Sunday, February 8, 2009

Plodding Presbytery Meeting

This month's presbytery meeting was relatively painless. Not much controversial was mentioned or voted on.

Our worship time was very upbeat, celebrating Black History month. The sermon was preached by an African-American Pastor from New Jersey. He had a great set of points and had plenty of heads nodding, until close to the end of his sermon when he lumped Rev. Wright in with Rev. King; I heard a few audible "Uh oh"s at that statement. Aside from that, it was a great sermon.

The elephant in the room along with other constitutional amendments will be voted on next month in a special, called meeting of Presbytery being held on a Saturday, very unusual since most are held on Thursdays during the day here. Evidently it was done so that all congregations in the Presbytery can have representatives at the meeting. Considering my previous post, I suspect that at least one affinity group will be having a influence the get out the vote campaign prior to that vote.

The usual omnibus motions were made and passed. The one controversy was over a motion for elder equalization made by the stated clerk. There are a lot of ministers in Plodding Presbytery, and the number of accredited minister presbyters exceeded the number of normally allocated elders by 61. The way the clerk wanted to make up this shortfall in elders was to authorized those elders who are working on the presbytery committees as voting elder presbyters.

One elder commissioner to presbytery thought that this put too much power in those who have the time and inclination to volunteer for presbytery commissions. He would have had the clerk make up the 61 elders from across the Presbytery, by adding one elder to those authorized from the churches.

Looking at the list of elders on the presbytery commissions, it does appear that there are a number of elders from liberal leaning churches on this list. We shall see what happens next month.

The best part of this meeting was the Oral Examination of a candidate for ordination. Her statement of faith was something that most center-right members of the PCUSA would not have a problem with. However, there were some other members who were scowling at the use of non-inclusive language when referring to the members of the Trinity.

That said, I did not hear any no votes when it came time to approve her for ordination, of course, it could mean that those who were scowling, did not vote.

The meeting adjourned not long after.

And so it goes ...


  1. I never heard of that method of equalization.

    In my presbytery we have a complicated procedure to equalize representation that assigns an extra elder commissioner to churches on a rotation basis, with some preference given to the mid-size congregations.

    Elders should be elected by their sessions to represent them at presbytery, so I'm not sure this method of giving a vote to elder members of presbytery committees meets the BOO requirements.

  2. QG,

    that was also done, but this Presbytery has a lot of ministers within the bounds: HR, non-parish positions, etc; they needed additional elders.

    The idea the elder commissioner had was to assign another commissioner to congregations that are out of rotation.

    Unfortunately, he had not thought it through, nor discussed this with other elders, and he arrived without a fully formed resolution.

  3. Another reminder of the importance of advance preparation!

  4. You mentioned the "affinity" group - I rec'd a phone call last week from such an affinity group the other day asking if we had rec'd their mailing (we had - a very thick envelope. How much did it cost such group to send this mailing to every church, I wondered?) I wondered if it was just coincidence that I received the phone call and my presbytery met on Saturday and voted on the amendments. The "elephant in the room" amendment was not passed - 18 for, 38 against (yes, that would be 56 total votes. My presbytery is *that* small). The discussion was very civil, and the moderator moderated with much graciousness.


I'm not one to moderate comments, as I try to moderate my own at other blogs. That said, I will remove offensive, defaming and otherwise inappropriate comments when needed.