The 109th stated meeting of the Presbytery of the James was held virtually on October 16, 2021. Some of the leaders were graciously welcomed to Westminster Church, Richmond. Ginter Park Church served as a second site where leaders hosted portions of the meeting. Ruling Elder Dan Jordanger, vice moderator from Providence Gum Spring, called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.
The vice moderator explained that he was serving in this role because Teaching Elder Patrick Dennis had moved to San Antonio, TX where his wife Teaching Elder Sarah Dennis has accepted a call. Dan welcomed first-time ruling elder commissioners and guests.
Interim General Presbyter and Stated Clerk Fred Holbrook introduced ecumenical representative Rev. Daniel Mensah-Awuah, a student in the Master of Arts in Christian Education program at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Daniel is a pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana. Rev. Warren Lesane, Jr., Synod of the Mid-Atlantic Executive and Stated Clerk, was welcomed as a corresponding member from the Presbytery of Charlotte. Both pastors were granted voice but not vote at this meeting.
Some of the highlights of the meeting included:
Teaching Elder Karen Witt, pastor of Providence Gum Spring and moderator of the Examinations Committee, welcomed new ministers to the presbytery who each shared a brief word:
- Rev. Keith Curran, transferring from the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia, honorably retired;
- Rev. Kerry Foster, transferring from Shenandoah Presbytery, interim pastor at Amelia;
- Rev. Mary Newbern-Williams, transferring from the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia, covenant pastor at First United;
- Rev. Laura Sugg, transferring from Denver Presbytery, pastor at South Plains; Pastor, South Plains; and
- Rev. Chas Jones, transferring from the Presbytery of Mississippi, honorably retired.
Rev. Gordon Lindsey, moderator of the Commission on Ministry, recognized ministers serving in temporary pastoral positions (covenant pastors) and offered prayer for them.
Former moderator John McEnery Garrett, ruling elder at St. James, assumed the role of moderator as Rev. Denise Hall, honorably retired and moderator of the Committee on Nominations, placed in nomination for moderator ruling elder Dan Jordanger, vice moderator. The nomination was approved.
Rev. Shannon Waite Hendricks, covenant pastor at Fairfield, and Rev. Hyung Joo “Howard” Kim, pastor of Lord Jesus Korean Church, led the presbytery in worship. Rev. Kim preached a message entitled “Are You Good Soil?” based on Matthew 13:1-9. Ruling elder John McEnery Garrett led a service of installation of Ruling Elder Dan Jordanger (Providence Gum Spring). Rev. Fred Holbrook read the Necrology and led the presbytery in prayer.
Rev. Hendricks, vice moderator of the Mission Council, presented the agenda which was approved.
The business of the day was comprised of the following:
- Declared the constitution and organization of the Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church (formerly Trinity Ghanaian Fellowship) as a congregation of the presbytery. It was noted that this is the 100th congregation in the presbytery.
- Approved the consent agenda.
- Received the 2022 POJ Proposed Budget as a “first reading” (to be acted upon at the February 10, 2022 stated meeting)
- Elected Rev. Fred Holbrook as stated clerk effective December 1 for a period of one year or until the election of a successor stated clerk. The Mission Council was authorized to conduct the search for the stated clerk.
- Suspended the rule in the Manual of Administrative Operations and Standing Rules that requires a “first reading” to make Manual amendments. Presbytery then approved the updated Manual of Administrative Operations.
- Elected persons to serve on the Committee on Nominations and the Committee on Representation.
- Received as information the Trustees’ report of the POJ Net Assets with and without Restrictions through September 7, 2021.
- Heard a progress report from Ruling Elder Barbara Flynt, co-moderator of the Presbyters Search Committee and Certified Christian Educator at Brandermill Church.
- Elected a number of persons to serve on presbytery constitutional committees, commissions, committees, and teams.
- Elected commissioners for the 225th General Assembly (2022) of the P.C.(U.S.A.) and approved electing one alternate ruling elder and one alternate minister of the Word and Sacrament for the General Assembly.
- Received the report from the Committee on Representation, Rev. Walter Canter, moderator and pastor of Blue Ridge Church.
- Received the report from the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, Ruling Elder Linda Coye, moderator from St. Andrews Church.
- Granted honorable retirement to Rev. Victoria Murdock effective May 31, 2021; Rev. Beverly Sherrill Bullock effective December 31, 2021; and Rev. Sylvester Bullock effective December 31, 2021.
- Disapproved the proposed “Continuing Education Policy” presented by the Commission on Ministry.
- COM reported that the “Expectations for Faithfulness in Ministry for Teaching Elders and Certified Christian Educators” document has been updated. This is presented to and must be acknowledged as having been received by all new teaching elders and certified Christian educators upon entry into the presbytery.
- Conducted the final step of the examination process for three candidates for ministry of the Word and Sacrament:
- Colleen Earp (Ginter Park) to serve as director of Programs at Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center
- Patrick Lane (Presbytery of St. Andrew in Mississippi) to be pastor of Mitchells Church
- Crystal Varner Parker (Three Chopt) to be associate pastor of Salisbury Church
- Approved the three candidates for ordination to ministry of the Word and Sacrament. Moderator Jordanger led the presbytery in prayer.
- Commissioned Ruling Elder Marvin Daniel (Second Richmond) to become commissioned pastor for mission and advocacy at Second Richmond.
- Received the report from the Leadership Connections Team, Rev. George Whipple (honorably retired), moderator.
- Received the report from the Mission and Service Team, Rev. Mary Jane Winter (honorably retired), moderator.
- Heard a wonderful report from Camp Hanover’s Executive Director Doug Walters. The summer camp season was an overwhelming success and there were no cases of COVID! Presbytery is encouraged to visit www.camphanover.org for more information.
Moderator Jordanger declared the 109th stated meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Fred A. Holbrook
Interim General Presbyter and Stated Clerk