GSP 2nd Stated Meeting January 23-24 2015

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Minutes Presbytery of the Gulf South 2nd Stated Meeting Grace Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, Louisiana January 23-24, 2015 2.01 CONVENING AND ORGANIZATION OF THE PRESBYTERY Outgoing Moderator of the Gulf South Presbytery, RE Victor Jones, called the meeting to order at 3:00 p.m. Jeremy Britt, youth director at Westminster, Laurel, opened the meeting with prayer. 2.02 QUORUM DECLARED Upon recommendation of the Stated Clerk, the moderator declared that a quorum was present to conduct the business of the Presbytery. Attendance of ministers, commissioners, and observers was as follows: MINISTERS AND COMMISSIONERS Active ministers in Gulf South Churches and Ruling Elder Commissioners Church Ministers RE Commissioners Christ EPC Dan Tidwell Richard Harris (P) City of Refuge Ikki Soma (A) Cornerstone Carter Sanger (P) Gene Cover Allen White (E) Jonathan Tucker Covenant, Jackson Steve Burton (P) Slade Exley Andrew Mills (P) Covenant, Mobile Alec Flynt (A) Basil Smith Harold White Covenant, Monroe John Mabray (P) Guy Barr Jonathan Wagner (P) Chet Harrod Clem Viola Crosspointe Dave Wahlstedt (E) Edna Jon L. Poole Mary Jo Poole EPC Marshall Craig Vanbiber (P) Hillard Strong Jim Bates Faith, Brownsville VACANT Faith, Covington, LA Jason Wood (P) Henry Beck 1st Baton Rouge Gerrit Dawson (P) William Adams Whitney Alexander (P) Lloyd Lunceford Dick Gates (E) Benn Vincent Derek McCollum (P) 1st Houma Tommy Robinson (P) Warren Berger Mark H. Lee 1st Lake Jackson Alan Trafford (P) George King Frances Tyler 1st Laredo VACANT Joseph Crabtree 1st Meridian Rhett Payne (P) Jim Cantey 1st Ocean Springs Scott Castleman (P) Jason Graeber Jonathan Tony (P) 1st Pascagoula Matt Mitchell (P) Pat Smith 1st Port Gibson Michael Herrin (P) John Lindsay Torrey 1st Thibodaux Bill Crawford (P) Betsy Magee Margaret Milstead 1st Vicksburg Tim Brown (E) 1st Waskom Timothy J. Rose (P) Genesis Hector Reynoso (P) Golden Rule Brad Simms (P) Grace, Alexandria Bob Vincent (P) Vincent Escandell Eddie Ratliff Grace Chapel VACANT Jim Herring Patty Self Graceminster Bruce Rux (P) Mike Bell Shirley Bell Hope Church San Antonio Tom Masterson (P) Jim Harris Jesus Reigns VACANT Lakeside Bill Hyer (P) Jim Blaha (P) Memorial VACANT Minden VACANT Ronnie Broughton New Covenant, Mandeville Hunter Gray (P) New Covenant, Natchez VACANT Frank Heard Joseph Byrne One Hope (Mission) Kelly Liebengood (CP-A) Pineywoods VACANT Charlie Spears River Church South Ed Bowman (E) River Community Don Shipley (P) Steven Rhodes (P) San Benito Tom Johnson (P) Scotland (AR) VACANT Jan Watkins Larry Watkins Stockton VACANT Trinity Scott Luckey ( P) Westminster, Gulfport Will Shurley (P) Robert Bruce Anna Cuevas Westminster, Laurel Mike Allen (E) Victor Jones Kory Duncan (P) Wayne Traylor Rick Youngblood Wiggins William Pettey (CP - E) W. Boudreaux Woodland, New Orleans John Uhl (P) Yokena Michael Herrin (P) Sharon Taylor Administrators: Dick Druary (P), Bob Roane (E) Chaplains: Marty Fields (E), Rich Overton (A), Ron Pierce (E), Daniel Situka (P), Jeff McKinney (A) Evangelists: Brett Becker (P), Christian Cryder (P), Allen White (E) Missionaries: Pastors Laboring Out of Bounds: John Crimmins (E), Bill Hampton (A), Carter Mills (A), Chris Sneller (P) Teachers: Greg Anthony (E) Active Without Call: Michael Allday (A), Frank Costenbader (A), Dennis Flach (P), Justin Griffin (P), Chris Kiepe (A), David Moncla (A), Steve Wallace (A), Associate Members: Gary Miller (A), Richard Barany (P) Retired: Steve Barrett (A), Robert Horel (A), Gene Huntzinger (A), Buck Oliphant (A), W.T. Parmenter (A), Dick Pickens (A), Rupert Picket (A), Russ Stevenson (P), Hugh White (A) Home Missionaries: Kevin Brown (A), Diane Davis (A), John Davis (A) Candidates: Bolivar Allmon (A), Nathan Cotton (P), Seth Duhs (A), Josh Maddin (P), Scott Carter (A), Eric Parker (P), Bryan Rhodes (P) Corresponding Members: Rev. Toby Brown (Tres Rios Presbytery, PCUSA). Observers: Tony Angell, Daisy Beck, Merrill Blackburn, Susan Boudreaux, Jeremy Britt, Marcie Brown, Jo Ellen Cantey, Linda Cover, Julia Crawford, Ann Druary, Italo Furieri, Alden Garber, Joanna Griffin, Justina Griffin, Jessy Griffin, Linda Heard, Becky Harrod, Catharine Mabray, Glenn McGuire, Phil McLarty, Carol Rux, Jonathan Seaborn, Sherrill Stevenson, and Ed Wedin, 2.03 ADOPTION OF THE DOCKET AND WELCOME The Stated Clerk presented the docket on behalf of the Steering Committee, which was adopted. Rev. Robert Vincent brought greetings on behalf of the host church. He asked for prayer on behalf of a local family whose son had attempted suicide, and Bill Crawford led the presbytery in prayer. 