Category Archives: General Assembly Meeting

October Jeremiah Journal provides highlights from 40th General Assembly

 

In the October 2020 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah shares some highlights of the 40th General Assembly and offers a pastoral comment as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

40th General Assembly worship service recordings available

 

Video recordings of the 40th General Assembly worship service messages are now available. The speakers are Case Thorp, Moderator of the 39th General Assembly, and Carolyn Poteet, Lead Pastor of Mt. Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The messages are available below, on the EPC website at www.epc.org/ga2020recordings, and on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/EPChurch80 in the “40th General Assembly” playlist. Audio recordings of the messages are available in podcast form on Spotify and iTunes—search for “Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

Thorp preached from 2 Kings 25:1-10 and Revelation 21:1-7. Poteet preached from 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 and Mark 8:31-17.

#epc2020ga

40th General Assembly elects Dean Weaver as fourth Stated Clerk, approves reduced 2021 budget, ratifies amendments to Book of Government

 

Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri (left) monitors the written report of the Permanent Judicial Commission as Chair Yvonne Chapman presents the Commission’s report to the Assembly. The EPC’s 40th General Assembly was conducted via video conference from the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando. (photo credit: Jeff Guetzloe)

Commissioners to the EPC’s 40th General Assembly elected Presbytery of the Alleghenies Teaching Elder Dean Weaver as the denomination’s fourth Stated Clerk, adopted a fiscal year 2021 (FY21) budget of $2.3 million, and approved 36 other recommendations from the EPC’s permanent and interim committees, commissions, and boards. The Assembly was held September 17-18 via video conference from the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando.

Commissioners also elected Glenn Meyers as Moderator and Brad Strait as Moderator-Elect. Meyers serves as Ruling Elder and Commissioned Pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa., in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies. Strait serves as Senior Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo., in the Presbytery of the West.

More than 800 individuals registered for the Assembly, including 388 Teaching Elders and 416 Ruling Elders who submitted voting credentials.

“For the first time in my 14 years as Stated Clerk—and possibly in the history of the EPC—we had more Ruling Elder commissioners than Teaching Elders this year,” said Jeff Jeremiah. “When the EPC started in 1981, the founders wanted our General Assemblies to have strong Ruling Elder representation. I am grateful that our virtual format allowed for so many Ruling Elders to participate.”

Fourth EPC Stated Clerk elected

Dean Weaver, Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., was elected as the EPC’s fourth Stated Clerk. He will be installed at the 41st General Assembly in June 2021. Weaver currently serves as Co-chairman of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force and was the Moderator of the 37th General Assembly.

Bill Dudley, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Southeast and Chairman of the Stated Clerk Search Committee, said Weaver has “a devotion to the church” and “has demonstrated what sacrificial leadership looks like” over the years.

“He is a man with a mission for God on his mind in every aspect in the life of the Church,” Dudley said.

Upon his election, Weaver said he was “greatly humbled that you would entrust such a stewardship to me to be the fourth elected Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, following in the footsteps of Ed Davis, Mike Glodo, and Jeff Jeremiah. I walk in the footsteps of giants and am the inheritor of that legacy for which I am deeply grateful. I am profoundly dependent on you for your prayers, your support, and your love.”

He expressed belief that that the EPC’s best days are still ahead.

“Jeff has led us through unprecedented times with incredible courage and great faith and stamina,” Weaver said. “I am proud to be his friend, and quite frankly a little overwhelmed to follow him. But at the same time, I honestly believe that God is going to lead us through the wilderness wanderings of the coronavirus pandemic into a promised land. I am confident that this Kingdom that cannot be shaken, that God has called us to together, that God is going to do exceedingly abundantly more than you and I could ever ask or imagine.”

The Assembly also approved Weaver’s terms of call, which go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Budget and Special Projects approved

Commissioners approved a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21—July 2020 through June 2021) budget for EPC operating expenses of $2,361,047. This represents a 17 percent decrease in projected spending from the FY20 budget.

Tom Werner, Chairman of the National Leadership Team (NLT) and Ruling Elder for Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood, Mo., said the reduced budget was a reflection of the difficulties faced by churches in projecting future offering receipts.

“In light of the fact that giving is uncertain this year, we have tried to budget based on our per-member askings and additional giving from churches to maintain a ‘bare bones’ budget but without cutting essentials,” Werner said.

Ruling Elder Rob Liddon, Chairman of the NLT Finance Committee and Moderator of the 30th General Assembly, noted that the primary area of reduction from the FY20 budget was in travel expenses.

“We were able to reduce travel expenses because we are doing more Zoom meetings,” Liddon said. “We believe this budget meets the current realities of what is needed with what we believe would be the reality of the incoming revenues.”

The FY21 budget includes $254,000 in direct funding of the four strategic priorities—$140,000 for Multiplication (Church Planting); $30,000 for Transformation (Church Revitalization); $41,000 for Global Movement; and $43,000 for Effective Biblical Leadership. In addition, 20 percent of Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions to the EPC support Global Movement in the form of funding the overall ministry of World Outreach. Funding for the strategic initiatives was added to the EPC operating budget in the FY18 budget. From their inception in 2014 through FY18 they had been funded through undesignated cash reserves.

In a separate action, commissioners authorized the NLT to increase funding of targeted line items in the budget should FY21 revenue exceed projected spending. These increases would be focused on strategic ministry opportunities.

“In the age of COVID, this is just a logical follow-up to the approval of a bare-bones budget,” Werner said. “If giving is robust, if the heavens open, if COVID goes away, and churches are able to give generously, then we would like as an NLT to have the authority to pursue ministry opportunities above and beyond what the bare-bones budget permits.”

