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Presbytery Meeting Minutes June 2015

Presbyterian Reformed Church

Presbytery Meeting June 10-11, 2015

Nashville, IN

Wednesday, 10th June

Opening

Call to Order

A regular meeting of the Presbytery of the Presbyterian Reformed Church was held at the Abe Martin Lodge within the Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana on Wednesday June 10, and Thursday June 11. The meeting was called to order by Rev. Michael Ericson, moderator (outgoing) at 8:30 AM with the reading of Galatians 4:1-18a, the singing of Psalm 22:27-31, and prayer.

Roll Call

Sederunt, Rev. D. Douglas Gebbie, Rev. Timothy Worrell, Rev. Michael Ericson, Rev. Bradford Freeman (arrived a bit later), Rev. Michael Ives, ministers; Mr Brian Myers, Mr Vincent Gebhart, Mr Christopher Levi, Mr Caleb Mohon, Mr Stephen Stam, Mr Lindsay Smallidge, ruling elders.

Rev Roy Mohon was absent with excuse.

Dr William Young, having been translated to his eternal reward on June 6th, was removed from the roll of the Presbytery.  The following was posted on the PRC website in his honor:

The Reverend William Young, B.A. (Columbia University), Th.B. (Westminster Theological Seminary), Th.M. (Westminster Theological Seminary), Th.D. (Union Theological Seminary), B.Litt. (Merton College, Oxford), M.Litt. (Merton College, Oxford), former minister of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Rhode Island, passed away peacefully in the early hours of June 7th, 2015, in his 97th year.  The Ministers, Ruling Elders, Members, and Adherents of the Presbyterian Reformed Church mourn his passing, but rejoice that he has joined his Savior in that great keeping of Sabbath (Heb. 3&4).  We invite those who knew him to leave an appreciation or reminiscence.

‘Open mine eyes, that of thy law

The wonders I may see.

I am a stranger on this earth,

Hide not thy laws from me.’

(Ps. 119:18-19, Scottish Metrical Version)

Minutes

It was moved and seconded To approve the minutes of the June 2014 regular meeting. The motion carried.

Appointment of Officers

It was moved and seconded That Mr Gebhart continue as clerk. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That Mr Humphrey continue as treasurer. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That Rev. Worrell take the chair as moderator pro tem. The motion carried. (Shortly thereafter, Rev. Freeman was appointed moderator.)

Approval of the Docket

The docket was discussed. No action was taken.

Greetings from Delegates and Observers

There were no delegates or observers at this time of the meeting. (One came later in the meeting.)

Treasurer’s Report

It was moved and seconded To receive the Treasurer’s report. The motion carried.

It was agreed to report to the congregations that after relief was sent to the Liberia mission for their immediate needs, a significant amount of the money collected was not spent on that purpose because the impending medical need did not come to pass as the Ebola outbreak did not reach the area in which the congregation resides.

Reports of Standing Committees

Report of the Missions Committee

Mr Ives presented the report of the Missions Committee. It was moved and seconded To receive the report of the Missions Committee. The motion carried.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 9:11 to 9:18 AM.

Appointment of Officers (continued)

It was moved and seconded That Rev. Freeman be appointed moderator. The motion carried.

Reports of Standing Committees (continued)

Church Relations Committee

Rev. Gebbie gave the report of the Church Relations Committee which centered on his delegated visit to the NAPARC meeting. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried.

Appointment of Officers (continued)

It was moved and seconded To delegate Rev. Ives, Rev. Gebbie, and Mr Gebhart to the 2015 NAPARC meeting scheduled for November 10-12, 2015 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, hosted by the ERQ.

Greetings from Delegates and Observers (continued)

Rev. Allison, minister emeritus from the OPC and regular attender at the Jasper location of the Indiana Congregation, was acknowledged from the chair.

Training of the Ministry Committee

Mr Gebbie presented the Training of the Ministry Committee report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried.

Publications Committee

Mr Myers verbally reported on the work of the Publications Committee and provided a written supplement. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried.

Stewardship Committee

This committee’s report has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Church Relations Committee

This committee’s report has been scheduled for tomorrow.

Congregational Reports

Chesley Congregational Report

Rev. Gebbie presented the Chesley congregational report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Levi led the Presbytery in prayer for the Chesley congregation.

