The Fall meeting of the new RPCC Presbytery was held in the Ottawa RPC building on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th October 2023 . Rev Matt Dyck, Minister of the Hillside RPC in Almonte, ON, opened the meeting on Tuesday morning when he preached from John 15:1-11 and encouraged the Presbytery to look to Christ as the vine from whom the branches source their life.

Rev. Patrick McNeely’s resignation
It was with regret that the Presbytery accepted the resignation of Rev. Patrick McNeely as Minister of the Coram Deo RPC (Squamish). It was noted that there were several contributing factors, not least the burden placed upon Rev. McNeely as the only elder on the ground since the congregation’s formation and the congregation’s financial situation. The Presbytery is pleased that Patrick, Jacyln and their three boys will continue to live in Squamish and be members of the congregation while Patrick works with the fire department in Vancouver.

Two Sessions appointed to oversee the four congregations in BC
The decision was made to separate the oversight sessions for the four congregations in BC. So, a BC English Session was appointed to oversee the Vancouver RP and Squamish RP congregations, and a BC Chinese Session to be responsible for the two Chinese mission congregations in West Vancouver and Surrey.

Possible future Minister
It was agreed that the Presbytery will interview Mr. Ezra Wilkinson (New Creation – Kitchener RPC) during its May 2024 meeting to establish Ezra’s desire to be a minister and to see if he fulfils the Presbytery requirements to be trained for the ministry.

Congregational and Committee Reports
A verbal report was received from each congregation, and prayer was offered.
The Presbytery had agreed in its pre-formation discussions to appoint Committee members until 2025, but this decision was reviewed, and it was agreed to make new Committee appointments that will be reviewed annually.

Training of Men for Ministry Committee
This committee brought twelve recommendations regarding the formation of an RP Seminary in Canada for training men for the gospel ministry. Following discussion, the following are some of the decisions agreed upon:

  • That the Presbytery would form the Reformed Presbyterian Seminary of Canada (RPSC) which would be situated in Ottawa.
  • This Seminary would be administered by a Faculty Board accountable for its decisions to the Presbytery.
  • A pre-seminary program would be offered, which all students would be required to take before being permitted to enroll in the three-year RPSC program. While the pre-seminary program would be taken online, for the Seminary program, students would be required to participate either in-person classes onsite or live online by special permission of the Presbytery (in the case of an RPCC student) or of the RPSC Faculty Board (in the case of a private student).
  • As well as their in-class courses, the RPSC students will undertake three summer internships – one at the end of each academic year.

Communications Committee
This committee reported on its work in producing the RPCC quarterly magazine ‘Sea to Sea’ and the work it does to inform the church of the body life activities going on within the church in Canada through Facebook and other social media platforms.

Finance Committee
The Presbytery agreed to the committee’s recommendation of congregational presbytery dues at 3%.

Camps and Conferences Committee
This committee was pleased to report that the registration for the 2023 Family Camp was the highest it has been and that while there were some teething issues with the move to the new site at Wesley Acres, the feedback has been very positive.

Mission Committee
The Presbytery agreed to form a Mission Committee, the first task of which is to devise and bring a recommendation regarding its remit/role to the May Presbytery meeting.

Other Matters
RPCC Constitution
While the RPCC Constitutional document has been agreed upon and the life of the RPCC is being operated based on it, some revisions are still to be made. The expectation is that these revisions should be finalized within a year.

Fraternal Relationship with RPC of North America, RP Global Alliance Membership, Membership of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC)
We are thankful that fraternal relations have been granted to us by our former denomination, the RPCNA. It is hoped that the RPCC will be received as a member Church of the RP Global Alliance in 2025, and NAPARC has granted the denomination observer status. While these things may seem to have little bearing on life in the pew, they are important because they demonstrate the seriousness with which the wider church in North America and the RPC globally has taken the development of the RPCC.

Report written by Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley, RPCC Presbytery Clerk

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