The Assembly also approved a variety of Special Projects for FY21, which are supported outside of PMA but would be fully funded if each EPC church contributed an additional $6.02 per member above the PMA target of $23 per member.

In other administration-related business, commissioners approved a recommendation that ordained ministers drawing retirement income from the EPC 403(b)(9) Defined Contribution Retirement Plan be allowed to designate up to 100 percent of their retirement income for housing allowance.

Ron Horgan, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic and Chairman of the Benefit Resources, Inc., Board of Directors, said the approved recommendation “protects us in the event that there should be any attempt to have our housing allowance income declared as taxable.”

Book of Government amendments ratified

The Assembly ratified two Descending Overtures, which thereby amend the EPC’s Book of Government.

The first amendment addresses the examination of candidates for ordination. Added to Book of Government 11-2C is language that presbyteries should consider the candidate’s motivation to not only be an ordained Teaching Elder, but also be a part of the EPC.

The second adds language making explicit that “the office of co-pastor is not a constitutionally recognized calling in a local church” to Book of Government 9-5A.1. This amendment clarifies the position the EPC has held since 1985. The fifth General Assembly sustained a Permanent Judicial Commission opinion that year stating that “the office of co-pastor as being non-existent” and the only recognized offices for Teaching Elders in a local church are that of Pastor, Associate Pastor, and Assistant Pastor.

Interim committees extended

Commissioners approved extensions for the Giving Culture Study Committee (GCSC) and the Revelation 7:9 Task Force. The Giving Culture Study Committee was approved to continue through the 41st General Assembly (2021), while the Revelation 7:9 Task Force will maintain its work through the 42nd General Assembly (2022).

The Revelation 7:9 Task Force was approved by the 38th General Assembly in 2018 and appointed by 38th GA Moderator Tom Werner. The group spent its first year primarily listening within the denomination and provided an interim report of its findings to the 39th General Assembly. As stated in the NLT’s written report to the 40th General Assembly, the Task Force’s goal is “the presentation of S.M.A.R.T. (Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Time-sensitive) recommendations, accompanied by resources and templates for EPC congregations to become more ethnically, age, and economically Revelation 7:9 mosaic communities.”

Commissioners also approved distributing the Revelation 7:9 Task Force written report to all EPC presbyteries, churches, and pastors.

The GCSC was approved by the 39th General Assembly and appointed by 39th GA Moderator Case Thorp. The committee’s charge is to address how to improve the long-term culture of giving to the EPC. Related to the GCSC’s work, commissioners approved four additional recommendations:

  • For the Generosity Resources Committee to develop resources to aid congregations in enriching their financial collection practices to include the latest methods of giving and financial stewardship.
  • For the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) to develop a plan to educate presbyteries and sessions as to the purpose and role of the OGA.
  • For the Ministerial Vocation Committee, in conjunction with the NLT, to develop strategies to aid those church leaders acutely suffering from after-effects of their prior denominational affiliations and practices.
  • For the Theology Committee, with assistance from the Ministerial Vocation Committee, to define the terms “connectional” and “connectionalism” as understood by the EPC.

Provisional opinions ratified

Commissioners sustained three provisional opinions from the Stated Clerk that were issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) recommended that all three opinions be upheld.

The first opinion was issued by Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah on March 11. Jeremiah stated that a presbytery with sufficient technology to ensure that every participant is able to hear and/or see, vote, and participate in a virtual meeting is permitted to hold their stated and/or called presbytery meetings virtually.

The second opinion was delivered on April 2. As with a presbytery meeting, Jeremiah wrote that a session or congregation with sufficient technology is permitted to hold a virtual meeting.

Jeremiah issued the third opinion on June 22, in which he ruled that the administration of the Lord’s Supper during a virtual worship service is temporarily permissible under the Constitution.

In additional judicial matters, commissioners approved a PJC-amended overture from the Presbytery of the Gulf South. That overture asked the Assembly to amend Book of Government G-13, “The Ordination and/or Installation of Officers.” The intent of the overture was to resolve potential confusion in the roles of Ruling Elder and Deacon. The goal was accomplished by adding phrases that clarify the office of Ruling Elder or Deacon as distinct from that of Teaching Elder; that Ruling Elders and Deacons report to their Session rather than to a presbytery; that congregants submit only to Teaching/Ruling Elders; and that congregants pledge to fulfill the terms of the call and make provision for the Teaching Elder.

Commissioners also ratified the PJC’s rulings on two separate disciplinary matters in which the respective Complaints were dismissed, and another ruling in which the appeal of an earlier ruling was dismissed.

Committee and Board Members elected

In addition to electing Meyers as Moderator and Strait as Moderator-elect, the Assembly elected the following individuals to fill vacancies on the EPC’s permanent committees and boards as others complete their terms of service (TE denotes Teaching Elder. RE denotes Ruling Elder. * denotes second term.):

Benefit Resources, Inc., Board of Directors: RE Will Barnes, Presbytery of the Midwest; TE Erik Ohman*, Presbytery of the West; Randy Shaneyfelt*, Presbytery of the Great Plains, who was elected as Chairman.

Chaplains Work and Care Committee: TE Marty Carpenter, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; TE Scott Rash, Presbytery of the Great Plains; TE Brad Yorton*, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest.

Generosity Resources Committee: RE Bobby Cobbs*, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; RE Ted Hailes*, Presbytery of the Central South.