2.04 APPOINTMENT OF STANDING COMMITTEES Moderator Jones appointed the following standing committees: Leaves and Absences: TE Michael Herrin, Stated Clerk Reflection and Thanks: TE Scott Castleman 2.05 INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS AND 1ST TIME COMMISSIONERS Moderator Jones called for a time of introducing first time commissioners and guests in attendance. The Stated Clerk moved that all visiting ministers be enrolled as corresponding members of the Gulf South Presbytery for the 2nd stated meeting. The motion was approved. 2.06 SESSION MINUTES REVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT On behalf the Session Minutes Review Committee, Dan Tidwell reminded churches with minutes due for review to turn them in prior to the evening worship service and that churches who were to provide a reviewer to check out a set of minutes for review and return them on Saturday morning. 2.07 INSTALLATION OF 2015 MODERATOR Moderator Victor Jones led a brief service of installation for incoming 2015 Moderator, TE Bill Crawford, 1st Thibodaux. Following the questions by outgoing Moderator Jones, all of them being answered affirmatively by TE Crawford and the Presbytery, Moderator Jones pronounced TE Crawford to be duly installed as the 2015 Gulf South Presbytery Moderator and entitled to all support, prayers, and encouragement of the Presbytery. Moderator Jones led the Presbytery in prayer for the newly installed Moderator. 2.08 APPRECIATION OF OUTGOING MODERATOR On behalf of the Presbytery, Moderator Crawford expressed appreciation to outgoing Moderator Jones, thanking him for the hard work he had done in helping to form the Gulf South Presbytery. 2.09 ASSISTANT STATED CLERKS ADDRESS Moderator Crawford introduced TE Ed McCallum, Assistant Stated Clerk of the EPC General Assembly. TE McCallum thanked the Presbytery for the opportunity to present a workshop for small-membership congregations immediately prior to the presbytery meeting. He updated the Presbytery on current events taking place in the denomination, indicating the EPCs desire to become a truly global movement of Reformed Churches. He challenged the presbytery to move congregations that have plateaued toward transformation, recommending Ken Priddys Go Center. He encouraged all the congregations of the Presbytery to become a parent, a partner or a patron of church plants. He announced several leadership training workshops at the General Assembly in Orlando, and encouraged sessions to select their commissioners and make reservations soon. At the conclusion of his report, Moderator Crawford offered prayer for TE McCallum and for his ministry. 2.10 UNANIMOUS CONSENT MOTION The Stated Clerk proposed the unanimous consent motion on behalf of the Coordinating Council. Opportunity was given to discuss or present any objections. The motion was approved. 1. Approve the minutes of the 1st stated meeting 2. Stated Clerks Report a. Receive the report of the Administrative Commission to install TE Ed Bowman as Pastor, River Church South, Gonzales, Louisiana b. Receive the report of the Administrative Commission to install TE Jonathan J. Tony as Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Ocean Springs, Mississippi c. Dissolve and dismiss, with thanks, the foregoing Commissions. 3. Treasurer: a. Receive the financials through December 31, 2014. 4. Receive the informational portions of the following reports: a. Coordinating Council b. Treasurer c. Stated Clerk d. World Outreach e. Womens Ministries f. Pastoral Care and Church Health g. New Church Development h. Session Minutes 2.11 REPORT OF WOMENS MINISTRIES Among the items approved in the consent motion was the following written report of the Womens Ministries Committee, presented by Chairman Sandy Vincent: Women of the former Central South presbytery met for the last time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on October 24-25 with our new Gulf South Women. It was a bittersweet time as we celebrated the growth of our denomination. We will miss our friends who will now meet at different places and times. Many thanks to the ladies of First Presbyterian, Vicksburg, for their gracious southern hospitality! Everyone attending enjoyed a warm welcome and some great food (of course!). The ladies met on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning