What Happened at Presbytery?

The Midwest Presbytery met on February 29th – March 1st in Sterling, Kansas.

Moderator Kyle Borg began the meeting preaching from 1 Peter 5:2 on “A Willing Eldership,” after which the court was convened in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ.

A number of communications were received and dealt with in the course of the meeting. A paper from the Clarinda session regarding women deacons was transmitted to Synod. Our Synod continues to study the issue of women deacons, and this paper may contribute to that work.

A communication from the Dallas session was transmitted to Synod without comment. The petition expresses concerns because the Roman Catholic Mass is being practiced and promoted at the RP Home (see Westminster Confession of Faith 29.2). The petition asks Synod to consider eliminating funding, separating itself from all association, and helping to care for residents at the RP Home who are Reformed Presbyterians if the practice doesn’t stop.

A judicial reference was brought before the presbytery. A reference is a request from a session for a higher court to assume jurisdiction in a judicial matter. The presbytery was sensitive to the circumstances of the situation but ultimately decided not to assume jurisdiction meaning the case remains before the local session. However, a committee of presbytery is being appointed to help the session with the situation.

A complaint was brought before the presbytery regarding the Morning Sun session’s decision to grant a particular exception to the standards of the RPCNA for an elder-elect related to the exclusive singing of the psalms in worship (he believes other songs in the Bible can be sung). A judicial committee reviewed the situation, and the presbytery voted to not sustain the complaint. A number of dissents were recorded.

A number of complaints came to the presbytery from concerned parties related to a situation in one of our congregations. The session placed a pastor on an indefinite leave of absence citing concerns to the congregation. The complaints alleged this was a violation of the law and order of the church. The presbytery sustained the complaints and reversed the action of the session. A commission is also being appointed to investigate the situation.

A significant part of presbytery’s time was taken with the ecclesiastical trial of Pastor Jeffrey Yelton. At the fall 2023 meeting of presbytery, Mr. Yelton requested a trial relative to his public teaching wherein it was alleged that he taught contrary to the law and order of the RPCNA. The presbytery honored that request by appointing a special prosecutor, and the charges of sin were decided. On the basis of the trial the presbytery found Mr. Yelton guilty of violating the 3rd and 5th commandments as he has continued to teach contrary to the law and order of the church, and has defiantly disregarded the courts of the church which he voluntarily vowed submission to. Mr. Yelton was then suspended from the exercise of his office as a teaching elder, and a committee has been established to outline needed evidences of repentance. Mr. Yelton notified the court of his plan to appeal to Synod.

The presbytery approved a number of written reports submitted by commissions, committees, and sessions. We welcomed Pastors Trace Turner and Gary Gunn into the presbytery as their credentials were transferred to us. Pastor Turner was called to the Houston fellowship and will be installed on March 15th, and Pastor Gunn is helping in the Dallas congregation.

We also had a number of student exams. Frank Du sustained his ordination exams and has been called to the Little Rock preaching station. Kevin Dennis successfully sustained his Pastoral Gifts and Evangelism and Church History exams, he hopes to be made eligible to receive a call at our next presbytery meeting. Noah Manring was sustained in his preaching, Church History, Pastoral Gifts and Evangelism exams, and his history and exegesis papers. Mr. Manring hopes to be made eligible to receive a call at our next presbytery meeting. The presbytery also certified Pastor Andrew Fortenberry (OPC) to be eligible to receive a call in the RPCNA. We welcomed Lucas Donato from the Laramie congregation as a student under care.

The presbytery is thankful for the work our gracious hosts put into the meeting.

The court adjourned singing Psalm 133 thankful for the brotherly love and unity in the midst of challenging things, and expecting that day when the Lord Jesus will, in every sense, make us all one.

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