Ministerial Vocation Committee: RE Richard Gash, Presbytery of the Alleghenies; TE Doug Resler, Presbytery of the West.

National Leadership Team: RE Earla Bethel, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; RE Frank Carter*, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; RE Victor Jones, Presbytery of the Gulf South; TE Patrick King, Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; RE Rosemary Lukens*, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest; TE Dave Strunk*, Presbytery of the Southeast.

Next Generation Ministries Council: TE Michael Davis, Presbytery of the Central South; RE Enid Flores*, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; TE Andrew Koesters*, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; RE Becky Shultz*, Presbytery of the West.

Nominating Committee: RE Marian Bradshaw*, Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; TE Alan Conrow*, Presbytery of the Midwest; TE Wayne Hardy*, Presbytery of the Great Plains; TE Juan Rivera, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean. In addition, Susan Humphreys (RE, Presbytery of Mid-America) was elected as Chairman.

Permanent Judicial Commission: RE Yvonne Chapman*, Presbytery of the Central South; RE Jeff Hollingsworth, Presbytery of the Southeast; RE Ken Roberts*, Presbytery of the West.

Presbytery Review Committee: RE Ron Bengelink, Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest; RE Jane Bodden, Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; RE Ray Kinat, Presbytery of the Alleghenies; TE Jason Steele, Presbytery of the Midwest.

Theology Committee: RE Fred Flinn*, Presbytery of the Central South; TE Zach Hopkins*, Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; TE Cameron Shafer, Presbytery of the Midwest.

World Outreach Committee: TE Whitney Alexander, Presbytery of the Gulf South; RE David Miller*, Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; RE Wes Peterson, Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic; TE Porter Waring, Presbytery of the Central South.

In other committee-related action, commissioners approved a recommendation from the Women’s Resource Council (WRC) to disband as a permanent committee of the EPC and have presbyteries facilitate women’s ministries in local churches.

Sharon Beekman, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the West and Chairman of the WRC, noted that the WRC was approved by the 36th General Assembly with the purpose of supporting and equipping women in local EPC churches. She reported that in the last four years, the WRC has made available and promoted a variety of vetted resources posted on the EPC website, a blog for aspiring writers, and a Facebook group for women in the EPC.

“Unfortunately, EPC women have not utilized these resources,” she said. “The traffic is very low, so the NLT and the WRC concluded that women’s ministry is best conducted at the local church and the presbytery level. They have a better understanding of what the needs of women are, and of the culture of the various presbyteries.”

Beekmann said funds contributed through EPC Special Projects in previous years as “Per Woman Asking” and held in WRC-designated funds at the Office of the General Assembly would be dispersed to the presbyteries for women’s ministries in local churches. She said they currently have a balance of approximately $60,000.

EPC Endorsement Policy revised

Commissioners approved revisions to the EPC Endorsement Policy as written and recommended by the Theology Committee. The policy, originally adopted in 2002, serves as the denomination’s guidelines for entering into partnerships and official relationships with ministry organizations outside the EPC.

Zach Hopkins, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes and Chairman of the Theology Committee, said the committee’s purposes were “to bring it back into the operational conscience of the Assembly” and “updating it for the sake of effectiveness and constitutional clarity.”

Other business items approved

Commissioners approved a variety of other business items presented by the EPC’s Fraternal Relations, World Outreach, and Presbytery Review committees. Those items were:

  • Extending and updating the EPC’s 20-year fraternal relationship with the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, with a renewed focus on church planting.
  • Approving The Outreach Foundation as an approved agency. Based in Franklin, Tenn., the ministry’s stated priorities are to help the Church live out its missional calling; build the capacity of the global church, especially where the church is vulnerable or growing rapidly; and transform lives through mission involvement.
  • Approving PAK7 as an approved agency. The ministry’s mission is “to serve Pakistani Christians in their witness to Jesus Christ and the gospel through exceptional television programming.” PAK7 has a presence in Pakistan, the U.K., and the U.S., with American offices in Greenville, S.C.
  • Approving Frontier Fellowship as an approved agency. Frontier Fellowship was founded by noted missiologist Ralph Winter in 1981 as Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship and is “committed to mobilizing Presbyterian churches for frontier mission and reaching the least-reached for Christ.” The ministry is based in Richfield, Minn.
  • Approving Avant Ministries as an approved cooperative agency. The mission of the organization is to “glorify God by helping others enjoy His presence through planting and developing new churches in the unreached areas of the world.” Formerly known as Gospel Missionary Union, the Kansas City-based ministry is one of the oldest missionary sending agencies in English-speaking North America.
  • Adopting the Minutes of the 39th General Assembly.
  • Approving the 2019-20 minutes of the 14 EPC presbyteries (with some minor exceptions requiring response to the Presbytery Review Committee by December 31, 2020)
  • Approving the responses from the presbyteries to exceptions issued by the 39th General Assembly.
  • Accepting the invitation from Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tenn., to host the 41st General Assembly in June 2021.

The Chaplains Work and Care Committee, Generosity Resources Committee, Ministerial Vocation Committee, and Next Generation Ministries Council did not present any recommendations to the 40th General Assembly.

In closing the Assembly, Meyers thanked commissioners for participating in “the most distinctive General Assembly in this most unusual 40th year of the EPC.”

“In it, we’ve witnessed the glory of the ‘Always’ God,” Meyers said. “Always present. Always faithful. Always leading His Church—His people—triumphantly in the Great Commission ministry. Always leading us triumphantly to the new heaven and the new earth and our eternal future. We depart declaring our faith and our confidence, our hope and our joy, for what the Lord Jesus has for us in this challenging time.”