Rhode Island Congregational Report

Mr Gebhart presented the Rhode Island report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Smallidge led the Presbytery in prayer for the Rhode Island congregation.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 10:30 to 10:43 AM.

Des Moines Congregational Report

Mr Stam presented the Des Moines (Trinity) congregational report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Gebhart led the Presbytery in prayer for the Des Moines congregation.

Stockton-on-Tees Congregational Report

Mr Caleb Mohon presented the Stockton-on-Tees congregational report. It was moved and seconded To receive the Stockton-on-Tees report as written. The motion carried. Rev. Ericson led the Presbytery in prayer for the Stockton-on-Tees congregation.

Charlotte Congregational Report

Rev. Gebbie, interim moderator, gave the Charlotte congregational report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Stam led the Presbytery in prayer for the Charlotte congregation.

Indiana Congregational Report

Rev. Smallidge gave the part of the Indiana congregational report pertaining to the Columbus location. Rev. Freeman gave part of the Indiana congregational report pertaining to the Jasper location. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Mohon led the Presbytery in prayer for the Indiana congregation.

Division of the Indiana Congregation

The following resolution was moved and seconded

Whereas the two locations of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Indiana (Jasper and Columbus, respectively) are over two and one half hours apart; and

Whereas such a distance greatly hinders ordinary worship and fellowship as well as the ability of the Session to adequately shepherd the flock; and

Whereas except for communion seasons, both groups have been worshipping separately for many months; and

Whereas both groups are “in the black” financially with separate bank accounts and treasurers; therefore be it

Resolved That Presbytery separate the Jasper and Columbus locations of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Indiana into two distinct congregations, the Jasper congregation being denominated the Covenant Reformed Church, and the Columbus congregation being denominated the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus; and

Resolved That Mr Levi and Mr ___________ be appointed assessor elders for Covenant Reformed Church and that Mr Ives be appointed interim moderator of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus and that Mr Stam be appointed assessor elder for Columbus to serve with Mr Smallidge.

Resolved That the minute book be in possession of the PRC of Columbus with certified copies of the current minute book to be supplied to Covenant Reformed Church.

Resolved That Covenant Reformed Church be inserted into the rotation to host Presbytery in three years with the understanding that the 2015 hosting of Presbytery will have been put to the PRC of Columbus account.

By consent, the Resolution was divided into four motions (by paragraph): Motion 1, Motion 2, Motion 3, and Motion 4.

Motion 1

It was moved and seconded That Presbytery separate the Jasper and Columbus locations of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Indiana into two distinct congregations, the Jasper congregation being denominated the Covenant Reformed Church, and the Columbus congregation being denominated the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus.

It was moved and seconded That the motion be amended by deleting the words “Covenant Reformed Church” and inserting “Covenant Presbyterian Reformed Church” in their place.

An alternative motion was moved and seconded To divide Motion 1 in 3 parts, Motion 1A, Motion 1B, Motion 1C, Motion 1D, with motion 1B regarding the division the property and with motion 1D regarding the rolls. The motion to divide Motion 1 carried.

Motion 1A

It was moved and seconded That Presbytery separate the Jasper and Columbus locations of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Indiana into two distinct congregations. The motion carried.

Motion 1B

It was moved and seconded That the funds of the former Indiana congregation be equally divided between the two newly formed congregations.

An alternative motion was moved and seconded That the funds be divided according to present account balances. The alternative motion carried.

Motion 1C

It was moved and seconded That the Jasper congregation be denominated the Covenant Reformed Church, and the Columbus congregation be denominated the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus.

It was moved and seconded That the motion be amended by deleting the words “Covenant Reformed Church” and inserting “Covenant Presbyterian Reformed Church” in their place. The motion failed.

It was moved and seconded That the motion be amended by deleting the words “Covenant Reformed Church” and inserting “Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper” in their place. The motion carried.

The motion as amended (That the Jasper congregation be denominated the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper and the Columbus congregation be denominated the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus) carried.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed for lunch from 12:15 to :35 PM.

Motion 1D

It was moved and seconded That the rolls of the two new congregations be as follows:

Jasper Communicants: Sonja Allison, William Dollaway, Shawna Dollaway, Cindi Freeman, Kimberly Freeman, Dave Huffer, Jeannie Huffer, Shad Huffer, Aimee Huffer.

Jasper Non-Communicants: Brett, Brandon, Rachael and Raya Dollaway, Benjamin Freeman.

