Wednesday was a sober and heavy day in the courts of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod, convened at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind. This was the day for delegates to hear numerous papers and judicial complaints that have made their way through the presbyteries to the docket of the Synod.
Multiple times during the day the vital words given by God in Micah 6:8 were quoted from the floor:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The day began with a stirring sermon from Pastor Kyle Sims, a fraternal delegate from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He preached a message entitled “Take Up Your Cross in Discipleship” from Luke 14:25-33. He reminded the court that each member is called into a great spiritual war as part of the church militant. We are called to be faithful disciples of Jesus. To be useful in this battle the soldiers must be disciplined, and Christ’s orders must be followed at all costs.
Following a rich period of worship, Synod turned its attention to the report, communications, and minutes of the Synod Judicial Commission (SJC). The commission of ruling and teaching elders was formed at the 2021 synod to address the difficult issues surrounding the handling of a minor-on-minor sexual abuse case at Immanuel RP Church in West Lafayette, Ind. SJC moderator Keith Wing was given 30 minutes to present the commission’s findings and explain their actions.
The first paper of the day was Communication #22-14 GLG Former IRPC Members, in which former members of Immanuel RPC argued in support of the SJC’s actions. The presenters were given 15 minutes to summarize their case, then the court was given time to ask clarifying questions. Then Communication #22-09 Olivetti Complaint vs. SJC came to the floor, and delegates learned that former pastor Jared Olivetti was present to summarize his complaint. He was given 15 minutes to lay forth his arguments; then members of the court were given time to ask clarifying questions of multiple parties.
After returning from lunch synod reconvened and voted on the two points in the Olivetti complaint. Both complaints were not sustained.
Next came Communication #22-08. James Faris, the chief author, presented the complaint on behalf of more than 80 members within the bounds of Great Lakes–Gulf Presbytery, with clarifying questions from the court. Then the SJC responded. Finally, a vote was taken. The complaint was not sustained. Similar consideration was given to Communication #22-07 GLG Bloomington Complaints vs. SJC, which also was not sustained.
Then two communications were taken up from individuals making complaint against the work of the SJC. The complaints of these papers also were not sustained.
In the evening, four fraternal delegates were invited to address the court with their greetings and encouragements. Kyle Sims represented the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP); Robert Tarullo represented the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC); Travis Grassmid represented the Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS); Bill Bokenstein represented the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA). All of these bodies are dear sister denominations who gather each year and grow closer through fraternal fellow of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC).
Finally, the Synod took up the report of the special committee focused on developing the RP Church of Canada. After many questions, the Synod approved the formation of the Presbytery of Canada, authorizing this new presbytery to meet at the appropriate time and organize themselves into the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Canada. Plans were laid for a season of prayer and commissioning on Friday morning.
This report was originally shared on the RP Witness website, and is shared with their kindly granted permission.