• Presbyterian Reformed Church

Presbytery Meeting Minutes May 2012

Presbytery Meeting May 23-24, 2012

Exeter, Rhode Island, USA

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Opening

Devotional Exercises

At 9:05 AM, Presbytery began with the singing of Psalm 135, verses 1-7 to the tune Southwark, prayer, reading of 1 John 3, and an address by Mr Gebbie, moderator, upon verses 1-2, the singing of Psalm 103:13-18, to the tune Kilmarnock. Opening exercises concluded with prayer led by the moderator.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at the Canonicus Retreat Center, Exeter, Rhode Island and within Pierce Lodge on Wednesday the 23rd May 2011 9:44 AM, being constituted with prayer by the moderator.

Roll Call

Sederunt:, Rev. Mr Timothy Worrell, Rev. Mr Michael Ericson, Rev. Mr D. Douglas Gebbie, Rev. Mr Bradford Freeman, Rev. Mr Michael Ives, Mr John Humphrey, Mr Vince Gebhart, Mr Brian Myers, Mr Christopher Levi, and Mr Stephen Stam.

Excuses have been received from Rev. Dr William Young, Rev. Mr Roy Mohon, Mr Lindsay Smallidge, and Mr William McClure.

Minutes

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the 2011 annual meeting. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the 3rd April 2011 pro re nata meeting   in Rhode Island. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes of the 5 June 2011 pro re nata meeting in RI. The motion carried.

The April 2012 pro re nata meeting in Des Moines had been approved at that meeting.

Appointment of Officers

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

It was moved and seconded that Mr Smallidge continue as stated clerk and to appoint Mr Gebhart clerk pro tempore, assisted by Mr Levi. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that Mr Worrell take the chair as Moderator, in place of Mr Mohon. 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.

Treasurer’s Report

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

Report of Ad Hoc Committees

Report of the FoG-BoD Committee

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

It was moved and seconded to extend the life of the ad hoc Committee on The Form of Government and Book of Discipline and commission a full report for the next meeting. The motion carried.

For reference, the current remit is that the committee “be directed to examine the book titled ‘The Practice of the Free Church of Scotland’ and make recommendation for its use among us.”

AM Recess

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

Ad Hoc Committees (continued)

Report of the Psalmody Conference Committee

The report of the ad hoc Committee for a Psalmody Conference was given by Mr Gebbie. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

Congregational Reports

The Chesley congregational report was given by Mr Gebbie. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Freeman led the Presbytery in prayer for the Chesley congregation.

The Rhode Island congregational report was given by Mr Ives. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Gebbie led the Presbytery in prayer for the Rhode Island congregation.

The Des Moines congregational report was given by Mr Stam. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Humphrey led the Presbytery in prayer for the Des Moines congregation.

The Stockton-on-Tees congregational report was given by Mr Gebhart. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. Mr Levi led the Presbytery in prayer for the Stockton-on-Tees congregation.

The Charlotte congregational report was given by Mr Myers. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried. By common consent, the clerk was directed to send a note of sympathy to Mr Harry Cooksey. Mr Ives led the Presbytery in prayer for the Charlotte congregation.

Reports of Standing Committees

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.

Lunch Recess

At 12:33 PM, Presbytery recessed for lunch after prayer by Mr Myers. After lunch, at 1:42 PM, Presbytery reconvened with prayer, led by the moderator.

Missions Committee Report

The Missions Committee report was presented by Mr Ives. It was moved and seconded that the report be received as read, with accompanying documentation (“Bible Knowledge Exam”, “Course Outline & Requirements”, “Introduction to Tage Swallie”, “Assignment 1”, Assignment 2—Digortay”, “Scores”). The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded

That Presbytery continue its correspondence program in the Westminster Shorter Catechism with its Liberian contacts using Mr James Kartee;

That an additional effort at distributing Reformed literature be attempted among contacts in the Todee district;

That an experimental program for youths to memorize the Shorter Catechism be devised; and

That the Missions Committee be given a budget of two thousand dollars ($2000) and report to the next regular meeting of Presbytery with developments and recommendations.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that the committee, in connection with its efforts in Liberia, to explore low-cost methods of making this course more available at home and abroad. The motion carried.

Church Relations Committee Report

The Church Relations Committee report was presented by Mr Ives. It was moved and seconded that the report be received as read together with accompanying documentation (“Godfrey Article”, “Brief Chronology of the KPCA”, “KPCA Constitution All Books—1”, “History of Kosin Korea”, “NAPARC Canada Request”). The motion carried.

