The Stated Meeting of the Lehigh Presbytery took place on February 23, 2016 at The Presbyterian Church of East Stroudsburg, Pa. The meeting was opened with prayer by Teaching Elder Suzanne Brooks-Cope. Moderator Teaching Elder Susan Bennetch called the meeting to order and Teaching Elder Edmund Freeborn delivered greetings from The Presbyterian Church of East Stroudsburg congregation, shared some of the churches history, and the ministry the church serves students and faculty of East Stroudsburg University. Rev. Freeborn presented details to help navigate the church building. Opening devotions were shared by Moderator Bennetch to prepare our hearts and minds for the business before us.
An inspiring and motivational presentation by Rev. David Loleng from the General Assembly Office of Evangelism of the PCUSA speaking on the topic of “Engage” a program of evangelism and engagement that equips congregations to become relevant again in our communities. Rev. Loleng provided exciting ways for our churches to be equipped to face the challenges of being God’s Church in the 21st century. This program begins with training the session, who in turn train key leaders, and together they train a congregation to name the way God is at work in their lives, claim the gift of God’s work in their lives and share that in their community in a way that connects. You could feel the energy in the room as Rev. Loleng challenged the Commissioners to return to their congregations and be God’s Church.
A musical interlude provided by Honorably Retired Rev. George Taylor was enjoyed as the offering was collected for the Pastors Emergency Fund.
The new Camp Kirkwood Director, Tommy Campbell was introduced and given the opportunity to share his passion and enthusiasm for summer camp ministry which has led him to our Camp. Tommy’s background is well suited to the responsibilities of Camp Director at Kirkwood as he has been around Christian camping for much of his life. Tommy is looking forward to visiting with the youth and offering meet and greets at all the Lehigh Presbytery churches during the next few months. Please contact him to schedule this wonderful opportunity for your youth to meet him and learn more about Camp Kirkwood.
Ruling Elder Judy Steinberg presented on behalf of the Committee on Shared Gifts the 2016 Nominations for the Slate of Officers and committee members. These nominations filled vacancies open on the Committee on Ministry – Ruling Elder Rob Clark and Teaching Elder Susan Tindall; on the Permanent Judicial Commission – Ruling Elder Jane Davenport; and on the Camp Kirkwood Board of Trustees – Teaching Elder Kari Olson.
Teaching Elder Matilda Chase provided the report of the Committee on Ministry (COM) with the recommendation that Presbytery concur with United Presbyterian Church of Slatington’s request to allow an exception to the normal call process in accordance with the Book of Order G-2.0504c which states in part: “A Presbytery may determine that its mission strategy permits a teaching elder currently employed in a temporary pastoral relationship to be eligible to serve as the next installed pastor.” The Presbytery approved this request to call Teaching Elder Laura Stone as their next installed pastor pending approval of the Terms of Call by the Committee on Ministry.
Teaching Elder David Duquette presented the first reading to change to By-Laws of Lehigh Presbytery by adding XI. Immunity from Liability and Indemnification of Certain Persons Policy. Teaching Elder Duquette also presented for a first reading a change to Lehigh Presbytery’s Standing Rules regarding how many Elder Commissioners churches are allowed at Presbytery. The new formula would be:
- Churches shall elect ruling elder commissioners as follows:
100 or few members 1 ruling elder
101-350 members 2 ruling elders
351-1500 members 3 ruling elders
1501-2000 members 4 ruling elders
2001-3000 members 5 ruling elders
These changes will be voted on at the April meeting of Lehigh Presbytery.
Ruling Elder Donald Brown provided an update on the PET (Presbytery Engagement Team) for First Presbyterian Church, Reading.
Teaching Elder David Duquette provided an update on the PET for First Presbyterian Church, Bethlehem.
The meeting was closed with prayer by Teaching Elder Edmund Freeborn, East Stroudsburg. The Lehigh Presbytery wishes to thank the members of the Presbyterian Church of East Stroudsburg for being such gracious hosts.