REPORT OF THE BOARD OF MISSIONS
Date of Meeting: August 24, 2013
Members present: Nancy Abernathy, Roy Cooper, Tony Martin, Pat Terrell, and Rev. Steve Turner (Chair).
Visitors: Dr. Robert Rush, Elder Jerry Cox and Dr. Ronald Stevenson (PCUSA) of Austin 1st CPC, Stated Clerk Paula Hayes and elder Brian Martin.
Meeting was called to order by Rev. Steve Turner, noting that a quorum was present and opened the meeting with a prayer for spiritual guidance and enlightenment.
NOTE: Every aspect of this report represents a unanimous vote from the members who were present. Also, given our present financial limitations, the BOM suggests that proposed appointments to Task Force or Commissions, should they be approved, be well thought out logistically to minimize travel expenses associated with these appointments.
- Completion of BOM Budget Request for 2014
The first order of business was to formulate a budget request for 2014. For the members of the BOM to fully understand Trinity Presbytery’s overall financial status, Rev. Steve Turner invited Paula Hayes to share and explain the financial health of the presbytery. After Paula’s valued input, and after discussion of the lack of any written or verbal BOM monetary requests, except by Rev. Sung-In Park and the YeRang Korean fellowship a budget request was formulated and approved to be passed on the Board of Finance.
- Report of Fellowships
Rev. Sung-In Park, of the YeRang Korean Fellowship, presented the board with two (2) quarterly mission reports for their review and their continued financial assistance. The BOM appreciates Rev. Park’s devotion to God and his humble willingness to fully cooperate with Trinity Presbytery through the BOM. Their request was approved and included in the BOM’s budget request.
- Report on Church Relations
Austin 1st CPC - The BOM invited elder Jerry Cox and Dr. Ronald Stevenson of Austin 1st CPC, who had come to share a written report with the BOM concerning the continuing ministry of Austin 1st CPC. According to their report, and the report from their Moderator Rev. Daryl Johnson, the church appears to be stabilized.
However, it is the opinion of the BOM that the Austin 1st CPC remains in a precarious financial condition. Their primary source of income comes through fees charged to groups who rent their facilities. The BOM has expressed, on numerous occasions, a need for the session to look at all possibilities for perpetuating the ministry of the church – including the possible sale of their facilities to begin a new church development, which would put the church in a strong financial and ministerial position. At this time, however, the BOM does not sense a willingness amongst the session to look beyond the preservation of their facilities, and thus the BOM did not recommend to the Board of Finance a continuance of the $1,500.00 per month assistance it was receiving (2013) for the 2014 budget. It was also noted that the fund from which the present assistance was being received will be exhausted prior to 2014 and any continuation of financial assistance would come from presbytery reserves not available to the BOM without presbyterial authorization.
Nueva Vida CPC - The BOM was briefed by Stated Clerk Paula Hayes and Rev. Steve Turner in regards to the Presbyterial Council discussions of the previous afternoon regarding the lack of financial participation and cooperation from the Nueva Vida CPC, and thus the major financial ramifications that are adversely affecting Trinity Presbytery’s financial health. It was noted that Nueva Vida CPC have not (as of 9/4/13) paid any of their 2013 apportionments, and have not paid the camp fees for their campers to attend Camp Gilmont. Most importantly, however, is the continued failure of Nueva Vida CPC to fulfill their responsibility to presbytery and to the state/local authorities in completing the necessary paperwork for obtaining non-profit status with governmental authorities. Numerous other problems seem to be evident in the ministry of Nueva Vida CPC, especially from a constitutional and connectional standpoint. The BOM feels that every opportunity has been afforded Nueva Vida CPC to fully cooperate as a sister church without direct presbyterial control and direction.
The BOM recalled that when Nueva Vida CPC was recommended to be received into Trinity Presbytery that the BOM fully explained to the leadership representatives present that day the importance of their “full” participation in presbytery – especially as a financial partner and the need for financial diligence concerning their construction projects and associated loan and permit requirements.
The BOM discussed at length the current situation at Nueva Vida CPC and felt a need to be pro-active in finding resolution to these serious dilemmas in a timely and urgent manner.