It was agreed that the committee will circulate throughout the Presbytery a list of each NAPARC denomination’s appropriate synod or assembly, so that we can attend these according  to time and resources.

It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery communicate its satisfaction with the accuracy and readability of its presently authorized translation for public worship. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to appoint Messrs Ives, Ericson, Freeman, and Gebhart delegates for the 2012 NAPARC. The motion carried. It was stated that this appointment was dependent upon the ability of these delegates and that this appointment would not preclude alternative volunteers. (NAPARC allows a total of four delegates from each denomination.)

Greetings from Observers

Invited observers introduced themselves and brought greetings from their respective churches. The OPC observer gave greetings previously—immediately following the AM break—but is listed here. Also at that time, by common consent, invited observers were given right of the floor.

  1. Mr James LaBelle and Mr Michael Borg from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

  2. Mr Jerrold Lewis and Mr David Tamminga from the Free Reformed Churches of North America

  3. Mr Chris Shoemaker from the Presbyterian Church of America

  4. Mr Johnny Serafini and Mr Roy Hook from the Heritage Reformed Churches

PM Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 3:06 to 3:25 pm.

New Business

Motion for a Standing Committee on Presbytery Resources

It was moved and seconded

Whereas, the Presbytery has ongoing financial needs and senses a particular urgency to manage them wisely on account of our great needs and present limitations; and

Whereas, the Lord requires of us to be good stewards, for the maintenance and extenstion of our witness, His Kingdom more generally, and the good of present and future generations; therefore be it

Resolved, that the convert the 2012 ad hoc Committee on Finances into a permanent, standing committee, the Stewardship Committee, to study all matters given to it Presbytery.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that the Committee be tasked to make a beginning study of the following

(1) the maximal use of and ways to increase Presbytery funds,

(2) the most efficient and cost-effective ways to meet as Presbytery regularly, pro re nata, and by teleconference,

(3) the devising of sound methods to raise up and groom ruling elders,

(4) the best deployment of our office-bearers in sessions and committees,

(5) the supporting of bi-vocational ministers in their manifold needs and ways to work towards relieving them of all secular concerns, and

(6) the future provision of ministers in old age.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded be composed of Messrs Michael Ives, Douglas Gebbie, Vincent Gebhart, Brian Myers, and John Humphrey.

Website

Presbytery entered the Committee of the Whole to discuss the website.

It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery assign Simon Padbury and James Hammet to work together to revamp the denominational website under the oversight of the Publication Committee. The motion carried.

It was noted that the budget of $600 from the last stated meeting is still allocated.

Stewardship Committee

Presbytery entered the Committee of the Whole to discuss the remit of the newly erected Stewardship Committee.

Report of the FoG-BoD Committee (continued)

Presbytery entered the Committee of the Whole to discuss the remit of the ad hoc Committee on The Form of Government and Book of Discipline.

Review of Session Minute Books

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

Prayer being offered by the moderator, at 5:32 PM, Presbytery stood adjourned to 9 AM tomorrow.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Presbytery reconvened in open session at 9:01 AM. The Moderator lead devotions with the reading of II Timothy 4:1-5, the singing of Psalm 78:68-712 to the tune Elijah, and prayer.

Mr Dilday

Mr Gebhart reported that he had communicated with Mr Stephen Dilday on several occasions by telephone and email after last year’s meeting.  Mr. Gebhart passed along Presbytery’s desire to meet with him informally with two friends present, but was unsuccessful to convince him to attend this year.  Mr. Gebhart’s written report is on file.

Closed Session 1  (Minutes released later to Open Session)

At 9:22 AM, it was moved and seconded to enter closed session. At 10:37 AM, Presbytery recessed for committee meetings and for lunch. After lunch, at 1:23 PM, Presbytery reconvened with prayer, led by Mr Ives. At 1:32 PM, Presbytery reentered open session.

It was moved and seconded:

That Presbytery hold an in hunc effectum meeting in or near Warrenton, Virginia with Mr Dilday, the date to be determined in concurrence with Mr Dilday, before September 1st, wherein Mr Dilday, confesses that he sinned in acting without referral to Presbytery in both his and the congregation’s renouncing the jurisdiction of the PRC; and

That, upon his appearance and confession, Mr Dilday is to be solemnly rebuked and removed from the roll of Presbytery.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to send Mr Dilday a letter including the following:

The Presbytery has been patient with you in regard to the charge against you, which, at its heart, is acting without the due process of reference to Presbytery and against your ordination vows in your declaration of your removal from the authority of Presbytery, and your complicity in the Warrenton PRC congregation’s declaration of its removal from the authority of Presbytery. Repeatedly, the Presbytery has deferred dealing with your case in order to extend to you the opportunity to meet with us. In addition to letters, we have sent a representative to communicate our desire to meet with you and our willingness to defer any action during that meeting.

