Thursday, February 9, 2012

An update on Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento

An update on Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento

As I wrote in an e-mail to a friend-God is good-praise Him. No the battle is not over but a good beginning has begun.

As most know Sacramento Presbytery voted on the 9th of January to put an administrative commission over Fremont Presbyterian Church to determine if it was in schism. This was in the same meeting where it was found that the negotiating team who never met with Fremont’s negotiating team had opened an escrow account for a small number-about 25- of those voting not to leave the PCUSA. They had also given them a worship place and allowed them to plead for others to join them using official Presbytery stationary. The Fremont’s Session was not informed of their actions. Rather a pastor during question time at the meeting asked if the rumors he had heard were true.

Fremont has filed a complaint with the Synod of the Pacific’s Permanent Judicial Commission. And they have asked for a stay which they have received. The Complaint is based on the understanding that the Presbytery’s actions went against their own “gracious Dismissal Policy.”

Also the Presbytery’s Council voted to dismiss the Presbytery’s negotiating team for the reasons listed above, that is opening an account and providing a worshiping place without telling Fremont’s Session. They were dismissed and thanked. Now Fremont and the Presbytery can begin again with a new group of people. The Presbytery’s Council is to be praised for this. It was a thoughtful and kind move.

Although Fremont is no longer my Church home it will always have my heart.

Please continue to pray for Fremont and the Presbytery.


Patrick Watters said...

Amen in prayer and concern. Thanks for the update Viola.

Kevin T. Smith said...

Glad to hear that the PC(USA) church discipline process isn't completely broken and that the Synod issued the stay. Hopefully things will be smoother sailing for Fremont from here on out.

Viola Larson said...

Patrick & Kevin, I pray that will be so. It will be healing for both Fremont and the Presbytery if the actions from now on go according to the gracious dismissal policy.

However, after reading a letter from the Executive Presbyter I have a feeling they may intend to fight both the stay and the complaint, which is really too bad.

Anonymous said...

Just an observation: If the negotiating team sent from presbytery really was a negotiating team and not an administrative commission, where did its members think they got the authority to do the stuff they apparently did? And to ignore the Session in the bargain. The mind boggles!

Viola Larson said...


They really were the negotiating team the AC had not yet been voted on. In fact it was the negotiating team that asked the council to call a special meeting to vote on an AC.

Will you please leave your name city and state if you post again.

Tim Curtis said...

It is all to clear that things haven't changed much since I left the PC(USA). When I served on COM, we had lengthy discussions about mediators and negotiating teams, and the fact it that there were many who felt the the job of a mediator was to lay down the law, and that negotiating teams should be heavy handed. How far we have come from the Reformation, how far we have come from the very Word of God, when the first thought of the "leaders" is to force their will upon the congregations and pastors, because they are afraid of losing material wealth. And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” The Church needs to look back to Christ, and His sufficiency for all our needs. I certainly pray for a gracious outcome for Freemont, and hope that both sides will rely upon God and His written Word, rather than their own desires.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Lk 12:15.