Saturday, October 21, 2006

Why I Keep Writing

I usually write most of my blogs myself. Occasionally, though, someone else writes something important enough to pass on verbatim. Cindy, from the Western North Carolina Presbytery wrote to this blog to give an update on what happened at their most recent meeting. It is the proposal to this presbytery that prompted my blog earlier, entitled A False Unity.

Yesterday, Friday, October 20, The Western North Carolina Presbytery voted by a large majority to pass the Guidelines for Congregations Considering A Request to Presbytery to be Dismissed.

Tensions ran high and the vote was taken twice because the first vote had been taken after lengthy discussions on amendments and amendments on amendments. When the actual vote for the final document came many weren't even sure what they had voted on. No actual discussion re: the document had been held. (Many commissioners complained they had only seen the document for the first time a few days earlier or that morning as it was a part of the addendum.)

A vote was taken to resubmit the document for another vote allowing for full discussion. The document passed by voice vote nearly intact.

A related item voted on earlier in the day (before I was in attendance) was a recommendation in the omnibus motion in the addendum stating that churches not following the guidelines for dismissal would find themselves facing an Administrative Commission.

Also voted on were guidelines for examination of pastoral candidates which follow wishes of the PUP committee. Only creeds to which they will need to agree with are the Nicene, The Apostles' Creed and A Brief Statement of Faith. Scruples will be provided for, kept "confidential" and all must "allow for the discerning work by the Holy Spirit."

Also, just in case a church wants to discuss in private their difficulties with the denomination or the WNC-Presbytery, clerks of sessions will now be required to meet annually to review each others' session records under the watchful eye of Presbytery staff.

And, no distribution of any materials at Presbytery without prior approval from Coordinating Council.

Fortunately, before and during the grueling four-hour marathon on basically two items, we were able to pray: "That we would be open to new truth..." and that we would "breathe in the spirit and breathe out the spirit." A little New Age never hurt anyone, I guess (sarcasm off).

Very difficult days ahead for some churches here and individuals who are members of churches satisfied with status quo.

Pastor Gray, keep speaking out. You give encouragement and information so badly needed in these days. We will be praying for The Kirk as well.
In His Merciful Hands,

Cindy and others--we will keep praying for you and your congregations. This is a sad time in Christian history. We hope and pray that mainline denominations will return to a belief in Scripture as revealed and the Lord Jesus revealed therein.

Keep praying--keep the faith,


PGN said...

Dear Tom,

I would like to know why you think the congregagions desiring to leave the PCUSA since the adjourment of the GA are all led by male, white, pastors? I think this means something but I am not sure what.


TomGray said...

Jim Logan might counter that.

DrMom said...

Gee, a new way to ignore the real issues at hand.

I wonder what percentage of Presbyterian pastors are white males? I'm sure it is the vast majority of them, so it isn't a surprise or a conspiracy that a bunch of the conservative churches that are wanting to leave the denomination are pastored by white males.

Anonymous said...

PGN. I do not follow where you get the grounds for your damning charge on how Tom thinks on this matter. Please advise.

I have not read all he has written, but have spent the hours I can afford and seen not a hint of this male, white, pastors-only desire belief.

If true, let it be clear. If not, let it be dismissed.

NetProphet said...


I am not white or a pastor and want to leave the PCUSA. Does that mean something? I think so! Perhaps what Pastor Gray (white dude)is saying is actually true!

Dilusional (sp)Minion

test said...
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TomGray said...
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Quotidian Grace said...

If the guidelines passed by this presbytery are accurately reported, it is a shame they took this adversarial approach.

It doesn't have to be that way. New Covenant presbytery adopted a process for working with congregations considering withdrawal from the denomination that is very different from the one described here.