Transitional Pastor call approved by 37th General Assembly


Creation of a new called position of Transitional Pastor was adopted by the EPC 37th General Assembly on June 22 at Fair Oaks Church in Sacramento, Calif. The action not only created and defined the Transitional Pastor position, but also clarified the role of Stated Supply Pastor in Section 10-7 of the Book of Government regarding temporary pastoral relationships.

Jerry Iamurri, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk and former member of the Ministerial Vocation Committee, noted that the committee worked to more accurately reflect the role of an interim pastor in the life of both a local church and the EPC.

“The committee recommended changing the title of Interim Pastor to Transitional Pastor because it more accurately defines the task, and further establishes the role as a ‘call’ from the Session of a church,” Iamurri said.

The provisions of the call state that a Transitional Pastor:

  • Is called by the Session to serve a congregation while it is seeking a pastor.
  • Intentionally leads the congregation toward greater health and readiness for their next pastor.
  • Will ordinarily be appointed by the presbytery to moderate the Session during his or her time of service.
  • Would retain membership in his or her home presbytery, if different from that in which the call is located.
  • Are introduced to the receiving presbytery and enrolled as a corresponding member (voice but no vote) upon approval of the Ministerial Committee.

In addition, those called from outside the EPC would be examined by the presbytery and transferred according to applicable provisions of the Book of Government.

The Ministerial Vocation Committee will oversee the training, certification, and ongoing support of Transitional Pastors.

In clarifying the Stated Supply position, the action allows churches that do not want a transitional pastor to still invite a minister to serve as Stated Supply, and for ministers from outside the EPC to serve as Stated Supply pastors without transferring their ordination to the EPC.

In related actions, the Assembly approved four amendments to the Book of Government:

  • Adjusted the wording in two sections related to the term of service for an out-of-bounds call to reflect that such term is renewable for up to three years. The amendment brings the two passages into alignment, limits the length of an out-of-bounds term to three years (with permission to continue renewable), and gives presbyteries discretion to set a shorter term.
  • A presbytery may authorize its Ministerial Committee to serve as a judicial or administrative commission, or be appointed as an ongoing administrative commission. The action allows the committee to dissolve pastoral relationships and dismiss Teaching Elders (according to the EPC Book of Order) when both the congregation and the Pastor concur; approve temporary pastoral relationships; review terms of call or invitations for all pastoral relationships (excluding out-of-bounds) to ensure that the terms meet the minimum established standards; ordain and/or install Teaching Elders in accordance with provisions in the Book of Government; and appoint advisors for Candidates Under Care and mentors for Commissioned Pastors.
  • Added the Transitional Pastor as a recognized pastoral relationship for Teaching Elders in a congregational setting.
  • Clarified that a Session may call a Teaching Elder as Assistant Pastor or Transitional Pastor, and is authorized to invite a Teaching Elder as Stated Supply Pastor or Occasional Supply Pastor—all of which must be approved by the presbytery since they involve a Teaching Elder.

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EPC chaplains serve in a variety of ministries


GA2017ChaplainsIntroductionMark Ingles, EPC Chaplain Endorser and Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West, introduced the denomination’s chaplains to attendees of the 37th General Assembly in Sacramento, Calif.

Ingles noted that a chaplain can be defined as a spiritual representative attached to a secular institution.

“Chaplains provide calm in the midst of crisis and chaos,” he said. “They are on the front lines of ministry and at times carry the weight that falls on first responders. They make a difference emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.”

Among the 60 individuals who serve as EPC chaplains in settings around the world, 16 were in attendance at the Assembly on June 22 (pictured left to right):

  • Dana Perreard
    Campus Pastor and Associate Chaplain, University of Dubuque, Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Jason Riggs
    G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center, Salisbury, N.C.
  • John Torres
    105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y.
  • Daniel Situka
    Vitas Hospice Services, Houston, Texas
  • Helen Fransell
    Capitol Caring Hospice, Aldie, Va.
  • Karen Bolte
    Sutter Care at Home Hospice, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Josh Schatzle
    U.S. Navy Reserve Recruiting Command, Carbondale, Ill.
  • Tim Foster
    U.S. Navy Reserve, Cordova, Tenn., supporting U.S. Navy Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, San Diego, Calif.
  • Jennifer Prechter
    Arnold Palmer Children’s Medical Center, Orlando, Fla.
  • J. Werner
    50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • John Richards
    301st Regional Support Group, Butler, Pa.
  • Dave Snyder
    U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command, Warren, Mich.
  • Bryan Knedgen
    406th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Ted Tromble
    Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wis.
  • Graham Baily
    509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
  • Jason Kim
    Being assigned to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Also attending the Assembly but not pictured are:

  • Marty Carpenter, Candidate Under Care, Sanger, Calif.
  • Linda Thompson, Candidate Under Care, Northville ,Mich.

