• Presbyterian Reformed Church

Presbytery Meeting Minutes May 2011

Presbyterian Reformed Church

Presbytery Meeting May 25-27, 2011

Chesley, Ontario, Canada

OPEN SESSION MINUTES

Devotional Exercises

At 9:01 AM, Presbytery began with the singing of Psalm 21, verses 1-6 to the tune Arnold, prayer, reading of Philippians 2, and an address by Mr Gebbie, moderator, upon verse 6-11, the singing of Psalm 68:18-20, to the tune Sheffield. Opening exercises concluded with prayer led by the moderator.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at Chesley, Ontario and within the Chesley Firehall on Wednesday the 25th May 2011 9:32  AM being constituted with prayer by the moderator.

Roll Call

Sederunt: Rev. Dr William Young, Rev. Mr Timothy Worrell, Rev. Mr Michael Ericson, Rev. Mr D. Douglas Gebbie, and Rev. Mr Michael Ives, Mr Vince Gebhart, Mr Christopher Levi, Mr John Humphrey, and Mr Stephen Stam.

Excuses have been received from Rev. Mr Bradford Freeman, Rev. Mr Roy Mohon, Mr Lindsay Smallidge, and Mr Brian Myers.

It was moved to direct the clerk to send a letter and/or card of encouragement to Elder Smallidge.  the motion carried.

Minutes

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the 2010 annual meeting (inclusive of both open session and closed session portions. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the August 2010 pro re nata meeting in Rhode Island. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the December 2010 pro re nata meeting in Des Moines. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the April 2011 pro re nata meeting in Rhode Island. The motion carried.

Approval of the Standing Orders

It was moved and seconded to approve the Standing Orders for this meeting. The motion carried.

Appointment of Officers

It was moved and seconded that Mr Humphrey continue as Treasurer. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr Gebhart clerk pro tem. The motion carried.

Mr Gebbie was nominated to serve as Moderator, no other nominations were made. It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr Gebbie, moderator. The motion carried.

Approval of the Docket

It was moved and seconded to approve the draft docket as amended. The motion carried.

Correspondence

There was no correspondence not already placed elsewhere on the docket.

Presbytery Finances

It was moved and seconded to receive the report of the ad hoc Committee to Review Presbytery Finances. The motion carried.

The following resolution was moved and seconded:

Whereas the Presbytery has regular financial needs of about $2300 per year; and

Whereas the Presbytery may desire to continue its missionary effort in Liberia; and

Whereas there is no regular giving on the part of PRC congregations to the general fund to support these expenses; therefore be it

Resolved, That each session is directed to make the financial needs of the denomination known to its respective congregations and set aside two Lord’s Days each year to make a special collection for the general fund of Presbytery; contributions can be specifically earmarked for Missions; a mission report will be circulated by the Missions and Church Relations Committee by September.

The motion carried.

(During the meeting, the Presbytery’s regular financial needs were recalculated to be about $4300 per year.)

It was moved and seconded That each session to be responsible for the travel expenses for its local and designated assessor elders to stated Presbytery meetings, as required. If a congregation cannot cover the expenses, they can be submitted to the Presbytery general fund for reimbursement. The motion carried. (This motion was nullified—and replaced—by a motion To Reconsider adopted on the day following.)

It was moved and seconded that the Treasurer be authorized to transfer monies between the general and mission funds (within the same bank account) in the event that there are temporary shortfalls and to ensure that earmarked monies are honored in the long term. The motion carried.

Treasurer’s Report

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

AM Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 10:30 to 10:45 AM.

Congregational Reports

The Chesley congregational report was given by Mr Gebbie. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. It was moved and seconded to approve the following petition in the form of the letter to and its attendant motions. The motion carried.

Registrar General of Ontario

Po Box 4600

189 Red River Road

Thunder Bay ON  P7B 6L8

May 25th 2010

Dear Registrar General,

Re: Registration to Perform Marriages.

Please receive this application for the registration of the Presbyterian Reformed Church congregation in Chesley, Ontario, and for its minister, the Rev. David Douglas Gebbie, to perform marriages.

