Friday, December 05, 2008

Pittsburgh Presbytery meeting at Parkwood

photo of creche display in the Parkwood United Presbyterian Church, Advent 2008Yesterday Pittsburgh Presbytery met at the Parkwood United Presbyterian Church. There were 116 ministers and 98 elders representing 60 churches present.

We began the meeting with a worship service in which we sang from five different Advent hymns (with a single verse from three of the hymns). I had in the back of my mind that R. Bryan Lassinger would be playing the organ, and it was a special joy to me to hear him playing throughout the service. It was also a pleasant surprise to notice that there is a church in Pittsburgh Presbytery that uses the Revised Standard Version as its pew Bible. Hallelujah!

During the service, Robert Anderson, our interim pastor to the presbytery, invited a number of people to come forward and tell about where they had seen God working. This was an important kind of sharing at any meeting, but especially appropriate during Advent when we are encouraged to be watchful.

Jay Lewis, the Stated Clerk, introduced a committee that is reviewing the booklet of proposed amendments to the Book of Order and of proposed ecumenical statements. The committee is developing a process for the Presbytery to discuss and vote on these matters.

During the meeting the presbytery adopted a 2009 budget that is shy of $3 million, and we approved the proper changes in the terms of call for the ministers on the presbytery staff.

We also took a variety of actions to elect or appoint individuals to positions within the presbytery, and to approve calls to pastors. We commissioned David Van Diercksen to serve as the U.S. Coordinator of Puentes de Cristo, a border ministry in Reynosa, Mexico. We granted honorable retirement to Johnnie Monroe, and celebrated his ministry. We approved the oral parts of trial for Thomas Hall.

During the meeting the Presbytery declined (by a vote of 54-120) to approve a resolution on examination process proposed by the session of the Bellefield church.

All in all, I thought it was a good meeting.

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