The 108th stated meeting of the Presbytery of the James was held virtually. Some of the leaders were warmly welcomed to Tuckahoe and Lakeside Church was a second site where leaders hosted portions of the meeting. Teaching Elder Patrick Dennis, moderator, called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.
The moderator welcomed first-time ruling elder commissioners and guests. Rev. Steve Scott, vice-moderator of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, brought greetings.
Some of the highlights of the meeting included:
Ruling Elder Glenna Finnicum (Ginter Park), vice-moderator of the Committee on Ministry and a member of the subcommittee on Examinations, welcomed new ministers to the presbytery:
- Rev. David Anderson, transferring from the Presbytery of Great Rivers, honorably retired;
- Rev. Lynn McClintock, transferring from Shenandoah Presbytery, continuing as director of pastoral care, Westminster Canterbury, Richmond; and
- Rev. Laura Sugg, transferring from Denver Presbytery, to become pastor of South Plains.
Rev. Gordon Lindsey, moderator of the Committee on Ministry, recognized ruling elders and ministers serving in temporary pastoral relations and offered prayer for them.
Rev. Jaechul Pi (Burkeville), Commissioned Pastor Peggy Fox (Woodville, Richmond), Rev. Sarah Nave (Covenant, Petersburg), Rev. Grady Powell (Pastor Emeritus, Gillfield Baptist Church, Petersburg), and Rev. Kerra English (Ashland) led the presbytery in worship. Rev. English preached a message entitled, “They Didn’t Know,” based on Mark 4:30-32 and 1 Samuel 17:19-37. A celebration of the life and ministry of the Gordonsville Church was led by Ruling Elder Ned Roache. The moderator prayed for this congregation and their faithful service to Christ and others.
Ruling Elder Kenna Payne, moderator of the Mission Council, presented the agenda which was approved.
The business of the day was comprised of the following:
- Approved the consent agenda after removing the minutes of the February 20 stated meeting.
- Approved the February stated meeting minutes after amending to include granting the Administrative Commission for the Gordonsville Church the permissive powers of G-3.03.
- Noted that the letter of protest filed with the stated clerk by Rev. H. Carson Rhyne, Jr. to an action of the presbytery at the February 20 stated meeting was responded to by actions being brought to this meeting.
- Approved a joint motion from Mission Council and the Trustees: That, in implementing the strategic plan and in answer to the protest filed on February 20, 2021, the presbytery rename the net asset fund formerly called “Church Development Fund” as the “Church and Ministries Development Fund,” and that its use be redesignated to provide resources for the presbytery’s budget in support of the growth and development of the life of our particular churches and ministries. This designation would be effective December 31, 2020.
- Approved a revision to the 2021 budget. The revision affects only the breakdown of amounts to be allocated as needed from the net asset funds of the presbytery.
- Recognized the service of Colleen Earp whose work as associate for youth ministry will conclude on June 30. Virginia Adams (Richmond Second) and Doug Walters (executive director of Camp Hanover) expressed the gratitude of many. Ruling elder and vice-moderator of the POJ Dan Jordanger (Gum Spring) offered prayer.
- Authorized the Trustees to sign the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program loan for the Meadows Church obligating the presbytery to serve as guarantor for the $450,000 loan.
- Approved the use of Dismissed Churches funds to cover the $1,435,000 gift to Camp Hanover as agreed to at the June 18, 2019 presbytery meeting.
- Granted the Trustees of the POJ commission powers to sell four church properties (formerly Greenwood, Montrose, New Covenant, and Gordonsville) and 5.98 acres of vacant property in Goochland County at their respective appraised values or not less than 90% of that value unless authorized by the presbytery.
- Elected Rev. Jess Cook and Rev. Mary Jane Winter to serve on the Mission & Service Team. Mary Jane will serve as moderator of the team.
- Elected the search committee for the three presbyters
- Approved granting Member-at-Large status to Rev. Susie Atkinson, Rev. Sandy Shaner, Rev. Katherine Todd, Rev. Aaron Houghton, Rev. Shelly Barrick Parsons, Rev. Lindsey Williams, and Rev. Mike Clang.
- Approved the validated ministry of Rev. Ed Kross as chaplain at James River Home Health & Hospice.
- Approved granting honorable retirement status to Rev. Rosalind Banbury effective March 31, 2021.
- Approved a new “Commissioned Pastors in the POJ Policy and Handbook.”
- Approved constituting the Committee on Ministry as a Commission on Ministry granting specific powers from G-3.0109b:
- examining and receiving into membership ministers of the Word and Sacrament seeking admission into the presbytery, including approval of terms of call and commissions for ordination and installation, and approving temporary pastoral relations.
- granting a change of status for ministers of the Word and Sacrament to the status of honorably retired or member at large, and to validate ministries outside of a congregation.
- to examine candidates for ordination
- Approved “Ordination Examination in the POJ Next Steps.” Step one places examination responsibility with the Commission. Step two includes the candidates presenting their personal faith journey; their choice of sermon, lesson, or exposition of some aspect of the ministry in which they will be involved. No questions will be taken from the floor.
- Approved a 3% increase in the Minimum Compensation Criteria for 2022.
- Heard a report from the Small Church Ministry Team of the LCT: POJ Associate for Stewardship Deborah Rexrode, Rev. Lisa Salita (Madison), and Rev. Jason Cashing (Gregory Memorial).
- Heard a report from Doug Walters that Camp Hanover summer camps are resuming following the delays caused by COVID.
Moderator Dennis declared the 108th stated meeting adjourned at 1:42 p.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Fred A. Holbrook
Interim General Presbyter and Stated Clerk