Report on Stated Presbytery Meeting – Grace Presbytery
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Ridglea Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth, TX
Presbytery convened at 9:00 a.m. with worship in the Sanctuary. The Reverend Judy R. Fletcher, Executive, Synod of the Sun, preached a sermon focused on Stewardship, followed by Communion.
The business portion of the meeting began promptly at 10:00 a.m. with recognition of first-time commissioners, corresponding members, and guest. Administrative personnel receiving certification and/or honors were recognized. Ordination anniversaries of 50, 30, and 10 years were celebrated.
The consent agenda was approved without comment except the election of the new nominating committee was lifted from the consent agenda and placed on the docket at the end of other docketed business.
The Presbytery Council moved for the approval of a Position Description for Associate General Presbyter for Program and Leadership Development for an annual salary of $75,000. There was discussion centered around the fact that the Presbytery had just last year terminated all Associate General Presbyters because of lack of funds. The body was assured that funds had become available to support this position for the rest of this year and for next year. Motion passed and a Nominating Committee for Associate General Presbyter was elected.
Several amendments/adjustments were made to the Standing Rules of the Presbytery.
The Treasurer presented his report and the budget for 2011 was presented for approval. There was discussion about $102,000 Interest and Investment income being included in the budget and the gathering was assured that these funds would be available in the light of an improving economy. The budget passed as presented.
A minor change was made to the By-Laws of Presbytery relating to the make-up of the Board of Trustees.
The Rev. Dr. Paul Hooker, Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of St. Augustine, and member of the New Form of Government (nFOG) Task Force of the General Assembly, made a presentation on nFOG. Charles Scurry will have a copy of his slides if anyone is interested in a more complete discussion. In a nutshell the changes center around a return to a form of government based on relationships and trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit, rather than on rules and regulations. Big changes include a return to the designations of Deacon, Ruling Elder and Teaching Elder. There will no longer be Commissioned Lay Pastors because the term “laity” has been omitted. The Councils of the church (General Assembly, Synod, and Presbytery) will have the fundamental tasks of proclamation of the word, maintenance of the sacraments, and support for the covenant community. For those concerned with G-6.0106b, the exact words are repeated in G-2.0104b. If the current Book of Order is amended by a vote of the Presbyteries, the new words for G-6.0106b will replace G-2.0104b in the nFOG.
Following Dr. Hooker’s presentation, the Presbytery went to lunch.
Immediately following lunch, the Presbytery heard the motion to amend the current Book of Order (Chapters I-XVIII – G-1.0000 – G-18.0401) by replacing those chapters with Foundations of Presbyterian Polity and a new Form of Government. (We received those booklets when Jan DeVries visited our Session meeting in September.) There was a motion to delay vote until the March meeting of Presbytery, followed by discussion. That motion failed. The Presbytery then voted to approve the nFOG by a vote of 150 to 57.
The General Presbyter, Jan DeVries, presented her report in which she emphasized the need of a more relational presbytery, as called for in the nFOG, just approved. The role of discernment by Presbytery, rather than blind reliance on rules, will require personal interaction between the members and commissioners to Presbytery. She proposed holding two-day Presbytery meetings occasionally that would allow commissioners and members to hear reports and proposals, followed by informal relationship building, time of over-night prayer, and coming together a second day for further deliberation and votes.
The Presbytery heard from six new Inquirers who were accepted as candidates for ministry, followed by a report on various multicultural ministries in the Presbytery.
Four ministers, previously received by the Committee on Ministry from other presbyteries, were heard from, one as a Member at Large, and a second as Interim Pastor. Then the other two who had received calls from churches in the Presbytery were approved. A new call to a pastor within Grace Presbytery was placed in her hands; a Certified Christian Educator who was retiring was recognized, and the Nurture and Education sub-committee of the Committee of Ministry presented a survey asking for input on continuing education throughout the presbytery.
The administrative commission tasked with closing Chicota Presbyterian Church in Chicota, presented its report, – all members had transferred to other churches, and the building was gifted to the Chicota Cemetary Association for use at funerals.
The delegation from Grace Presbytery who will be visiting the Church of South India in 2011 was recognized and commissioned.
The new officers and committee members, elected in the Consent Agenda, were invested.
The business which was lifted out of the consent agenda prior to lunch was voted on and approved.
Grace Presbytery was adjourned, sine dei, at 4:00 p.m.
See the official report (with pictures) on the Grace Presbytery web-site. http://www.gracepresbytery.org/index.php?t=1&tsn=12&i=159&b=1