With regard to the congregation, it has been in existence for many years, but has changed its denominational affiliation a number of times.  Although it was originally made up of the people who founded the community, it was not erected as a congregation until 1873 when it joined the United Presbyterian Church (USA).  It was later in the Associate Presbyterian Church (USA), the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the Free Presbyterian Church of Ontario, and is now in the Presbyterian Reformed Church, of which it was a founding congregation.

The Marriage Register (the Marriage Act of 1896, schedule E) which we have was ‘furnished’ on January 6th 1897.  The first marriage recorded in the book took place on the 17th of March 1909.   The marriages performed after 1922 have a certificate number attached to the name of the officiating minister: 1922-52 Rev. Wm. Matheson, CR 6070, Minister of the Congregation; 1970-96 Rev.  F. A. McCormick, CR 19646, Minister of the Congregation; 2000-2004 Rev. D. D. McClure, CR 28152, Supply Preacher.

The congregation is registered with Canada Revenue Agency as a charity, number 10785 6767 RR0001.

At a meeting of the Presbytery of the Presbyterian Reformed Church, held on Wednesday, May 25th 2011, it was moved, seconded, and agreed:

  1. To apply for registration of the Presbyterian Reformed Church, as a prerequisite to the minister’s application for a Certificate of Registration to perform marriages.

  2. To appoint the Presbytery Clerk as the person to inform the Registrar General of any changes relating to the performing of marriages in the congregation. This duty will be taken on by Mr. Lindsay Smallidge and his successors in office.

With regard to the minister, the Rev. David Douglas Gebbie applies for a Certificate of Registration to perform marriages.  Please find enclosed proof of his ordination.

At the same meeting of the congregation’s session, it was moved, seconded, and agreed:

  1. To support the application for a Certificate of Registration made by the Rev. David Douglas Gebbie.

  2. To confirm that the Rev. David Douglas Gebbie is the duly called and inducted minister of this congregation.

  3. To confirm that the Rev. David Douglas Gebbie, as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Reformed Church, is authorised by the church to perform marriages.

We, ministers and ruling elders of the Presbyterian Reformed Church, respectfully make the applications outlined above.

Yours sincerely,

The Rhode Island congregational report was given by Mr Ives. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

The Des Moines congregational report was given by Mr Ericson. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

Mr Worrell, and Mr Levi led the Presbytery in prayer for these three congregations.

It was moved and seconded to receive the Stockton-on-Tees congregational report. The motion carried. It was moved and seconded to appoint Mr Gebhart assessor elder to the Stockton session.

The Charlotte congregational report was given by Mr Worrell. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

The Columbus congregational report was given by Mr Stam. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

Mr Ericson and Mr Ives led the Presbytery in prayer for these three congregations.

Lunch Recess

At 12:08 PM, Presbytery recessed for lunch after prayer by Mr Gebhart. After lunch, at 1:31 PM, Presbytery reconvened with prayer, led by the moderator.

Reports of Standing Committees

Church Relations Committee Report (Including NAPARC Business)

Mr Ives presented the Church Relations Committee report. It was moved and seconded that the report be received as read. The motion carried.

Mr Gebbie reported on his visit to the North American Synod of the Free Church of Scotland. It moved and seconded that the Presbytery offer its place in the NAPARC hosting rotation to the URCNA. The motion carried.

(The third draft motion shown in the report was not moved.)

It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery examine the Free Reformed Churches of North America’s “Levels of Church Fellowship” and decide whether it should inquire with this body as to how we should proceed to move forward. The motion failed. It was moved and seconded to apply to the Free Reformed Churches of North America for their “Limited Correspondence” level of ecclesiastical relations. The motion carried.

The Limited Correspondence level was described by the FRC as including:

  1. opening the Lord’s Table to each other;

  2. opening the pulpit to each other’s visiting ministers;

  3. the frequent attendance and addressing of each other’s broadest assembly (visiting delegates attending our Synod may be asked for advice at the discretion of the chairman);

  4. sending each other copies of the Acts or Minutes of the broadest assemblies;

  5. offering spiritual support consisting of:

  6. a) calling attention to each other’s spiritual and ecclesiastical problems with mutual efforts toward scriptural solutions;

  7. b) warning each other of spiritual dangers which arise and which spread and begin to dominate the church of Christ;

  8. c) correcting each other in love regarding any slackening in connection with the confession or practice of “the faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3);

  9. cooperation in areas of common responsibility, for example: offering material support and cooperation or consultation with regard to mission work, theological training and such like; and

  10. developing a joint statement particularly on those doctrines on which there are divergent views in the Reformed church community for the purpose of gauging the extent of doctrinal unity.

