October Stated Meeting Materials and Instructions

106th stated meeting banner (2)

Because of the continued need due to the Covid-19 pandemic to avoid large gatherings, the leadership of the presbytery of the James (POJ) will hold the Presbytery meeting on October 17 virtually. This memo outlines the plans that have been developed and the steps that you and your church’s Commissioners should pursue to become fully prepared for the meeting.

Please direct all questions or concerns as soon as possible to Barbara Espigh, associate for administration and support. Barbara can be reached via email (preferred) or at 804-262-2074, ext. 301.

General Meeting Information

The 106th Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of the James will be convened via Zoom at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2020. We project the meeting will end at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Agenda Overview

Opening Worship with Communion

During opening worship, we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Communion. Please have a bread item and beverage prepared prior to the meeting so we can partake together.

Ordination Examinations

As an order of the day at 12:15 p.m. at this meeting, there will be ordination examinations for three candidates. Each will preach and field questions on their sermon in a virtual break-out room.

Participants can choose to be assigned to a particular room or can be assigned to one by the Zoom hosts (see additional comments in the Advance Registration section below). These sermons will take place concurrently.

After the three sermons have been completed, the candidates and all participants will return to the full body, where the participants will each answer examination questions from the floor. After the exams have been completed, the body will vote on the approval of the examinations.

You must advance register to attend this meeting if you wish to hear and see any part of the exam process. See the procedure on advance registering (below).

Lunch Break

To accommodate the order of the day, a lunch break will be observed during the meeting from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Please leave your computer or phone ‘on’ during this period, even if you step away from the computer. This will ensure that you will still be connected for the afternoon portion of the meeting.


We are projecting the meeting will adjourn at approximately 2:30 pm.


The meeting packet includes the full agenda (9 pages, 475 KB) and accompanying reports (90 pages, 18 MB).

Meeting Via Zoom

The 106th stated meeting of the Presbytery of the James (POJ) will be held via the meeting format of the Zoom electronic meeting platform.

In this format, the hosts of the meeting will control the muting and unmuting of attendees, the ‘chat’ function will be partially enabled, and each attendee will be able to see other faces, in either the ‘speaker’ view or the ‘gallery’ view. There are ways for other participants to ask questions, make comments, and to vote, and all ways will be available at all times.

Participants are required to join the meeting on an individual device – one person on one device. We are encouraging participants to join the meeting on a desktop or laptop computer. A tablet, smartphone, or basic phone are acceptable alternatives, if a computer is not available.

Participating using a computer, tablet, or smartphone

If you use a desktop or laptop computer, please make sure you have high-speed internet access, sound output device (speakers, headphones, or earbuds), and microphone capability. Being close to your wi-fi router during the meeting may help the connectivity.

If joining by desktop or laptop is not available, a tablet or smartphone may be used, using the free Zoom app. The app is available at your device’s app store.

Zoom has recently upgraded their product to enhance security and functionality issues. If you have not already done so, and to have the best viewing experience, please upgrade your Zoom software as soon as possible:

Need help? Try this page.

Participating using a phone

You may also join the meeting by dialing into the meeting with a basic phone. The confirmation email you receive after registration will have the phone number to use. Phone users will be given instructions to ask questions, make comments, and vote.

If you are going to use a phone, please contact Barbara Espigh to provide the phone number you will be using. Barbara will watch for your arrival at the meeting and revise your screen name.

If you think you might have any connectivity problems at all, please contact Barbara Espigh at the POJ office as soon as possible.  We will work with you to try and solve any such problems you might have.


Advance Registration

To keep track of the number of participants who have registered and to provide some internet security, all participants must advance register to attend this meeting. You can register for the meeting until 8 p.m. Friday evening, October 16.

As you go through registration, you will need to provide your name and your role at the meeting. While most roles are self-explanatory, you’re reminded that:

  • RULING ELDER COMMISSIONERS are elected by a church’s Session to attend the meeting as a voting Commissioner.
  • If you are not a/the designated Ruling Elder for your church, please register as a GUEST.
  • Persons who are family and friends of the ordination candidates, visitors, observing members of other presbyteries (both Teaching and Ruling Elders), and Ruling Elders who are not commissioners to this meeting, should register as a GUEST.

When you register to attend the meeting, you will be able to choose which of the three candidate sermons you wish to attend. If you don’t choose, you will be assigned to a virtual room to hear one of the sermons.

Once you have registered for the meeting, you will receive an email confirmation, which will include a link to join the meeting. Save that email - you will need that link to join the meeting. Each registration generates a unique confirmation link, so you will not be able to share the link. This is one feature we rely upon to provide security and monitoring of the meeting.

Tips Before the Meeting

  • View the training video to learn about registering for this meeting and participating via Zoom.
  • Make sure you have a bread item and beverage prepared prior to the meeting so we can partake in the Sacrament of Communion together.
  • Make sure your wi-fi has a strong and stable signal. Connect to the meeting while close to your router.
  • Make sure your displayed name is correct and appropriate to this meeting. Please change it if necessary.
  • Get your water or coffee before you sit down at the meeting. Use the bathroom before you join.
  • Get your headphones set up. They will help reduce background noise during the meeting.
  • Please check what is behind you in your room and remove from view anything you prefer that others not see.
  • Keep the registration email with the Zoom link at the ready. If you become disconnected, Zoom should automatically reconnect you, but you may need it to re-enter the session.


Tips For / During the Meeting

  • Join the meeting early - it takes a few minutes to join. The Zoom meeting room will open at 9:00 a.m.
  • There will be a brief orientation and review of the Zoom features at 9:20 a.m.
  • We encourage all Commissioners to review the entire packet--agenda (9 pages, 475 KB) and accompanying reports (90 pages, 18 MB)--prior to the meeting.
  • The stated meeting will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. We are projecting the meeting will adjourn at approximately 2:30 p.m.
  • Our meeting will open with worship. Scripts for responsive readings, scriptures, and music will be provided on the screen.
  • If you are recognized to speak (and you are not on a landline), your face will be spotlighted on the video. If you must step away from the computer and camera, consider halting the video until you return (do not leave the meeting).
  • Use CHAT to send messages to the meeting leaders. During the meeting, ‘chat’ between attendees will be disabled.
  • Use RAISE HAND via the ‘participants’ icon to seek recognition to speak on a motion or to make a motion.
  • Once the meeting begins, you will be muted by the Zoom hosts, unless you request to speak and are recognized by the Moderator. If you are recognized to speak, you will be reminded to unmute yourself after the Zoom hosts unmute you.
  • If an item of business requires a vote, the body will be asked to vote by using the ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ buttons within the ‘participants’ icon. The Moderator will explain the procedures at the appropriate time.
  • If you are not attending as a voting commissioner (a Ruling Elder or Teaching Elder or Certified Educator), you may not vote.


There is a lot to remember for this meeting. Here’s a checklist for you to use:

  • Elect Ruling Elder (RE) Commissioner(s) and provide RE Commissioner(s) names to Barbara Espigh
  • Teaching Elders (TE): request an excused absence, if needed, by emailing Franklin Reding
  • Review the meeting packet in advance
  • Update your version of Zoom to the latest
  • All attendees: register by October 16 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Log in/call in to Zoom between 9:00 and 9:20 a.m. on October 17