during the general session to share ideas, pray together, hear the latest from EPC national office, and gain from some excellent teaching. Christine Shipley (River South Church, Prairieville, Louisiana) shared a powerful lesson on spiritual warfare who our real enemy is, how our enemy fights against us, and how we fight. We know that Christ ultimately wins the battle, but we still face real challenges in this life. Thank you, Chris, for that insightful lesson! One of the highlights of each Presbytery meeting is the opportunity to meet women from other churches and hear what is going on with them. Linda Cover (Cornerstone EPC, Katy, Texas) gave an overview of Heart-to-Heart, a womens mentoring group going on now at that church. Several ladies present expressed how much such a ministry had meant to them. We plan to have a Best Practice shared at each meeting. Since pastors wives face special challenges in their lives, they met in a breakout group the next Saturday morning to share concerns and pray for each other. The remainder of the group exchanged personal prayer needs and contact information and committed to pray specifically for each other between now and the next presbytery meeting. 2.12 REPORT OF THE TREASURER Treasurer Jonathan Tucker provided end-of-year financial statements for the Presbytery for the year 2014. These are appended to the minutes. The income statement is summarized for all ministry areas of the Presbytery and includes church planting activity. The cash balance restricted for church planting is approximately $32,300. The Coordinating Council has also designated a portion of the unrestricted net assets to support church planting activities. The final report will be included in the presbytery materials for the April meeting. The Treasurer presented a Summary Budget for approval by the Presbytery. This was presented at the October meeting for a first reading. The Coordinating Council has reviewed and approved the detailed budget. The proposed budget reflects Gulf South's Per Member Asking (PMA) amount of $16 which is consistent with prior year PMA for Central South. The Treasurer moved that the 2015 budget be approved. The motion was approved, and the budget is appended to these minutes. 2.13 REPORT OF THE COORDINATING COUNCIL RE Victor Jones reported for the Coordinating Council. He encouraged all sessions to study the descending overtures from the 34th General Assembly before the presbytery votes on them. They may be found at the bottom of the following webpage, under the heading Descending Overtures: RE Jones presented the following motions on behalf of the Coordinating Council, all of which were approved: 1. That presbytery appoint TE Jason Wood, TE Mike Allen, and RE Ed Wedin as a committee to examine the descending overtures from the 34th General Assembly and report to presbytery at its April meeting, at which time the presbytery will vote on these overtures. 2. That presbytery approve the following amendment to Standing Rule 10.3, concerning the New Church Development and Support Committee: Responsibilities: This Committee is responsible for providing mission churches that have developed from the Presbytery's Church Planting efforts with such support, including financial where required, as shall be necessary to permit them to attain a full church life in their local congregations. When such mission and particular churches request subsidy from Presbytery, this Committee shall investigate the need and in consultation with the Stewardship and Finance Committee Coordinating Council, and when deemed advisable, with the Ministerial Committee, shall make appropriate recommendations to the Council and then to Presbytery. When such subsidies are granted, this Committee shall regularly designate one or more of its members to consult with the Session of the particular church and, in turn, shall report to the Council and the Presbytery on proper use of granted funds. This committee shall continue to serve as the liaison to churches coming into the presbytery without a pastor until such time as a pastor is called. 3. That presbytery receive the amended Standing Rules as a second reading and adopt them 4. That presbytery give $30,000 from its reserve funds to the New Church Development and Support Committee for support of our two church plants. 