It was moved and seconded to apply to the Heritage Reformed Churches for their “Formal Correspondence” level of ecclesiastical fellowship. The motion carried.

The requisites of Formal Correspondence level with the HRC was described as:

  1. A church and/or denomination would need to direct its committee representatives to sign the Formula for Public Declaration of Agreement with the Three Forms of Unity and/or Westminster Standards in behalf their broadest assembly.

  2. Copies of the official minutes, without confidential material, of the broadest assemblies are to be sent to each other. A copy of each issue of the official denominational publication is to be sent to one another’s consistory members.

  3. Representatives of both denominations would continue to meet to determine whether the next level of communication is attainable and desirable and if so, the Church Correspondence Committee would forward this request on to Synod for approval.

  4. This is done with the understanding that this level of “Formal Correspondence” must be in place for a minimum of two years before the next level of communication would be considered.

Report of the NAPARC Delegates

It was moved and seconded to receive the Church Relations Committee report. It was agreed by common consent That, hereafter, the NAPARC report be subsumed under the Church Relations Report.

Greetings from Observers

Rev. Mr Mark Kelderman (Burgessville HRC) brought greetings from the Heritage Reformed Churches.

Rev. Mr Henk Bergsma (Fenwick FRC), accompanied by Mr David Tamminga (Vineland FRC) brought greetings from the Free Reformed Churches of North America.

Rev. Mr Allan MacLeod, accompanied by, Mr Rod Finlayson (both of the Toronto congregation) brought greetings from the Free Church of Scotland.

Rev. Mr Peter Vellenga (Grace URC, Clinton ON) brought greetings from the United Reformed Churches in North America.

PM Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 3:29 to 3:44 pm.

Reports of Standing Committees (continued)

Missions Committee Report

Mr Worrell presented the Missions Committee report. It was moved and seconded that the report be received as read, with accompanying documentation (Liberia Trip 2011 Report, Proposal for an Experimental Correspondence Course in Liberia, Liberia Contact List, and Questions from Conferences). The motion carried.

Mr Ives reported verbally on his visit to Liberia. It was moved and seconded to allocate $1500 from the Mission Fund for the committee to coordinate and supervise a suitable correspondence course to train Liberian church leaders on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, to continue dialogue with our Tenth Presbyterian contacts, and to report to the next regular meeting of Presbytery. The motion carried.

Training of the Ministry Committee Report

As there are no students under care, there was no Training of the Ministry report.

Publications Committee Report

The Publications Committee report was given by Mr Gebbie. It was moved and seconded to receive the Publication’s Committee report. The motion carried.

Report of the FoG-BoD ad hoc committee

Mr Gebbie presented the report. It was moved and seconded to receive the report the ad hoc Committee on The Form of Government and Book of Discipline. The motion carried.

Role of Clerk and Moderator

It was moved and seconded to adopt the following resolution:

That it belongs to the Clerk and Moderator of Presbytery to advise any correspondents with respect to the language, form, and manner of communications to the Presbytery; while this advice is merely advisory, correspondents ought to be made aware that Presbytery expects correspondents to give due consideration to the advice given by the Clerk and Moderator.

The motion carried.

The remainder of business arising was tabled by consent (in deference to the Order of the Day).

Prayer being offered by the moderator, Presbytery stood adjourned for the day at 5:58 pm.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Presbytery reconvened in open session at 9:01 AM. The Moderator lead devotions with the reading of Isaiah 61, the singing of Psalm 116:1-8 to the tune Kilmarnock, and prayer.

Report of the FoG-BoD ad hoc committee (continued)

It was moved and seconded that the ad hoc Committee on The Form of Government and Book of Discipline be directed to examine the book titled “The Practice of the Free Church of Scotland” and make recommendation for its use among us. The motion carried.

