Calvary (Return to Top)
Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church hosted the Sixty-First Stated Meeting of Calvary Presbytery, on January 23, 1999. The Moderator, RE Hugh Player, called the meeting with prayer. The Presbytery divided in order to hear sermons by Mr. Tim Miessler (Haggai 1:4-8, 12-13) and Mr. Jay Nelken (I Timothy 4). Both of these men were later examined and licensed to preach. Mr. Miessler has been called as Student Supply at Beech Street Presbyterian Church, Gaffney, S. C., while Mr. Nelken has been called as Student Supply to Reedy River Presbyterian Church, Conestee, S. C.
TE Benjamin Shaw, a professor at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, was elected the new Moderator.
TE Mark Horn was received from Southeast Alabama Presbytery to be an Assistant Pastor of Shannon Road Presbyterian Church. TE Jerry Crick's exam was approved; but Presbytery suspended action in transferring him from the Reformation Presbyterian Church until a more precise terms of call and more details concerning the ministry to which he is called can be presented. (Dr. Crick has been called by Bahnsen Theological Seminary.)
Presbytery approved the Christian Education Committee organizing and directing Intra-Presbytery debates, to be held at a time other than the Presbytery meeting. Up to two debates a year will be organized, so as to foster discussion without the pressure of having to vote on a motion on the floor.
A petition to organize The Horizon Church with 90 signatures on it was approved. The service of organization was scheduled for March 14, 1999, at Mauldin High School.
Central Georgia (Return to Top)
Central Georgia Presbytery met on Tuesday, April 13 at Cliffwood Presbyterian Church in Augusta, a church pastored by Charles Rector. Two presentations were made to the brethren during the course of the day. The first was by TE Robert Edmiston from Christian Education & Publications on the Millennial Generation project. The second was by Mr. Mike Sanford of Fresh Start, a divorce recovery ministry based in Atlanta.
Mr. David Vosseller, a graduate of Covenant Seminary was examined and approved to receive a call as assistant pastor at St. Andrews Church in Columbus. Mr. John Fender of Golden Isles Presbyterian Church, St. Simons Island was taken under care of Presbytery. He is currently working toward establishing a mission church in Brunswick. Two petitions from mission congregations requesting to be organized were received. The Lake Oconee Mission, under the leadership of organizing pastor John Kinser, will be organized on May 9, 1999. The Eastern Heights Presbyterian Mission of Savannah, under the leadership of organizing pastor Brian Nicholson, will be organized on May 16, 1999. Rev. Paul Bankson's call to serve as assistant pastor at First Church Macon was approved. Mr. Bankson had formerly served with Reformed University Fellowship at Mercer University. Of particular interest were an overture presented to Presbytery with respect to the General Assembly's Mission to North America (MNA) Committee requesting that the Committee be required to reaffirm the Standards of the Church with respect to worship practices. The overture was debated and turned down. A letter from TE Terry Johnson of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah to the MNA Committee was also before the court. The letter sought to accomplish the same results as the previously described overture. The letter was approved and sent to the GA's permanent committee. Another overture was approved by the Presbytery pertaining to the use of psalms in worship during the General Assembly.
Eastern Canada (Return to Top)
The Presbytery of Eastern Canada met March 5-6, 1999, in Grace Toronto Church. Acting on a proposal by Grace Toronto Session, Presbytery scheduled a conference on ministry and theology as part of its meeting with the intent that presbytery look to presbytery meetings as the gathering of the regional church to renew the churches in our cities through reformation, church planting, church renewal and revival. The Divine Grace and Urban Ministry Conference was organized by Grace Toronto Session, with the cooperation of a number of other evangelical churches and leaders, and drew about 80 people besides the members of Presbytery. We were challenged by three theme addresses on God's grace, one by a man of reformed convictions who is now pastor of the flagship church of the largest and most liberal protestant denomination in the country. We enjoyed a variety of seminars on practical ministry and outreach. One which focused on ministry to gays thrilled us with a report of the conversion before her death of one of the best known ministers in the United Church of Canada, who had been a lesbian spokesperson until her conversion.
The other highlights of the meeting included licensing Patrick Ramsey, a member of Bedford Presbyterian Church and recent graduate of Greenville Seminary, and approval of his internship. Patrick is presently seeking God's direction to know where he should use his gifts as pastor or assistant pastor. Presbytery also took under care Joseph Bowman, a member of Grace Toronto Church, and supported his scholarship requests at Covenant Seminary, where he intends to study this fall. The meeting also marked the conclusion of Steve Christian's ministry as Coordinator for Church Planting for the Presbytery and Regional Coordinator for MNA (General Assembly). Steve is looking for new ministry opportunities in the Toronto area. This means a fair bit of reorganization of our church planting work. We received reports that Thames Valley Mission in London is progressing well, holding regular worship services in a visible location, and drawing visitors and new members. However the congregation is still a long way from self-support, and coming close to the end of the period in which General Assembly's MNA committee is willing normally to continue support. Please pray with us that this promising work may not fail for lack of funds to complete the work that has been begun. As the smallest presbytery in the denomination (in numbers), and working with a population which responds much more slowly, normally, than in other parts of our denomination, Eastern Canada is continually faced with the pressure of developing works which don't grow fast enough, and with very small resources in the presbytery itself to sustain them. We also received a report of a potential church planter for the Miramichi, NB, mission, which has been approved.
Altogether, it was a good meeting, a time of blessing and growth in Christ.
Don Codling, Correspondent/Stated Clerk
49 Nelson's Landing Boulevard
Bedford, NS B4A 3Z6
Eastern Carolina (Return to Top)
The Church of the Good Shepherd, Durham, North Carolina, hosted the spring stated meeting of Eastern Carolina Presbytery, on April 17, 1999. TE David Bowen was elected as Moderator pro tem. There were a total of 37 voting commissioners (18 ministers and 19 ruling elders) from 14 churches.
Mr. Bowen of the host church led worship and Mr. Guy Waters preached from Haggai 1:1-15 (as a part of his licentiate examination). Mr Waters said: 'To recover from spiritual sluggishness we must hear and obey God's Word as His Word (1:12); we must fear God (1:13 & Isaiah 66:2); and, we must obey promptly and exactly returning to our first love (1:14). We must note that Israel does not respond out of her own resources but God being with her works in her to cause her to respond to Him. Same in the New Testament as seen in the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, "I am with you always even to the end of the world." (Verse 14, "So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel...").' The Lord's Supper was served following the sermon.
Mr. Waters was examined and licensed. He was granted an exception regarding Confession of Faith VII.4, on the use of the word "frequently" regarding how often "testament" appears in the New Testament.
Licentiate Ben Inman was examined for transfer from Philadelphia Presbytery. During his theological exam, a motion was made to arrest that portion of the exam. The chair ruled that that motion was out of order and that debate ought to continue. Upon challenge, the chair's ruling was not sustained, 13-19. The floor thereupon voted down the motion.