5. That presbytery approve the following Job Description for the Presbytery Facilitator. Job Title: Presbytery Facilitator Accountability: to Coordinating Council Position Summary: A part-time (approximately 2-3 days per week) position to be filled for a probationary term to be established by the Coordinating Council. The term may be renewable, if approved by Gulf South Presbytery. The position serves at the pleasure of the Council and can be modified or terminated at the discretion of the Council either before, during, or at the conclusion of the specified term. After the first probationary term (if approved), the Coordinating Council will review the performance and contributions made by the Facilitator and recommend to Gulf South Presbytery: (1) continue the position on a recurring basis with an annual review, (2) modify the position description, or (3) eliminate the position. Responsibility: 1. Assist the Coordinating Council and all presbytery committees in performing their duties in an effective and timely manner. 2. Be a resource to all Presbytery pastors, sessions and committees in accomplishing the Presbyterys long-range plans. 3. Develop a schedule for visiting each teaching elder and each church session over the course of two years, with availability sooner for crisis situations. 4. In coordination with Church Health and Pastoral Care Committee, visit every Teaching Elder soliciting suggestions on how Presbytery may effectively respond to their needs and/or concerns. Provide timely follow up as required. 5. In coordination with Church Health and Pastoral Care Committee, visit every Session encouraging support of the Presbytery and the connectional system, and solicit suggestions on how Presbytery may effectively respond to the churchs needs or problems. Provide timely follow up as required. 6. Be an accessible and responsive resource to the churches of Gulf South Presbytery. 7. Facilitate ongoing communications with the General Assembly Office and other Presbyteries. 8. This position shall assume no authority to carry out the Standing Rules of the Presbytery of the Gulf South or the EPC Book of Government. 2.14 REPORT OF THE STATED CLERK The Stated Clerk reported on correspondence the presbytery has received: 1. Correspondence has been received from the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Mississippi (PCUSA), noting the following actions that were taken at their stated meeting on October 23, 2014: a. The Rev. Jonathan Tony was dismissed to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. b. The Rev. Steve Bryant was received as an at-large member. He is currently functioning as a Stated Supply in Pass Christian, MS. 2. Applications for membership in the Gulf South Presbytery have been received from: a. Liberty Presbyterian Church, Liberty, Mississippi b. Unity Memorial Presbyterian Church, Amite County, Mississippi These applications have been submitted to the New Church Development and Support Committee. 3. Correspondence has been received from Dr. Gerry Tyer, Stated Clerk of Grace Presbytery (PCUSA), noting that the First Presbyterian Church of Mexia was dismissed to the EPC effective November 21, 2014. 2.15 REPORT OF THE NEW CHURCH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT COMMITTEE TE Richard Harris made the following motions on behalf of the New Church Development and Support Committee, all of which were approved: 1. Appoint Larry Oaks to class of 2015 and Wayne Traylor to the class of 2017 on the New Church Development and Support Committee, per their request. 2. Receive the Edna Presbyterian Church as a full member of the Presbytery of the Gulf South. 3. Receive the Liberty Presbyterian Church and the Unity Memorial Presbyterian Church as transitional members of the Presbytery of the Gulf South. 4. Receive the written report from the Rev. Brett Becker concerning the Presbyterys church plant in San Antonio, Texas. As part of the committees report, TE Christian Cryder gave an update on All Souls Church plant in Austin, Texas. This is a bivocational church that aims to create a space where meaningful conversations can take place. He hopes to start a Bible study this Spring, and asked the presbytery to pray for 5-10 people to participate in the study. He offered praise to God and thanks to the presbytery for sufficient support for the next two years of ministry. He still needs to raise investment capital for the business that he will operate along with the ministry. After TE Cryders report, RE Ed Wedin led in prayer for the ministry. 