Stated clerk presbytery of the james

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Presbytery of the James – Ninety-first Stated Meeting, Presbytery of the James, October 17, 2015, Hosted by Second Richmond

Report of the


October 17, 2015


A. Temporary Clerks Region E:

Region F: TE Joe Young (Oak Grove), RE Evalyn Page (1st United)

B. Courtesy Committee Stated Clerk


  1. All readers of presbytery minutes for the June 16, 2015 Stated Meeting have given

approval. Copies are at the Stated Clerk’s desk or will be e-mailed to people who request them. Commissioners from Regions E and F and will be asked to read minutes of this meeting.


A. THE COMMISSION OF THE PRESBYTERY OF THE JAMES APPOINTED TO INSTALL Rev. Victoria Bethel as Pastor of Brett-Reed Memorial Presbyterian Church at West Point, VA met Sunday June 14, 2015 at 3:30 PM at the church. A quorum was present consisting of the following:
MINISTERS: Rev. Robert Knox, sermon

Rev. Kay Steele, Charge the Congregation

Rev. Don Steele, Charge the Pastor.
ELDERS: Ruling Elder Ann Knox (Ginter Park), Moderator and ask the Constitutional Questions

Ruling Elder Hymphrey Muraya (New Hanover) Prayer of Installation

Pursuant to the assignment of Presbytery and the provisions of W-4.4000 of THE BOOK OF ORDER, Victoria Bethel was installed as Pastor, Brett-Reed Memorial Presbyterian Church, West Point, VA.
B. THE COMMISSION OF THE PRESBYTERY OF THE JAMES APPOINTED TO ORDAIN AND INSTALL Charles Michael Weiglein as Associate Pastor of Meadows Presbyterian Church at Charlottesville, VA met Sunday June 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM at the church. A quorum was present consisting of the following:
MINISTERS: Rev. Thomas Goodrich, Sermon

Rev. Stephen Hitchcock, Moderator

Rev. Kendall Pearson
ELDERS: Ruling Elder Leslie Bailey (Blue Ridge Church)

Ruling Elder Kendall Cox (First, Charlottesville)

Ruling Elder Kris Kubow (Meadows)
GUESTS: Ruling Elder Meg Barclay (Meadows Church)

Rev. Charles Pickett (James Presbytery) Charge to Congregation

Rev. Lowell Sykes (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) Charge Minister

Pursuant to the assignment of Presbytery and the provisions of W-4.4000 of THE BOOK OF ORDER, Charles Michael Weiglein was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor, Meadows Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, VA

IV.The Stated Clerk makes the following recommendation:

  1. That the minutes of the June 16, 2015, Stated Meeting be approved.



October 17, 2015


All who are elected to serve as members of the class of 2018 will begin their service on January 1, 2016. Those elected to other classes are being elected to fill out uncompleted terms and will begin service immediately after election.
1. Presbytery Moderator for 2016

Kenna Payne, Ruling Elder, Westminster, Richmond

2. Presbytery Vice Moderator for 2016

Stephen Hodges, Teaching Elder, Providence Forge

3. Committee on Preparation for Ministry

Class of 2018, Region A, Kimberleigh Wells, Teaching Elder, First, Charlottesville

Class of 2018, Region A, Ruffin King, Ruling Elder, Olivet

Class of 2018, Region B, Rebekah Johns, Teaching Elder, Bethlehem

Class of 2018, Member at Large, Howard Curle, Ruling Elder, Hebron

Class of 2018, Member at Large, Sylvester Bullock, Teaching Elder, Rosewood

4. Committee on Ministry

Class of 2018, Moderator, Member at Large, Greg Govan, Ruling Elder, Cove,

Class of 2018, Region A, Kevin Channell, Teaching Elder, South Plains

Class of 2018, Region A, Nancy Nevill, Ruling Elder, Rockfish

Class of 2018, Region B, Caroline Deaderick, Ruling Elder, Fredericksburg

Class of 2018, Region B, Daniel Hrach, Teaching Elder, Summit

Class of 2016, Region F, Peter Smith, Teaching Elder, Blackstone

Class of 2018, Member at Large, Wayne Johnson, Ruling Elder, Eastminster

Class of 2018: Member at Large, Joel Morgan, Teaching Elder, Westminster, Richmond
5. Communication and Coordination Team