#epc2020ga

Dean Weaver elected fourth EPC Stated Clerk

 

Dean Weaver (right), Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in suburban Pittsburgh, speaks to the 40th General Assembly via video conference following his election as the EPC’s fourth Stated Clerk on September 17. At left is Glenn Meyers, Moderator of the 40th General Assembly. (photo credit: Jeff Guetzloe)

Commissioners to the EPC’s 40th General Assembly elected Dean Weaver, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, as the denomination’s fourth Stated Clerk. He currently serves as Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., and was the Moderator of the 37th General Assembly. Weaver will be installed at the 41st General Assembly in June 2021.

Bill Dudley, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Southeast and Chairman of the Stated Clerk Search Committee, said Weaver has “a devotion to the church” and “has demonstrated what sacrificial leadership looks like” over the years.

“He is a man with a mission for God on his mind in every aspect in the life of the Church,” Dudley said. “He is that one who has taken the blend of being young enough to see visions—still—and yet he is also one who, like an experienced older man of wisdom, can still now dream dreams.”

Upon his election, Weaver said he was deeply honored and “greatly humbled that you would entrust such a stewardship to me to be the fourth elected Stated Clerk of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, following Ed Davis, Mike Glodo, and Jeff Jeremiah. I walk in the footsteps of giants; shoes the likes of which I could never hope to fill. I am the inheritor of that legacy for which I am deeply grateful, and am profoundly dependent upon you for your prayers, your support, and your love.”

Weaver noted that the 40th General Assembly has been “a surreal Assembly in so many ways, and this moment perhaps the most surreal for me in 34 years of ministry. It is overwhelming.”

He said he believes that the EPC’s best days are still ahead, echoing Dudley’s comments of dreams and vision.

“One of those dreams and visions is of a promised land that God yet has for us,” Weaver said. “Our best days are not behind us. Jeff has led us through unprecedented times with incredible courage and great faith and stamina. I am proud to be his friend, and quite frankly a little overwhelmed to follow him. But at the same time, I honestly believe that God is going to lead us through the wilderness wanderings of the coronavirus pandemic into a promised land—a time for us to inherit a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.”

Though he acknowledged the tension between contemporary culture and “measuring all by the Scripture—the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God,” Weaver declared that the EPC will faithfully go forward.

“Pray for your ‘Levitical leaders’—our beloved men and women who serve the Lord in ministry,” he said. “Pray that they would have the fortitude and the courage to step out with the presence of God and go into that place that God has for them. It may be overwhelming, but it is the place of promise.”

Weaver noted that “the way we have understood church over these last number of years” may be different going forward.

“That may mean we have to walk around the walls of the great city and blow our trumpets and do other things that seem to make virtually no sense,” he said. “Yet I am confident that this Kingdom that cannot be shaken, that God has called us to together, that God is going to do exceedingly abundantly more than you and I could ever ask or imagine.”

He added that he believes “the way before us is not going to be easy.”

“But I am even more confident that our God is so very good. He leads us, and He has been—and will be—faithful. I am honored to serve you in this way, and ask you to pray for me, for Beth, and for our family as we seek to serve the Lord through the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 32 years and have seven children (three natural born and four adopted—two from Sierra Leone, one from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and one in the U.S.) and two grandchildren.

Weaver holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion from Grove City College; a Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

The Stated Clerk Search Committee was appointed by the 39th General Assembly and consisted of fifteen members representing each of the EPC’s 14 presbyteries, plus one member of the National Leadership Team.

Jeremiah has served as the denomination’s Stated Clerk since 2006. When re-elected to a fifth three-year term in 2018, he announced that it would be his final term and he would step down in June 2021.

Glenn Meyers elected Moderator of 40th General Assembly

 

Glenn Meyers (left) receives the Moderator’s cross, stole, and questions of investiture from Dean Weaver, Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa. (photo credit: Jeff Guetzloe)

Glenn Meyers, Ruling Elder and Commissioned Pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa., was elected Moderator of the EPC’s 40th General Assembly on September 17.

In his opening remarks, Meyers said he was “honored to be sitting in this seat today— honored by my Father and honored by all of you to have been be given the privilege and the responsibility of moderating this historic 40th General Assembly of our beloved Evangelical Presbyterian Church.”

He emphasized that the “all true honor for this day is due His Holy Name. Praise the Lord. I am also humbled by the thought of the 40-year history of our denomination and of the many faithful men and women, who in their loving service to God and to one another, have delivered us to this moment. I am thankful for them.”

Meyers recognized a number of faith and life experiences that would contribute to his service in the office, including being a smaller church leader, a Ruling Elder, a Commissioned Pastor, and a person of color.

“Eighty percent our EPC churches are small churches of less than 200 members,” he said. “I am blessed to be shepherding one of those small churches in the village of Ardara in western Pennsylvania—the church that helped to raise me and form my faith.”

He also noted that he brings the perspective of a Ruling Elder serving the Ardara congregation as Commissioned Pastor.

“The EPC has intentionally prioritized the voices of our Ruling Elders,” he said. “And our denomination acknowledges the uniqueness of each person’s call to the gospel ministry and supports leaders to facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit through them. Therefore, we commission pastors.”

Meyers reminded the Assembly that the EPC values diversity, but its core value is the power of the gospel.

“Consistent with the picture given to us by God in Revelation 7:9, we long to reflect the richness of God’s Kingdom,” he said. “I am a black man—a person of color in the leadership of the EPC—and I bring that unique perspective to this calling as Moderator. However, most importantly the Evangelical Presbyterian Church acknowledges the power of the gospel and the redeeming love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In this way I am not unique here. I am a sinner saved by grace. This is the perspective I would like to most powerfully represent among you.”