2.16 REPORT OF THE WORLD OUTREACH COMMITTEE TE Dennis Flach reported for the World Outreach Committee, opening with prayer. TE Whitney Alexander submitted a written report and made a verbal presentation on a trip he and TE Don Elliott took to Lebanon in support of our presbyterys Engage 2025 project. He challenged members of the presbytery to participate in a trip to Lebanon in September. He closed in prayer for the Engage 2025 team. Moderator Crawford then declared the presbytery in recess for 10 minutes. 2.17 SEASON OF PRAYER AND DINNER RECESS The presbytery reconvened at 4:47. The moderator reminded pastors about the covenant group meeting that will be held at Westminster Gulfport in February, and encouraged other groups of pastors to hold similar prayer meetings in other parts of the presbytery. The moderator asked the presbytery to share joys, and RE Basil Smith reported on the development of Covenant Mobile and its new campus. TE Dale Robertson gave thanks to God for his miraculous recovery from an automobile accident. TE Bob Vincent offered a prayer for TE Robertson and members of the presbytery laid hands on him, anointing him with oil. RE Victor Jones asked for prayer for TE Mike Allen, who has had several unsuccessful back surgeries. Moderator Crawford offered prayer for TE Allen and then the presbytery divided into groups to enter a season of prayer. The Moderator closed in prayer at 5:40pm, and offered thanks for the supper, which was served at the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria. The presbytery stood in recess until 7pm. 2.18 EVENING WORSHIP The Gulf South Presbytery gathered for worship in the Sanctuary, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The offering received was designated to help defray costs for commissioners in need of travel assistance. TE Bob Vincent preached the sermon based on I Corinthians 16:8-9 and Acts 19. The service concluded with the celebration of the Lords Supper. 2.19 RECONVENING IN WORSHIP Moderator Crawford called the Presbytery to order at 8 a.m. TE Hector Reynoso led the presbytery in singing. The moderator preached a sermon from Colossians 1. After the service was concluded with prayer, the Edna Presbyterian Church was welcomed into full membership of the presbytery. 2.20 MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE REPORT TE Don Shipley presented the report of the Ministerial Committee, opening with prayer. He noted the following items for the presbyterys information: 1. The committee has concurred with the session at River Church South, Gonzales, Louisiana, in calling the Rev. Russ Stevenson as Pastor Emeritus. 2. The committee has concurred with the Rev. Dennis Flachs request to dissolve the pastoral relationship with New Covenant, Natchez, Mississippi. The congregation has concurred. Rev. Flach is listed as without call. 3. The committee has concurred with the Rev. Justin Griffins request to dissolve the pastoral relationship with Memorial, San Augustine, Texas, at the recommendation of the Administrative Commission. The congregation has concurred. Rev. Griffin is listed as without call. According to Standing Rule 9.5, Chairman Shipley moved that the presbytery approve the following members of the Compensation Administrative Commission for 2015: TE Steve Burton, TE Brad Simms, RE Jim Bates, RE Henry Beck, and RE Ed Wedin. The motion was approved. 2.21 SESSION MINUTES REVIEW RE Dan Tidwell opened with prayer. He noted that the traditional review procedure will be continued at the April presbytery meeting, but that a system of electronic minutes review is still in development. He asked the presbytery to continue to provide input for the new procedure and that congregations will be asked to participate in this new process. The moderator thanked RE Tidwell for his heart for this ministry. RE Tidwell also reported that his committee had not finished its review of the minutes that had been submitted. The complete report will thus be presented at the April meeting. He did report that three sessions had submitted minutes without a completed minutes review form. These minutes will have to be resubmitted, as they could not be reviewed without the form. 2.22 ADMINISTRATIVE COMMISSION REPORT TE Craig Van Biber reported for the Administrative Commission appointed at the October stated meeting to work with the session of Memorial Presbyterian Church in San Augustine, Texas. He opened with prayer, and then gave a summary of the work the commission had already completed. After meeting with the congregation, the session, and the pastor, the commission recommended that the pastoral relationship be dissolved. The pastor agreed, and the congregation duly voted to approve the