Presbytery Meeting June 6-7, 2007
Ridgecrest, North Carolina
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order in the Mt. Laurel Lodge in Ridgecrest, NC on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at 8:30 am.
I.A. Devotional Exercises
Devotions were held on the evening before the official start of the meeting. The service opened with the singing of Psalm 2 , reading Romans 13 and prayer by the moderator, Rev. Mohon. The Moderator delivered a sermon from Romans 13:1 . The worship closed with the singing of Psalm 45:1-7 . On Wednesday morning, June 6, the Presbytery opened with the singing of Psalm 84 : 1-7 and prayer by the Moderator.
I.B. Roll Call
Sederunt: Rev. Brad Freeman, Rev. Michael Ericson, Rev. Douglas Gebbie, Rev. Roy Mohon, Rev. Timothy Worrell, Rev. Steven Dilday, Rev. Michael Ives and Mssrs. Dan McGinn, Stephen Stam, Brian Myers, John Humphrey, Lindsay Smallidge and Vincent Gebhart. Rev. William Young was absent with excuse. Elder Mouring was absent and sent a written excuse. (Copy is on file). Elder William McClure was absent due to poor health. Rev. McCormick was absent. It was agreed that Mr. McGinn would vote for Charlotte, but if required to leave before the conclusion of business, Mr. Myers would vote as an assessor in his place.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes from the pro re nata meeting of 3/16/2007 as well as the minutes from the 2006 Annual meeting. The motion passed.
III. Appointment of ad hoc Committee, Review of Session Books
It was moved and seconded to appoint an ad hoc Committee to review Session books. The motion carried. The Committee had the following members; Rev. Ericson, Rev. Ives, Rev. Dilday and Elders Humphrey and Smallidge.
IV. Appointment of Officers
Rev. Worrell was nominated to serve as Moderator. It was moved and seconded that Rev. Worrell serve as Moderator. The motion passed. It was moved and seconded that Mr. Gebhart continue as Clerk and that Mr. Humphrey continue as Treasurer. The motions passed.
V. Approval of the Docket
It was moved and seconded to approve the draft docket. The motion passed.
VI. Greetings from Observers
There were no observers present at opening of the meeting. It was moved and seconded that Elder Myers be granted the privilege of the floor. The motion passed.
All correspondence was deferred to its appropriate place in the docket.
VIII.A. Training of the Ministry Committee Report
The Training of the Ministry report was given by Rev. Gebbie. Due to the sensitive nature of one matter, it was agreed by common consent, to complete the report in executive session. It was agreed to enter into executive session at 3:00pm to take up the matter in the report, as well as any other matters requiring a closed session.
VIII.B. Financial Report
The Treasurer’s report was given by Mr. Humphrey. It was moved and seconded to receive the Treasurer’s report. The motion passed. (Copy is on file.)
VIII.C. Missions and Church Relations Committee Report
The Missions and Church Relations Report was given by Rev. Ericson. The report had several sections and several motions came from them. It was agreed by common consent to defer the section related to the WPCUS to executive session.
It was moved and seconded that Presbytery’s 2006 request that the Committee “review the process of new church plants and bring recommendations to the next regular meeting of Presbytery” be satisfied with the statement made by Presbytery in its 2002 meeting.