Class of 2018, Vice Moderator, Member at Large, Linda Hague-Poates, Ruling Elder, Hebron

Class of 2018, Region A, Elias Awad, Ruling Elder, First, Charlottesville

Class of 2018, Region B, Steve Starzer, Teaching Elder, Fairfield

6. Mission and Service Team

Class of 2018, Moderator, Member at Large, Mary Jane Winter, Teaching Elder, Active

Class of 2018, Vice Moderator, Member at Large, B. Ayars Lore, Ruling Elder, Providence Forge

Class of 2018, Region A, Stephen Hitchcock, Teaching Elder, Validated

Class of 2018, Region B, Bill Nix, Member of Congregation, Fredericksburg

Class of 2016, Region E, Janet Winslow, Teaching Elder, Bon Air

7. Leadership Connection Team

Class of 2018, Region A, Deborah Rexrode, Ruling Elder, First, Charlottesville

8. Permanent Judicial Commission

Class of 2021, Member at Large, Michael Reynold, Ruling Elder, Mechanicsville

Class of 2021, Member at Large, Archibald Wallace, Teaching Elder, Second, Petersburg

Class of 2021, Member at Large, Alexander Evans, Teaching Elder, Second, Richmond

9. Service with the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic

Class of 2018, POJ Representative to the Synod Assembly, Nikki Morris, Ruling Elder, Bon Air

Class of 2018, Speer Trust Fund, George Conway, Teaching Elder, Retired

Class of 2018, Committee on Representation, A.W. Dickerson, Ruling Elder, Tuckahoe

Class of 2018, Committee on Nominations, Patrick Dennis, Teaching Elder, Tuckahoe
Opportunities for Service in the Presbytery
The following vacancies exist on Committees and Teams that are filled by The Committee on Nominations:
Committee on Preparation for the Ministry

Class of 2018, Region B, Ruling Elder

Leadership Connections Team

Class of 2016, Region F, Teaching Elder

Class of 2018, Region B, Ruling Elder/Member of Congregation

If you are interested in any of these opportunities for service, please contact Gordon Lindsey, Moderator-Committee on Nominations,

The following vacancies exist on Committees that are filled by the Communication and Coordination Team:
Committee on Nominations

Class of 2018, Vice Moderator, Member at Large, Ruling Elder

Class of 2017, Region C, Ruling Elder/Member of Congregation
If you are interested in this opportunity for service, please contact John Storey, Moderator-Communication & Coordination Team,
In addition to these elected positions, POJ members may serve on Purpose Groups. Please see the Home Page on our website,, and directly contact a Purpose Group of your choice.


(C&C TEAM and Trustees)
Presbytery of the James Meeting, October 17, 2015

The C&C Team Reports this Information:

  1. Learned that some ministers regularly arrive late for presbytery meetings, have lunch, and depart. Decided to announce that registration is 8 – 10:30 AM for each Stated meeting of the Presbytery.

The C&C Team Reports Taking the Following Actions: None

The C&C Team Reports the Following Items for the Consent Docket:

    1. That the following persons be elected to the Committee on Nominations:

Moderator: Joshua Andrzejewski, Teaching Elder, Validated Ministry, Class of 2018, Term 2

Region A: Denise Hall, Teaching Elder; Class of 2018, Term 1

Region B: James Salyers, Teaching Elder, Mechanicsville, Class of 2018, Term 2

    1. That the following persons be elected to the Committee on Representation:
      Moderator of the Committee: A.W. Dickerson, Ruling Elder, Tuckahoe, Member at large, Class of 2016, Term 1
      Vice Moderator: Kathryn Lester-Bacon, Teaching Elder, Richmond, Second, Class of 2018, Term 2
      Member at large: Rosa Oden, Ruling Elder, All Souls, Class of 2018, Term 1