Recommendation #1: That Trinity Presbytery appoint a Task Force to investigate immediately the overall ministry and financial status of Nueva Vida CPC, so as to ensure that Trinity Presbytery’s financial obligation and investment in Nueva Vida CPC will be safeguarded from any additional or unnecessary liabilities and/or expenses that the presbytery must bear.
Stone Oak CPC – It was noted that no written or verbal information was received by the BOM concerning the financial situation of Stone Oak CPC. In 2013, Stone Oak was receiving $3,000.00 per month assistance. For 2014, the BOM recommended that this amount be cut to $1,000.00 per month.
Mount Hope CPC – Elder Tony Martin has been working with the moderator of Mount Hope CPC, Rev. Duane Dougherty, and provided a verbal report with photographs of the facilities at Mount Hope for the BOM’s review. The photos reveal a state of serious deterioration, with front retaining walls collapsing into the small parking spaces alongside a state highway, holes in the sanctuary’s unpainted siding, general debris and disrepair, etc. The membership of the church is approximately four (4) elderly people, who are apparently unable physically or monetarily to continue proper care of the property. There is also an adjoining manse that the church is currently renting to private individuals. As far as Tony and the Moderator know, there is no present liability insurance coverage for any of the properties. Tony, and Rev. Dougherty, verbally recommended to the BOM that a Commission be formed to consult with the church and/or look at the possibility of a Hispanic church being established through sale of property or NCD.
Freeport CPC – Rev. Steve Turner, chair of the Commission to dedicate the Freeport church, briefed the BOM on the upcoming event (8/25/13).
Pine Hill CPC – Rev. Steve Turner, moderator of the Pine Hill CPC session, reported to the BOM that Rev. Ron Smedley has resigned this summer at Pine Hill after a long and successful ministry. Rev. Mark Davenport (former member of Trinity Presbytery – Concord CPC) has been filling their pulpit on a bi-weekly basis. Rev. Turner is staying in touch with the session in regards to any possible CP candidates for their open position.
Appointment of Moderators
- Austin 1st CPC – Rev. Daryl Johnson
- Oak Grove CPC – Rev. Daryl Johnson
- Jefferson – Rev. Duane Dougherty
- Mt. Hope – Rev. Duane Dougherty
- Pine Hill – Rev. Steve Turner
- Progress – Rev. Mary Kathryn Kirkpatrick
- Dangerfield – Rev. Jimmy Cantey
The above Moderators to church sessions have already been approved by presbytery, so the report is for information only. However, the BOM understands that some positions will likely be supplanted by presbyterial action.
It was noted that Rev. Daryl Johnson asked to resign his Moderator position at Austin 1st CPC and recommended Dr. Stevenson to take his place. However, after consulting with Dr. Robert Rush, it was determined that Dr. Stevenson must first become a member of Trinity Presbytery (therefore becoming a member of two presbyteries – 1 PCUSA & 1 CPC) before such a recommendation can be made. The BOM is hopeful that this action will soon occur and be approved, at which time Rev. Johnson can relinquish his duties as Moderator.
It was also noted that the BOM, by an earlier called meeting, had approved of the pastoral relationship between the Rev. Toby Davis and Jefferson CPC. Therefore, the BOM looks forward to the installation of Rev. Davis as the pastor and moderator of the Jefferson CPC. (See minutes of called BOM meeting – 6/28/13)
Elder Tony Martin of the Concord CPC gave a verbal report on his continued investigation into the southern region of the Tyler area for a possible New Church Development. Rev. Mark Davenport has returned to the Tyler area and was interested in discussing the possibilities of leading that NCD. The BOM decided to investigate further, given that a majority of the BOM members live in close proximity to Tyler, and could easily ascertain whether the full membership of the BOM needs to review whatever information is gleaned. It was decided that the BOM’s northern members would meet with Rev. Davenport, without expense to presbytery, in Tyler on September 4th .
A motion was made and adopted to adjourn the BOM’s meeting.
The meeting was closed by Elder Roy Cooper in prayer.
Respected submitted by Rev. Steve Turner on behalf of the Board of Missions.