Presbytery of the James has formed a Strategic Planning Team to guide its work over the five-year period of 2020 through 2025.  The formation of this team was approved at the October 2017 stated meeting. In October 2018, the Presbytery approved a slate of 15 members. The team began meeting in January 2019. Visit this page regularly for team updates. Updates also will be shared with congregation leadership through FYI.

* Meeting highlights are offered by the vice-moderator of SPT for information only. Highlights are not a substitute for SPT approved minutes. If highlights contradict SPT approved minutes, the approved minutes prevail.

Meetings

July 23, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, July 23, 2020 via Zoom. Ten members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:36 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:36 a.m.;
  • RE Jen Rowe led devotions focusing on Jesus as follower and ways we show “followership”;
  • Discussion following sub-committee’s recommendations on staffing models and financial plans;
  • Discussed development of timeline possibilities for presenting plan to Presbytery, taking into consideration virtual and in-person scenarios;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

June 25, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, June 25, 2020 via Zoom. Thirteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:54 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:34 a.m.;
  • RE Lamar Lockhart led devotions reflecting on the question: Why does God seems silent today as during the intertestamental times?
  • Discussion of diversity and representation in the POJ considering the current and local responses to the death of George Floyd;
  • Continued exploration of staffing models and responsibilities reflecting on the presentation of the sub-committee;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

May 28, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, May 28, 2020 via Zoom. Twelve members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:47 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:34 a.m.;
  • RE Susan Mapes led a devotion on worry in relation to Pentecost, reading from Samuel Son’s article “Pentecost Divine Disorder”;
  • HR TE Tom Coye led discussion on how the staffing model will work to integrate the essential “what’s” of the strategic plan:
    • Communication and coordination, specifically as these relate to POJ staff resourcing and supporting churches and ministries.
    • Christ-centered spiritual growth, specifically as it relates to connecting churches with one another and creating vital partnerships.
  • Agreed by general consensus that Moderator Jen Rowe’s written report for the June Presbytery meeting packet will be part of the consent agenda – no oral report will be given;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

April 23, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, April 23, 2020 via Zoom. Twelve members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:49 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:34 a.m.;
  • Interim GP/SC Fred Holbrook shared a devotional on Psalm 23 and wilderness, as well as sharing a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace”;
  • Jen Rowe led the group in reflecting on ministry practice in a pandemic, discussing new practices now essential and old practices let go;
  • Responded to reports from Fred about how COVID-19 is impacting and invigorating ministry throughout the POJ;
  • Discerned what is explicit, implicit, and null in current POJ leadership job descriptions and expectations;
  • Continued work on how to model mission statement via staffing models as well as developing timeline and goals for presentation of final report;
  • Sub-committee for staffing models created composed of six SPT members;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

March 26, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, March 26, 2020 via Zoom video conference. Fourteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:35 a.m. with devotional and prayer provided by Sarah Are from Wilderness; A Sanctified Art;
  • Reviewed a report summarizing our work compiled by Tom Coye;
  • Reflected on the experience of churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the reflections were:
    • Opportunity to “do church differently”
    • More participation by doing some meetings/gatherings by virtual means
    • Some of the changes made by necessity may have long-term benefits for how we “do church”
    • There is a need to ensure all churches have on-line access
    • POJ can act as a “clearing house” for resourcing churches and ministries;
  • Determined what themes from VISION 2020 seemed to resonate with our work so far and discussed possible staffing, structure, and finances;For our next meeting: Fred will supply the Team with current POJ staff positions descriptions. He will also develop position descriptions based on the themes the Team determined will inform the strategic plan;
  • Adjourned with prayer by TE Patrick Dennis.

January 23, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at the offices of the POJ. Thirteen of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • RE Susan Mapes provided the devotional, inspired by a reading from Richard Rohr’s Yes, And …: Daily Meditations;
  • Developed the outline for the first SPT presentation at the February 15, 2020, stated meeting of POJ, themed, “How Sweet It Is;”
  • Emphasized for the presentation four “What” items, gathered from the POJ’s Vision 2020 work (2017): Christ-centered spiritual growth; Equipping and supporting our diverse ministries; Spiritual renewal of teaching elders; Strong communication and coordination throughout the presbytery;
  • Assigned homework for the SPT: to focus on the four “What” items and offer three (3) concrete ideas for each, to be provided to TE Patrick Dennis by Feb. 24;
  • By General Consensus SPT approved the next meeting to be the fourth Thursday of the month, February 27, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., POJ main conference room, with TE Katherine Todd providing the devotion;
  • Adjourned with prayer by TE Stephen Hodges.