Several ministers gave reports on their ministry. TE Arnold Johnson serves in Jacksonville, NC at the Onslow County Health and Hospice Center. He requested prayer for God's Spirit to open up the hearts of the many lost who are dying. TE Doug Addington's written report was read by the moderator. TE Eddie Brown's written report was also read by the moderator. His family has been appointed as a discipleship family which will be working in Nairobi. Their support is at the 85% level. He and his wife have just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Katie and Alan have been busy and done well at school. He requested prayer that they will be godly parents and set before them a good example. TE Bill Marshall reported on his mission work consisting of five families, which now meets in Pilot Park Community about one mile west of Crabtree Mall in Raleigh. They wrote to the four nearby PCA churches and received encouragement from all of them in their new location. He requested prayer for strength to hold his full time USA defense position and yet prepare two sermons every Saturday. His son Wally is reconsidering his plans to go to Princeton Seminary at this time as he and his wife now have two small children. Even with his full scholarship the living expenses are prohibitive without financial support.
A motion to adjourn carried, 20-12, and the meeting adjourned at 4:17 PM.
The meeting of the Presbytery continued at White Oak Presbyterian Church, Fremont, North Carolina, on May 8, 1999. The Presbytery licensed Mr. Benjamin Inman to preach. A motion was made and seconded to record his exception to the Westminster Confession of Faith, viz., his refusal to affirm the 6 days of creation to be approximately 24 hour days. On a vote of 10-7, the court postponed consideration of this motion, until after the report of the General Assembly Study Committee on Creation has been accepted by the Assembly.
At the January, 1999, meeting, the Presbytery had voted to refer the complaint of Jeff Black, and the appeal of Byron Curtis, to the General Assembly as a "reference." Upon motion by the Presbytery respondents, the court voted to adopt the following resolution:
"Whereas M#55 at ECP's winter stated meeting sent both TE Black's complaint and TE Byron Curtis's appeal (sic) to the General Assembly as a reference without properly specifying the particular question being asked of the General Assembly; and,
Whereas there may be confusion between the two separate matters of TE Curtis's appeal (sic) and ECP's reference; and,
Whereas the reference can not have any reference to TE Black's complaint as it had already been decided at an earlier presbytery meeting and was therefore finished business not pending business (BCO 41-1 "...for advice or other action on a matter pending before the lower court"); and,
Whereas the reference can not have any reference to TE Curtis's appeal (sic) as that was filed with General Assembly and not ECP and therefore was not business pending before ECP (BCO 41-1 as above);
We do move that Eastern Carolina Presbytery clarify its reference (Motion #55 Winter 1999 Stated Meeting) not to be concerning the complaint of TE Black nor the appeal (sic) of TE Byron Curtis but this specific question to the Committee on Constitutional Business; 'Does a presbytery have the authority to require a man not to teach his errors as true in any public forum save that of the courts of the Presbyterian Church in America after that man has been received into the presbytery?'"
Evangel (Return to Top)
The 84th Stated Meeting of Evangel Presbytery was held on September 22, 1998, at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama. The Moderator, TE Joe York, convened the meeting, and was re-elected as Moderator.
A memorial for Rev. William Alling was read and spread on the minutes. A pastor emeritus of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, Alabama, Mr. Alling passed away on March 20, 1998, at the age of 90.
The 1999 budget, totaling $80,625, was adopted. The court designated $66,950 of the total for its Mission to North America Committee.
The court voted that TE Mike Williams be permitted to engage in ministry activities with specific guidelines to be followed: "Continue to report to Presbytery 3 times/year by committee on his status"; "abide by a set of standards for counselling opposite sex clients to be set by his board of directors"; "continue regular accountability to TE Bob Flayhart"; "counseling to be supervised by a member of Presbytery according to professional standards (TE Howard Eyrich)"; "this does not include preaching or administering the sacraments." TE Jeff Carlton was divested of the ministry without censure. The Presbytery assigned him to membership in the Oak Mountain Church, and declared that he was free to re-marry.
The Moderator was authorized to appoint a commission to look into the situation at the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Pleasant Grove.
Presbytery examined and approved for ordination Candidate David Cunningham and Licentiate Tom Cox. Mr. Cunningham has a call from Mission to the World, and Mr. Cox has been called as an Assistant Minister of Faith Presbyterian Church, Anniston.
Messrs. Jason Strong, Bill Gresham, and Dan Seale were examined and approved for transfer. Mr. Seale has been called to be Pastor of Knollwood Presbyterian Church, Sylacauga, Alabama; and Mr. Gresham is working with an independent congregation, Center Hill Presbyterian of Locust Grove, in the hopes of bringing the church into the denomination.
Presbytery dissolved the pastoral relationship between the First Presbyterian Church of Russellville, Alabama, and TE Hubert Stewart, and honorably retired him. Mr. Stewart will continue as Stated Clerk of Evangel Presbytery.
The Bills and Overtures Committee recommended that three overtures from the Faith Church in Annistion be answered in the negative. That motion failed; and the overtures were approved. The overtures propose changing the basis on which members of the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) determine cases. The proposal would change the wording of the vows which govern SJC members from being allegiance to the Constitution of the PCA, to the principles of Scripture which are systematized in the Constitution of the PCA. It would also modify the Constitution so that constitutional language and principles would no longer be binding when a higher court judges a case, but would allow the higher court to apply Scripture according to its own interpretation.
Fellowship (Return to Top)
The Fourteenth Stated Meeting of Fellowship Presbytery met on January 23, 1999, at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N. C. Moderator TE William Fox, Jr., convened the meeting and opened it with prayer.
Mr. Michael Harkness preached from Judges 17:1-13. Presbytery then engaged in a season of prayer.
RE Jeff Wilson was elected the new Moderator, by acclamation.
A Memorial was read for Leon C. Glenn, a ruling elder at Scherer Memorial Church.
Presbytery adopted the proposed Evangelism and Church Development for Fellowship Presbytery, by a vote of 31-0. Presbytery voted to enter into discussion with Central Carolina Presbytery about the possibility of ceding that part of North Carolina south of Interstate 85 and west of Interstate 77 to Fellowship Presbytery.
Mr. Harkness was examined and approved for licensure. Information was received on Candidates Barrett Jordan, Rick Lindsay, and Brian Lowe.
Grace (Return to Top)
Grace Presbytery met for its 93rd stated meeting at First Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on January 12, 1999. The Rev. Mr. George G. Felton, Sr., presided at opening worship, and preached from I Peter 5:1-11 a sermon, entitled "Shepherding the Flock of God." The annual ministerial obligation ceremony was conducted, with the Clerk calling the roll and each minister signing the obligation.