    2. That the presbytery approve the 2016 Balancing of Commissioners plan (see page 6)

The C&C Team Makes the Following Recommendation:

  1. That the Docket for October 17, 2015, Presbytery meeting be approved.


The POJ Trustees Report this Information:

1. Learned that the Victoria Church continues to be in default of the rental agreement between them and the Presbytery of the James and is unresponsive to requests for payment. In addition, the Victoria Church is being asked to provide POJ with proof of insurance coverage.

  1. Report concerning investments: Jeff Chapman, RB Wealth Management:

As of 8/31/2015, the investment portfolio totaled $ 3,586,733 vs. a total cost of $1,593,932. Since inception we have realized a return of 5.18% vs. 6.36% for the custom index (custom index is 70% S&P 500 Total Return, which includes dividends ,10% Barclays Capital Gov-Corp Intermediate Bond Index and 20% HFRIC Index). For the prior 12 months the total portfolio returned -0.44% vs 1.12% for the custom index. Presbytery Office Park as of 4/30/2014 the value was $963,687. Since inception on 11/13/07, the return on the investment is 4.58% vs. 4.81% for the custom index. The 12 month performance was -1.21% vs. the custom index of 1.12%.

The POJ Trustees Report Taking the Following Actions:

    1. Approved leasing of vans for Camp Hanover for the summer

    2. Approved a Clear-Cut Timber Sale Proposal for Camp Hanover

    3. Approved lease between Laurel Church and Faith Revival Church, 7/1/15 – 9/30/15

    4. Approved the purchase of a commercial steamer for Camp Hanover kitchen.

    5. Denied a request from Camp Hanover to allow a Hunt Club to use the property. Trustees

want to assure that the property has been “posted” and marked and that if people are

hunting illegally, the Camp must call the Game Warden.

The POJ Trustees Report the Following Item for the Consent Docket:

  1. Will recommend to presbytery to transfer the property of the New Covenant Church from POJ to New Covenant Church of Chesterfield, Inc.:

The POJ Trustees Make the Following Recommendation: none


Report to POJ concerning Crestwood Church request for dismissal:

 As directed by the POJ in March of 2015 when the former Administrative Commission reached an impasse with the Crestwood Presbyterian Church, the Trustees have been engaged in negotiations for a property settlement with the Crestwood Church to effect their dismissal to the ECO. Those negotiations continue and the Trustees beg your prayers for both parties.

Submitted September 17, 2015

Ronald Bullis, President, POJ Trustees



FOR 2016

In accordance with G-3.0301
1. Teaching Elders1

Validated (145), Members at Large (14)2 159

Minus those of the above who are unable to attend meetings3 - 12

Subtotal 147

Honorably Retired (96), of whom we count 22 for purpose of balancing + 22

Total 169
2. Ruling Elders

Ruling Elders Elected by 107 Sessions as Commissioners to Presbytery (G-3.0202a):

4 commissioners from each of 4 congregations having 900 or more members 16

3 commissioners from each of 3 congregations having 610 to 899 members 9

2 commissioners from each of 29 congregations having 150 to 609 members 60

1 commissioner from each of 70 congregations having up to 149 members 70

Subtotal 155

Ruling Elders Enrolled by Presbytery During Terms of Elected Service to Presbytery

Or its Congregations (G-3.0301)

New Church Development 0 Moderators4 of POJ, Teams, or Committees 3

Ruling Elders commissioned5 to do pastoral work 1

Certified Educators6 who are Ruling Elders &

congregation members (G-2.1103b) 10

Subtotal + 14

Total 169
Average Attendance per Meeting of T.E.s & R.E.s 2010-15, As of July 2015