January 9, 2020 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, January 9, 2020 at the offices of the POJ. Fourteen of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 12 noon with prayer;
  • HR TE Tom Coye provided the devotional, sharing his recent experience on the Camino de Santiago, talking about the universal experience of struggle, and the way we are sometimes unaware of our personal struggle;
  • Discussed 2019 Year-In-Review, considering the “Why,” “What,” and “How,” of the presbytery. Reviewed the presbytery mission statement, focused on Christ-centered spiritual growth, discussed equipping and supporting ministries, spiritual renewal of teaching elders, the look of regions/ districts throughout the presbytery, wrapping up with communication and coordination of the strategic plan;
  • Discussed the SPT presentation at the February 2020 stated presbytery meeting, beginning with the Mission Statement, followed by “Who Are We?” and then described what is yet to be done;
  • Reviewed the needed information on the SPT to provide for the February 2020 stated presbytery meeting docket;
  • Noted that our next meeting, in preparation for the February presbytery stated meeting, will be Thursday, January 23, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

December 5, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Eleven of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • Met with Rev. Willie Woodson, representing Trinity Ghanaian Presbyterian Church, Richmond; Rev. Woodson reported that his congregation feels a connection with the presbytery, with
    a congregation of all “working people, from as far away as Midlothian to Mechanicsville every Sunday, worshiping at Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church;
  • Met with Rev. Barbara Campbell, Asst. Pastor, African Evangelical International Ministries (AFREIM) of PC(USA), 4103 Monument Ave., Richmond; Rev. Campbell reported on the ministry she shares with Rev. Humphrey Thumi at AFREIM, sharing the church’s understanding, “If we all stay in our lane, we’ll get the job done,” along with, “If we can reach the children, we can get the parents (involved);”
  • Received input for SPT member Lamar Lockhart on items for our first presentation at the February stated meeting of POJ, February 15;
  • Announced Bobby Hulme-Lippert’s departure for Georgetown, TX, and that SPT will leave his chair unfilled feeling adequate representation remains on the team;
  • Agreed by general consensus that our next meetings, in preparation for the February presbytery stated meeting: Thursday, January 9, noon – 3 p.m., 2nd floor of POJ offices; Thursday, January 23, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., POJ main conference room; lunch provided at both meetings;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

October 24, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Seven of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • Met with 223rd GA co-moderator, Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieri, a high school teacher and Ruling Elder, and life-long Presbyterian, receiving her message, “Do a lot of prayer for discernment – worship together” and “If you sense the need to spend more time in process – Do it!” closing with emphasis on the word, “Relax;”
  • Teaching Elder Patrick Dennis provided the devotional with a reading from Vagabonding: In Defense and Praise of Millennial Faith, challenging us to both receive the love of God and do the work of God;
  • Continued the discussion regarding “a perfect presbytery meeting;”
  • Received responses from Saturday’s (October 19 th ) stated presbytery meeting at New Hanover Church, including New Hanover staff/volunteer feedback;
  • Considered a greater emphasis on worship, encouraging community, better expressions of inclusivity, in future presbytery meetings;
  • Discussed attendance at SPT meetings and agreed to seek understanding for review at the next SPT meeting;
  • Agreed to extend an invitation to hear from a leader of our AFREIM ministry during our next SPT meeting;
  • Discussed timing of events to be ready to make the first SPT presentation to the presbytery on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at the mid-year, stated presbytery meeting;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be Thursday, December 5, 2019, 10:30 a.m., at the POJ offices, moving the meeting to early in the month due to holiday scheduling;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

