Susquehanna Valley

Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Quarryville, PA, hosted Susquehanna Valley Presbytery's stated meeting on Saturday, May 16, 1998. The Moderator, RE Fred Gaston, called the meeting to order and presided over the proceedings. Licentiate Michael Pollard preached from I Corinthians 13:1-13, "Prescription for Everyday Love," which was followed by the administration of communion by TE John MacRae, the host pastor. An offering, amounting to $207.00, was received.

Candidate Brian Roby was endorsed for a potential scholarship to Covenant Theological Seminary.

Presbytery received TE Hugh Foshee, pending release from Philadelphia Presbytery, to serve as a Chaplain with the Cumberland County Prison and Clairmont Rehabilitation Home. He was granted powers of an evangelist for this work.

Candidate Ed Suthers, a ruling elder of New Covenant Fellowship, was examined and approved for licensure. The court noted "Mr. Suthers' exceptionally strong gifts and knowledge, especially in the doctrinal area. He might be well advised to pursue ordination soon, even without an M.DIV. degree. He desires pastoral ministry and seems fully prepared in such a way that the committee could consider recommending the extraordinary exceptions, allowing him to be ordained upon the completion of required exams, sermon, and papers."

Mr. Pollard was examined for ordination. All the exams and papers were approved; final approval for ordination is to be handled at the September meeting of Presbytery.

TE Nelson Malkus reported that the Bible study in Elizabethtown has not progressed due to key people moving. Reports were received from the following men regarding the respective mission works: TE William Johnson, Williamsport; TE Steve Heinbaugh, City's Gate Presbyterian Mission, Harrisburg; and TE Drew Derreth, Hanover (a mission of Potomac Presbytery within the bounds of Susquehanna Valley).

Presbytery opened the Pastors' and wives' retreat in January to all teaching elders with call. $400.00 was set aside from the Education and Conference Committee's budget to help pastors purchase theology books. "Eligible pastors are those who have a Call and do not have a book allowance provided by their congregation. Pastors will be able to purchase books at 50% off the regular price."

TE Gary J. Griffith was granted the powers of an evangelist during the time he serves as a Chaplain with the Pennsylvania National Guard. TE Mike Chastain of Heritage Presbytery presented his request to labor within the geographical bounds of Susquehanna Valley teaching a Bible study which would hopefully lead to the start of a new non-PCA church plant. His request was denied.

Presbytery voted that, in light of Holy Scripture and the reports on Freemasonry to the 15th and 16th General Assemblies, and adopted as the position of the Presbyterian Church in America, anyone who is a member of Freemasonry is "ineligible to be elected to or re-elected to Sessions or Boards of Deacons" within the bounds of Presbytery.

A gift of $100.00 was sent by the Presbytery to the retiring Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, TE Paul Gilchrist.

The historic Faggs Manor Presbyterian Church, Cochranville, PA, hosted Susquehanna Valley Presbytery for its stated meeting on September 19, 1998. TE Charles Cummings, who had been pastor of the host church prior to his retirement, preached from Mark 14:18-19, 27-31 a sermon entitled, "The Word reflected in us." The offering amounted to $303.00.

The following officers were approved: TE John MacRae, Moderator; RE Howard Perry, Vice Moderator; RE Jeff Fogelsanger, Recording Clerk; RE David Larsen, Parliamentarian.

TE Stephen Wilson presented a report from the Ad Interim Committee on Purpose. Future reports will be made at future meetings of the Presbytery.

TE Christopher Labs presented a paper, "Proposed Strategic Plan for Church Planting in the Susquehanna Valley Presbytery." The Church Planting and Outreach Committee intends to recommend that Presbytery adopt this proposal at its November meeting.

Presbytery approved a loan of $28,000.00 to Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church, New Freedom, PA, from the denominational Revolving Building Fund, for the purchase of 6.8 acres near Exit 1 of I-83 in Shrewsbury, PA.

TE William Johnson reported that the average attendance at Christ's Community Mission in Williamsport for July and August was 36. Average attendance at City's Gate Presbyterian Mission in the state capital did not decline in the summer months, as expected; average attendance in July and August was 76. The Mission is doing so well financially that it is requesting a reduction in Presbytery support in the second year to begin five months earlier than scheduled.

The Hanover Valley Presbyterian Mission began its first public worship on September 13, 1998, at the Seventh Day Adventist building in Hanover. The building seats 125, but 170 attended the first worship service. This included 20 visiting families who were not part of the core group or from neighboring PCA churches.

TE Carl Derk reported on his work with Reformed University Fellowship at Penn State in State College, PA. There is a need to erase a $28,000.00 deficit in his account with MNA-Atlanta. If pledges are not received by November 17, 1998, the Church Planting and Outreach Committee "will regretfully recommend that the Presbytery dissolve the Call with TE Derk."

Mr. David Thomas and Mr. David Kertland were received as candidates. Mr. Michael Pollard's ordination as Associate Pastor of Community Evangelical Free Church was approved. It was noted "that this is a fine congregation of the Evangelical Free denomination, which is happy for us to ordain their minister and will grant him full freedom to maintain and teach the doctrine of our Church." Mr. David Wilcox, per his request, was removed from the roll of candidates.

It was reported that Bishop Csiha of the Hungarian Reformed Church wrote to Paul Gilchrist complaining about several American churchmen, including TE Bob Rapp and TE Earl Pinckney, members of Susquehanna Valley Presbytery. The Church and Ministerial Oversight Committee Chairman, TE John MacRae, has written the Bishop "for specifications of his charges and has not received a response." Presbytery will "take no further action unless and until the Bishop communicates again."

TE John Buswell was given the powers of an evangelist to administer the sacraments as Chaplain of Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community.

Presbytery adopted an overture from the Faggs Manor Session, asking the General Assembly to change the boundaries of Presbytery. The proposal would cede a portion of Chester County, PA, to Heritage Presbytery, which organized Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in 1996 "in an area believed by both Susquehanna Valley and Heritage Presbyteries to be within the bounds of Heritage Presbytery." The subtraction of the townships of Elk, New London, Franklin, London Britain, and New Garden from Susquehanna Valley's territory will enable Cornerstone Church's presbytery connection to be regularized.