H.R. T.E.s

All T.E.s

All R.E.s

R.E.s from Sessions
































JANUARY 1, 2016 TO DECEMBER 31, 2016
Four Ruling Elder Commissioners from congregations having 900 or more members:
Charlottesville First, Fredericksburg, Richmond First, Salisbury.
Three Ruling Elder Commissioners from congregations having from 610 to 899 members:
Crestwood, Richmond Second, River Road.
Two Ruling Elder Commissioners from congregations having 150 to 609 members:
Bethlehem, Blackstone, Bon Air, Brandermill, Campbell Memorial, Chester, Culpepper, Fairfield, Gayton Kirk, Ginter Park, Grace Covenant, Lakeside, Lord Jesus, Madison, Meadows, Mechanicsville, New Hanover, Olivet, Orange, Petersburg Second, Providence Forge, Rockfish, Southminster, St. Andrews, Summit, Swift Creek, Three Chopt, Tuckahoe, Westminster Charlottesville, Westminster Richmond.
One Ruling Elder Commissioner from congregations having up to 149 members:
Aberdour, All Souls, Amelia, Ampthill, Ashland, Bethany, Bethesda, Beulah, Blue Ridge, Bott Memorial, Brett-Reed Memorial, Burkeville, Byrd, Chase City First, Colonial Heights, Concord, Cove, Covenant, Eastminster, Ebenezer, Emporia First, Forest Hill, Genito, Gordonsville, Greenwood, Gregory Memorial, Hartwood, Hawkins Memorial, Hebron, Hopewell First, King’s Chapel, Kirk O’Cliff, Laurel, Lawrenceville, Louisa, Mattoax, Milden, Milford, Mitchells, New Covenant, Oak Grove, Ogden, Overbrook, Pine Grove, Praise the Lord, Providence Gum Spring, Providence Powhatan, Pryor Memorial, Rennie Memorial, Richmond First United, Rivermont, Rosewood, Salem, Sandston, Scottsville, South Hill, South Plains, St. James, Tabor, Tappahannock, Thyne Memorial, Trinity, Village, Waddell Memorial, Wesley, Westminster Petersburg, Woodlawn, Woodville, Wylliesburg, Zion Hill.

Mission and Service Team Report
It is great news that Cindy Corell, our missionary in Haiti, is our guest preacher for the October 17 presbytery meeting and will be available during lunch for further conversation. She will return in 2016 to speak in our churches, thanking them for their support and continuing to connect our presbytery with God’s work in Haiti. In addition the Hunger Purpose Group has allocated funds to several projects in Haiti that support Cindy’s work and address hunger.
Haiti Purpose Group
Cindy Corell, a new mission coworker of the PC(USA) serves in Haiti because of the inspired commitment of the Presbytery of the James. As a purpose group of the POJ, we celebrate her call to serve in this neighboring nation, and we express deep gratitude to the congregations of our presbytery that provide financial and prayer support to her and the people she is serving.
Cindy will be attend the October meeting and be our guest preacher! You will also learn of the next POJ sponsored trip to Haiti, an opportunity to visit Cindy, learn first-hand of her ministry and meet the people she works with. The dates are February 18-25, 2016. It is designed for 7 interested individuals from our member churches. The trip promises the opportunity to see what God is doing in Haiti through the efforts of Cindy's ministry, offering a variety of ways to interact with Haitian partners. If interested, please contact the Rev. Elizabeth McGuire at to get more details and an application is included as the last page of the packet.
The Haiti Purpose Group continues to urge the participation of all congregations in the presbytery to provide the financial support for Cindy's presence in Haiti.
The Presbytery of the James is the only presbytery in the PC(USA) that has made this kind of commitment to mission; namely to provide a new missionary position and to fully fund it. While a unique distinction, it is also an enormous responsibility. When the office park funds were being awarded to the various purpose groups, the Haiti Purpose Group received a portion of those funds specifically to call a new mission co-worker to Haiti. The total cost of a mission worker is $83,000 per year. The grant has been used in the following way:

  • 2013 Office Park- $62,250 (75%) and churches $20,750 (25%)

  • 2014 Office Park- $41,500 (50%) and churches $41,500 (50%)

  • 2015 Office Park - $20,750 (25%) and churches $62,250 (75%)

Because Cindy's ministry is thriving, our support is critical. Contributions received by the presbytery from churches and individuals as of September 10 are $28,738.62. We need more congregations to join the effort and we need those who have supported her in the past to continue. How can you help?