The 2002 statement read as follows:
Whereas the Presbytery has command and authority to go into all the world to preach the Gospel and establish churches;
Whereas the sending of a minister to a place, or the addition of new mission works or congregations can represent a serious commitment in time and resources for the Presbytery, and the Providence of our Lord is composed of many variations in the building of His church; and
Whereas it is the role of the Missions and Church Relations Committee to gather information from those inquiring of the Presbytery with a view to organic union whether they are minded to maintain a similar position and testimony to the Presbyterian Reformed Church and report their findings to the Presbytery; therefore be it
Resolved, That decisions on new missions initiatives or new congregations should be made by the Presbytery on a case by case basis after full evaluation by the Missions and Church Relations Committee is presented to it, either
1. through consideration of God’s providential call to take the Gospel into a place and whether the Presbytery is able to send a minister,
2. in relation to an existing group of believers, through discussions, including in-person visits, and interviews by a number of different presbyters, and after full deliberation by the Presbytery; and further,
Whereas, in starting or receiving a mission work into the Presbyterian Reformed Church, a number of souls, by the Providence of God, may be or have been placed under the care of the Presbytery and these souls should be a primary concern in any decision to remove support from a work;
Whereas, the Presbytery is hesitant to describe a set time for a mission work to attain self-sustaining status as this is the work of the Lord and may be accomplished in His time, whether short or long;
Whereas, the local minister’s outlook discerning the Providence of the Lord in continuing the work, in the Lord’s blessings and in the withholding of the same, both in relation to the minister’s labors in the Gospel as well as in relation to those unto whom he seeks to minister, must be reported on a regular basis to the Presbytery;
Whereas, not all mission works are successful and may need to be shut down, as men’s judgments are fallible, and mission works can change their composition from the time of their inception, moving away from the positions or zeal which may have existed at the start; and Whereas the initiation of new mission works and the continuation of existing mission works involve the prudent stewardship of material and personal resources; therefore be it
Resolved, That the Presbytery must not only review each mission situation on a case by case basis, but with respect to the resource implications ought to annually review the Presbytery’s total deployment of personal and financial resources for new and existing missions alongside of the existing congregations, being mindful that the deployment of resources in one situation prevents their deployment in another, and that consequently decisions about one situation can only be made in the light of needs in another.
The motion carried.
It was moved and seconded to send a delegate to the next FRCNA Synod. The motion passed.
The Presbytery recessed from 10:00 to 10:20am. The meeting reopened with prayer offered by Elder Stam.
VIII.D. Publications Committee Report
The Publications Committee report was given by Rev. Worrell. It was moved and seconded to receive the Publications Committee Report. The motion passed. (Copy is on file.)
VIII.E. Congregational Reports
Prior to the reports being given, the Moderator read from Colossians 4:12-13 . The Chesley report was given by Rev. Gebbie. It was agreed by common consent to receive all the reports later in the meeting with one motion. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dilday for the Chesley congregation. The Charlotte report was given by Rev. Worrell. Prayer was offered by Rev. Ives for the Charlotte congregation. The Columbus report was given by Rev. Freeman. Prayer was offered by Rev. Gebbie for the Columbus congregation. The Des Moines report was given by Rev. Ericson. Prayer was offered by Rev. Freeman for the Des Moines congregation. The RI report was given by Rev. Ives. Prayer was offered by Rev. Mohon for the RI congregation.
The Presbytery recessed at 12:05 for lunch and reconvened at 1:15 with prayer offered by Elder McGinn.
The Stockton-on-Tees report was given by Rev. Mohon. Prayer was offered by Rev. Ericson for the Stockton-on-Tees congregation. The Warrenton report was given by Rev. Dilday. Prayer was offered for the Warrenton congregation.
VIII.F. Report of NAPARC Observers
Rev. Ives gave the NAPARC report. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion passed. (Copy is on file.) It was moved and seconded to send Rev. Ives as the PRC observer to the next NAPARC meeting, which is to be held Nov. 13-14, 2007 in Long Island, NY. The motion passed.
It was moved and seconded to take off the table a previous Presbytery motion to apply to NAPARC. The motion passed. A point of order was raised by Rev. Mohon. The question raised was, whether applying to NAPARC violated the PRC constitution? Discussion followed. At this point the Presbytery acknowledged several observers who were in attendance. The men were Dr. George Knight, Dr. Morton Smith and Mr. Rockwell Smith. It was moved and seconded to give Dr. Knight and Dr. Smith the privilege of the floor. The motion passed. Dr. Smith addressed the Presbytery to clarify the intention of language found in the NAPARC “Basis of the Council” statement. The point of order was withdrawn.
The Presbytery recessed at 3:15 pm with prayer offered by Elder Humphrey. The meeting reconvened with prayer at 4:00 pm.
It was moved and seconded that the PRC make application to join NAPARC and that the language of the NAPARC Constitution, Section II, Basis of the Council; “the desirability and need for organic union of churches that are of like faith and practice”, is understood by the PRC that such “need” is taught in the Bible and that the church ought to be “one” in cases where there is true and genuine sameness. It was immediately moved and seconded to split the motion and reverse the order of the two phrases. The motion passed.
The second part of the split motion was voted upon first; that the language of the NAPARC Constitution, Section II, Basis of the Council; “the desirability and need for organic union of churches that are of like faith and practice”, is understood by the PRC that such “need” is taught in the Bible and that the church ought to be “one” in cases where there is true and genuine sameness. The motion passed.