The Rev. Mr. Alton Phillips, the Moderator-in-Nomination, was elected Moderator.
Mr. Curtis E. Moore was received as a candidate and enrolled as a ministerial intern.
An overture from the Collins Presbyterian Church Session regarding the prefatory statement to the denominational Directory for Worship was referred to Standing Committee on Resolutions and Overtures. The court later voted to postpone indefinitely consideration of the overture.
Mr. Felton reported for the Leakesville Commission. Presbytery approved its report. The Rev. Mr. J. Thomas Shields recorded his negative vote, and indicated that complaint may be brought against this action. He later recorded a dissent from the action of dissolving the Commission "without giving commissioners the opportunity to ask questions concerning the body of the Commission's report, especially since some of the questions pertained to the constitutionality of some Commission actions."
Presbytery approved the action of its Advisory Committee in dissolving the pastoral relationship between the Rev. Mr. Steve Hill and the Thomson Memorial Presbyterian church.
Mid-America (Return to Top)
Mid-America Presbytery was hosted by Heritage Presbyterian Church, Edmond, Oklahoma, on April 9, 1999. The Moderator, TE William P. Shows, called the meeting to order and presided over opening worship. He preached from Matthew 13:24-31, 36-43, a sermon entitled, "Purity and Impurity." The Presbytery then communed at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Ruling Elder Lyle Fogle of Christ Presbyterian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was elected as the new Moderator.
The Presbytery approved the transfer of its Arkansas counties back to Covenant Presbytery, and the transfer of its Missouri counties back to Missouri Presbytery. The Mission to North America/Church Extension Committee also moved that Mid-America Presbytery seek merger of those remaining portions of the Presbytery with North Texas Presbytery. Upon advice of the Stated Clerk, the Moderator ruled that this motion would require a two-thirds vote, since Mid-America would cease to exist, and such a motion, under Robert's Rules of Order, requires the same vote as that to amend the organization's bylaws. The Moderator's ruling was challenged, and was sustained by a vote of 10 to 10. The Moderator ruled that the motion would constitute a First Reading of an amendment to the bylaws.
The MNA/Church Extension Committee later moved the resolution from Heritage Presbyterian Church, which sought to transfer the counties of Southeast Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, to North Texas Presbytery. It was moved and seconded that this motion be subject to a two-thirds majority for passage. That procedural motion lost, 7-13.
It was moved and seconded to amend the Committee's motion by approving transfer of Heritage Presbyterian Church and an area one-half mile in radius from 14500 North Western Avenue, where the church currently meets, to North Texas Presbytery. That amendment lost, 7-10-1.
The Moderator asked TE Charles Garriot to assume the chair. Mr. Fogle then moved a substitute, that would have ceded to North Texas Presbytery, Oklahoma County [where Oklahoma City is located-Ed.] and a "corridor of land consisting of the platted right-of-way of Interstate 35 beginning at the South county line of Oklahoma County and continuing therewith in a generally southerly direction . . . and ending at the state line of the State of Texas." The substitute failed, 4-10. Another substitute was offered, that the counties of Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Garvin, Murray, Carter and Love, be transferred to North Texas. The substitute became the main motion, and passed on a voice vote.
Presbytery voted to deny a complaint lodged by the Session of Beal Heights Presbyterian Church, Lawton, Oklahoma. The complaint revolved around the denial of a licensure renewal for the Rev. Mr. Bill Doerfel, a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), and the denial of the request of Grace Presbyterian Church, Norman, Oklahoma, that Mr. Doerfel be stated supply for the congregation. [Grace Presbyterian voted to leave the PCA and has subsequently been received by the OPC.-Ed.]
Presbytery approved the report of its commission dealing with Teaching Elder David H. Bryson. The pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Tulsa from 1994 until 1998, Dr. Bryson was charged with "Aggravated Violation of the Seventh & Tenth Commandments in the Ongoing Committing of the Sin of Adultery"; "Aggravated Violation of the Third and Ninth Commandments in Violating the 7th Ordination Vow" (" . . . faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel . . ."); and "Aggravated Violation of the Third and Ninth Commandments in Violating the 3rd Questions for Installation" [as Pastor]. According to the commission report, Dr. Bryson was now in Minnesota, cohabiting with a woman from the congregation he had pastored. The commission had voted to depose and excommunicate Dr. Bryson, based on his continued failure to appear to answer the charges against him.
New River (Return to Top)
74th Stated Meeting
The 74th Stated Meeting of New River Presbytery was held at Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Fairmont, West Virginia, on November 13-14, 1998. Ruling Elder Virgil Roberts, Moderator, called the meeting to order. Host pastor Kenneth Robinson preached from Matthew 9:35-38 a sermon entitled, "The Harvest."
The name of Donald Wahlman was stricken from the list of candidates, based on his recent ordination as a minister in Nashville Presbytery.
Presbytery approved the request of Valley Reformed Presbyterian Church, Cloverdale, Virginia, to be dissolved, effective January 13, 1999, with the assets distributed according to the church's request. The church's last pastor, Brian S. Webster, was transferred to North Texas Presbytery.
The Rev. Mr. John Rollins was elected as Treasurer. Presbytery thanked the Rev. Mr. Riley Ware for his many years of service in that post.
The Presbytery budget of $20,700 was approved. Roughly two-thirds of the budget is for the Mission to North America Committee.
A called meeting of New River Presbytery was held on January 23, 1999, at Riverview Presbyterian Church, Charleston, West Virginia. The meeting was called to deal with matters that had arisen at Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church, Fairmont, West Virginia. The Moderator declared that "since the matters before the Presbytery on this day are not of a judicial nature, that the meeting shall be conducted in open session, and that all members of Presbytery (including those from Faith Reformed Church) have the right to the floor, and if so designated, the right to vote."
Presbytery voted, 13-8, to "establish a new PCA Mission with the daughter core group that is leaving Faith Reformed, under condition of ongoing counseling by the Shepherding Committee for the purpose of reconciliation with the Faith Reformed Church." Presbytery, 13-7, approved a call (package of $34,300) to the Rev. Mr. Kenneth Robinson, to be organizing pastor of this new mission work. Presbytery also dissolved the pastoral relationship between Mr. Robinson and the Faith Reformed Church. Presbytery voted to aid Faith Reformed Church to find an interim pastor for the next nine to twelve months and to help work through the issues and to help look for a pastor.
The 75th Stated Meeting of New River Presbytery was held at Faith Presbyterian Church, Cross Lanes, West Virginia, on March 12-13, 1999. Host pastor Brant Wilkie preached and administered the sacrament of communion.
Among the visiting brethren introduced and seated were TE John Leddon (Ascension Presbytery), TE Luis Orteza (Ohio Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church), and Licentiate Robert Jones (an Evangelical Free minister). Memorials for RE Rodney Johnson of the Winifrede (W. Va.) Church and RE Glendale J. Beck of the Riverview Church of Charleston, W. Va., were presented.
