The 115th stated meeting of the Presbytery of the James was held on Saturday, October 21, 2023, as a hybrid Zoom meeting. It was hosted by Westminster Church in Richmond.
Teaching Elder Rosalind Banbury (Bethlehem Church), moderator, called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m., made a statement of land acknowledgement, and led the presbytery in prayer.
Teaching Elder R. Charles Grant (stated clerk) affirmed a quorum was present.
Morning worship included the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and the reading of the Necrology. Worship leaders included the following:
- Rev. Christopher Burton, director of the Leadership Institute at Union Presbyterian Seminary
- Barbara Chalfant, presbyter for congregational care of the POJ
- Maya Collins, music intern at Gayton Kirk
- Rev. R. Charles Grant, temporary stated clerk of the POJ
- Rev. Leigh Anne Ring, presbyter for relational care of the POJ
- Kenna Payne, organist and choir director of Westminster Church, Richmond
Stated Clerk Grant noted the communications received:
- Readers of the presbytery minutes for the stated meeting on June 20, 2023, and the called meeting on August 31, 2023, approved those respective minutes. Commissioners from Regions E and F will read and approve the minutes of this meeting.
- Commissioners and attendees to the 252nd Synod of the Mid-Atlantic Assembly submitted reports on the meeting.
The Consent Agenda was adopted, which included the following recommendations:
- That the Balancing of Commissioners for 2024 approved
- That the presbytery examine Inquirer Wendy Steeves (Blue Ridge) for candidacy for the ordered ministry of the Word and Sacrament.
Ruling Elder Kenna Payne (Westminster, Richmond) reported as moderator of the Mission Council. The Mission Council recommended and presbytery adopted a motion to form a committee to lead the POJ in addressing racism and other forms of discrimination in church and society. RE Payne also presented as a first reading the proposed budget of the presbytery for 2024.
Ruling Elder Dan Jordanger, president of the Trustees of Presbytery of the James, Inc., reported on actions of the Trustees. The Trustees made a recommendation to the presbytery on a policy for uses of proceeds of real property sales. The policy was amended and adopted. A motion to accept a purchase offer of the former Montrose Presbyterian Church property also was adopted.
Ruling Elder Chad Wayner, representing the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, conducted the examination of Inquirer Wendy Steeves (Blue Ridge) for candidacy for the ordered ministry of Word and Sacrament. The examination was sustained and Wendy was enrolled as a candidate. Chad Wayner charged and Carla Pratt Keyes prayed.
Teaching Elder Kelly-Anne Rayle made a report for the Commission on Ministry. Three recommendations in the report were adopted. These included approval of Rev. Calvin Sydnor and Rev. Joanna Sydnor to serve as installed co-pastors, formation of an administrative commission for Mechanicsville Church, and implementation of the Creating a Way Forward proposal.
Teaching Elders Flo Barbee-Watkins and Leigh Anne Ring and Ruling Elder Barbara Chalfant made verbal reports. During the presbyters' reports, Rev. Barbee-Watkins shared communication resources. These include a step-by-step process to improve a congregation's communication strategies with a Biblical basis for the commitment of communications.
Doug Walters reported on Camp Hanover. Several teams made brief oral reports.
Teaching Elder Walter Canter reported for the Committee on Nominations and various REs and TEs were elected.
The business for the day being completed, Moderator Banbury thanked all those who helped to make this meeting happen. She led the presbytery in prayer and declared the meeting adjourned at 2:25 p.m.