In his biography as presented in the Nominating Committee report to the 40th General Assembly, Meyers noted that Ardara church went from nearly closing to a now-vital gospel ministry.

“God has done a great work among us,” he wrote. “I am grateful to the pastors, elders, deacons, and church family members who have held the church in trust for future generations while seeking the will of God in the present. We intend to do the same.”

A graduate of Norwin Senior High School in in North Huntingdon, Pa., Meyers studied Organizational Behavior at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. He also attended Reformed Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Prior to becoming a Commissioned Pastor, Glenn spent more than 20 years as a Habilitation Therapist and the owner/operator of Habilis Learning Consultants.

“My work with and for adults and children with developmental delays and mental health challenges has been a blessing of profound preparation,” he said.

He and his wife, Heather, have six children and seven—and counting—grandchildren. He noted that all of their children, who range in age from 13 to 31, have professed faith in Christ and are currently working out their salvation and their individual callings.

Meyers also has served as manager of the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, performed as an actor, and worked as a children’s librarian. He is an Eagle Scout and has toured with a choir through Europe. He enjoys travel, new food experiences, music, the theater, and art.

“God wastes no experiences,” he said. “I am blessed to be part of a church and family in which my very faithful God has begun a good work. With every new opportunity presented by the hand of God, my deepest desire is to honor Him. I am very blessed to be asked to serve Christ’s Church to the Glory of my Father.”

#epc2020ga the official 40th General Assembly hashtag

 

The 40th General Assembly is fully virtual, but you can still add your voice to the proceedings by including the hashtag #epc2020ga on your social media posts. Connect your message with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

If you are not a registered Commissioner, you can watch the live stream and monitor the social media feed at the same time at www.epc.org/ga2020livestream.

Join the conversation!

#epc2020ga

Getting to know you: Beth Weaver, wife of EPC Stated Clerk nominee Dean Weaver

 

WeaverFamilyA

The Weaver family, pictured at Christmas. Bottom row, from left: daughter Hannah, daughter Sarah, Beth, daughter Isatu, granddaughter Nora (daughter of Hannah), daughter Rachel. Back row, from left: son Jacob, son Isaac, Dean/Santa, son Tommy, son-in-law John Gourley (husband of Hannah), son-in-law Evan Gourley (husband of Rachel). Not pictured: granddaughters Caroline and Leah.

Part 2 of 2

Dean Weaver, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, is the Stated Clerk Search Committee’s nominee to succeed Jeff Jeremiah as EPC Stated Clerk. He will be presented at the EPC’s 40th General Assembly for confirmation. Weaver serves as Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., and was Moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly.

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 32 years. She took time in August to talk about their family and her life walking side-by-side with her husband.

WeaverFamilyB

Beth and Dean at Caesarea Maritima on the shores of the Mediterranean in Israel, 2015.

EPConnection: How did you two meet?

Beth: Dean and I met in my junior year of college; he was my campus minister. I was a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying Home Economics and Early Childhood Development. He showed up on my doorstep one day as a new campus minister with CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach), wanting to meet the students involved with the ministry at his partner church, Graystone Presbyterian Church. I was one of four students who were a part of the leadership team at the time.

Dean was a recent graduate of Grove City College and fresh from the CCO summer training program. We had a brief conversation on my front steps where he introduced himself and mentioned that he hoped I would be a part of the campus ministry program that fall and bring friends. I don’t remember much about the conversation, but when I shut the door I said to my roommate at the time, “I’m going to marry him!” It was not so obvious to Dean right away! It took a few years for him to come around to it, but that’s another longer story!

WeaverFamilyE

Beth (Mimi) with son-in-law John, daughter Hannah, and granddaughters Caroline and Nora.

EPConnection: Tell me about your family.

Beth: We are incredibly blessed to be the parents of seven amazing children. We have three biological children, (oldest to youngest) Hannah, Jacob, and Rachel; and four adopted children, Tommy, Isaac, Sarah, and Isatu. They range in age from 30 to 22.

Hannah and Rachel are married to John and Evan, respectively, who also happen to be brothers. Hannah and John are parents to our three delightful granddaughters, Nora (4), Caroline (2), and Leah (4 months old).

As a side note, we have two pups, Blaze and Saffie, and three grandpups, Maggie, Bella, and Karamel. We love them too, and they are family members!

EPConnection: Talk about the process that led to adopting multiple international children.

WeaverFamilyI

Isaac, Isatu, Beth, and Dean in the siblings’ homeland of Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Beth: As mentioned, four of our children are adopted, and three are international adoptions. Our first adopted daughter, Sarah, came following a mission trip Dean had taken to an island in the Caribbean called St. Vincent. Up to that point, adoption had not been in our minds except for maybe someday down the road. Our biological children were 9, 7, and 5. We had our hands pretty full already! But God had started us down a path.

Our family verse has been Psalm 68:6, “God sets the lonely in families.” Over the years God has brought a number of children to stay in our home for periods of time. Most came and went for various reasons, but God had a plan to add more children who would become our own. Isaac and Isatu, who are biological siblings, came to us at the conclusion of the Blood Diamond war in Sierra Leone during a very desperate time in that country. After their adoptions, God led us to further ministry in Sierra Leone which we continue to be involved with today.

WeaverFamilyL

Tommy’s adoption was finalized in 2018 when he was 24.