After examination, Mr. Leddon was licensed to preach and was approved as Stated Supply at the Faith Reformed Church, Fairmont, W. Va.
Presbytery approved various changes in terms of ministerial call.
North Florida (Return to Top)
The First Stated Meeting of North Florida Presbytery was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, October 17, 1998. TE Rodney W. Whited called the meeting to order and opened with a prayer of thanksgiving and supplication.
TE Charles Frost, Pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, was elected Moderator. TE Randy Wilding was elected Stated Clerk.
Among the visitors present were Dr. L. Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly; and Nelson Kyasogka of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Uganda.
North Florida had been formed from Central Florida Presbytery. The new presbytery adopted the Standing Rules of Central Florida, with several modifications. The Minister & His Work Committee, the Examinations Committee, and the Candidates Committee were combined into a Credentials Committee. A new Shepherding Committee was established; among its responsibilities are changes in the terms of a minister's call; and care for those ministers without call and/or under discipline.
The Administrative Committee was authorized to invite other presbyters to join its study of the structure of the Presbytery. The Committee will also study the matters of incorporation and tax-exempt status.
A 1999 budget of $50,100 was adopted, with $36,790 designated for home missions, and another $3,000 for Reformed University Ministries. The budget is based on "Askings" of $20 per communicant member.
Presbytery elected Mr. Frost as Moderator-in-Nomination for 1999. He withdrew his name from nomination after a discussion as to the importance of parity between teaching and ruling elders. RE Neil Ganzell was elected as Moderator-in-Nomination for the Second Stated Meeting, to be held on January 19, 1999.
The Moderator expressed the appreciation of Presbytery for the Transition Team for its assistance in forming the new presbytery. Special thanks went to Mr. Whited, TE A. B. Scott, and RE John DuBose.
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, Fla., hosted the Second Stated Meeting of North Florida Presbytery, on January 19, 1999. At the request of the retiring moderator, TE Chuck Frost, who was not present, TE Rob Pendley led in worship and exhorted from Luke 11:5-8. The Lord's Supper was administered, with TE Cliff Wilcox and RE Ron Diamond assisting in the distribution of the elements. RE Neal Ganzel, the moderator nominee, was elected by acclamation.
Presbytery voted to dissolve the pastoral relationship between Mr. Frost and Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, and to dismiss him to North Georgia Presbytery pending reception. Chaplain Glenn Gresham was dismissed to Central Florida Presbytery.
TE John McNicoll was received from Heritage Presbytery to be a Church Planter with the powers of an Evangelist. He has been called as Organizing Pastor of the Amelia Island Mission, Fernandina Beach, Fla., with a total package of $60,000.
Messrs. Franklin Moore, Henry C. Bradford, III, and Peter Bekins were examined and received under care as ministerial candidates.
Presbytery amended its Standing Rules by adopting a document which outlines the membership, meetings, records and rules of order of the Shepherding Committee. The document states that the Committee is to be involved in a non-judicial pastoral way with the elders and churches of the Presbytery; and that "[i]n no case shall the committee, or any member thereof, serve as the initiator of church discipline in any of the matters brought to its attention in the course of its relationship with the elders, churches and ministries of the Presbytery." The minutes state that "Confidentiality was discussed and it was noted that if confidential information was sought for a judicial case that this information could be gained by a vote to suspend the Standing Rules."
The Auditing Committee reported the number of exceptions and notations taken to the minutes of the various sessions. However, the particular exceptions were not spelled out.
Northeast (Return to Top)
Northeast Presbytery met for its stated meeting on January 16, 1999, at the Presbyterian Church of Manchester, Ct. Moderator Brad Evans presided, and appointed Dr. John Vance and Ruling Elder Ivars Fridenvalds as a Committee of Thanks.
The following officers were re-elected: Mr. Evans as Moderator, TE Chris Robinson as Recording Clerk, and TE Philip J. Adams as Parliamentarian.
At the previous stated meeting, Presbytery had rescinded its Standing Rules. At this meeting, it unanimously adopted new Standing Rules, which will accord with the new regionalized committee structure.
The Presbytery voted that all unanimous recommendations from the regional committees will be handled in an omnibus fashion, unless there is an objection to a particular recommendation from being included in the omnibus.
Presbytery approved the action of its Northern New England Committee, acting as a commission, in receiving TE Joseph Trombetta from the Presbytery of New Jersey of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, to be Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Nashua, N. H. Presbytery also approved the action of its New York State Committee, acting as a commission, in receiving TE Steve Froehlich from Mississippi Valley Presbytery to be Organizing Pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church, Ithaca, N. Y., with powers of Evangelist to receive and dismiss members, administer the sacraments, and organize New Life Mission Church into a particular church.
Presbytery approved the report of the commission handling the complaint of Lt. Mark Burns (USAF) vs. Christ the King Presbyterian Church. The complaint centered around the manner in which the Session sought to dissolve an alleged assistant pastoral relationship with [an assistant pastor] and communicated that action to Harvard United Ministry (HUM). The court did not sustain several specifications, but did sustain these specifications: "The session did not give [an assistant pastor] 'ample opportunity to present his concerns to the Session'"; "The session acted outside of its constitutional authority in its motion to dissolve the pastoral relations in the April 5, 1998 meeting and what they furthermore represented in the April 9, 1998 letter to HUM"; and "Session failed to give 'due notice' to [an assistant pastor] of their communications with Harvard University." A motion within the commission to redress the situation by annulling the Session's action on April 5, 1998, to "dissolve the call of [an assistant pastor] as assistant pastor" failed, 1-5. Two of the commission members were to address the discrepancies in the record of the case, and that list of discrepancies is to be sent to the Session of Christ the King Presbyterian Church, only.
The Presbytery sent a letter to Mr. David Fulford, a member of Covenant PCA, Groton, Ct., accusing him of making slanderous and untrue charges against the court. He had been previously censured for having brought charges against his pastor, Dr. David Prescott. The Presbytery at its September 1998 meeting, citing I Timothy 5:19 ("Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses"), had ruled those charges out of order since he was the only one who signed the charges.
The Presbytery referred a correspondence item from Joanne Longton regarding the Groton Church to the temporary Session of the Church. Two items of business later, the Presbytery dissolved the commission acting as a temporary Session at Groton, with thanks, and appointed Dr. Prescott as Evangelist with powers to receive and dismiss members.
Northern California (Return to Top)
October Stated Meeting
Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, San Ramon, California, hosted the October 16-17, 1998, stated meeting of Northern California Presbytery. The Moderator, TE Lewis Ruff, was re-elected and presided over the proceedings.
Presbytery authorized the Ministers & Churches Committee to work with the Session of Park City (Utah) Presbyterian Church to respond to the Certified Letter of October 9, 1998, which had been received by Presbytery's Stated Clerk from the member who had been excommunicated by the Temporary Session of Park City.
