The 101st Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of the James took place on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church in Richmond. As it was my first meeting, the commissioners and guests were quite gracious as we navigated the work together. Thank you for your warm welcome. I look forward with joy to being in your churches and preaching as often as I am able.
One of the gifts of the Spirit is hospitality and the members and staff of Three Chopt outdid themselves. They salted the sidewalks following snow and sleet and provided a delicious meal and scrumptious snacks. Thank you Three Chopt 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:
- Welcoming two new minister members: Rev. James Taneti, director of the Syngman Rhee Global Mission Center for Christian Education and assistant professor of World Christianity at Union Presbyterian Seminary; Rev. Fred Holbrook, interim general presbyter and stated clerk, POJ.
- Recognizing ordination anniversaries for minister members including three who celebrate 65 years of ordination: William S. Metzel, H. Davis Yeuell, and Tom Lowman.
- Worshiping and studying Acts 6:1-7 with Rev. Frances Taylor Gench, Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson professor of Biblical interpretation at Union Presbyterian Seminary.
- Installing Rev. Diane Prevary as 2019 moderator of POJ and Christian Educator Leigh Anne Ring as 2019 vice-moderator. Special thanks to retiring moderator John McE. Garrett was extended.
- Prayers for Haiti, for Cindy Corell, and for the POJ delegation, whose trip to Haiti was too unsafe at this time. “O God of Haiti, deliver your children.”
- A presentation by Martha Reisner, consultant with the Board of Pensions, PC(USA).
The business of the day included the following matters:
- Approved the October 20, 2018 POJ Minutes.
- Elected Rev. R. Charles Grant to Synod’s Jubilee Fund Committee, Class of 2019.
- Elected William Neal (First, Richmond) to Connections & Care Team, Class of 2020.
- Elected Rev. Ann Cherry to Committee on Preparation for Ministry, Class of 2021.
- Elected Gwendolyn Young (First United) to Committee on Preparation for Ministry, Class of 2020.
- Granted Honorable retirement to two ministers and Member at Large status to three.
- Validated the position of hospice chaplain for Ascend Hospice.
- Validated the position of program and communication manager for More Light Presbyterians.
- Acted on the ten amendments to the Book of Order 2017-2019 sent to the presbytery by the General Assembly.
- Approved adding the Supplemental Death Benefit to the terms of call for Fred Holbrook.
- Received, as a first reading, the documents supporting the incorporation of Camp Hanover effective on or after July 1, 2019. The recommendation to approve will be on the agenda for the June 18 meeting.
- Approved the report of the Administrative Commission for the Greenwood Church, Chesterfield, including dissolving the congregation and transferring its members to congregations of their choice. The presbytery was led in prayer by Rev. Gordon Mapes.
- Heard a report and presentation from the Hunger Ministry (Ruling Elder Leslie Buchanan) and the Social Justice Ministry (Rev. Carla Pratt Keyes).
- Heard a report from the Leadership Connections Team (Rev. Lisa Salita, moderator) including a video prepared by the Collegiate Ministries (Rev. Shannon Waite Hendricks of UMW and Rev. Alex Fischer of VCU) that is available on the POJ website.
- Approved the sermon and examination of Evan T. Wildhack to be ordained and installed as pastor of Bethlehem Church, Mechanicsville. Also approved the Commission who are given the joy of leading that worship service on Saturday, March 23, at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem Church.