Steps to Prepare for Virtual Stated Meeting

Because of the many difficulties surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting need to avoid large gatherings, the leadership of the Presbytery of the James (POJ) has decided to hold the upcoming Presbytery meeting using the Zoom meeting software instead of conducting the meeting in person. This memo will outline the plans that have been developed, the schedule for the training of Ruling and Teaching Elders, and those 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 105th Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of the James will be convened via ZOOM promptly at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

  • The Meeting Packet will be available on the POJ website by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. We will also notify you of its availability by email.  View the packet.
  • It is important that your Session elect the Ruling Elder(s) who will serve as Commissioners to this meeting as soon as possible. Please send those names to Barbara Espigh when elected.
  • NEW REQUIREMENT - All meeting participants must register by name no later than Monday, June 15, at 5:00 p.m. We must require this to 1) ensure commissioners can take full advantage of the POJ ZOOM training opportunities and 2) ensure the electronic security of the POJ meeting. Register now. 

ZOOM Videoconferencing

The POJ will conduct this meeting using an internet-based meeting service called ZOOM.  ZOOM provides:

  1. Real-time audio and video connections between attendees and speaker
  2. Electronic vote-tallying
  3. Sharing of video presentations to all attendees
  4. Robust meeting controls for meeting leaders and managers

CURRENT ZOOM USERS: Please ensure that you are using the most recent version of ZOOM. Version 5.0 (recently issued) includes significant security enhancements, and ZOOM has issued two updates since then. 

ZOOM Training Sessions

While circumstances warrant the use of ZOOM, we do not want technology to prevent anyone from participating in the meeting. Participants can use any of these devices to participate (in order of preference):

  1. Any computer (desktop/laptop/notepad) with a high-speed internet connection, a camera and microphone
  2. A smartphone
  3. Any computer with an internet connection, in conjunction with a telephone (cell or landline)
  4. Any telephone (note: this will allow you to listen and speak, but you will not be able to watch the proceedings without an internet-connected computer).

Recognizing that ZOOM is a relatively new technology, the POJ will conduct training sessions in the first week of June. These sessions will be led by experienced Zoom users and should last about an hour.

Zoom Training for Telephone Users
June 2 at 10:00 a.m.


Zoom Training for Computer/Smart Phone Users
June 4 at 6:00 p.m.


All interested participants should register for one of these sessions as soon as possible.

Meeting -  Items of Business

The Committee on Ministry (COM) is recommending a revision to POJ Sabbatical Guidelines at this meeting. To maximize participants’ opportunities to consider this recommendation (and to minimize the need for discussion on the meeting floor), view this video presentation about this recommendation. The video is about 10 minutes.

In addition, the COM subcommittee for Church-Pastor Relations (the sponsor of this recommendation) will host live question-and-answer (Q & A) meetings on this recommendation the following week via ZOOM. This is a good opportunity for participants not only to learn more about the proposal, but also to practice using ZOOM before the presbytery meeting. These ZOOM sessions will be held at the following times:

Q&A Session
June 9 at 10:00 a.m.


Q&A Session
June 11 at 7:00 p.m.




All meeting participants must register by name on the POJ website no later than Monday, June 15, at 5:00 p.m.  Register now.

 The registration process will ask for name, church, city, email address, phone number where the registrant can be reached during the meeting (in case of technical difficulties), and if this is the first Presbytery meeting being attended (for Ruling Elder Commissioners). Each person will be asked to indicate the registrant’s role at the meeting.

Registrants will subsequently receive an email with a link to join the June 16 presbytery meeting via ZOOM. Save that email so that you can use the link the morning of June 16.

Teaching Elders are reminded that requests for excused absences must be made to the Stated Clerk prior to the meeting. Email Franklin Reding, assistant to the stated clerk, with your request.

Meeting Day

ZOOM will open to all participants at 9:00 a.m. Leadership will sign in at that time to check communications, connection quality, etc.

The meeting will begin promptly at 10:00 a.m. For reasons of security, entry to ZOOM will be closely monitored after 9:45 a.m. Please sign in early (preferably before 9:45) in case you encounter any difficulties. A brief review of the technical features of the meeting will be started at 9:45 a.m.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please be sure to contact Barbara Espigh right away.


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

  • Elect Ruling Elder (RE) Commissioner(s)
  • Provide RE Commissioner(s) names to Barbara Espigh
  • Teaching Elder (TE) - submit request for excused absence, if needed, to Franklin Reding
  • Access the meeting packet from the POJ website
  • TEs - register for meeting (deadline - June 15, 5:00 p.m.)
  • REs - register for meeting (deadline - June 15, 5:00 p.m.)
  • TE & RE - view the COM’s video presentation on the Sabbatical recommendation (after June 2)
  • TE & RE - register for / attend a COM Q & A session on the recommendation (June 9 and/or June 11)
  • Attend the POJ meeting! Sign in before 9:45 a.m.