• Presbyterian Reformed Church

Presbytery Meeting Minutes May 2016

Wednesday, 25th May

Opening

Call to Order

A regular meeting of the Presbytery of the Presbyterian Reformed Church was held near Newton, Iowa at the Christian Conference Center and within the Main Lodge Building on Wednesday May 25 and Thursday May 26. The meeting was called to order by Rev. Bradford Freeman, moderator at 8:45 AM with the singing of Psalm 105: 8-14 to the tune St Stephen; the reading of Genesis 30:25-43; a sermon upon the text, “Prospering in the Lord”; the singing of Psalm 67 to the tune Selma; and prayer.

Roll Call

Sederunt, Rev. D. Douglas Gebbie, Rev. Timothy Worrell, Rev. Rev. Roy Mohon, Michael Ericson, Rev. Bradford Freeman, Rev. Michael Ives, ministers; Mr Brian Myers, Mr Vincent Gebhart, Mr Christopher Levi, , Mr Stephen Stam, ruling elders.

Mr Caleb Mohon was absent with excuse.  Elders W. McClure and J. Humphrey are retired and inactive.

Presbytery noted the absence of Mr Lindsay Smallidge, Mr Smallidge having been translated to his eternal reward.  Presbytery makes the following entry in the minutes to mark Lindsay’s passing.  His contributions to the Presbytery will be greatly missed.

Lindsay Edward Smallidge; May 29, 1962 – Dec. 2, 2015

It is with the mixed feelings of those who grieve with hope that the Presbytery recognizes the passing of Mr. Lindsay Smallidge of the Columbus, Indiana, congregation, at the age of 53.  Lindsay was born into a Roman Catholic family from Maine, and came into the PRC by way of the RPCNA. He was a founder member of the Columbus congregation and served in it, and Presbytery, as a ruling elder.  He served the Presbytery as its clerk before his illness in 2011.

Lindsay was diagnosed with Amyloidosis and Multiple Myeloma in the spring of 2011.  These conditions affected his major organs, especially his kidneys.  While many gruelling treatments brought a measure of remission, Lindsay was on dialysis from that time until his death.  During the years of his illness and even in recently before his death, Lindsay continued to serve the Columbus congregation by facilitating the services, either reading sermons or setting up broadcast messages when there was no supply.  Even with his serious chronic condition, the end of his life on this earth came suddenly, when he collapsed at home after returning from a dialysis session.

Lindsay’s wife of 28 years, Robin, was diagnosed as having inoperable brain tumors, and followed him to glory on March 30, 2016.

Minutes

It was noted that the minutes, for both open and closed sessions, of the June 2015 regular meeting had been approved at the close of that meeting. No other meetings occurred this year.

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. Ives take the chair as moderator. The motion carried.

Approval of the Docket

The docket was discussed and amendments made by consensus. It was moved and seconded that the docket be approved as amended. The motion carried.

Greetings from Delegates and Observers

Rev. Jody Lucero of Providence Reformed Church (United Reformed Church), Des Moines, Iowa and of the Central Classis of the URC; Rev. Dan Drost of the Washington Reformed Presbyterian Reformed Church (RPCNA), Washington, Iowa; and Rev. Edward Jensen of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (Orthodox Presbyterian Church), Des Moines, Iowa greeted the Presbytery.

Treasurer’s Report

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

It was moved and seconded To reactivate the Stewardship Committee and task it with developing budgeting and reporting procedures. The motion carried.

Reports of Standing Committees

Church Relations Committee

Rev. Ives presented the report of the Missions Committee. It was moved and seconded To receive the report, inclusive of the attachment, of the Missions Committee. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That the Presbytery re-extend the remit of the committee to hold face-to-face and teleconference meetings with its counterpart in the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the United States, in the next year and report to the next regular meeting of Presbytery. The motion carried.

Rev. Gebbie gave an oral report of the delegates to NAPARC (Rev. Gebbie and Mr Gebhart were the delegates). Mr Gebhart added to this oral report. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

Prayer and Recess

Mr Levi led the Presbytery in prayer for the work of both the Church Relations and Stewardship Committees. Presbytery stood recessed from 10:29 to 10:43 AM.

It was moved and seconded To enter into the Committee of the Whole to discuss the motion from the last regular meeting regarding pursuit of organic union with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) Presbytery of the United States. The motion to enter into the Committee of the Whole carried. After some discussion, it was moved and seconded To leave the Committee of the Whole. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To delegate Rev. Ives and Mr Gebhart to the 2017 NAPARC meeting scheduled for November 8-10, 2016 hosted by the FRCNA in Pompton Plains, NJ. The motion carried.

Training of the Ministry Committee

Rev. Gebbie presented the Training of the Ministry Committee report, orally. It was moved and seconded To receive the report.  The key notation in the report was that our student under care, Mr. Brian Peters, is expected to be finished with his seminary training in the spring 2017.  The motion carried.

Publications Committee

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

It was moved and seconded That the committee consider the desirability and feasibility of generating audio cassette recordings and print materials. The motion carried.

Prayer and Recess

Rev. Ives led the Presbytery in prayer for the work of both the Training of the Ministry and Publications Committees. Presbytery stood recessed from 12:04 AM to 1:07 PM and reconvened with prayer.

Congregational Reports

Chesley Congregational Report

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

Columbus Congregational Report

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

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. Rev. Mohon led the Presbytery in prayer for the Des Moines congregation.

Jasper Congregational Report

Rev. Freeman presented the Jasper report. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried.  Mr Gebhart led the Presbytery in prayer for the Jasper congregation.

