Philadelphia Presbytery (PCA) met for a stated meeting on November 13, 1999, at Church of the Saviour, Wayne, Pennsylvania. The Moderator, Ruling Elder Royce Seifert, called the meeting to order and presided.
In his roll as Treasurer, Mr. Seifert presented the financial report through October, 1999. Presbytery rejoiced in his announcement that the long-standing debt of the Unrestricted Fund to the Putnam Fund had now been completely satisfied.
The Judicial Business Committee noted that it was continuing to work on an overture to General Assembly concerning making specific the forbidding of complaints against judicial process while a trial is in progress.
Presbytery examined and licensed two of its candidates, Andrew Webb and Richard Zweig. Mr. Webb presented the following exception, which was ordered spread on the minutes: "I do sincerely and wholeheartedly receive and adopt the Westminster Standards as my own confession of faith with the following exception. I believe that section 5 of chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, "Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day", witch currently reads in part,"The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable heating of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart,' should be amended to read, 'The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, die sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of psalms and hymns with grace in the heart.' This would bring that section of the Confession into compliance with our Book of Church Order, chapter 51, sections 1-5, and chapter 48, section 7, our denominational practice and, I believe, the teaching of Scripture (see Ephesians 5:19, Col. 3:16)."
Presbytery extended the licensure of Mr. Gregg MacDougall for another four years.
On motion Presbytery voted to require that any exceptions to the Standards be presented in writing, whether for licensure or ordination exams.
TE Tim Crowe introduced Pastor Mark Stephens of South Africa, working with churches in Capetown in reaching out to the inner city through conflict resolution and principles of reconciliation. Mr. Stephens spoke of his work and his consultations with the Philadelphia Leadership Foundation toward similar concerns in Philadelphia. Dr. D. Clair Davis gave an oral report on activities of the GA MTW Conunittee, expressing his thanks for having had the opportunity to serve on die Committee for his four-year term now coming to conclusion.
Ruling Elder Bill Devlin reported for the Presbytery's Pro-Life Committee, speaking on the work of the Urban Family Council and its growing impact both in Philadelphia and New York City. Dr. Peter Liliback then presented "A Call for a Day of Prayer & Fasting to the PCA Presbyteries and Churches"; Presbytery adopted the documents and these resolutions:
"1. That the Philadelphia Presbytery along with our General Assembly reaffirm with a united voice the
sanctity of human life under the protection of the Sixth Commandment, and that the Philadelphia Presbytery
encourage all of the PCA presbyteries and churches to do likewise,
"2. That the Philadelphia Presbytery encourage each presbytery and particular church to hold a 'Day of Prayer and Fasting' as they may deem appropriate on either the Wednesday or Thursday following January 23, 2000, the Sunday set aside as a 'Day of Prayer for Life' in the PCA,
"3. That every presbytery and every local congregation in the PCA be urged by the Philadelphia Presbytery to establish a sanctity of life committee to help implement all of the recommendations of the Sixth General Assembly's adopted Report on the Sanctity of Life; and
"4. That the Philadelphia Presbytery encourage the distribution of the Philadelphia Presbytery's Pro-Life Committee's materials to all of the PCA's presbyteries and particular churches.
Presbytery also received from the Committee a paper on biblical fasting (distributed at the meeting and
available from the Committee).
Presbytery voted that part 1) of the complaint of RE David Lacbman dated October 9, 1999 (see Attachment #7), be found out of order since it was never a proper complaint to the Session of Calvary Presbyterian Church, which decision both Presbytery and Session had previously and properly made in a timely manner. The court also determined that with respect to part 2) of the above complaint, Presbytery reaffirm its original decision that "there is no constitutional basis for complaint against the handling of a trial while in process" and that Presbytery deny this item of the complaint.
A motion from the floor was made and seconded to disburse $1,500 from Presbytery's undesignated funds for the work of the General Assembly's Women in the Military Committee. Discussion revealed that the $1,000 previously authorized by Presbytery had not yet been disbursed. Presbytery voted to adopt the motion regarding $1,500 as an addition to the original commitment, making a total of $2,500.
The Assistance and Membership Committee asked guidance from Presbytery regarding how to proceed on an application for membership by John Appleton, pastor of Grace Chapel, Roxborough (formerly a pastor and congregation respectively of the Reformed Episcopal Church). On motion Presbytery voted to advise the Committee to proceed with Mr. Appleton as with an unordained man, directing him to move through the Conumttccs on Candidates and Internship, Licensure, and Ordination, with the further counsel that these committees be requested to act as expeditiously as possible. Teaching Elders Niel Bech, Mark Herzer, and Erwin Morrison requested their negative votes be recorded. [Mr. Bech is a former administrative assistant to the president of the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church.-Ed.]
Presbytery took under care as candidates the following: Suler Acosta, Bernard Aubert, Daniel Bradley, Bradley Copeland, David Goncau, Flavien Pardigon, and David White.
It was reported that Candidate Walter Copeland has become engaged in pastoral service in Maine in connection with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, in which he desires to pursue ordination. Presbytery accordingly dismissed his internship, removed him from the roll of candidates, and revoked his licensure.
Presbytery approved Mr, Webb's proposal for an internship to be completed by December 2000, at Christ Covenant Mission under the supervision of the Rev. Mark Hertzer.
Presbytery adopted a proposed overture to General Assembly to amend Book of Church Order 57, submitted by the Session of Crossroads Presbyterian Church, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.
Presbytery appointed a commission to install TE Richard Phillips as an associate pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church.
The Special Committee to Assist Chaplain Robert Nay, US Army, in his understanding of the duties and requirements in the administration of the sacraments presented its written report from the chair, TE Don Stone. The Committee reported that its work had been successfully completed, as evidenced by its letter of September 30, 1999 and a response from Chaplain Nay asking ". . . that [Mr. Stone] convey my deepest gratitude to the Brothers on the committee for their time, and for the Presbytery's interest in this matter." On motion the Committee was dismissed with thanks.
Presbytery moved to consideration of the complaint against its action of May 8, 1999, in responding to the memorial of Dr. Lachman. On motion Presbytery voted to docket one hour, 10:00 to 11:00 AM, at the January 8, 2000, stated meeting to consider this complaint an the floor.