod has been serving at Bethel Chapel Mission, a non-PCA church in Prince George, VA, since 1968.-Ed.] TE Wayne Good led Presbytery in prayer for the new octogenarian.
Mr. Jack Howell was examined and approved for ordination as Assistant Pastor at Calvary Presbyterian Church, Norfolk, VA. TE Tuck Bartholomew was transferred from Palmetto Presbytery to be Associate Pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA. A graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary, he is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Georgia. TE Richard Horner was transferred from Heritage Presbytery to become an Assistant Pastor at Trinity Church, Charlottesville. With regard to both of these men, the minutes state: "A motion was adopted that his view that he does not know how long it took for God to create all things from nothing was taken to be an exception to the Confessional Standards position that the six days of creation, must necessarily be understood to be twenty-four hours long (WCF IV.I; LC #15, SC #9)."
Mr. Greg Becker was taken under care as a ministerial candidate. Per his request, Mr. Gary Martinez was removed from the roll of candidates. Quarterly reports were received from Candidates Scott Amos, Christopher Copeland, and David Bentz, and Intern Kevin Greene.
The following question was addressed to the General Assembly Committee on Constitutional Business: "BCO 18-3 requires that a man coming under care appear before Presbytery in person. Is there any way that James River Presbytery can receive a man under care, as soon as possible, who is a missionary in Senegal, whom Presbytery knows, who has, in his missionary capacity, already appeared before Presbytery, who has been urged by MTW to pursue ordination as soon as possible, and who is not due to return to the states until the summer of 2000?"
Presbytery determined that a change in the bylaws would be necessary for Presbytery "to ask churches to include exceptions to our doctrinal standards, or the lack of them, of officer examinees, in their minutes and that this be included in the Reviewers Report Form." Presbytery then referred this matter back to the Court Duties Committee in order to consider framing a proposed amendment to the Presbytery bylaws.
The family of TE Bart Bartlett, retired church planter and pastor who recently passed away, was remembered.
TE Clyde Bowie was elected as Moderator in Nomination.