The Presbytery moved into executive session.
The Presbytery adjourned at 5:00 pm with prayer by the Moderator.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
The Presbytery came out of executive session. It was agreed to move the contents of the previous motion into open session to make it available as an extract as required.
It was moved and seconded that the PRC clerk write to the WPCUS as follows: “With reference to your communication of August 31, 2006, the Presbytery of the Presbyterian Reformed Church continues to have serious concerns related to (1) The manner by which your ministers and congregations left their previous presbyteries, and (2) the forming of a presbytery, from all appearances, nearly identical to the PRC, without any minister or congregation first working through the process of affiliation with the PRC; so in order for progress to be made, we request the WPCUS, (1) Provide for each minister the relevant Presbytery to contact to verify the transfer of credentials; and (2) Provide for each of your congregations the relevant Presbytery to contact to verify the congregation’s orderly departure from that Presbytery.” The Presbytery directed the clerk to send the letter with a “return authorization request”. The motion passed.
It was moved and seconded to receive the Missions and Church Relations Committee Report. The motion passed. (Copy is on file.) It was moved and seconded to receive the Congregational reports. The motion passed. (Copies are on file.)
X. New Business
It was agreed by common consent to request Dr. Young consider writing articles on the following topics.
How the PRC’s understanding of “common grace” differs from that of the Protestant Reformed Church? (T. Worrell)
A rebuttal of the position taken by Nick Needham in his article “Westminster and Worship: Psalms Hymns, and Musical Instruments”, which appeared in the book edited by J. Ligon Duncan III, The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century, published by CFP. (R. Mohon)
A statement regarding the main ways in which the WCF and the Three Forms of Unity compliment one another. (S. Stam)
What are the rights of the offending party in a divorce? (Deut. 24 seems to assume that the offending party in a divorce will remarry. Does Jesus overturn this legislation in Matt. 19 ? It sounds like it; however, in the parallel discussion in Matt. 5 , Jesus begins the discussion by saying that he is not abrogating the Law and the Prophets. So, how do we harmonize these passages? Does the offending party in a divorce have the right to remarry?) (S. Dilday)
The Supra vs. Infralapsarian question. (J. Humphrey)
Communion Table Addresses. (B. Freeman)
Sessional and Committee Assignments
The Presbytery discussed the present make up of Sessions and Committees.
It was moved and seconded that the RI Session be comprised of the local men, Elders J. Humphrey and V. Gebhart, Dr. Young and Rev. M. Ives, removing the Chesley men as assessors; and that the Chesley Session be comprised of its local men, Rev. Gebbie and Elder McClure, plus Elders B. Myers and C. Levi as assessors; and that Elder Mouring remove from serving as an assessor to the Charlotte Session and as a member of the Publications Committee per his request. All other assignments stand. The motion passed. (A copy of the assignments is on file.)
Ad Hoc Minute Book Committee
The ad hoc Committee reviewing the Session Minute books gave its report. The report was received as given. (A copy is on file.) It was moved and seconded that Rev. Gebbie review the Minute book guidelines established at the 1997 and 2002 meetings and return to Presbytery next year with recommendations.
Ad Hoc FoG-BoD Committee
It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery erect an ad hoc committee to study the feasibility of supplementing the FOG-BOD with rules of procedure from another existing book of order, with Robert’s Rules of Order, or with a revision of other existing rules of order to suit our circumstances; that the ad hoc committee return to Presbytery in 2008 with both a report and recommendations; and that Mr. Gebbie, Mr. Ericson, Mr. Worrell and Mr. Levi serve thereon, Mr. Gebbie to be the convener. The motion passed.
Guidelines for Congregational Reports
It was noted that the clerk circulate the existing guidelines for Congregational reports.
Next Meeting and Adjournment
A motion was made and seconded that the next regular meeting of Presbytery be held in Columbus, Indiana, June 17-20, 2008. The motion passed. It was moved and seconded that following the Lord’s Day morning service, Rev. Ericson, on behalf of the Presbytery, thank all members and friends of the Charlotte congregation who helped in hosting the meeting and for showing us such wonderful hospitality. The motion passed. A motion was made and seconded to adjourn. The Presbytery adjourned at 3:30 pm with prayer offered by the Moderator.