September 29, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, September 29, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Thirteen of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 1:00 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:35 a.m. with prayer;
  • Ruling Elder Elizabeth Gatewood provided the devotional with a reading of Psalm 137; a recollection of reading this psalm to 5 and 6 year olds; finished singing a Mr. Rogers
    song, “What do you do with the mad that you feel?”;
  • Reviewed the discussion from the previous SPT meeting, Thursday, July 25, 2019, focusing on describing the “ideal” Presbytery structure, breaking into small groups for 15
    minutes;
  • Received input from those absent from the previous meeting on an ideal Presbytery structure, listening for common themes and unifying concepts: connectional, relational,
    regional presence, providing community, hubs identified through various common/popular shopping areas (Identified by the question: Where do you shop?);
  • Lunched and discussed a “perfect” Presbytery meeting, emphasizing the word, “intentional,” and envisioning cross-regional gatherings;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be the fourth Thursday, October 24, 2019, 10:30 am, at the POJ offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

August 22, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, August 22, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Eight of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:26 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Vice-moderator Steve Hodges at 10:39 a.m. with prayer;
  • Ruling Elder Dr. Hal Raddin, Jr. provided the devotional with a quote, “Time to get out of the canoe,” from the book, Canoeing in the Mountains. He followed this with a reading of Matthew 28:16-20; reflections upon the 2016 Triennium, with the theme, “Go Mission;” reflections upon Camp Hanover, with the theme, “Go and Serve;” and finally a mention of the Brandermill Church as a “missional church;”
  • Reviewed the minutes from the Thursday, July 25, 2019, SPT meeting;
  • Turned to the homework, to redesign the presbytery, considering the question: How well does your presbytery do at (?); first breaking out into three small groups for 15 minutes of discussion; then returning for group discussion for much of the remainder of the meeting; Homework for next meeting: What would the perfect presbytery meeting look like (?);
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be September 26, 2019, 10:30 a.m., at the POJ offices, with working lunch planned to bring on-board those absent today;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

July 25, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Eleven of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:35 a.m. with prayer;
  • Teaching Elder Shannon Hendricks provided the devotional with a reading of the children’s book, What Do You Do with An Idea?” by Kobi Yamada. The answer by the end of the book, “You change the world;”
  • Reviewed the minutes from the Thursday, June 27, 2019, SPT meeting;
  • Returned to the first draft of a mission statement, “The mission of the POJ is to support leaders, congregations, and ministries, in growing disciples who joyfully live out Christ’s mission in the world” with the mission statement (“forever statement”), “The mission of the POJ is to support leaders, congregations, and ministries in growing followers of Christ who joyfully live out God’s mission in the world.”
  • Addressed the questions, keeping in mind the work of Vision 2020, “What is working well?” “What might be improved?” “What is missing?”;
  • Decided to continue working on the Vision 2020 provocative proposals at the next SPT meeting, while beginning to articulate plans to reach out to POJ districts;
  • Reminded that a first draft report from SPT is due to POJ at the Saturday, June 20, 2020 stated meeting;
  • Homework for next meeting: Design your own presbytery based on your experiences and passions, with consideration, “How well does your presbytery do at …?” while understanding that your design may look very different from today’s reality;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be August 22, 2019, 10:30 a.m., at the POJ offices, with Ruling Elder Hal Raddin offering the devotional;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

June 27, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Twelve of fifteen members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:35 a.m. with prayer;
  • Teaching Elder Katherine Jackson provided the devotional with a reading of Psalm 146:3, “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help,” reflecting upon the coming Fourth of July, the country’s focus on greatness, that we become great by becoming humble, and our calling to speak truth to those in power;
  • Worked together in drafting a new mission statement for the presbytery;
  • The first draft of a mission statement, after much discussion: “The mission of the POJ is to support leaders, congregations, and ministries, in growing followers of Christ who joyfully live out God’s mission in the world;”
  • Next meeting to continue working on a draft POJ mission statement, reviewing the first draft in consultation with the Vision 2020 report;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be, July 25, 2019, 10:30 am, at the POJ offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