The last addition to our family was a domestic adoption of our son Tommy, who interestingly, legally became our son as an adult. He has made up for lost time, living at home for the last year and has blended into the multiethnic mix of our family beautifully.

EPConnection: Is it true what they say about pastor’s kids?

Beth: In a word, yes! But to be fair, the life of a pastor’s kid is not an easy one. All the hours at church, waiting for mom and dad to finish talking with people or finish the many, many activities that are part of a ministry family’s life. We wanted our children to have more positive than negative experiences at church and with the body of Christ, so many of their best friends were kids in families from our churches who we got close to. So they got to see the real Weaver family, both parents and kids!

We always wanted to be sure that our children did not feel pressure to be or behave a certain way because of being the children of the pastor. That wasn’t always easy or perfect, but we hope that it has encouraged them to grow into who God means for them to be and to flourish in a relationship with Him. One thing is for sure, church was a second home to our children all during their growing-up years!

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Granddaughters Nora (4), Caroline (2), and Leah (4 months).

EPConnection: What has been your ministry in the local church?

Beth: I have loved being involved in many different areas of ministry throughout the years, usually related to children’s ministry. I’ve been a volunteer at our church’s summer camp program, Summer Surge, for most of the years we have been here. In recent years my joy has been teaching the 2- and 3-year-old class, and volunteering in the 1-year-old and infant nursery when needed.

EPConnection: What has been the most fulfilling part of being a pastor’s wife?

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Daughter Rachel married Evan Gourley in August 2016. She currently teaches high school English in Philadelphia, Pa. He attends Princeton Theological Seminary and serves in campus ministry with the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), a ministry partner of the EPC.

Beth: This might be the most thought-provoking question of all! Being a pastor’s wife is deeply fulfilling in many ways that come to mind, but if I had to pin it down to a specific thing it would have to be seeing the glorious work of God’s Kingdom happening right before my eyes all around the world as it is lived out in His Church, by His people. It has been an incredible honor to be a part of that work, and to support Dean as he has led the churches we have served over the years.

EPConnection: How have you managed the inevitable criticisms directed toward Dean (don’t all pastors face criticism at some point?)?

Beth: Yes, all pastors face criticism at some point, usually many times over the years! It goes with the territory of being a pastor and anyone in ministry will face it. It should not come as a big surprise, but at times it cuts quite deeply. Actually, I sometimes get more upset than Dean does at criticism of him, and I am very quick to be at his defense. But once I get over that part, the first step is really to check ourselves and where we are, and seek the Lord for wisdom. If there is really a correction coming from the Lord that Dean should hear, we both will seek that together. We desire to be totally in the middle of God’s will and God’s call.

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Beth with granddaughter Nora.

Over the years we have worked together to develop discernment that leads us in the right direction, not only for our family but also in ministry. I trust that process, led by God and His Spirit, and have learned to listen to that above and beyond criticisms. But it is definitely my least favorite part of ministry!

EPConnection: What are you most excited about for the next season of life, say over the next 3-5-7 years?

Beth: I am excited to be part of Dean’s new calling and the direction that will take us in. For the next three years I see a time of growth and change for our family. Maybe more additions in grandkids and spouses? Certainly, the joys and challenges of growing into a family with adult children and our last “at home” kids leaving the nest.

I work for the non-profit organization, EduNations, that we started with several other families who had adopted children in Sierra Leone. We have been part of building 16 schools there, and also blessed to see churches grow in the villages we serve. I see that continuing as my work, and as I have for many years you’ll find me at the EduNations table at General Assembly.

I’m excited to travel with Dean and get to know the body of Christ that is the EPC as a whole. I also anticipate seeing the glorious work of God’s Kingdom happening right before my eyes all around the world, lived out in His Church, by His people. I know it will continue to be an incredible honor to be a part of that work and to support Dean and be part of that with him.

EPConnection: Thank you, Beth, for taking time to help the EPC get to know you a little bit.

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The beach has long been a favorite vacation spot for the Weaver family.

Commissioner’s Handbook, committee reports available for 40th General Assembly

 

GA40CommissionersHandbookThe 40th General Assembly Commissioner’s Handbook and reports from the EPC’s permanent and interim committees to the Assembly are now available for download in PDF format at www.epc.org/ga2020documents. The Handbook is available in its entirety as well by individual sections.

The Assembly will be held September 17-18. The EPC’s first all-virtual GA convenes at 11:30 a.m. (Eastern) each of the two days from the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando.

“I think our Commissioners will appreciate that this year’s Handbook has been reduced to 49 pages—down from 99 last year,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible to follow the proceedings, and this year’s Handbook has only 18 pages of action items. I hope every Commissioner takes some time between now and the Assembly to familiarize themselves with the business items we will act on.”

Jeremiah noted that because the 40th General Assembly is fully virtual with no on-site activities, the GA app will not be deployed this year.

“While the app has all the action items, committee reports, and other documents Commissioners will need, these files are on our website,” Jeremiah said. “Also, much of the app is designed to help people find their way to the various meetings, lunches, and other activities of a ‘normal’ General Assembly. Since those are on hold this year, we decided to put the app on hold this year also. Everything a Commissioner—or an observer watching the live stream—will need is on the GA documents page of the website.”

In addition to the GA Documents page of the website, all permanent and committee reports for the 2019-2020 ministry year are available at www.epc.org/committees/reports.

#epc2020ga

General Assembly registration ends September 4, Commissioner orientation meetings scheduled

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerSeptemberVirtualRegistration for the 40th General Assembly closes on Friday, September 4, at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern). The meeting is the first fully virtual General Assembly in the EPC’s history and will convene from the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando.