Columbus Communicants: Ben Meng, Denise Meng, Scot Morris, Cindy Morris, Lindsay Smallidge, Robin Smallidge.

Columbus Non-Communicants: Andrew, Emily, Noah, Joshua, Ethan, Benjamin and Lydia Meng.

Adherent: Marshall Fulkerson

Motion 2

It was moved and seconded That Mr Levi and (Mr Caleb Mohon) (name to filled by a later motion) be appointed assessor elders for Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper and that (Mr Ives)__ (name to filled by a later motion) be appointed interim moderator of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus and that Mr Stam be appointed assessor elder for Columbus to serve with Mr Smallidge. The motion carried.

Motion 3

It was moved and seconded That the minute book be in possession of the PRC of Columbus with certified copies of the current minute book to be supplied the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper. The motion carried.

Motion 4

It was moved and seconded That the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper be inserted into the rotation to host Presbytery in three years with the understanding that the 2015 hosting of Presbytery will have been put to the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Columbus account. The motion failed.

Congregational Reports (continued)

Minister Without a Call Report

Rev. Worrell verbally reported on his actions the past year as a minister without call. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Myers prayed for Rev. Worrell and his family.

Reports of Ad Hoc Committees

Ad Hoc Committee on the FoG-BoD

Mr Gebbie gave the FoG-BoD ad hoc committee report. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To enter the Committee of the Whole for ten minutes. It was moved and seconded To rise from the Committee of the Whole.

It was moved and seconded That the committee study and draft a set of relevant Biblical principles that bear on the question of teleconferencing. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That Mr Myers be added to the committee. The motion carried. (The committee is now Gebbie, Ericson, Levi, and Myers.)

Ad Hoc Psalmody Conference Committee

The committee rose.

Ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books

It was moved and seconded To appoint Mr Levi, Mr Gebhart, Rev. Gebbie, and Mr. Mohon to the ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books.

Formal Relations with Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

The following motion was moved and seconded:

Whereas in John 17: 23 Jesus prays for a visible unity of believers that will testify, “…that the world may know that Thou hast sent me,” and as I Cor 12:25 commands that there should be “no schism in the body” of Christ, and

Whereas, from the teaching of the WCF Chapter 26, “Of the Communion of the Saints,” we conclude that it is our duty to promote organic union with churches of like faith and practice, a sentiment also well expressed on the floor of Presbytery in 1994 by Rev. Quincy Caldwell in an appeal for unity with the Associated Presbyterian Church, and

Whereas, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is a body nearly identical to the PRC in doctrine and practice, expressing, as we have, a desire to establish an indigenous church in North America, and which also has several congregations here, and

Whereas, providential doors have opened over the past year or more, allowing us to have more constructive dialogue with them, and

Whereas there is strength in numbers, and much good could come out of such a union, therefore be it

Resolved, That the Presbytery make an overture to the FCC, that a joint meeting might be held as soon as possible with them and any representatives from Scotland to discuss what obstacles might remain in the way and may be removed to secure organic union, as well as openly to discuss principled options as to how that might take shape.

Resolved, That the Presbytery commit itself, for its part, to all such endeavors as would bring such a union to consummation within three years.

The following motion was moved and seconded as an alternative motion:

That the Presbytery reaffirm its commitment to church unity and missions in the following terms:

We reaffirm our declaration of 1959 and 1964 that we are willing and desirous to undertake negotiations with other bodies maintaining a similar testimony with a view to organic union into one indigenous North American body, so that, in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, we might, by God’s grace, bring to more effective and fruitful expression the unity of the body of Christ in that Presbyterian form of government which we believe to be the institution of Christ, the King and Head of the church.

We reaffirm our commitment to the formation of an indigenous English Presbytery of like faith and practice.

To give practical expression to our reaffirmations, in the first instance, we invite the Presbytery of the United States of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) to join with us in exploring the expansion of our indigenous North American Presbytery by entering into discussion with the aim of organic union.

It was moved and seconded To appoint Rev. Ives, Rev. Gebbie, Mr Myers, and Rev. Ericson, to serve on an ad hoc committee to draft a motion regarding the matter of the former two motions reflecting the points discussed on the floor and report at this Presbytery. The motion carried.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed for lunch from 3:15 to 3:39 PM.