The Presbytery regrets that, at the 2009 stated meeting of Presbytery, a procedure was adopted that unintentionally and needlessly became adversarial. The Presbytery confesses that some members were heated in their questioning and that others did not intervene. We ask your forgiveness. If you still have any grievance against any individual member of Presbytery, we invite you to bring that grievance to the relevant individual per Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:15-17.

At its meeting on 24th May, the Presbytery adopted the following motion:

That Presbytery hold an in hunc effectum meeting in or near Warrenton, Virginia with Mr Dilday, the date to be determined in concurrence with Mr Dilday, before September 1st, wherein Mr Dilday, confesses that he sinned in acting without referral to Presbytery in both his and the congregation’s renouncing the jurisdiction of the PRC; and

That, upon his appearance and confession, Mr Dilday is to be solemnly rebuked and removed from the roll of Presbytery.

The effect of this removal would be that Presbytery would not take up the libel that is currently against you.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to release the letter to Mr Dilday for public use by ministers and elders as they see fit.  The motion carried.

Congregational Reports (continued)

The Columbus congregational report was given by Mr Freeman. It was moved and seconded to receive the report up through Section V. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded to receive Section VI starting at the second paragraph, which begins “Just after the loss”, as a petition from the minister. The motion carried.

Closed Session 2  (No actions were taken in Closed Session)

It was moved and seconded to enter closed session. At 2:11 PM, Presbytery entered closed session. At 4:02 PM, Presbytery reentered open session.

It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery authorize the Columbus Session to hold weekly morning services in Jasper, Indiana while maintaining at least two weekly services in Columbus each month. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that Mr Levi be added to the Columbus Session. The motion carried.

Mr Gebhart led the Presbytery in prayer for the Columbus congregation.

Report of the Special Commission

The special commission (created at the 2011 stated meeting) to deal with the matters surrounding a particular member, rose to report.  (Though this action took place in Open Session the names of the parties and the denomination involved are not published here.)

It was moved and seconded that Presbytery receive the report of the commission as read. The motion carried. All commission correspondence will be handed over to the clerk to be held in retentis.

It was moved and seconded that Presbytery engross the following three findings in its public records:

  1. That the husband (Mr), was wilfully deserted by his wife (Mrs), and that honest attempts by the Church and the civil magistrate to remedy the situation were unsuccessful; and

  2. That, while the divorce, initiated by (Mrs). was not pursued for biblical reasons and the cause stated in the Decree is insufficient, the divorce is, nevertheless, biblically valid on the ground of her wilful desertion, and that the union between the two parties, has been dissolved by a public and orderly course of proceedings; and

  3. That the union between the two parties, having been dissolved by a public and orderly course of proceedings, (Mr), is free to remarry in the Lord.

The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded that the Presbytery direct the convener of the Church Relations Committee to make an attempt to set up a meeting between representatives of the PRC Church Relations Committee and the corresponding denomiational committee at the next meeting of NAPARC to discuss the matter of the denomination’s lack of response related to our recent correspondence with them. The motion carried.

Report of ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books

The report of the ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books was given by Mr Freeman. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. 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 Charlotte congregation at the call of the Moderator. The motion carried.

Resolutions of Thanks

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

The following resolution was moved and seconded:

Whereas, the present ruling elders of the Presbyterian Reformed Church have for many years diligently served their own sessions, the presbytery, and its several committees; and

Whereas, all of them have served and continue to serve sacrificially as assessors on other sessions, in some instances several sessions, and this in addition to their other family, occupational, and local church responsibilities, without remuneration; therefore be it

Resolved, that the Presbytery officially commend Messrs. McClure, Gebhart, Humphrey, Myers, Levi, Stam, and Smallidge for their invaluable service and encourage them that their labors are not in vain in the Lord.

The motion carried.

Psalmody Conference

At 5:06 PM, Presbytery entered the committee of the whole to discuss the planned Psalmody Conference in 2015.

Adjournment

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

___________________________

Timothy Worrell, Moderator

___________________________

Vince Gebhart, Clerk Pro Tempore

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