“We need to close registration on Friday so we know who should receive the Zoom meeting login credentials,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “It also gives our office time to ensure that all Ruling Elder certification forms are in place for those who have registered.”

In addition, two virtual New Commissioners Orientation meetings are scheduled. The identical meetings will be held Tuesday, September 8, from 4:00-5:30 p.m. EDT, and Thursday, September 10, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. EDT.

“Normally, the day General Assembly convenes we hold an orientation for all of our first-time commissioners,” Jeremiah said. “As we thought about it, we realized that all of us will be ‘new Commissioners’ at this virtual General Assembly. This has been confirmed by the many questions my office has received in recent weeks about how we’re going to conduct this meeting.” Registered Commissioners will receive the link to the orientation meetings via email no later than Monday, September 7.

In other GA-related news, final editing of the Commissioner’s Handbook and Committee Reports is nearing completion. These and other Assembly documents will be posted at www.epc.org/ga2020documents.

Online registration is available at www.epc.org/ga2020.

August Jeremiah Journal previews 40th General Assembly

 

In the August 2020 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah provides some highlights of the upcoming 40th General Assembly—the EPC’s first all-virtual GA.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

40th General Assembly to be virtual only; on-site participation canceled

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerSeptemberVirtualDue to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the EPC’s 40th General Assembly will be virtual only, with no on-site component at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn. The National Leadership Team (NLT) made the decision in a July 30 meeting.

“I am grateful of the NLT’s careful and prayerful consideration of the questions and concerns my office has received in recent weeks,” said Jeff Jeremiah, Stated Clerk. “While we all have full confidence the ability of Rufus Smith’s team at Hope Church to conduct a safe event, the NLT felt that a cautious approach was wise given the recent surge in positive cases.”

Originally scheduled for June 23-26, the Assembly was rescheduled for September 17-18 in a called meeting held on May 1.

“A key assumption we all had in May when we postponed GA to September was that the COVID-19 shutdown would be over by the fall and life would be returning to some kind of normal,” Jeremiah added. “However, based on the information available to us in late July it looks like a return to ‘normal’ by mid-September is very unlikely.”

Tom Werner, NLT Chairman, said the safety of participants—including Hope Church’s staff and volunteers—was foremost in the groups minds as they discussed the situation.

“Reports I have seen show the middle part of the country starting to see a spike in cases now, like my home state of Missouri, Florida, Texas, and others have in recent weeks,” Werner said. “None of us wanted to put our Commissioners or anyone at Hope Church at risk.”

The virtual event will still be “business only” with no Leadership Institute. Online registration has been paused until Monday, August 3, to allow for programming adjustments.

For more information and regular updates about the 40th General Assembly, see www.epc.org/ga2020.

40th General Assembly registration opens July 15

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerSeptemberOnline registration for the 40th General Assembly opens on Wednesday, July 15. The Assembly meets September 17–18 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Always,” based on the Apostle Paul’s declaration in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that in Jesus, God “always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere.”

Due to changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Assembly will be “business only” and convene on Thursday, September 17, at 10:30 a.m. and conclude on Friday afternoon. Among the business items to be considered are election of a new Stated Clerk and numerous recommendations from the EPC’s permanent committees.

Worship service speakers include Case Thorp, Moderator of the 39th General Assembly, and Carolyn Poteet, Lead Pastor of Mt. Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pa. In addition, D.A. Carson, noted theologian and co-founder of The Gospel Coalition, will speak following the on-site dinner on Thursday.

For complete information, see www.epc.org/ga2020.

40th General Assembly rescheduled for September 17-18, 2020

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerSeptemberIn a called meeting on May 1, Commissioners to the EPC’s 39th General Assembly approved a motion to reschedule the 40th General Assembly from June 23-26 to September 17-18, 2020. The called meeting was conducted virtually with electronic voting.

The 40th General Assembly will be held at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn., with the theme of “Always,” based on 2 Corinthians 2:14.

“Given the uncertainties with the coronavirus pandemic, our National Leadership Team recommended that we reschedule the Assembly from June to the fall,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “A number of states around the country have begun to lift their shelter-in-place restrictions over the past few days, but I believe postponing our meeting is wise.”

Tom Werner, National Leadership Team Chairman and a Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of Mid-America, said the National Leadership Team (NLT) worked closely with Hope Church leadership to ensure that a September 17-18 meeting would not disrupt the church’s fall schedule.

“I am thankful to Pastor Rufus Smith and his team at Hope for being flexible and gracious hosts,” Werner said. “They are in the same boat we all are, trying to minister to their congregation and community and at the same time keep their staff and members safe and secure. I know they will be ready to host us in September with their usual Hope Church level of excellence.”

Jeremiah noted that the now-September General Assembly will be “business only” with no Leadership Institute. The Office of the General Assembly staff is exploring the possibility of providing virtual as well as on-site participation for Commissioners.

“Because there are so many moving parts and guest speakers involved in our Leadership Institute, the schedule change gave us no option but to take this year off,” he said. “But this is only a brief hiatus—the Leadership Institute will be back next year and for the foreseeable future. In fact, we have already discussed with our plenary speakers the possibility of being with us at a future Assembly.”

Online registration will open on July 1. Registration fees have not been finalized, but Jeremiah said he “fully expects the registration fee to be reduced, with a strong possibility that meal costs will be included to make the process easier on everyone.”

For more information and regular updates about the 40th General Assembly, see www.epc.org/ga2020.