dissolution. The commission also worked to obtain an acceptable severance package for the pastor. The commission plans to continue working with the session and the congregation to seek reconciliation and to train the ruling elders more thoroughly in the constitution of the EPC in order to improve compliance with our denominations polity. In order to carry out this work, the commission moved that the presbytery spell out the powers of the commission more clearly, according to the template which follows: The Presbytery of the Gulf South constitutes an Administrative Commission for Memorial Presbyterian Church, San Augustine, Texas according to the authority cited in G.21-1C.1(d). Its duties and powers are indicated below and its duration shall be through the stated meeting of Presbytery in January of 2016, unless extended by the Presbytery. The commission is comprised of: Jim Bates (RE; EPC of Marshall, TX); Vance Freeman (RE; One Hope, Longview, TX); Kelly Liebengood (RE; EPC of Marshall, TX serving at One Hope, Longview); John Mabray (TE; Covenant Presbyterian Church, Monroe, LA) Steve Mason (RE; One Hope, Longview, TX) Craig Vanbiber (TE; EPC of Marshall, TX) The commission shall have the following duties and powers: 1. To visit the Session of Memorial Presbyterian Church and investigate any alleged dissension that may exist within the session, between minister and session, between minister and congregation, between session and congregation, and to appoint, if needful, a temporary moderator of session until either the work of the Commission is completed or the alleged difficulties are resolved. 2. To visit the congregation of Memorial Presbyterian Church and inquire into the reported difficulties that allegedly impede the mission of the church and to seek to resolve such difficulties as may be present. 3. To take whatever steps are needful to establish the peace and unity within Memorial Presbyterian Church, and, if necessary, dissolve the active relationship of Ruling Elders and Deacons as well as the pastoral relationship, following proper procedures (G.14-2). 4. To provide, if necessary, pastoral assistance to the congregation, call and conduct congregational meetings to elect officers and to train, examine, ordain and install those officers (Act of Assembly 94-24). 5. To make recommendations to the presbytery, as it deems necessary, regarding the continuing work of the church and its officers. The motion of the commission was approved. The commission then moved that the presbytery appoint TE Dick Druary as moderator of Memorial Presbyterian Church until the next presbytery meeting. This motion was also approved. 2.23 MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE REPORT CONTINUED Chairman Shipley resumed the report of the Ministerial Committee, bringing two more action items for the presbyterys consideration: 1. The committee moved that TE Carter Sanger, TE Alan Trafford, RE Jonathan Tucker and RE Francis Tyler be appointed as a commission to install the ruling elders of the Edna Presbyterian Church. The motion was approved. 2. That Eric Parker, who was received under care as a candidate at the October stated meeting, be received under the extraordinary clause. Chairman Shipley explained that, although Mr. Parker has an MA degree and has completed all the coursework necessary for a PhD in Church history, he does not have an M.Div. degree. Receiving him under the extraordinary clause will allow the General Assemblys Ministerial Vocation Committee to prescribe any additional coursework Mr. Parker might need for proper preparation for pastoral ministry. The moderator asked for a rising vote, which resulted in 90 in favor of the motion and none against. The motion was thus approved. 2.24 STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS Leaves and Absences: TE Michael Herrin read the list of requests for excused absences and asked if any others needed to be added. The attendance for the presbytery is recorded in 2.02. Reflections and Thanks: TE Scott Castleman expressed gratitude for the hospitality offered to the Presbytery from the congregation, Session, and staff of Grace Alexandria. 2.25 ADJOURNMENT There being no further business, presbytery adjourned with prayer offered by TE Scott Castleman at 10am to meet, Deo volente, in its next stated meeting at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Houston on April 24, 2015. ___________________________ _______ ________________________ ________ Moderator, Bill Crawford Date Clerk, Michael Herrin Date