Rev. Calvin Malcor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church's Northern California Presbytery brought fraternal greetings. He reported that the days of creation are a current topic of controversy in his denomination.
Presbytery considered the report of its Committee Investigating Transfer of TE Abshire into the Presbytery. The court approved the following statement: "Book of Church Order 13-2 states that when a minister labors in a work not under the jurisdiction of his Presbytery it shall be only with the full concurrence of and under circumstances agreeable to the Presbytery within whose geographical bounds he labors. On this basis the Northern California Presbytery declines the request for transfer of TE Brian Abshire's credentials from Northern Illinois Presbytery because it is not in full concurrence with TE Abshire's labors out of bounds." The minutes note that "TE Abshire remains a member of Northern Illinois Presbytery by this decision. The Stated Clerk will advise TE Abshire and Northern Illinois Presbytery of this decision."
The Stated Clerk, Mr. Arthur Schick, presented the complaint he had filed against the ruling made by the Moderator at the February 11, 1998, stated meeting. Moderator Ruff had ruled that "service on the ministerial staff of a PCUSA church is an extraordinary case which allows exception to the PCA church membership requirement of BCO 18-2 for men seeking to come Under Care of Presbytery. The Complainant presented his Complaint, . . . [and] quoted BCO 18-8, . . . which states that: 'An applicant coming as a candidate from another Denomination must present testimonials of his standing in that body and MUST become a member of a congregation in the PCA. He shall THEN fulfill the requirements of applicants listed under BCO 18-2 as well as requirements placed upon those desiring to be licensed or to become an intern as set forth in BCO 19.'
"The Stated Clerk stated that this BCO requires a member of another Denomination, like the PCUSA, to become a member of a PCA congregation before application is made to come Under Care of Presbytery in accordance with BCO 18-2. It is therefore a violation of the BCO to rule that service on the staff of a PCUSA church allows exception to the PCA church membership requirement of BCO 18-2."
Without objection, the Moderator was allowed to occupy the Chair while serving as Respondent for Presbytery in the complaint. He presented several reasons why the complaint should be denied. It was moved and seconded to approve the complaint; the motion was defeated. TE David Brown requested that his affirmative vote be recorded.
[Editor's Note: This complaint dealt with a man who was on staff at First Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, while also helping to lead at New Song-Salt Lake, the PCA mission church whose practices caused controversy throughout the denomination.]
Presbytery voted to approve, with several emendations, the proposed response by the New Song-Salt Lake Commission to the four questions which Central Georgia Presbytery had posed to Northern California regarding New Song-Salt Lake. It was moved and seconded to reconsider the response to the fourth question; the motion failed. TE's Brown, Andy Lee, and Don Treick requested that their negative votes be recorded.
TE Bob Illman reported that "no funds have been dispersed for the $80,000 loan approved for New Song Salt Lake mission church and it is not expected that any funds will be dispersed for that loan. TE Illman stated that GA/MNA is still working on our Presbytery's request that the requirements that Presbyteries guarantee mission church loans in the Five Million Fund Policy Guidelines be removed." [Editor's Note: At its March 18-19, 1999, meeting, the MNA Committee declined to remove that requirement.]
Mr. Ruff reported that "the Interpresbytery Committee is looking at all the boundaries in the West. It is not expected that they will have a recommendation ready for the 27th General Assembly meeting in June 1999."
Mr. Bruce VanHorn, a member of Grace Presbyterian Church, a mission work in Layton, Utah, was received as a ministerial candidate. Also taken under care was Mr. Andrew Park of New Church Berkeley. TE Patrick McDaniel was transferred from Central Florida Presbytery, to be Stated Supply at New Song-Salt Lake. [Editor's Note: He had already been moved onto the field, in August, by the New Song-Salt Lake Commission (contra BCO 21-1).] Mr. McDaniel stated that he agrees with the PCA doctrinal standards, with one exception: he believes that recreation on the Sabbath "is an acceptable activity for a Christian if it is experienced with Thanksgiving (I Cor. 10:30, Rom. 14:6) and within the overall framework of worship of God with God's people."
Mr. Dennis Heida was examined and approved to be ordained as Assistant Pastor at New Church Berkeley. Although he does not have a seminary degree, he did complete a course of theological study which followed the approved Uniform Curriculum of the PCA, including study of Greek and Hebrew.
Presbytery approved the dissolution of the assistant pastoral relationship between TE James Domich and Valley Springs Presbyterian Church, Roseville, Calif.; and the call extended to him by Ridge Presbyterian Church, Paradise, Calif., to be pastor. TE Bob Scott's resignation as Senior Pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Pleasanton, Calif., was approved; he remains on the rolls of Presbytery, without call, and is currently residing in Oregon. TE David Crenshaw, who has been an Assistant Pastor at Grace Presbyterian, was called unanimously by the congregation to be Pastor of the church (thus meeting the four-fifths supermajority needed for an associate or assistant pastor to succeed a senior pastor without a time of intervening service); and Presbytery approved this call by the requisite three-fourths supermajority.
Presbytery established a commission to examine and ordain ruling elders and to organize Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Santa Rosa, Calif., and to install the pastor.
The Ministers and Churches Committee, acting as a commission, had dismissed TE Jonathan Van Hoogen to Central Georgia Presbytery, where he has been serving as a church planter in Harlem, Georgia.
A called meeting of Northern California Presbytery was held on January 23, 1999, at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, Danville, Calif. The complaint of TE David Brown against the failure of the Presbytery to entertain charges against TE Lewis Ruff was considered by the court, and not sustained, by a vote of 3-17. The court referred eight of the nine charges which Mr. Brown had brought against Mr. Ruff to the Ministers and Churches Committee for resolution, and instructed the two men to meet together prior to the March 12-13, 1999, stated meeting and to report to the Committee at its scheduled meeting prior to the meeting of Presbytery.
Palmetto (Return to Top)
The Sixtieth Stated Session of Palmetto Presbytery met at Central Presbyterian Church, Kingstree, South Carolina, on October 22, 1998. Dr. Gordon Reed, Moderator, called the meeting to order and presided over the proceedings. RE Dean Ezell of the Church Creek Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carolina, was elected Moderator for 1999.
Chaplain David Peterson of Siouxlands Presbytery, who is Executive Director of the Presbyterian & Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel, preached from Mark 5, on the topic, "No End to Sin." He also administered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Later in the meeting, he reported on his work by speaking on "Chaplains Doing the Work of Missionaries."
By the requisite two-thirds supermajority vote, Presbytery appointed a committee to hear the sermon preached by Candidate Ray Cureton. Presbytery later approved his ordination exam and his call to be senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Van Wyck, South Carolina, with a total package of $45,000.