The following substitute resolution was moved and seconded:

Whereas, in John 17: 23 Jesus prays for a visible unity of believers that will testify, “…that the world may know that Thou hast sent me,” and as I Cor 12:25 commands that there should be “no schism in the body” of Christ; and

Whereas, from the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 26, “Of the Communion of the Saints,” we conclude that it is our duty to promote organic union with churches of like faith and practice, a sentiment also well expressed on the floor of Presbytery in 1994 by Rev. Quincy Caldwell in an appeal for unity with the Associated Presbyterian Church; and

Whereas, the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the United States is a body nearly identical to the Presbyterian Reformed Church in doctrine and practice, expressing, as we have, a desire to establish an indigenous church in North America; and

Whereas, providential doors have opened over the past year or more, allowing us to have more constructive dialogue with them; and

Whereas, there is strength in numbers, and much good could come out of such a union; therefore be it

Resolved, That the Presbytery reaffirm our historic declarations that we are willing and desirous to undertake negotiations with other bodies maintaining a similar testimony with a view to organic union into one indigenous North American body, so that, in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, we might, by God’s grace, bring to more effective and fruitful expression the unity of the body of Christ in that Presbyterian form of government which we believe to be the institution of Christ, the King and Head of the church; and

Resolved, That the Presbytery reaffirm our commitment to the formation of an indigenous Presbytery in England of like faith and practice; and

Resolved, That the Presbytery make an overture to the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the United States that a joint meeting may be held by 1st April 2016 with them to discuss how to proceed toward organic union, fully recognizing that they are subject to a larger ecclesiastical body; and

Resolved, That, if the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is amenable to the above, we express our hope to complete the process in as soon as three years.

The motion carried. Mr Gebbie prayed relative to the resolutions just adopted.

It was moved and seconded That the resolution be passed to the Church Relations Committee to begin correspondence with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the United States. The motion passed.

Closed Session

At 3:59 PM, it was moved and seconded To enter closed session. The motion carried.

Presbytery adjourned to at 4:50PM to reconvene the next morning.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Presbytery reconvened at 8:30 AM, Thursday 11th June with the singing of Psalm 67 and prayer by the moderator.

End Closed Session

It was moved and seconded to exit closed session. The motion carried.

Greetings from Delegates and Observers (continued)

Rev. Jonathan Matull, commissioned by the Presbytery of the United States of the Free Church Continuing was recognized. He addressed the Presbytery, using Colossians 2:6-7 to speak encouragement to the Presbyterian Reformed Church.

It was moved and seconded To grant Rev Matull the right of the floor. The motion carried. Rev. Matull was thereupon seated at the table.

New Business

Make Up of Session and Committees

It was moved and seconded To enter the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried. It was moved and seconded To exit the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That the committee assessors for session be as follows (whole sessional make-up is here noted):

Charlotte: Rev. D. Gebbie, moderator; T. Worrell, S. Stam, and B. Myers, assessors

Chesley: D. Gebbie, minister; W. McClure (inactive), elder; V. Gebhart and C. Levi, assessors

Columbus: Rev. M. Ives, moderator; L. Smallidge, elder; S. Stam, assessor

Jasper: B. Freeman, minister; C. Levi and C. Mohon, assessors

Des Moines: M. Ericson, minister; S. Stam, B. Myers, C. Levi, elders

Rhode Island: M. Ives, minister; V. Gebhart, J. Humphrey (inactive), elders, B. Myers, assessor

Stockton-on-Tees: R. Mohon, minister; C. Mohon, elder; V. Gebhart, assessor

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To enter the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried. It was moved and seconded To exit the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That the appointments for committees be as follows:

Church Relations: Rev. Ives, convener; Rev. R. Mohon; Rev. Gebbie; Mr Stam

Missions: Rev. Worrell, convener; Rev. Ericson; Rev. Freeman; Mr Smallidge; Mr C. Mohon

Publications: Mr Gebhart, convener; Mr Myers; Rev. Gebbie

Training of the Ministry: Rev. Gebbie, convener; Mr. Levi; Mr Stam

Stewardship: Rev. Ives, convener; Rev. Gebbie; Mr Myers; Mr Gebhart; Mr Humphrey

FoG-BoD: Rev. Gebbie, convener; Rev. Ericson; B. Myers; Mr Levi

The motion carried.