#epc2017ga

Church Planting Team offers highlights of work


GA2017ChurchPlantersPrayer

Commissioners pray for EPC church planters at the conclusion of the Church Planting Team report to the 37th General Assembly on June 22.

Tom Ricks, chair of the EPC Church Planting Team, presented several highlights of church planting efforts over the past year to attendees of the 37th General Assembly in Sacramento, Calif.

He reported there are currently more than 37 active EPC church plants.

“Since we are not a top-down organization that tells you how to do it, we don’t always know about every newly planted church,” he said. “I knew we had 37 active plants, but found out about three more since I got here—so I think we have 40!”

Reminding those in attendance that the vision for the EPC is that every church become a Parent, Partner, or Patron of a church plant, those in attendance heard from a church that has taken up the mantle of Partner in creative, innovative, and effective ways in a city with significant Muslim and Hindu populations.

He also reported on church planting networks in Brooklyn, Detroit, the New Orleans/Gulf Coast region, Memphis, Denver, and the San Francisco Bay area. These networks provide resources and support to church planters, as well as focused training, nurturing, and equipping.

For more information about EPC church planting, see www.epcchurchplanting.org or contact Ricks at tom@greentreechurch.com.

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General Assembly adopts Position Paper on Human Sexuality


GA2017PositionPaperHumanSexualityCommissioners to the 37th General Assembly adopted the Preliminary Position Paper on Human Sexuality as the EPC’s official Position Paper on Human Sexuality, effective at the close of the Assembly on June 23. The paper replaces the Position Paper on Homosexuality and Position Paper on the Sanctity of Marriage.

The 35th General Assembly, meeting in Orlando in 2015, approved the formation of an interim committee to edit the homosexuality paper, which had been adopted in 1986 and revised in 1994 and 2014. While the EPC’s position on the issue had not changed, the 2015 Assembly recommended that language in the paper be updated to reflect how that position is expressed in response to changing cultural trends.

Mike Moses, Moderator of the 2015 Assembly, appointed the interim committee, which was chaired by Sandy Willson, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South.

Following comments and feedback from all EPC Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders to its first draft in early 2016, the interim committee presented the Proposed Position Paper on Human Sexuality to the 36th General Assembly in June 2016 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich. That Assembly approved the proposed paper, changing its status from “Proposed” to “Preliminary Position Paper.” As a Preliminary Position Paper, it was then sent to all EPC churches and presbyteries for review in anticipation of being presented for approval to this year’s Assembly.

A Position Paper expresses the mind of the General Assembly of the EPC on a subject of compelling interest. It is a definitive but not an exhaustive statement, and is not to be regarded as binding on the conscience of churches or individuals.

Click here to download the Position Paper on Human Sexuality.

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EPC adds 16 churches in 2016-17


Sixteen churches joined the EPC in the reporting period of May 28, 2016, through May 22, 2017, bringing the roster of EPC congregations to 602 as of June 21, 2017. Fourteen of the new EPC churches were previous congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA); one was independent; and one was newly organized.

John Graham, Moderator of the 20th EPC General Assembly, prayed for the new churches.

“Let us who came before embrace our new brothers as important parts of our body,” he said, “and from whom we will all learn and grow.”

These newest members of the EPC family of churches are:

Presbytery of the Alleghenies:
Mill Creek United Presbyterian Church of Hookstown (Hookstown, Pa.)
Harper Brady, Interim Pastor
www.millcreekepc.org

Presbytery of the East:
First Presbyterian Church of Williamson (Williamson, N.Y.)
Francis Gasparri, Pastor
www.wfpchurch.org

Presbytery of Florida:
Providence Church (Brooksville, Fla.)
Greg Gunn, Pastor/Church Planter
www.providencespringhill.org

Presbytery of the Great Plains:
First Presbyterian Church of Cushing (Cushing, Okla.)
No current pastor

Turner County Evangelical Presbyterian Church (Davis, S.D.)
Jeff Spencer, Pastor
www.facebook.com/TurnerCountyEPC