Presbytery adopted the 1999 budget, totaling $180,550. (This marks a decrease of $26,200 from the 1998 budget.) The bulk of the moneys ($158,500) is designated for home missions.
Presbytery approved the report of its commission to ordain Mr. John Uhl as an assistant pastor for church planting at Northeast PCA, Columbia, South Carolina. His father-in-law, TE Robert Vincent, preached the sermon. (Formerly a PCA minister, Mr. Vincent joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church as he led his PCA congregation into that denomination in 1998.)
Presbytery also approved the commission reports regarding the installation of TE John Warren, Jr., as pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church, Aiken, South Carolina; regarding the ordination and installation of Mr. Edward Ouimette at pastor of the Union Presbyterian Church, Salter, South Carolina; regarding the installation of Dr. Al Lutz as Evangelist for the Okatie Presbyterian Mission in Sun City, South Carolina; and regarding the installation of TE W. Wesley Holland, Jr., as assistant pastor of the New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Aiken, South Carolina. The guest preacher for Mr. Holland's installation was TE Terry Johnson, pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah, Georgia, and a member of Central Georgia Presbytery.
Presbytery heard missions reports from Tom Campbell, who went to Costa Rica in summer 1998; TE Cameron Kirker, who recently went to Central America; and TE Gary Johnson of Mission to the World, who is leading the new MTW team to Sweden.
Presbytery dissolved the following pastoral relationships: TE Alan Mallory and Eau Claire Presbyterian Church, Columbia, so that he can accept a position in Illiana Presbytery; TE Tucker Bartholomew and Lexington (S.C.) Presbyterian Church, so he can accept a position in James River Presbytery; and TE Douglas Nystrom and Lexington (S.C.) Presbyterian Church, so he can accept a position with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Wichita Falls, Texas.
By a two-thirds vote, Presbytery divested TE Brian Skelly without censure, per his request.
Candidate Kevin Thumpston was transferred to Eastern Carolina Presbytery, where he has already been ordained. Tom Campbell's internship with Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Columbia, was approved as having been completed.
TE Paul Poynor was examined and transferred from Southeast Alabama Presbytery to be senior pastor at the Eau Claire Presbyterian Church (total package of $41,000 plus manse). TE Craig Pipkin was received from North Georgia Presbytery to be senior pastor of the St. Matthews (S.C.) Presbyterian Church (total package of $37,034 plus manse). Mr. Pipkin's call provided for two weeks vacation, and the church session was advised that pastors are to receive four weeks vacation.
Presbytery responded to a communication from the Sardinia and New Harmony Presbyterian Churches with respect to Christian liberty in our culture, by agreeing with the cautions regarding the "devastating effects of the . . . uninhibited and almost unchecked use of (alcohol, and other drugs) in our society today." The court also noted that, according to the PCA Constitution, the elder ". . . should exhibit a sobriety and holiness of life becoming the gospel" (BCO 8-2). Further, the Presbytery concurred with the Confession of Faith, XX.3, which states: "they who upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty. . . ." Accordingly, the Presbytery voted to "urge our fellow Presbyters to exercise great discretion with respect to this matter of Christian liberty."
A second part of the communication dealt with Creation. Presbytery voted to discuss this matter on creation, or establish its own study committee, in order to send a recommendation to the General Assembly's Study Committee on Creation, concerning the Presbytery's position. Presbytery also referred information sent by the Sardinia and New Harmony Churches to the General Assembly Study Committee on Creation.
Palmetto Presbytery met for its 61st Stated Meeting on January 28, 1999, at the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Irmo, S. C. Moderator Gordon Reed called the meeting to order, and introduced the 1999 Moderator, RE Dean Ezell. Stated Clerk William Plowden praised Dr. Reed for the excellent job he had done as Moderator the past year, and Mr. Ezell thanked him for all the assistance he had given him in preparing him for the job.
Host pastor Rick Perrin led the Presbytery in worship. Mrs. Anne MacCallum sang a solo. Dr. John L. Carson, President of Erskine College, Due West, S. C., and a minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, preached on "The Blood of the Eternal Covenant," from Hebrews 13:15-21. Dr. Carson administered the sacrament of communion, assisted by several ruling elders. Dr. Carson later conducted Ministry Time, speaking on, "Why A Christian Liberal Arts Education?"
Presbytery endorsed four of the five proposed changes to the Book of Church Order. It voted against the proposed change with regard to the election of ruling elders and deacons.
Presbytery approved the reports of several commissions: to ordain and install Ray Cureton as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Van Wyck, S. C.; to install Craig Pipkin as pastor of St. Matthews (S. C.) Presbyterian Church; to install David Anthony Bindewald as assistant pastor of Lexington (S. C.) Presbyterian Church; and to install Paul Poynor as pastor of Eau Claire Presbyterian Church, Columbia, S. C.
The pastoral relationship between TE James Brown and the St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Irmo, S. C., was dissolved.
TE Fred Mau was examined and transferred from Covenant Presbytery; his call from the Faith Presbyterian Church, White Rock, S. C., (total package of $56,000) was approved.
Also approved was the call from the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sumter, S. C., to Robert G. Cox, as assistant pastor (total package of $41,000). During his ordination exam, he expressed a "scruple" with regard to Larger Catechism, Q/A 177, and its phrase, "only to such as are of years and ability to examine themselves." He declared: "Concerning this exception, I confess my allegiance and submission to Presbyterian Government and the PCA, The Book of Church Order and the Standards and will keep my practices and teachings in line with their rules." Presbytery instructed him not to teach or practice his views concerning communion. Asked later if he had any exceptions to the PCA Standards, he answered in the negative.
Presbytery authorized up to $1,000 to subsidize the expenses of one teaching elder, whose church cannot sending him to General Assembly, in order to attend the meeting.
Messrs. Tony Burk and Jack Weigle were removed from the list of Candidates, per their request.
Mr. Tony Myers' internship was declared complete and approved, as was Mr. Terry Wilkes' internship. Mr. Mike Emlet's candidacy was transferred to Philadelphia Presbytery; and Mr. Matt Christian's candidacy was transferred to Central Georgia Presbytery.
Dr. Richard Belcher, Jr., a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary-Charlotte and a member of Fellowship Presbytery, was examined and licensed to preach within the bounds of Palmetto Presbytery. He was also approved to become Stated Supply at Faith Presbyterian Church, Cheraw, S. C.
Messrs. Robert Cathcart and Thomas Campbell were examined and approved for licensure. Mr. Gabriel Ricks was taken under care as a ministerial candidate.
Philadelphia (Return to Top)
Philadelphia Presbytery met for its stated meeting on January 9, 1999, at Westminster Theological Seminary, Laverock, Pa. The Vice Moderator, RE Royce Seifert, called the meeting to order, in the absence of Moderator Ted Lim. Mr. Seifert was installed as Moderator by past moderator RE Sam Grillo.
