The Stated Meeting of the Lehigh Presbytery took place on November 17, 2015 at Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church in Brodheadsville, PA. The meeting was opened with prayer by Teaching Elder F. Leon Morgan. Ann Campbell, Clerk of Session, delivered greetings from the Pleasant Valley congregation, shared some of the church’s history, recent changes in the layout of the church, and details to help navigate the church building. Ann also shared about their mission in the Dominican Republic.
Ruling Elder Sally Heimbach, Chair of the Committee on Shared Gifts, presented the 2016 Nominations for the Slate of Officers, Committee Members and Commissioners for the 2016 General Assembly which were approved. Rev. Susan Bennetch was elected Moderator of Lehigh Presbytery and Ruling Elder Jack Felch, Vice Moderator. Commissioners to the 222nd General Assembly of the PC(USA) were elected. They were Rev. Tim Dooner, Rev. Sue Bennetch, Elder Alicia Shussett, Elder Ben Hooper, and YAAD Mary Lazar. Elder Heimbach announced that there are still vacancies open on the Committee of Shared Gifts, the Permanent Judicial Commission, Committee on Ministry, and the Camp Kirkwood Board of Trustees. Please contact her if interested.
Teaching Elder Tim Dooner introduced Christy Potter-Kass, member of the First Presbyterian Church of Easton, who was received as an Inquirer under care. Christy is a student at Moravian Theological Seminary. Christy shared her faith journey stating that her faith as grown and deepened as she has aged.
Ruling Elder Sally Heimbach presented on behalf of Treasurer Marianne Kitzmiller the report of the Mission Budget. Elder Heimbach reported that the Presbytery Lead Team has been listening to the congregations concerns. The 2016 Mission Budget is to support congregations and aid them in becoming more vital. A motion to accept the Mission Budget was moved and approved.
Teaching Elder Tim Dooner continued the mission conversation. The Mission Budget is to provide funding for churches to be inspired to create new ideas and possibilities to make a difference in their churches. Rev. Dooner explained that the hope is to provide matching funds so all small churches can have called and installed pastors by creating a relationship between two or three congregations. Applications will be made available for these grants. Teaching Elder Lindsey Harren-Lewis expressed her excitement and joy for this proposed plan to reach out and support our smaller congregations.
A Service of Worship was performed by Moderator David Duquette for the Installation of the 2016 Moderator Teaching Elder Sue Bennetch and Vice-Moderator Ruling Elder Jack Felch. The changing of the Stole took place and the Moderators cross was presented to Moderator Bennetch at the close of the ceremony.
Ruling Elder Marsha Heimann, Stated Clerk read the 2015 Necrology. May these 27 faithful Elders find peace in the companionship of God.
Ruling Elder Donald Brown provided an update on the PET (Presbytery Engagement Team) for First Presbyterian Church, Reading that has been working with the church as they go through the gracious dismissal process of the Lehigh Presbytery.
Teaching Elder David Duquette provided an update on the PET for First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem. The PET with First Bethlehem is in the early stages of the discernment process.
The meeting was closed with prayer by Teaching Elder Barbara Smith and as the custom of the Pleasant Valley Congregation “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”
Newly Installed Moderator Bennetch declared the meeting adjourned at 3:45pm.
Marsha Heimann, Stated Clerk