General Assembly called meeting set for May 1 to reschedule 40th GA to September

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerNoDateA called meeting of the General Assembly is scheduled for May 1 at 4:00 p.m. EST to approve a motion to reschedule the 40th General Assembly from June 23-26, 2020, to September 17-18, 2020. The called meeting will be conducted as a video conference. Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, Tenn., will host the 40th General Assembly.

“With so many uncertainties about when meeting restrictions will be lifted—not to mention the safety of our attendees—the National Leadership Team unanimously agreed that rescheduling the 40th Assembly was in everyone’s best interest,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “I am grateful for their wise decision to postpone GA until the fall, and for Hope Church’s flexibility in being able to host us in September.”

The motion that the called meeting of the General Assembly will be asked to approve is:

The 40th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church is rescheduled from June 23-26, 2020, at Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, Tennessee, to September 17-18, 2020, at Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, Tennessee.

The National Leadership Team approved the motion and the date and time of the called meeting on Tuesday morning, April 14. A quorum of registered Commissioners to the 39th General Assembly approved the motion later on April 14.

Commissioners to the 39th GA will be notified soon with the called meeting video conference details.

Book of Government 20-5B provides for a called meeting of the General Assembly. Ten percent of Ruling Elders and ten percent of Teaching Elders who were Commissioners to the 39th General Assembly in 2019 must “petition” for the called meeting. A total of 571 Commissioners attended the 39th General Assembly: 282 REs and 389 TEs. In order for the called meeting to take place, 29 Ruling Elders and 39 Teaching Elders needed to sign the petition. The Office of the General Assembly emailed all 571 Commissioners following the NLT action, inviting them to sign the petition. The required number to constitute a quorum had petitioned for the called meeting by 5:00 p.m.

Jeremiah said the proposed September 17-18 meeting will be “business only,” with no Leadership Institute on Tuesday or Wednesday. He added that the Office of the General Assembly staff is exploring the possibility of providing virtual as well as on-site participation for Commissioners at the proposed September meeting. The quorum for meetings of the General Assembly is five Ruling Elders and five Teaching Elders from three presbyteries (Book of Government 20-5C).

If the motion is approved, the following will occur:

  • The fiscal year 2020 budget (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) will be continued until the 40th General Assembly approves the fiscal year 2021 budget at its September 17-18 meeting.
  • Permanent Committee members in the Class of 2020 will continue on their committee until the General Assembly acts on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee at its September 17-18 meeting.
  • Online registration will open July 1.

Jeremiah noted that precedent for a called meeting of the General Assembly was set in September 2006, when a called meeting took place in which he was elected Stated Clerk.

Search Committee to nominate Dean Weaver as fourth EPC Stated Clerk

 

DeanWeaver

Dean Weaver

D. Dean Weaver, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, is the Stated Clerk Search Committee’s nominee to succeed Jeff Jeremiah as EPC Stated Clerk. Weaver is Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., and was Moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly. He currently serves as co-chairman of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force.

Weaver will be presented at the EPC’s 40th General Assembly for confirmation. The Assembly currently is scheduled for June 23-26 at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.

Bill Dudley, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Southeast, is chairman of the search committee.

“Our committee is pleased to present a nominee who has extraordinary gifts to lead the EPC in this decade,” Dudley said. “Dean’s gifts have been evidenced in the church during his year as Moderator and the subsequent year as chairman of the National Leadership Team. He is deeply devoted to the Church and to serving in the spirit of our Lord.”

In addition to serving Memorial Park, Weaver currently is the Interim Chaplain and member of the Leadership Team for Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. He previously served as Moderator for the Presbytery of the Alleghenies. Weaver was one of the founders and former co-Moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches and served as co-chairman of the New Wineskins/EPC Joint Commission.

He also is a co-founder and former president of EduNations, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that builds and operates schools in Sierra Leone. EduNations currently operates 15 schools, educating more than 3,000 children in one of the most under-resourced countries in the world. He also was instrumental in the founding of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone, which has six congregations and 18 preaching stations in the largely rural, Muslim-majority northern region of the country in western Africa.

Weaver holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion from Grove City College; a Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 31 years and have seven children (three natural born and four adopted—two from Sierra Leone, one from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and one in the U.S.) and two grandchildren.

Weaver will relocate to Florida and transfer his ordination to the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean.

Dudley noted that the search committee spent seven months engaging with candidates for the role.

“We all have been blessed by the testimonies shared with us and the evident gifts and skills each candidate portrayed,” he said. “The EPC is rich with leaders called and equipped by the Lord to serve His Church.”

The Search Committee was appointed by the 39th General Assembly, held at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver in June 2019, with the goal of presenting a nominee to the 40th General Assembly. The committee consists of fifteen members representing each of the EPC’s 14 presbyteries, plus one member of the National Leadership Team.

Jeremiah has served as the denomination’s Stated Clerk since 2006. When re-elected to a fifth three-year term in 2018, he announced that it would be his final term and he would step down in June 2021.

40th General Assembly online registration launch delayed to April 15

 

GA2020BannerThe opening of online registration for the 40th General Assembly has been delayed until April 15. The Assembly is scheduled for June 23-26 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn. Online registration was originally scheduled to open on April 1.

“We have pushed the registration back because there are so many unknowns right now,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “At this point, the Assembly is still scheduled for June but we are discussing a number of options. I am staying in regular contact with Hope Church’s leadership, as well as the Chairman of the National Leadership Team, Moderator, and Moderator-Elect. We are all keeping an eye on developments as they unfold and are prepared to move quickly should additional changes be necessary.”

The latest General Assembly information is available at www.epc.org/ga2020.