RE David C. Lachman had presented a memorial against the session of Calvary Presbyterian Church, Willow Grove, Pa. Presbytery referred the matter to the Judicial Business Committee. Presbytery later adopted a motion that "all parties are not to distribute any material outside of the membership of the Calvary Presbyterian Church or of the Judicial Business Committee until such time as the court so directs."
Licentiate Joseph Fitzpatrick preached from a portion of Psalm 1. Upon examination, he was approved for ordination to work as a church planter missionary in Manila, Philippines, with Mission to the World (MTW). Presbytery directed the Assistance & Membership Committee to communicate with MTW regarding the nature of Mr. Fitzpatrick's ordination examination and that this communication be first reviewed by the Judicial Business Committee before being sent to MTW.
Licentiate Richard Phillips preached a sermon based on Matthew 1:18-21. Presbytery approved his ordination exam and his call as part-time assistant pastor at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. He will also be serving as organizing pastor for Christ the King Mission, a daughter church of Tenth Church. Licentiate Mark Hartzell preached from I John 4:18. His ordination exam was approved, as well as his call ($45,000 plus benefits) by Harvest USA (a group that ministers to homosexuals) to be an evangelist.
Presbytery approved the call of Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church (Mission) to TE Mark Herzer as organizing pastor and evangelist, with the specific additional powers of instructing potential ruling elders and deacons and receiving and dismissing members of the mission church. His salary package is $43,000.
Licentiate David Green was called by the Presbytery to be campus minister at Lehigh University. Presbytery noted that the fulfillment of the terms of the call was entirely dependent on the receiving of contributions to this ministry.
RE Bob Miller reported on the progress of the work through Hope for America and current status of the Women in the Military concerns. Thus far not enough funds have been received for the General Assembly Study Committee to begin meeting. Presbytery voted to send $1,000 for the Study Committee, with the provision that the money be returned if the Study Committee does not use it. [Philadelphia Presbytery originated the overture which created the Study Committee.-Ed.]
Mr. John Kyung Park was taken under care as a ministerial candidate. The name of Mr. Leonard Nicoletti was removed from the roll of candidates per his request. The internship of Mr. Stephen Huber was approved as completed. The Candidates and Internship Committee expressed its thanks for the years of faithful service to the candidates and interns of Presbytery by outgoing chairman TE Marion Clark.
Mr. Lance Lewis, a candidate and intern in James River Presbytery, was encouraged in his desire to complete a two-year church planting internship under the supervision of TE Louis Wilson, pastor of Redemption Fellowship in Fayetteville, Ga. The court voted to donate $1,000 in each of three years (1999, 2000, and 2001) to assist him.
Messrs. George Gunn and Mark Malyj were licensed to preach. Mr. Malyj works with Russian Jewish immigrants in Northeast Philadelphia. Presbytery voted to pay one-half of the cost of his going through the denominational Assessment Center.
Mrs. Susan Flom, president of the Presbytery Women in the Church (Pres-WIC), addressed the court, particularly encouraging more interaction between local WIC groups and their respective sessions. On motion Mrs. Flom's remarks were ordered spread upon the minutes.
Rocky Mountain (Return to Top)
Rocky Mountain Presbytery met for its winter stated meeting on January 21-22, 1999, at Deer Creek Community Church, Littleton, Colorado. The Moderator, RE Jim Bennett, called the meeting to order and presided.
The Mission to North America Forum on Church Planting in the Rocky Mountain Presbytery was opened with prayer by TE Jim Talarico. The purpose of the forum was stated as: "To establish a common vision in the extension of the kingdom in the Rocky Mountain region." It was moved, seconded, and carried that the forum not be recorded. It was moved, seconded, and carried to reconsider the motion. It was moved, seconded, and carried that the forum be recorded. Reports were given on the following topics: the results of the survey of Presbytery's churches; Worship; on being Reformed; on Church Planters; on Financial Accountability.
Mr. Brendan O'Dowd preached a sermon from Genesis 34 as part of his ordination trials. He spoke of overcoming selfishness and fear through the promises which are ours in Christ. He was later examined and approved for ordination, to be an assistant pastor at Forestgate Presbyterian Church.
During the report of the Officers and Churches Committee, it was moved that Rick Vasquez be given the powers of an evangelist but not the status of an evangelist. The motion failed.
It was reported that Pastor WonDae Lee's church has voted to leave the PCA, but has decided on no plan of action in terms of formally leaving.
Mr Michael Williams was examined for transfer from another denomination, in order to become a part-time assistant pastor at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Lander, Wyoming. His examination was sustained in part. Presbytery apologized to him in allowing him to come to the floor of Presbytery unprepared for his examination, and sought his forgiveness "that we did not love him as we love ourselves."
Messrs. Nate Wilson and Bentley Tate were received under care as ministerial candidates.
Presbytery adopted a resolution that amended TE Randy Sawyer's call from a Church Planter to Stated Supply of the Sheridan (Wyo.) Reformed Presbyterian Mission. The resolution recognized that his gifts lie in the areas of mercy and evangelism, and that he would therefore best serve in a supportive role.
The MNA Chairman was directed to telephone the churches of the Salt Lake Basin, to consider with them the possibility of their coming under the oversight of Rocky Mountain Presbytery [rather than Northern California-Ed.].
Presbytery approved the action of its commission which committed the Presbytery to be listed as a Friend of the Court in the case of Ayon v. Gourley.
South Coast Presbytery met for its stated meeting on January 23, 1999, at Coastal Community Church of Oceanside, California. The Moderator, TE David Eby, presided. Licentiate Brad Arakelian introduced three representatives from the Northwest Border Presbytery of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico.
Presbytery granted the powers of Evangelist to the following men: Gary Watanabe (MTW missionary in Mexico), Allen Pritzlaff (MTW missionary in Asia), Andrew Noch (MTW missionary in Ethiopia), and chaplains Rob Callison and Randall Bowen. TE Jeong Woo Lee and TE John Bash were granted powers of Evangelist, except for the power to organize churches or to ordain and install ruling elders and deacons.
The associate pastoral relationship between Fred Hofland and Trinity Presbyterian Church, Escondido, California, was dissolved, effective January 31, 1999.
The Presbytery ruled out of order an overture, signed by eight teaching elders and eight ruling elders, on the following ground: "The overtures request that the presbytery exercise its ecclesiastical authority to discipline one of its members by way of command and prohibition; and to direct a session to exercise like discipline of a member. These are judicial decisions that necessarily entail judgments that certain actions are sinful, i.e. contrary to the Word of God. Yet the overture process, since it entails no more procedure than debating and voting, lacks the safeguards to the rights of the accused and the cause of truth and accuracy that are required by the process of judicial discipline established in our BCO and warranted by the seriousness of the (implied if not explicit) accusations contained in the 'overtures.' If the presbytery were to act on these overtures-whether affirmatively or negatively-the presbytery would be doing so outside of the BCO's carefully-developed process that requires specific allegations regarding specific actions (dates, places), witnesses or other evidence demonstrating the factuality of the events, careful biblical argumentation, and opportunity for cross-examination. To handle these serious concerns by mere debate and vote on overtures would violate both godly church order, and Christian love and commitment to truth." The final vote on this amended main motion was 16-1-6.
