STATED MEETING OF PRESBYTERY
May 7, 2013, 9:00 AM
Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center
88 SE 75th Street
Starke, FL 32091
REV. GABE GOODMAN, MODERATOR
SPRING MEETING HIGHLIGHTS, May 7, 2013
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20
The Lord was with us as approximately 165 disciples gathered for our spring stated meeting. We enjoyed sunny weather, following several days of soaking rains. At 9:00 a.m., our moderator Gabe Goodman called the meeting to order with prayer, our host PJ Brobston of Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center offered a warm welcome.
The preliminary agenda led almost immediately into our morning worship, continuing in the theme of “We are the Body of Christ.” Our morning scripture was Psalm 67 and Acts 16:1-15. In the morning message - “Does Size Matter?” - Stated Clerk Sandra Hedrick shared that church size does matter, but not in the way we may think. As a part of the body of Christ, every church size is already complete in our Lord and just the right size to share the good news in its community. Our other worship leaders were Jeff Welch, liturgist; Joe Rigsby, celebrant; and Dorothy Dornblaser, pianist. As the word was sealed, we shared the Lord’s Supper and received an offering for MPCC of almost $1,000.
Here is a brief summary of some of our business of the day:
We voted on the constitutional amendments sent to us by the General Assembly, including the new translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. All were approved except for 12-B (gifts and qualifications for ordained ministry) and 12-F (requiring concurrence by multiple presbyteries to send an overture to General Assembly).
We elected new officers for several of our committees and commissions, appreciating deeply their willingness to share their gifts with all of us. The quorum for meetings of committees of the presbytery was changed to “at least 50 percent.” With regard to our participation in the wider church, Rhonda Link-Cummings reported on the synod meeting held in March.
A new pastor was welcomed into the presbytery: Cindy Benz, who has begun to serve First Presbyterian Church, Palatka. We also rejoiced at the work of the Spirit in Rachel Pence, who was received as a candidate for ministry under our care.
Rev. Alisun Donovan, Mission Coordinator, shared her excitement about this year’s presbytery Enrichment 2013 program, which will be held November 15-16. Jack Haberer, the editor of Presbyterian Outlook, will be our keynote speaker. She also provided an update on our Mutual Mission dental/medical and youth work/exchanges, disaster preparedness, and ways that our presbytery is in active mission.
Peacemaking was highlighted with the presentation of the banner to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Gainesville. Its pastor, Larry Green, and several representatives were present and described some of its work, which includes - among other things - active participation in local interfaith community work and a youth project of folding 1,000 peace cranes to contribute to World Peace Day on August 6. In addition, Andy Gans, pastor of Ft. King church, shared insights from his travel to Northern Ireland in connection with a Travel Study Seminar.
We heard reports and requests for prayer for the Korean Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville and Faith Presbyterian Church in Melrose, which are currently served by Administrative Commissions. An Administrative Commission will be formed to serve with Geneva Presbyterian Church.
We reviewed financial and personnel matters. A more substantial budget deficit is predicted for 2013 than originally planned. Following a robust discussion, the presbytery appointed a group of six persons to recommend an interim staffing plan at the October 2013 meeting: the Transitional Executive Presbyter, the Transitional Stated Clerk, the Treasurer, a representative of the Administration and Finance Committee, and the chairs of the Personnel Committee and the Committee on Ministry. The director position for our Resource Center will continue to be funded until the presbytery acts on the proposed staffing plan.
Presbyterian Women (Ruthanne Reiss) and Montgomery Conference Center (PJ Brobston) gave reports concerning the highlights of those key ministries. A hilarious video highlighted the fun and fellowship that a camper would enjoy this summer at Montgomery. Among many other highlights, Ruthanne shared that Presbyterian Women is continuing the Together in Service “Little Dresses for Africa” project, including emphasis on “Little Boy Britches.” Adding to our focus on youth and children were compelling presentations on Jacksonville Campus Ministry (UNF and JU) and Presbyterian University Center (FSU).
Transitional Executive Presbyter Steve Benz concluded the meeting with a word about stewardship and encouraged those in attendance to join with the stewardship and transition task forces that are being formed.
We finished our meeting early and enjoyed lunch on the grounds: BBQ ribs with generous sides(and vegetarian options). A number of us lingered a long time to enjoy fellowship at the picnic tables or on the porch.
To help us continue the conversation on the vitality and support of our smaller congregations and bi-vocational and part-time pastors, we invite you to complete and return the survey that can be found here.
The Fall Stated Meeting will take place at Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center on October 1, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
We humbly ask God to bless our work and our precious relationships with one another, our community, and our world.
Rev. Alexandra (Sandra) Hedrick
Transitional Stated Clerk
“The mission of the Presbytery of St. Augustine is to serve Jesus Christ by strengthening our congregations in their ministries and enabling us to accomplish together what none could accomplish alone.”