Sunday, March 22, 2009

Authority lost, brothers and sisters lost: Up-Date

See bottom for up-date:

While many in my Presbytery deplore the move of some churches away from the Presbyterian Church USA, still those who have left are Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ. Their work in God’s harvest fields is mighty. They are after all beloved of the Lord, and we must love them too. Some of us have dear friends and even family in those churches.

But sadly our movement away from each other grows harsh and unloving and I believe the cause of that movement is due a great deal to the loss of authority among the member commissioners of our presbytery. It is seemingly being siphoned off into fewer hands.

Now it is certain that our last presbytery meeting was extremely busy, and our new moderator has a penchant for moving things along in a speedy manner so that we do not go overtime. But we were told in that meeting that there would be two presbytery representatives chosen to go to a meeting between the Synod of the Pacific and the lawyers of Fair Oaks and Roseville Presbyterian Churches.

Hopefully the reader will recall the Presbytery had agreed to let the two Churches go with their property for a certain amount of money and they would drop their suit to gain their property. Then Rev. David Thompson filed a complaint with the synod throwing the cases back in court.1 Finally Sacramento Presbytery voted to give the cases to the Synod since it was already involved and the synod had ordered the Presbytery leadership to go on pursuing the cases. (There is a lot more but that is enough to clarify the situation I am attempting to write about.)

The moderator, in our last meeting, pushed the question by someone about choosing the representatives to the the end of the presbytery meeting. But when asked again at the end about the issue of choosing representatives stated that the Council would choose them. So much for the Presbytery.

In the Council a motion was put forward that the representatives “should be advised to recommend to the negotiators acceptance of the settlement voted by presbytery on December 4, 2007.” As you can see from the minutes below that motion was defeated.

“Rev. Bob Cordier and Elder Barbara Farley were selected by the Presbytery of Sacramento Leadership (Stated Clerk Carolyn Knight, Past Moderator and Council Chair Rev. Jack Raymore, Moderator Elder David Rue, Moderator‐Elect Rev. C.K. Moore and Treasurer Marie Segur) to be the Sacramento presbytery representatives to the discussions between the Synod of the Pacific and the attorney of the churches of Fair Oaks and Roseville. It was moved that those chosen to participate in the observations of the Synod of the Pacific legal discussions with the attorney of the churches of Fair Oaks and Roseville be advised to recommend to the negotiators acceptance of the settlement voted by presbytery on December 4, 2007. The motion was DEFEATED.”

This action totally ignores the wishes of the whole Presbytery. Now one man who filed a complaint is the one whose actions will seemingly be represented by the Presbytery and that is uncalled for. The Presbytery should have been allowed to vote for their representatives and they should have been able to vote on that motion.

At just the time when we have a task force exploring the possibilities of turning our committees into commissions this is a good reason not to do it.

All of this is a case of more and more authority being taken away from those who are called to tend and care for the sheep of God’s pasture.

1. This is a minister, the only person, who stood before the Ecumenical Committee at General Assembly, and told the commissioners that the Evangelical Presbyterian Church had stole members from the Sacramento Presbytery and had also stole “millions” of dollars from our Presbytery. My husband and I are the only witnesses from this Presbytery to that travesty. Now the Task Force exploring the possibility will be asking members of our Presbytery if that is true!

Someone who is a better observer than I sent this note. "The moderator did state in the early morning that the questioner was out of order and when the questioner persisted he was told he was out of order and that the matter would be dealt with later. Later, going on 4 p.m., there was no space in the agenda for "New Business" rather there was the label "Unfinished Business", the questioner then attempted to gain clarification from the moderator and was cut short with the statement that "The Ecclesiastical Committee would handle the matter."


Red_Cleric said...

My fallen cussedness says that if Fair Oaks and Roseville win the pastor who brought the suit should be the one to pay the money the churches promised. Now that's what my post Genesis 3 self calls justice.

Alan Wilkerson

Dave Moody said...

I'm with Alan! In all my Genesis 3 glory! Words mean things...

Dave Moody,

Mark Smith said...

If I were you, I'd contact the stated clerk and discuss the possibility of filing a remedial complaint against the presbytery for the action of the council.

Unless the presbytery bylaws allow for the delegation of this decision in this manner, you'd win the case.

Viola Larson said...

It’s actually the fault of the moderator as far as I can tell for making the decision on his own about the council choosing the representatives. I am sure the motion must have been made by one of the evangelicals on the council there just wasn't enough of them thereto get it passed.

Sacramento, Ca

Pastor Bob said...

Did the presbytery ever GIVE the council the power to make such decisions? And if not does how the council have the authority?

It seems to me if the presbytery did not give the council the authority then the actions of the council should be unconstitutional.

But then I'm a radical about going by the Book of Order and Robert's Rules.

Bob Campbell
Sharon Hill, PA

Viola Larson said...

The Presbytery, as far as I can tell, did not give the Council the right to pick the representatives or decide on their agenda. I am almost certain this is un-constitutional and I repeat it is the fault of the moderator who knew everyone was exhausted at the end of the last meeting. So we didn't argue with him. Only one person argued with him, he should be praised.