The 103rd Stated Meeting of Presbytery of the James (POJ) took place Saturday, October 19, 2019 at New Hanover Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsville, VA. The members and staff of New Hanover showed hospitality was their gift. Many participants remarked in the meeting evaluation of their warm smiles, efficient organization, and extraordinary noon meal including homemade chicken pot pie. Thank you for a job well done!
In Christ’s Service,
Fred A. Holbrook
Interim General Presbyter
and Stated Clerk
Some of the highlights of the meeting included:
After Vice Moderator Leigh Anne Ring called the meeting to order, she shared that this was the 30th anniversary of POJ following the merger of three presbyteries: Blue Ridge, Hanover, and Southern Virginia. POJ officially came into existence on July 1, 1989.
Rev. Robert Johnson, pastor of New Hanover, welcomed us. Cindy Corell brought greetings from the people of Haiti with whom she works as a mission co-worker. Rev. Joel Morgan (Westminster Richmond) introduced 2020 Young Adult Advisory Delegate Noah Morgan (Westminster Richmond) and members of the African Evangelical International Ministries (AFREIM). Presbytery and camp staff person Colleen Earp introduced members of the Youth Council.
Rev. Karen Witt (Providence Gum Spring), moderator of the Committee on Ministry’s Subcommittee on Examinations, welcomed new ministers to the presbytery:
- Rev. Shelly Barrick Parsons, covenant pastor, River Road, from West Virginia Presbytery
- Rev. Michael Jones, pastor, Aberdour and Emporia First, from National Capital Presbytery
- Rev. Dorothy Piatt, associate pastor, Westminster Charlottesville, from Detroit Presbytery
Rev. Robert Johnson and Rev. Eric Douglass, covenant pastor at New Hanover, led worship. Dr. Deborah Rexrode, presbytery’s associate for Stewardship, preached a sermon, “The Giving Church,” based on Psalm 146 and 1 Timothy 6:11-19. Vice Moderator Leigh Anne Ring read the Necrology.
A particular highlight of the meeting was an amazing mission fair inviting the commissioners to experience the joy that comes through Leadership Connections Team ministries and Mission and Service Team ministries. Kudos to Rev. Lisa Salita and Rev. Ron Bullis for coordinating the event and to Kelley Hope, communications specialist, who assisted many of the ministries in preparing for the fair.
Doug Walters, executive director of Camp Hanover, and the Camp staff led the presbytery in praise and prayer in dedication of the Camp’s new dock.
The business of the day included the following matters:
- Approved the June 18, 2019 POJ minutes.
- Heard Ruling Elder Jen Rowe, moderator of the Strategic Planning Team and member of the Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg, share highlights from the team embracing the metaphor of a roller coaster and its thrilling ride!
- Concurred with the Communication and Coordination (C&C) Team in its action to enroll James V. “Jay” Morgan as a candidate for minister of the Word and Sacrament effective August 27, 2019. Jay’s wedding was happening at the time of the stated meeting and POJ supported his decision to be at his wedding rather than at the presbytery meeting!
- Received the 2020 POJ Proposed Budget as a first reading. Final approval will take place at the February 2020 Stated Meeting. Commissioners are invited to share input with the C&C Team by November 20.
- Elected the current vice moderator of presbytery, Ruling Elder and Certified Christian Educator Leigh Anne Ring, to serve as moderator of the presbytery for 2020.
- Elected Rev. Patrick Dennis (Tuckahoe) to serve as vice moderator of the presbytery for 2020.
- Received the written report of the Committee on Representation including the annual report of POJ to the Committee on Representation of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic.
- Elected the following persons to serve as readers of ordination examinations for 2020: Rev. David Garth, Rev. Beverly Bullock, Ruling Elder Arnold Moody, Ruling Elder Gwendolyn Young; and an alternate reader, Ruling Elder Linda Coye.
- Amended the effective date of member-at-large status of Rev. Albert Connette (Olivet) to January 6, 2020.
- Granted member-at-large status to Rev. Christopher Tweel, Rev. Nicole Ball, Rev. Nelson Reveley, Rev. John Vest, Rev. Gay Lee Einstein, Rev. Todd Davidson, and Rev. Shannon Hendricks.
- Granted honorably retired status to Rev. Hyun Chan Bae effective July 31, 2020.
- Approved the revised Sexual Misconduct/Harassment Policy and allowed 20 minutes for silent reading of the policy.
- Received Rev. Christian Shearer upon transfer from the Reformed Church in America pending receipt of his having surrendered membership in that full-communion denomination. Having served for more than five years within the RCA, POJ approved his being granted an exemption from all of the examinations required of candidates for ordination [G-2.0505a(2)].