Presbytery of the Gulf South
First Presbyterian Church of Ingram (Ingram, Texas)
Raymond Tear, Pastor
www.fpcingram.org

Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic
Bensalem Presbyterian Church (Eagle Springs, N.C.)
Mark Carver, Pastor
www.facebook.com/bensalemevangelicalpresbyterianchurch

Elon Presbyterian Church (Madison Heights, Va.)
D. Barrett “Barry” Tucker, Pastor
www.elonchurch.org

Park Avenue Presbyterian Church (Rockingham, N.C.)
James Lankford, Stated Supply Pastor

Pineland Presbyterian Church (Jacksonville, N.C.)
No current pastor
www.facebook.com/pages/Pineland-Presbyterian-Church/116433881718984

Wayside Presbyterian Church (Cameron, N.C.)
Robert A. Johnson, Stated Supply

Presbytery of the Midwest
Cedarville United Presbyterian Church (Cedarville, Ohio)
Anne Horton, Pastor
www.cedarvilleunited.org

Presbytery of the Pacific
Covenant Community Church (Vacaville, Calif.)
Julia Leeth, Pastor
www.cccvv.org

Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes
First United Presbyterian Church (Moline, Ill.)
Greg Graybill, Pastor
www.fupcmoline.org

Romine Prairie Church (Kell, Ill.)
No current pastor

Presbytery of the West
Panhandle Presbyterian Church (Guymon, Okla.)
Carol LaMar, Commissioned Pastor

#epc2017ga

Dean Weaver elected Moderator of 37th GA


GA2017ModeratorPrayer

Former General Assembly Moderators pray for Dean Weaver (right) and his wife, Beth, at his investiture on June 21. 

Dean Weaver, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, was elected Moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly on June 21 at Fair Oaks Church in Sacramento, Calif. The vote was unanimous.

“I am humbled, honored, and excited to stand before you and serve in this way,” Weaver said. “We stand as a church with a vision and a mission, and a God who is bigger than all put together Who is able to bring it to pass for His glory.”

Weaver has served as Pastor of Memorial Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., since 2006. He previously served as Senior Pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church in Kenmore, N.Y., and Pastor of Clymer Presbyterian Church in Clymer, Pa. As a staff member of the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO) following his college graduation, he served as Campus Minister for Graystone Presbyterian Church in Indiana, Pa., where he met his wife, Beth.

In addition to his pastoral roles, Weaver was Founder and Co-Moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC). The NWAC, formed in 2001 and dissolved in 2011, was a group of about 200 theologically conservative Presbyterian churches and was formed as a result of growing discontent regarding the general direction of the PC(USA).

“In 2007,” Weaver told the Assembly, “you created a space for me and all of us in the New Wineskins Association that we very desperately needed. As we got to know one another and know a church that is truly Presbyterian, Reformed, evangelical, and missional, we found that we were two parts of the same family. And over the past 10 years, we have discovered—as many of you have—that we are home.”

He was Co-chair of the Joint Commission on New Wineskins and the EPC from 2007 to 2012; and a member of the Coordinating Council of the New Wineskins Presbytery. In the EPC’s Presbytery of the Alleghenies he served as chair of the Ministerial Committee in 2012-2013, Moderator in 2014, and Chair of Council in 2015. He has been a member of the EPC National Leadership Team (formerly Committee on Administration) since 2013. He also is President and co-founder of EduNations, a non-profit corporation that builds and operates schools in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Weaver is a 1986 graduate of Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh (Pa.) Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently is pursuing a Master of Theology in homiletics from Gordon-Conwell.

He and Beth have been married for almost 30 years and have six children—three natural born and three adopted internationally (one from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and two from Sierra Leone)—and one granddaughter.

#epc2017ga

2017 Leadership Institute: Reclaiming the Joy of Evangelism and Discipleship in the Local Church


GA2017LI-ReclaimTheJoyOfEvangelismIn the 2017 Leadership Institute seminar Reclaiming the Joy of Evangelism and Discipleship in the Local Church, Bill Senyard explained the importance of understanding the deepest unspoken and unmet needs of people as a key to a fruitful evangelism and discipleship ministry.

“Underneath the mask, we have insecure, fearful people with high expectations,” he said. “Millennials especially are a specialty ministry.”

Senyard was a pastor for 21 years and currently serves on the EPC GO Center Revitalization Team.

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