Mrs. Darlene Eby, wife of the Moderator, reported on the importance of qualified Sunday School teachers. She made herself available to assist Presbytery's churches in Sunday School teacher training.
Presbytery ruled out of order the appeal of Mr. Dan Mahoney, with regard to the excommunication of his daughter by the Session of Trinity Presbyterian Church. The court instructed him that the proper vehicle for him to express his concerns is a complaint to the Trinity Session. The Moderator was empowered by the Presbytery to appoint a six-man commission to handle any matters regarding Mr. Mahoney's concerns (including, but not limited to, finding a complaint in order and adjudicating it) prior to the April stated meeting of Presbytery. Dr. Dennis Johnson was appointed to assist Mr. Mahoney in the matter. Mr. George Scipione, a member of Southern California Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, being familiar with the case as a witness and a facilitator in the case, was invited to be present as a witness when the complaint is presented to the Session.
Licentiate Phillip Henry preached a sermon from Matthew 15:21-28, entitled, "I was sent only to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel." He was later examined and approved for ordination. He takes exception to the Confessional Standards, believing that the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ.
The internship requirements for Licentiates Stephen Lewis, Jeff McDonald, and Bernie Van Eyk were approved as having been met.
TE Timothy Monsma was examined and was received from the Christian Reformed Church as an honorably retired minister.
Dr. Iain Duguid reported for the special committee charged to draft a response to the exception taken by the 26th General Assembly to South Coast's minutes, viz., that teaching elders have not been instructed not to teach their exceptions to the Standards of the church, when they have notified the presbytery of their exceptions. The report cited the action of the 14th General Assembly, as follows: "When a man is ordained with the allowance of exceptions to his full acceptance of the PCA standards, he thereby obtains (1) approval of his suitability to function within the ordained office, and (2) liberty to believe and live in some way not fully in accord with some portion of those standards. This allowance of exceptions, however, does not warrant his teaching or preaching of that matter so as to disturb the purity and peace of the church. The court of jurisdiction must determine in each situation whether such unwarranted actions have occurred." It was moved and seconded to establish a policy that any candidate for licensure or ordination as a teaching elder, or any minister applying to be received into the Presbytery, must present in writing any exceptions to the Confession of Faith and Catechisms to the Candidates and Credentials Committee prior to his theological exam. This motion was referred to the Candidates and Credentials Committee. The "Report Regarding the PCA Position on Elders Teaching Exceptions to the Westminster Standards", as presented by the special committee, was made a permanent part of the Candidates and Credentials Committee file and is to be provided to candidates as part of that committee's counsel and preparation of men for licensure and ordination exams. The Stated Clerk, in consultation with Dr. Duguid, was authorized to respond to General Assembly regarding the exception, in a way consistent with the position and evidence presented in the "Report."
Westminster (Return to Top)
Westminster Presbytery met in its ninety-fourth stated meeting at the Princeton Presbyterian Church, Johnson City, Tennessee, on Saturday, January 9, 1999. Dr. John Robbins, a member at the Midway Church, preached the opening sermon as a candidate for licensure. After the sermon Presbytery celebrated the Lord's Supper administered by the host pastor and members of the Princeton Session.
The Moderator, RE Hugh Belcher, presided. Having been nominated at the previous stated meeting, he was elected by acclamation.
A letter was received from the Session of the Draper Valley Church stating that Presbytery be informed that "by action of our session and based on approval by the General Assembly Examinations Committee of the PCA, Dr. Cortez Cooper will be serving as a supply pastor in our pulpit effective January 1, 1999."
A letter from TE Jeff Yelton expressed thanks for the support of Presbytery for his medical needs. (Churches of the Presbytery had given a total of $3,535.54 of his $4,900.00 medical expenses.) Mr. Yelton was transferred to Alleghenies Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.
The Christian Education Committee of Presbytery reported that it had approved awarding $300 to David Osborne of Greenville Seminary. The Treasurer of Presbytery informed Presbytery that the money had been sent to Mr. Osborne.
During the Special Order of the Day, Presbytery heard debate as to adopting the philosophy of the MNA Committee of the General Assembly. TE Rick Light and TE Jim Bland, Associate Coordinator of the denominational MNA Committee, presented the "Pro" position; and TE Henry Johnson presented the "Con."
After lunch, and after a considerable discussion, the following motion was adopted:
"That Westminster Presbytery adopt the MNA Philosophy and use men (for church planting) who has have either been through the Assessment Center or have had church planting experience."
The next item of business was the Nominating Committee report. Three men, whose philosophy of ministry were reflective of the action just taken, were placed in opposition to Nominating Committee recommendations for the Mission to the United States Committee Class of 2002. The three challengers were elected.
Presbytery examined Dr. Robbins for licensure. He noted one reservation to the answer to Question 109 of the Larger Catechism about depiction of the 2nd Person of the Trinity in a non-worship context. Presbytery declared his view an exception to the Standards. Presbytery then approved the examination including the sermon preached, noting the one exception.
Presbytery declared that Mr. David Atkisson has fulfilled the internship requirements for ordination.
Presbytery approved the proposed response to Potomac Presbytery.TE Jeff Fulford asked that his vote of dissent be recorded in the Minutes.
Presbytery elected a special committee to deal with divisions within the Presbytery. The motion was adopted after being amended to include four men from each side including two ruling and two teaching elders on each side. The following men were elected to this Special Committee.
TE Larry E. Ball TE Steve Meyerhoff
TE Brent Bradley TE Ben Konopa
RE Neil Smith RE Charles Newland
RE Hugh Belcher RE Conrad Friede
Worship services at the Wytheville work will continue at least through the end of April. Presbytery approved the resignation of TE Preston Sartelle from the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) oversight subcommittee. Presbytery approved a 7 per cent increase in housing and salary for TE Curtis Stapleton, per the request of Reformed University Ministries in Atlanta; but also noted the following: 1) There has been only one church that has been able to respond to the Stated Clerk's letter asking churches to let him know of the amount of support for RUF at East Tennessee State University; 2) Will this raise set a precedent of yearly raises and a precedent of giving a raise before being on the field one year?; 3) What is the policy of RUM and their goal for the salaries of all the RUF workers to raise the salary and benefits to a more uniform level throughout the PCA?
The Court Records Committee recommended, and the court approved, taking exception to the minutes of two sessions, for not providing a statistical report to Presbytery.