Special Committee to Monitor Denominational Issues
Presbytery Council approved the formation in 2011 of a Special Committee to Monitor Denominational Issues. This committee coordinates through the Steering Committee of Presbytery Council.
Rationale: The approval by presbyteries of Overture 10-A from the 2010 General Assembly removed the “fidelity and chastity” section (G-6.0106b) from the Book of Order. This does not immediately alter everything, but it is one of many significant developments within the PC(USA) that indicate important changes. Therefore Shenango Presbytery needs to proactively monitor the situation on behalf of our churches and ministers. It is our hope that we can do together whatever we do as a Presbytery so that our congregations can concentrate on the important ministry and mission that God has given to us.
Tasks: The committee will collect information and provide forums for teaching and ruling elders to review and discuss developments within the PC(USA). In 2013 two spin-off initiatives have emerged.
This initiative by several pastors is intended to explore the future in the PC(USA). The coordinating group includes: Beth Creekpaum, Bill Crooks, Ralph Hawkins, Glenn Hink, Augie Hurst, and Adam Rodgers. Those involved in the conversation had decided by early 2013 to focus on two projects:
- Writing a theological statement based on their concensus on what most of the pastors would agree reflects a commonly held understanding of our present situation in the PC(USA).
- Discussing “What kind of Presbytery will Shenango be as we move into the future?”.
Presbytery Future Committee
At its February, 2013 meeting the Presbytery Council authorized the formation of the “Presbytery Future Committee”. See David Dawson’s comments at the February 26 meeting.
The Presbytery Future Committee gathered in an orientation meeting on March 17 with the following members:
- Ron Cole (Lebanon)
- Ralph Hawkins (New Wilmington)
- Andrew Jillson, Moderator (Northminster)
- David Lingle (Amity/Ebenezer)
- Barb McNees (Calvin)
- Adam Rodgers (Stoneboro)
- Alice Otto Sacherich (Highland)
The Committee has outlined its tasks as determining the present situation regarding denominational issues in each of our 57 churches. The presenting question is, “What might we do as a Presbytery in response to what we learn?”.
The basic timeline for the Committee’s work is as follows:
- Preparation of an extensive survey by April 12
- Completion of the survey by all elders (active and inactive) in the 57 churches by May 1
- Several listening sessions around the Presbytery to reflect on what was learned – by June 2
- Committee report to Presbytery Council on September 3
Important Dates for the Elder Survey and Listening Groups:
- Survey begins April 10 and ends at midnight on April 30
- May 15- public report on the survey, New Wilmington Presbyterian Church, 7:00 PM
- Listening Groups (open to all)
- Sunday, May 19 @ 7 pm at Trinity, Mercer
- Monday, May 20 @ 7 pm at Calvin, Ellwood City
- Wednesday, May 22 @ 10 am at New Wilmington
- Tuesday, May 28 @ 7 pm at First, New Castle
- Thursday, May 30 @ 7 pm at Stoneboro
- June 4 (9:30 AM) – Russ Crabtree www.holycowconsulting.com meets with Presbytery Council at Villa Maria Conference Center
Links to the Presbytery Future Committee are available below:
- Letter to Sessions and Pastors – sent March 20
- Q&A Attachment – sent with March 20 letter
- Letter to the Sessions and pastors announcing details for the survey and requesting completion by May 1 – sent April 10
- Sample Letter to the congregation’s ruling elders– sent April 10
- Shenango Presbytery Survey (PDF…for informational purposes only…the survey is now closed.)
- Letter to the Sessions and pastors announcing details fro the Listening Sessions (May 14-June 2) – to be sent approx. May 15
- Survey Results
Reflections from David Dawson
- Pastoral Letter to the Churches of Shenango Presbytery (May, 2011)
- EP Report – June 28, 2011 meeting of Shenango Presbytery
- Options to Consider (February, 2012)
- Making Decisions in Your Congregation (April, 2012)
- What Can We Say After GA? (GA 2012 report)
- EP report – February 26, 2013 meeting of Shenango Presbytery
Notes from the FOP/ECO Meeting in Orlando (January 18-20, 2012)
- Fellowship of Presbyterians website
- FOP and ECO Comments from Orlando
- Shenango Presbytery Council Response (February 7, 2012) to the FOP/ECO meeting in Orlando
Presentation at the Presbytery Meeting (February 28, 2012)
- David Dawson’s presentation
- Answers to the FOP/ECO Questions from the Presbytery Meeting
- Amy Na’s Musings from the Moderator
Other Documents, Websites, Blogs, etc.
- Shenango Presbytery’s Approved Dismissal Policy – 11-15-11 (approved at the November 15, 2011 Presbytery meeting).
- FAQ on the impact of the change to the Book of Order on homosexuality
- Dr. Kenneth Bailey’s “A Tale of Elephants and the Mouse: Presbyterians, 10-A, and the World Church”
- David Lewiki comments on Denominations
- David Brooks’ “Creed or Chaos”
- Clark Cowden is a Presbytery Executive in San Diego and a member of the GA Council – his blog.
- Blog by Tod Bolsinger, Pastor and moderator of the Middle Governing Body Commission
- Reflections of a Ruling Elder Commissioner to General Assembly 220 by Elder Dale Deist
- GA 220 Report by Rev. Amy Na
- Theology Matters, GA 220 Report by Elder Karen Hudson