The Session conveyed the following Overture to the Presbytery:

Whereas, in the English-speaking visible church, it is common to name congregations sans the entire denominational name, and

Whereas, it is the practice of many of the best reformed churches to name their congregations sans the entire denominational name, and

Whereas, in the US Presbytery of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), with whom we are seeking closer union, every congregation is named sans the entire denominational name, and

Whereas, Christians who are seeking a church home and others who are looking to visit a church are potentially turned off by long denominational names, and

Whereas, the Jasper session thinks that our current name poses an unnecessary stumbling-block to our potential visitors and future members and, particularly that the word “Presbyterian” evokes a misleading notion in the minds of our neighbors, and

Whereas, the session believes that the name “Covenant Reformed Church” would be more accurate and more winsome in our social context, therefore, be it

Resolved, that the congregation of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper be named Covenant Reformed Church.

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

That individual congregations of the Presbytery use the name Presbyterian Reformed Church. The alternative motion failed.

Recess

Presbytery stood recessed from 3:03 to 3:18 PM.

It was moved and seconded To table the Jasper Overture. The motion to table carried.

Rhode Island Congregational Report

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

Stockton-on-Tees Congregational Report

Rev. 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.

Reports of Ad Hoc Committees

Ad Hoc Committee on the FoG-BoD

Rev. Gebbie gave the FoG-BoD ad hoc committee report on the relevant Biblical principles that bear on the question of teleconferencing. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. (The motion to receive does NOT imply adoption.) The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded That presbyters study the report and submit thoughts and comments to the committee by December 31 this year. The motion carried.

Ad Hoc 501(c)(3) Committee

Mr Gebhart gave the report of 501(c)(3) ad hoc committee on its study of the 501(c)(3) application, advantages, disadvantages, and implications. It was moved and seconded to receive the report. The motion carried.

The committee rose.

Ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books

It was moved and seconded To appoint Rev Ives and Mr Gebhart to the ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books. The motion carried.

Congregational Reports (continued)

Columbus Congregational Report

It was moved and seconded to add Mr Levi as an assessor elder to the session. The motion carried.

Correspondence

South African Letter

The clerk will respond appropriately.

Recess

Presbytery stood adjourned at 5:14 PM to reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM.

Thursday, May 26, 2015

The Presbytery reconvened at 8:40 AM with the singing of Psalm 48:1-9 to the tune St Magnus, the reading of Psalm 48, a brief sermon on that text, and prayer by the moderator.

Reports of Standing Committees (continued)

Report of the Missions Committee (continued)

Report on Liberia Visit

Rev. Worrell presented a report on his visit to Liberia. It was moved and seconded To receive the report. The motion carried.

Motions Arising

It was moved and seconded To direct the committee to authorize two courses for the 2016-2017 school year with budget as follows: $50 stipend/month, $50 administration/month, $50 travel/month for one or $1800 total for this portion and $600 materials for each, paid by local congregations. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To begin development of a full curriculum leading to a Diploma in Theology. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To direct the committee to communicate with and seek input from the Training for the Ministry Committee relative to development of a curriculum for a Diploma in Theology. The motion carried.

It was moved and seconded To authorize a trip to Liberia in Spring 2017 to conduct examinations, teach, preach, etc. with a budget of $4000 provided the funds are available by 31 December 2016 or other suitable arrangements will be made. The motion carried.

Prayer and Recess

Mr Gebbie led the Presbytery in prayer for the work of the Missions Committee. Presbytery stood recessed from 10:33 to 10:43 AM.

Congregational Reports (continued)

Jasper Congregational Report (continued)

It was moved and seconded That the Jasper Overture regarding the congregational name be untabled. (The motion appears in full earlier in this record). The motion to untable carried.

The following motion was moved and seconded as an alternative motion: That the congregation of the Presbyterian Reformed Church of Jasper be named Covenant Reformed Church and in published materials and in internal signage the name be accompanied with the language “a congregation of the Presbyterian Reformed Church”. The motion carried.

Reports of Ad Hoc Committees (continued)

Ad hoc Committee for the Review of Session Books

Mr Gebhart orally gave 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.

New Business

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 29, 2016, 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.

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 Rhode Island Congregation in June at the call of the moderator. The motion carried.

Closed Session

At 11:21 AM, it was moved and seconded To enter closed session. The motion carried.

It was moved to exit closed session. The motion carried. Presbytery reentered open session at 4:52 PM.

Stewardship Committee (continued)

M2, Priorities to Stewardship Committee. MSO.

M2, Rename the Presbytery General Fund. MSO.

Resolution of Thanks

It was resolved by common consent To thank the Des Moines 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

The following motion was moved and seconded

That in light of the difficulty of printing the draft minutes prior to adjournment,

That Presbytery suspend the rule to approve the minutes at the end of the meeting,

That the draft minutes will be distributed electronically within 7 days, and

That Presbyters will review the draft minutes, and communicate to the Clerk either suggestions for corrections or provisional acceptance of the draft minutes before July 1.

The motion carried.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:59 PM with prayer by the moderator.

_________________________

Michael Ives, Moderator

___________________________

Vince Gebhart, Clerk

APPENDIX

Make Up of Sessions

North Carolina: Rev. D. Gebbie, moderator; T. Worrell (will be removed 7/1/16), 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; S. Stam and C. Levi, assessors

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

Make Up of Committees

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

Missions: Rev. Worrell, convener; Rev. Ericson; Rev. Freeman; 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

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