  • Receive a special offering during worship near January 12th, the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake which caused so much damage and loss of life

  • Provide the opportunity during Advent to make Cindy's ministry an alternative gift for people to consider

  • Invite members from one of the recent trips to Haiti to come to your congregation to talk about the work that is being done there to the glory of God and take a free will offering

  • Finally, and most importantly, add Cindy's support to your congregation's annual budget.

Because Cindy has been reappointed to another term of service in Haiti, she will be visiting churches in the POJ in the spring of 2016. Can we insure her success for full support ($83,000) in 2016 and beyond? Please keep Cindy's ministry before your congregation. Join in her support. Pray for her and her ministry. Join national Haiti Mission Network on Facebook where Cindy gives updates about her work. Send a member on a POJ trip to Haiti. Cindy will be visiting churches in the POJ in the spring of 2016. More information about how to schedule a visit and whom to contact will be coming.
Your support is critical. Thank you!

New Worshiping Communities Purpose Group
This group is committed to advancing the PCUSA’s 1001 New Worshiping Community (NWC) initiatives, which in large part replaces the traditional approach of New Church Development (NCD) as the primary method with which to form new church communities. Because most NWC’s are formed as a result of a sponsoring church, the purpose group is seeking to identify churches that would pursue the formation of a NWC.
AFREIM (African Evangelical International Ministries) is a certified 1001 New Worshiping Community that began three years ago reaching out to recent immigrants, especially from Africa. It is led by Humphrey Muraya and is a growing and enthusiastic mission. The group meets and worships at New Hanover Presbyterian Church.
Our Purpose Group sent three representatives from POJ to the Annual Conference of 1,001 New Worshiping Communities, held August 10-14 in St. Pete Beach, FL. The event was the largest and most comprehensive held to date. It provided insight, information, and mentoring, as well as critical connections with other new worshiping communities and denominational leaders in the PCUSA.

The NWC Purpose Group is eager to expand the new worshiping communities here in the POJ, and encourages anyone to contact us for information or assistance in forming one. Opportunities are also available for new members of the Purpose Group. They ordinarily meet once a month. Available to assist you are Randy Smith, at and Katherine Todd, at

First Things First Purpose Group
Upcoming FREE Training Opportunities for Presbytery of the James Pastors and Church Members

  • Oct 29 Certification in PREPARE-ENRICH for Clergy, Counselors and Ministry Leaders. "The single best tool for helping couples."   Registration: NOTE this is the LAST FREE Training Opportunity for Office Park Grant.

  • November 12 Marriage Adventure: Money Habitudes and Communication Tips at Salisbury Presbyterian Church, 6:00-8:00 p.m.  Understand and appreciate each other’s habits and attitudes towards money. Dinner and child care provided with reservation Contact: Elizabeth McGuire at 804-794-5311.

  • Host a free program at your church, contact Bob Ruthazer, CFLE at    804-402-8004

Grace-Covenant hosted a half day Couples Enrichment program on September 12 and had 12 participants who learned Communication Skills, Love Languages and Appreciating and Understanding Personalities.
Great Couple's referral resource:  Marriage & Relationship Coaching Center of Central VA:

