What Happened at Presbytery (Spring 2024)?

The Great Lakes Gulf Presbytery (GLG) of the RPCNA met between February 29 and March 1, 2024 at Second Reformed Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. The GLG is made up of 18 congregations from Michigan to Florida. The meeting began with retiring Moderator Jon Hughes (Southfield, MI) speaking on shepherding from Psalm 23. After the moderator’s address, some new delegates were introduced and the clerk’s report and agenda were approved to set the stage for our weekend of work.

It was noted that since our last meeting, two former ministers have gone on to eternity. Rev. Gordon Keddie and Rev. Bob Marrow were both mentioned as faithful laborers in the kingdom. We thank God for their labors through the years.

Rev. Joel Hart (Columbus, IN) was elected as the moderator and Revs. Adam Kuehner (Southfield, MI) and Nathan Eshelman (Orlando, FL) were elected as clerk and assistant (to the) clerk. Joel Hart did a fabulous job keeping the meeting orderly and timely and fostered a worshipful spirit through the entirety of the meeting, focusing on times of prayer as well as psalm singing.

Two communications were returned to their authors without the court discussing them: Rev. Stephen Rhoda (Terre Haute, IN) sent a communication that served as a “statement of conscience” concerning some of the conflicts within the presbytery over the past few years. The second was from Elder James Odom (Sparta, IL) that wrote a complaint concerning another congregation receiving his adult daughter into membership who was under admonishment by the Sparta Session. Both of the communications were returned to their authors without presbytery’s opinion or adjudication being stated.

There were several student examinations over the weekend. Mr. Joe Johnson (Orlando, FL) sat a preaching examination; pastoral gifts examination; and a church history examination.

It was noted that the history examination was one of the finest that the presbytery has seen in recent memory.

Mr. TJ Patillo (Atlanta, GA) preached a rousing and heart-felt sermon from Ephesians 2 and also was examined on personal godliness. John Punt (Bloomington, IN) wrote a very fine church history paper on diaconal ministry in the time of Calvin’s Geneva. He also preached his “evidence of progress” sermon and sat for the personal godliness exam. All men were sustained in their exams with serval constructive comments made on the floor of presbytery. Student examinations is one of the most important things that presbytery does!

After several years of trial and tribulation in the presbytery, we were able to get back to a normal routine of hearing reports from each of our 18 congregations. After each congregation reported on the triumphs and difficulties of the previous season of ministry, an assigned presbyter prayed for the work of their ministry. This was very nice to get back to hearing congregational reports and to experience something of a season of peace in the courts of the church. Praise God for normal.

The Orlando session has submitted a petition to the synod following a retired minister being sued by the Reformed Presbyterian Home. The Orlando session petitioned synod last year over the same matter and the RP Home was urged to repent of their sin of suing this minister and to write a letter of apology. The letter written suggests the Home did nothing wrong and the Orlando session is requesting that denominational funding be withheld from the RP Home until this matter is settled as well as a committee of synod to investigate the ministry of the RP Home. This petition was discussed on the floor of presbytery and will go ahead with the endorsement of the presbytery. Rev. Phil Pockras (Belle Center, OH) dissented from this action of the court.

The presbytery youth leadership addressed the court and spoke on several ministry opportunities that they had in the previous year. They thanked several men for investing in them, especially Rev. Aaron Murray (Marion, IN) who served as the youth ministry coordinator of presbytery.

There was also some updates to the presbytery’s child protection policy that were approved. We heard concerning COVFAMIKOI’s leadership that we will meet at Covenant College from July 7-12, 2025 for our next presbytery summer conference.

The Home Mission Board’s presbytery representative reported on serval outreach and mission opportunities as the church thinks though church planting. Rev. Josh Smith (Prairie View, IL) recently came to Gainesville, FL to do outreach on the campus of University of Florida. He encouraged the court to pray for the works in Gainesville and Celebration.

As mentioned above, the highlight of the meeting was that we maintained a worshipful and devotional spirit throughout the meeting. Despite a few years of difficulty, there was a hopeful attitude among us that we can move ahead.

Some wounds have been healed; some will continue to be worked on towards healing; and other matters will have be to covered in love.

At least two hot button issues were not even mentioned on the floor, showing us that the passing of time will aid in putting some matters behind us.

The meeting ended with a resolution of thanks where the many servants and members of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church were thanked with a round of applause for their hospitality and delicious food. We then closed in prayer and with the singing of Psalm 133, a song of unity and the blessedness of that unity in the Lord.

Would you pray that we would maintain the unity of the Sprit and the bond of peace?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email