Publications Committee Report (continued)

It was moved and seconded that Publications Committee be directed to redesign the denominational website and be granted a budget of $600 to this end. The motion carried.

Reconsideration of a Motion (Expenses of Delegate Elder)

To Reconsider the adopted motion regarding congregations paying for elders. The motion carried. (The effect of this action is to nullify the previously adopted motion).

It was moved and seconded that each session is to be responsible for the travel expenses for its designated elders to stated Presbytery meetings, as required. If a congregation cannot cover the expenses, the expense can be submitted to the Presbytery general fund for reimbursement. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that Presbytery commends to congregations the current practice that congregations who send an assessor elder for its delegate to Presbytery pay his expenses, as they are able. If a congregation cannot cover the expenses, the expense can be submitted to the Presbytery general fund for reimbursement. The motion carried.

Appointment of ad hoc Committee, Review of Session Books

It was moved and seconded to appoint as an ad hoc Committee for the Review of Minute Books: Mr Ives, Mr Gebhart, and Mr Levi. The motion carried.

Charlotte Overture (and FoG-BoD ad hoc committee)

In lieu of other further action on the Charlotte overture of 2008 (That the words, “There is no imposition of hands, but after” be struck from paragraph 53 of the Form of Government and replace with the word, “After”), it was moved and seconded that the ad hoc committee on The Form of Government and Book of Discipline, in connection with its review of the “The Practice of the Free Church of Scotland”, consider the questions of the laying on of hands for office and of the proper manner of ministers and congregations orderly departing the Presbyterian Reformed Church to another communion. The motion carried.

Time and Place of Next Meeting

It was moved and seconded That the next regular meeting of Presbytery be held within the bounds of the Rhode Island congregation at the call of the Moderator. The motion carried.

AM Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 10:17 to 10:35 AM.

Closed Session 1

At 10:35 AM, it was moved and seconded to enter closed Session. The motion carried. At 3:35 PM, Presbytery exited closed session.

Mr Dilday   (These Minutes were released to Open Session)

Mr Gebhart presented a report on several contacts with Mr Steven Dilday. It was moved and seconded To receive the report (written copy filed with Clerk). The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To enter a committee of the whole. The motion carried. At 12:05 PM, it was moved and seconded to leave the committee of the whole.

It was moved and seconded to send Mr Gebhart to Mr Dilday as representative of the court, including Mr Ives as a second representative when expedient. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded

That Mr Dilday be encouraged to visit with Presbytery at its 2012 stated meeting in Rhode Island; and

That, if he comes in 2012, Presbytery will not take up the libel against Mr Dilday at that stated meeting.

The motion carried.

Lunch Recess

Recess at 12:15 with prayer by Mr Levi. Reconvene 1:12 PM.

Mr Dilday (continued)

It was moved and seconded That Mr Dilday be permitted to bring two friends to the visit. The motion carried.

Mr Humphrey and Mr Stam led the Presbytery in prayer for Mr Dilday.

It was moved and seconded That the previous three motions, related to Mr Dilday, be released to presbyters for their use as they see fit. The motion carried.

Review of Session Minute Books

Mr Ives, Mr Levi, and Mr Gebhart verbally presented the report of the ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. A summary of the report, in Mr Gebhart’s hand, is on file.

Closed Session 2

At 3:39 PM, it was moved and seconded To enter closed Session. The motion carried. At 4:55 PM, Presbytery exited closed session

It was moved and seconded to place the matters concerning bi-vocational ministry in the Presbyterian Reformed Church on next year’s docket. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that an ad hoc Psalmody Conference Committee comprised of Mr Gebbie, Mr Worrell, Mr Gebhart, and Mr Levi explore the possibility of holding a non-denomination conference to encourage psalm singing, the conference to be held, Lord willing, in 2015. The motion carried.

Resolution of Thanks

It was moved and seconded to thank the Chesley Congregation for their hospitality in hosting the meeting. The motion carried.

Adjournment

It was moved and seconded to adjourn. The motion carried. At 5: PM, after a benediction by the moderator, Presbytery stood adjourned.

___________________________

  1. Douglas Gebbie, Moderator

___________________________

Vince Gebhart, Clerk Pro Tempore

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