Public Policy Witness Purpose Group
During the late spring and summer months of 2015, the Public Policy Witness Purpose Group has continued its efforts to broaden its base of support within the Presbytery of the James. Success has been limited but new efforts are planned for the fall of 2015. Our goal continues to be expansion of church representation on the committee by 10-15 new congregations, and our target date remains spring, 2016.
Additionally, the purpose group has some exciting plans for new areas of advocacy activity for the fall of 2015. One such activity will be a Seminar on Immigration Policy November 15 at Bon Air Presbyterian Church. It is cosponsored with the Virginia Interfaith Center on Public Policy (VICPP). Presenter for the seminar will be Lana Heath de Martinez. Lana has had extensive experience in working with the immigration issue and with immigrant communities. The seminar promises to be a timely, informative event and one that, we anticipate will be widely attended by church members throughout the POJ. Lana is also the seminary intern working with the purpose group this year.
The purpose group has made plans to encourage a larger Presbyterian presence at the VICPP’s Day for All People, an event that will be held on January 20, 2016. The Day for All People offers an opportunity for members from a variety of faith communities – including our own – to meet and advocate with members of the Virginia General Assembly for specific pieces of legislation that are under consideration in the current legislative year.
The Public Policy Witness Purpose Group, therefore, invites all POJ congregations to


  • November 15, 2015 – “What Do We Do with the Stranger: A Conversation on Immigration” Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 2:00—4:00 p.m.

  • January 20, 2016 – “A Day for All People” Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Location and time to be announced.

World Mission Purpose Group
For the second year, the World Mission Purpose Group is enthusiastic about the Presbytery of the James participating with Peaks Presbytery in a Synod Shared Initiatives Grant to Guatemala with CEDEPCA, a mission partner of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Last year Synod funds enabled church leaders and especially women in Guatemala to experience life-transforming study of the Bible in a distant province. A new grant is anticipated to continue this work, to bring Guatemalan leaders here, and to encourage members of Peaks and James to travel together to Guatemala June 13-20, 2016. If you or your church wants to see how God is at work in Guatemala and changing lives, including ours, consider engaging in this joint initiative of James and Peaks Presbyteries. For more information contact Mary Jane Winter,
Are there young adults in your church who have a year to give to mission service, either in the United States or in another country? The Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is flourishing. Scholarships are available for those who are accepted from a POJ congregation. Placement sites offer a wide variety of experience and the opportunity to grow and serve, experiencing a new culture from a global perspective or a local one. Consider being a YAV after college or as a gap year. It’s a year of service and a life time of change. For more information see Or contact Colleen Earp, a former YAV, or Mary Jane Winter, moderator of the purpose group.
Mission Networks connect mission partners with church members and leaders all over the United States, providing energy and advocacy and celebrating the impact that God’s mission is having. The Presbytery of the James was well represented at the mission network meetings of Guatemala, Haiti, Egypt, and Congo. The Congo Mission Network was recently hosted in Richmond and representatives preached or gave a Minute for Mission in seven of our churches on September 20. Earlier, the Haiti Mission Network invited representatives from the James to speak about our presbytery partnership with Cindy, offering it as a model for other presbyteries.
Who is the mission contact in your congregation? Who moderates the mission or outreach committee? Please give their contact information to the Presbytery Office. The World Mission Purpose is eager to share information or to be a resource to your church.
Evangelism Purpose Group
This group was formed in late 2014. It is committed to “The Joy of Sharing God’s Love” throughout the Presbytery of the James and beyond.

Currently the members of this team are:

  • John Vest

  • Willie Woodson

  • Dan Hrach

  • Don McLean

  • Ayars Lore - Moderator

In the spring of this year this group held an event to learn how a diverse group of churches within the Presbytery of the James were reaching out and “Sharing God’s Love”. On Saturday November 7 our team is planning a second event. Again representatives of churches within the Presbytery of the James will gather to discuss the successes and concerns and how, as individuals, as worshiping bodies, or as a presbytery, we can better “Share God’s Love”. If you are interested in attending this event or becoming a member of the Evangelism Purpose Group please contact Ayars Lore, or 804-366-8325.

Presbytery of the James Meeting

October 17, 2015

The Team Reports this Information:

The importance of groups that help develop leadership in the Presbytery of the James remains the significant focus. Please read the reports of the various purpose groups so that you may be aware of the programs which are on going withinn the presbytery. If you are interested in forming a Purpose Group that supports leadership development, please contact Tim Williams, the Team moderator or a team member. We will be happy to walk with you through the process. Look for information about these and other Purpose Groups on the POJ Website:
Team Member Role:

  • Develop a strong working relationship with the purpose group.

