The 111th stated meeting of the Presbytery of the James was held virtually on June 14. A small contingent of commissioners participated in person at Westminster Church (Richmond) to test a hybrid setup for the future. Moderator Dan Jordanger (Providence, Gum Spring) called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.
After Jordanger welcomed first-time ruling elder commissioners and guests, Interim General Presbyter and Stated Clerk Fred Holbrook introduced corresponding member Rev. Warren Lesane, Jr. (Synod of the Mid-Atlantic). Certified Christian Educator Barbara Flynt, co-chair of the Presbyters Search Committee, introduced Rev. Dr. Floretta “Flo” Barbee-Watkins, corresponding member from the Presbytery of Detroit. Flo was elected to serve as lead presbyter for vision and collaboration, beginning work on June 27. Lesane and Barbee-Watkins were granted voice but not vote at this meeting.
Ruling Elder Melissa Phillips (Salisbury Church), moderator of the Examinations Committee, welcomed new ministers to the presbytery:
- Rev. Nicholas Cammarata (Presbytery of Mackinac), member-at-large
- Rev. Kelsey Hawisher-Faul (Presbytery of the Peaks), member-at-large
- Rev. Peter Hawisher-Faul (Presbytery of the Peaks), member-at-large
- Rev. Inger Manchester (Salem Presbytery), pastor of Rockfish Church
- Rev. Daniel Mensah Awuah (Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana), pastor of Holy Trinity Church
Ruling Elder Glenna Finnicum, moderator of the Commission on Ministry, recognized ministers granted honorable retirement: Rev. Susie Atkinson, Rev. Bill Nickels, and Rev. Fred Holbrook. She also recognized ministers serving in temporary pastoral positions (covenant pastors, interim associate pastors, and parish associates) and offered a prayer.
Rev. Keli Shipley Cooper, candidates Jay Morgan and Rachel Sutphin, and Ruling Elder Kenna Payne led the presbytery in worship. Cindy Corell, PC(USA) mission co-worker serving Haiti, delivered the message.
Kenna Payne, moderator of the Mission Council, presented the amended agenda which was approved.
The business of the day included the following:
- Approved the consent agenda.
- Recognized Deborah Rexrode, former associate for stewardship. A proclamation of thanksgiving for Deborah’s ministry was read by Moderator Jordanger. Deborah spoke to the presbytery and Dan closed in prayer.
- Heard a presentation from David Staniunas, records archivist with the Presbyterian Historical Society and assistant stated clerk, PC(USA).
- Elected Ruling Elder Marilyn Johns (Gayton Kirk) as interim stated clerk effective July 1, 2022.
- Approved a motion presented by the Trustees of Presbytery of the James, Inc. that the presbytery ratify the action taken on December 6, 2021, to pay off the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) Church Mortgage Grants of the four historically black churches.
- Received a report from the Presbyters Search Committee moderators, Rev. Jess Cook, member at large and pastor of Every Table, a New Worshiping Community; and Ruling Elder Barbara Flynt, certified Christian educator at the Brandermill Church.
- Elected Ruling Elder Wayne Johnson (Eastminster) to serve on the Commission on Ministry, Rev. Joseph Taber (Culpeper) to serve on the Westminster Presbyterian Homes Board, Inquirer Natasha Taylor (Salisbury) to serve on the Leadership Connections Team, and Rev. Lauren Ramseur (Voices of Jubilee) to serve on the Mission & Service Team.
- Conducted the final step of the examination process for three candidates for ministry of the Word and Sacrament:
- Kelley Connelly (Shenandoah Presbytery) to serve as UKirk campus minister at Virginia Commonwealth University and Second Church (Richmond)
- Jay Morgan (Second Church, Richmond) to serve as resident chaplain at Westminster Canterbury in Richmond
- Rachel Sutphin (Presbytery of the Peaks) to serve as covenant pastor 2 at First Church (Charlottesville)
- Granted permission for a commissioned pastor to administer the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, when authorized by the Commissioned Pastor Committee and when invited by the session, in a church in which they are not commissioned to serve.
- Approved a 4% increase in the Minimum Compensation Criteria for 2023.
- Heard from inquirer Robbie D’Orazio (Swift Creek Church), as he shared his personal faith and experience of God’s grace. He shared about his call to ministry and motives of seeking this ministry as well as the ways in which his call has been affirmed as he has served the church. Afterwards, the presbytery declared itself satisfied as to Robbie’s “purpose and promise for service in the ministry of the Word and Sacrament” and joyfully proceeded to receive him as a candidate for that ministry. Rev. Nicole Ball, member at large, charged Robbie and Ruling Elder John Burns (Swift Creek Church) offered a prayer.
- Received a report from Rev. George Whipple, honorably retired and moderator of the Leadership Connections Team.
- Received a report from Rev. Mary Jane Winter, moderator of the Mission and Service Team.
- Received a report from Doug Walters, executive director of Camp Hanover.
Moderator Jordanger announced that the 112th stated meeting of the presbytery will be held on Saturday, October 15. The Mission Council anticipates that meeting being hybrid, both in person and virtual. The moderator declared the 111th stated meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m. and led the presbytery in prayer.