Report of the Missions Committee (continued)

Liberia Project Budget and Visit

It was moved and seconded To authorize $150 per month salary (which is a $50 increase) to Mr James Kartee to reintroduce the teaching of the Shorter Catechism in the school and to devote additional time in directed studies in theology. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To set the administrative budget for the Liberia Project at $800 per annum (an increase of $100). The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To authorize a visit to Liberia Project over the course of the next year with the expense not to exceed $3500. The motion carried.

New Business (continued)

Call for a Fast

The following resolution was moved and seconded:

Whereas, the religious and moral state of the English-speaking world continues to decline with alarming speed, and as the Visible Church in them only grows more compromised in doctrine, worship, and discipline, and as, barring God’s intervention, we fear divine judgments and darker, more fearful days ahead for us and especially for our precious children; and

Whereas, our particular congregations, elders, and ministers face many discouragements, strains, and temptations while seeking to be faithful in the present age, and as we face the loss of our young people and enjoy few conversions from the world; and

Whereas, the Lord has appointed the extraordinary means of days of humiliation, fasting, and prayer for His divine aid (Joel 1:14), either to answer our deepest desires or to grant us the grace to endure whatever providences He may have yet in store for us; therefore, be it

Resolved, That Presbytery appoint Saturday, October 10, as a day of solemn fasting and prayer that we and our people may humble ourselves and call upon the Lord for mercy on our lands, the Church in them, and our congregations, that God may intervene, pardon, and pour out His Holy Spirit in awakening and revival.  The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That the presbytery share this motion with our friends in the HRC, the FRC, and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), humbly encouraging a similar motion in their courts if such is not already their practice.

A substitute motion was moved and seconded That the presbytery inform our friends in the HRC, the FRC, and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), that we have taken this action, and ask if it is possible to have a joint day.

The substitute motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To enter the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried. It was moved and seconded To exit the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 10:29 to 10:45 AM.

501(c)(3) Non-Profit Status

It was moved and seconded That ad hoc committee comprised of Gebhart, Levi, and Smallidge be appointed to study the 501(c)(3) application, advantages, disadvantages, and implications. The motion carried.

Ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books

Mr Gebbie orally gave the report of the ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books ad hoc committee. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

Marriage Doctrine

The following motion was moved and seconded:

Having received and adopted as our subordinate standard the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, believing them to be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God in setting forth the system of truth taught in Holy Scripture; and, having accepted the Westminster “Directory for the Public Worship of God” as a scriptural and suitable guide for the conduct of public worship; we affirm that:

Marriage is to be between one man and one woman only. The parties to be married are not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity prohibited by the word of God. The parties are to be of years of discretion, fit to make their own choice, or, upon good grounds, to give their mutual consent; yet, it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. Parties seeking remarriage are to show that their previous marriage bond was dissolved by death, or by divorce upon the grounds of adultery or willful desertion.

The motion carried.

Dr Young

The clerk will send cards of thanks to Manny Cumplido and Bryant White for their faithful care of Dr. Young in his closing years.

Pulpit Exchange

It was moved and seconded To allocate up to $2000 to subsidize pulpit exchange expenses within the Presbytery over the next year. The motion carried.

Stewardship Committee (continued)

It was moved and seconded To receive the report as read. The motion carried.

The report is as follows:

The committee, in light of the recent motion, discussion, and anticipated activity surrounding the presbytery’s relationship with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), judges that it would be in the presbytery’s interests to suspend the Stewardship Committee’s work so as to free up presbyters to focus on this matter. Further, the Stewardship Committee judges that the anticipated practical advantages of a future union serves the interests for which the Stewardship Committee was originally created.

It was moved and seconded That the Presbytery put the Stewardship Committee on a hiatus. The motion carried.

Time and Place of Next Meeting

It was moved and seconded That the next annual meeting of the presbytery be within the bounds of the Des Moines Congregation at the call of the moderator. The motion carried.

Closed Session

At 11:15, it was moved and seconded To enter closed session. The motion carried.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed for lunch at 12:25 PM and reconvened at 1:30 PM.

Open Session

It was moved to exit closed session. The motion carried.

Resolution of Thanks

It was resolved by common consent To thank the Indiana congregations for their work and hospitality in hosting the 2015 annual meeting of the Presbytery following the morning Lord’s Day service.

Approval of Minutes

It was moved To approve the minutes of the current meeting up to this point.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 2:30pm with prayer by the moderator.

___________________________

Bradford Freeman, Moderator

___________________________

Vince Gebhart, Clerk

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