  • Serve as a resource / consultant to the purpose group leaders.

  • Shape the thinking of the purpose group to have a plan to grow.

  • Assist the group in defining ways to measure success.

Tim Williams

Leadership Connections Team Moderator

The Team supports and encourages the following Purpose Groups:

Purpose Group

Purpose Group

Camp Hanover

Resource Center




Black Caucus

Christian Education

Resource and Special Events

Small Church

Presbyterian Women

Older Adult

Youth Ministries

Small Church Summer Intern

Collegiate Ministries

The Leadership Connections Team Reports Activities for the Following Purpose Groups:

Small Church Pastor Regional Lunch Meetings conclude with the inclusion of several churches in the western region of the Presbytery, the Small Church Purpose Group concluded its lunch meetings with pastors of the POJ’s small churches (those with 100 and under in worship). A healthy percentage of small church pastors were able to attend the get-togethers that took a year to complete. Highpoints among the survey of church and pastoral needs included (1) a desire for greater inclusion and connection within the POJ and its activities, (2) more support and connection among small church pastors and (3) help in developing resources to foster growth and hope for small church ministries. A summary of our findings will be made available soon to both the POJ and its small church leadership.
Big Plans for the Small Church in Our 2016 Budget In its budget for the coming year, the Small Church Purpose Group seeks to build upon its contacts with small church pastors by having one-on-one lunch lunches with pastors and members of the Purpose Group to ascertain the specific needs and thoughts of clergy. In addition, we plan to hold a small church “big event” featuring an experienced church musician who will lead us in a discussion of congregational music in settings where numbers and budgets are limited. Last, we seek to be able to help subsidize small churches as they engage in mission discernment involving agencies beyond the local church such as the interdenominational New Beginnings Program, programs that require financial commitments not easily met by small congregations.
Hopes to Re-Purpose Office Park Grant. The Small Church Purpose Group (along with a number of other ministries within the POJ) applied for and received funds from the Office Park account for to develop mission involvement beyond the local community for our smaller congregations. Our hope was that the program would build over a period of three years, enabling pastors and church members to gain mission experience regionally, out-of-state and then internationally. We discovered, however, that our hopes did not seem to align with the movement of the Spirit, and we attracted small church volunteers for only the first year of the program design.
Let’s Tap into Local Talent Still hoping that the remaining funds might be available to support the ministry of small churches within the POJ, the Purpose Group is going to propose that the dollars may be re-purposed to bring in experts within the Presbytery who can consult with our smaller churches on as needed basis. We have a number of folks within the POJ who have had valuable small church planning experience, and we would love to give them some tangible encouragement to employ their talents in once again building up Christ’s Body in small churches, one congregation at a time.

  • Mark Sprowl, Acting Moderator of the Small Church Purpose Group

The Small Church Internship Program is a joint venture of the Presbytery of the James and Union Presbyterian Seminary. Churches get talented students to lead in worship, Christian education, mission and other church programs. Students get a temporary church family with whom to explore ministry, and from whom they receive nurture and encouragement. Over a period of 18 summers thirty-five different small churches and sixty-eight students have benefited from the opportunity to focus on the joys and challenges of small church ministry.

In September the program began its transition from the summer to the academic year with two internships. Melissa Miller is serving Ashland Presbyterian, and Kelly Rex is serving Rennie Memorial. It is believed that academic year internships will better serve both students and churches. Students will engage in ministry on a weekly basis starting in September and going though the following May. Since this time frame covers a greater portion of the church year (includes Advent-Christmas and Lent-Easter) students will have the opportunity to engage in a greater variety of pastoral activities. Cost to the churches will be the same ($1,500) but is spread out over two fiscal years. Presbytery funds provide $1,700 for each internship. While we currently only have two interns, we are planning for four for the 2016-17 academic year.

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