May 23, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Thirteen of the members were in attendance as well as Teaching Elder Fred Holbrook, Interim General Presbyter and Stated Clerk. The meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • Secretary of the meeting, Teaching Elder Patrick Dennis, provided the devotional with a reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, while contrasting Game of Thrones finale with today’s Christendom;
  • Reviewed the homework assignment, to submit a POJ Mission Statement after reviewing various existing presbytery mission statements throughout PC(USA);
  • Received a report on the book Canoeing the Mountains where we heard “Christianity is dying,” while encouraging us to move from a pastoral focus to being missionaries;
  • Received a report from Fred Holbrook, on his trip to Malibu, meeting with GA executives, and sharing Governance as Leadership, building disciples of Christ;
  • Celebrated the “generative change” that occurred during the meeting when discussing the future of the POJ;
  • Next meeting to break into small groups to begin discerning a new mission statement for POJ, being instructive, continue being generative, keeping in mind the need to frame our work;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting will be June 27, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. at the POJ offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer.

March 28, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. Fourteen of members were in attendance. Clerk of the meeting, Teaching Elder Fred Holbrook. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • Clerk of the meeting, Teaching Elder Fred Holbrook, provided the devotional with a reading of Deuteronomy 31:14-15, 23; Deuteronomy 34:9; John 13:31-36; John 14:16-18 (CEB) stressing “God is with you,” and the importance of loving each other;
  • Broke up into three small groups, with their own particular tasks concerning the Mission Statement of the POJ;
    • Group One: What is explicit in our mission statement?
    • Group Two: What is implied in our mission statement?
    • Group Three: What is left out of our mission statement?
  • Homework was assigned on new Mission Statement of the POJ:
    • Each member was tasked with submitting our own POJ Mission Statement after reviewing various existing statements from presbyteries around the country;
  • Cancelled the next meeting, to be on April 25, to provide time to draft Mission Statements;
  • Agreed by general consensus the next meeting to be, May 23, 2019, 10:30 a.m., at the POJ offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer

February 28, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. All 15 members were in attendance. Clerk of the meeting, Teaching Elder Fred Holbrook. The meeting adjourned at 12:07 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Vice-Moderator Stephen Hodges at 10:30 a.m. with prayer;
  • Vice-Moderator Hodges provided the devotional working with Luke 9:28-36, focusing on “thin places.
  • Teaching Elder Patrick Dennis presented the Vision 2020 Final Report
  • Discussion followed in response to Vision 2020 Final Report including:
    • Strengths – What can SPT use for future planning?
    • Weaknesses – What is “missing?”
  • Homework was assigned on the Mission Statement of the POJ including:
    • What is explicit in our mission statement?
    • What is implied in our mission statement?
    • What is left out of our mission statement?
  • The next meeting was set by general consensus, March 28, 10:30 a.m., POJ Offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer by Teaching Elder Bobby Hulme-Lippert.

January 24, 2019 Highlights

The Strategic Planning Team of the POJ met on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at the offices of the POJ. All 15 members were in attendance. The meeting adjourned at 12:17 p.m.

  • Meeting was called to order by Moderator Jen Rowe at 10:30 a.m. with prayer by Vice Moderator Stephen Hodges;
  • Welcomed Fred Holbrook, Interim SC/GP, and received his introduction;
  • Fred Holbrook was elected to be clerk of the SPT by general consensus;
  • All members introduced themselves while answering the question: “What is your fondest memory of church in your youth?”
    All members then answered the question: “What is your favorite thing about the church you are in?”
  • Distributed two papers: “Strategic Planning Team: Presbytery of the James;” and “Vision 2020: Final Report;” all members were tasked to review these documents;
  • T.E. Patrick Dennis, a former participant in Vision 2020, accepted the invitation to lead discussion on Vision 2020 at the next SPT meeting;
  • After discussion the body agreed by general consensus to hold the next meeting on the fourth Thursday, February 28, 2019, 10:30 a.m. -12:15 p.m., at the POJ offices;
  • Adjourned with prayer by T.E. Patrick Dennis.

Goals

The goals of the Strategic Planning Team are to:

  1. articulate a vision and mission for the POJ;
  2. propose a structure for the implementation of the vision and mission; and
  3. recommend a financial plan for the implementation of the vision and mission.

Contacts

​Jen Rowe
Moderator