«9:00 Opening Prayer, Welcome by Host Congregation 9:10 Presbytery Worship 9:55 Transition 10:00 Stated Clerk: The Rev. John Kelso Quorum call; ...»
Erik Khoobyarian spoke of looking forward to a new year and working with COM to be a part of the discussion on how we can be Presbytery. He was thanked for his service by the Rev. Rob Martin, First, Palo Alto.
Joys and Concerns
Elder Lynn Viale led as a number of personal joys and concerns were voiced. Included also were:
Marcia Ludwig, speaking for the Polity and Government Committee, thanked Faye Brown for her years of faithful and careful service to the Presbytery including taking minutes for Presbytery and reading minutes of churches.
Sharon Hare gave thanks for the 165th anniversary of First, San Jose, with a desire to continue on.
Jack Longley, expressed concern for the “divorce” we have been undergoing as a Presbytery.
Charles Lewis, HR, expressed joy that Indonesia elected a Christian as mayor of Jakarta.
More than one person asked for prayers for the Rev. Lee Purkey as he had another surgery for a brain tumor.
Lynn Viale closed with prayer.
Installation of 2015 Moderator of Presbytery The Rev. Boles led the service of Installation for new Moderator the Rev. Mark Peake. She then handed him the symbols of the office.
Stated Clerk’s Report We thank Dan Christian and SFTS for reminding us of the opportunities available at our denomination's great theological resource which we have so close to us: the only Presbyterian graduate seminary in the West.
We look forward to celebrating 50 years of ministry with the Aptos church, a congregation, which very much like Covenant Church I have served as it served me.
We are grateful for the Teaching Elders who serve with us whose ordinations in the final months of the calendar year we remember today.
As an aside - I am personally grateful to see the New Presbyterian Hymnal "Glory to God” here at Covenant, and in the red binding! I am less fond of the purple ones.
We grieve as Mayflower church steps toward leaving our presbytery, but simultaneously we give thanks for their ministry with us and offer prayers for their future.
We also offer prayers for Lee Purkey as he awaits the result of his brain surgery. I will visit him tomorrow and am pleased to take your prayers with me.
John E. Kelso, Stated Clerk, Presbytery of San Jose PC (USA) Transitional Stated Clerk, Synod of the Pacific Adjournment approved.
Adjournment with Prayer Newly installed moderator the Rev. Mark Peake gave the closing prayer.
Additionally, voice and vote is granted to Ruling Elders who are chairs or moderators of presbytery standing committees; the Moderator of Presbyterian Women in the presbytery; the Safe Church Practices Coordinator; former moderators of the Presbytery who are Ruling Elders; and Ruling Elders in current service as Synod Commissioners but not otherwise eligible for voice and vote.
Report of Presbytery Council 1/24/2015 The Presbytery Council met on January 8, 2015. Elder Charlotte Powers took the Chair in place of the Rev.
Macway who was excused.
The Council members introduced themselves to the new council members present: Young Rhyon Kim and Lynn Viale.
The executive presbyter, the Rev. Joey Lee noted that the Synod of the Pacific was able to make an unexpected additional distribution of $10,000 to each presbytery in the synod from funds generated by the Synod operations.
He also brought the Council's attention to the request of the Presbytery of the Cascades for a donation from each of the other presbyteries in the Synod to help defray the cost of holding the 2016 GA meeting. Joey suggested that SJ pby donate $2,000. This was moved, seconded and APPROVED for the consent docket of the January 24th presbytery meeting.
The Stated Clerk spoke about the progress of dismissal of churches and reported that 7 of 11 churches to be dismissed have completed the process.
The Rev. Mark Peake, our 2015 moderator, reported on his experience at the Moderators' training and gathering in Louisville.
Elder Erik Khoobyarian reported for COM on the four pastors who have petitioned to remain in the PCUSA after their churches have been dismissed to ECO The Rev. Edd Breeden described the situation at Immanuel House.
It was moved, seconded and APPROVED to ask the IH Board for construction information, business plan and projected budget for operation of Immanuel House.
Elder Marcia Ludwig, chair of the Polity and Government sub-committee reported on its January 5th 2015 meeting, including the issue of the proposed amendments to the constitution, which will be brought to the January 24th Presbytery meeting for our votes.
Marcia also set out the procedures for filing the annual statistical report, and the plan for correcting the imbalance between Teaching Elders and Ruling elders.
Elder Rosaleen Zisch reported for PW and provided announcements and dates for the PW Church-wide Gathering June 18-21 in Minneapolis, and the regional gathering March 21 focused on ending human trafficking.
The Rev. Margaret Boles reported for the Mission and Outreach Task Force as it begins its work. They have plans to contact someone in every church personally to initiate the plans of the task force. The Council prayed for our mission workers Margaret also shared her experience with people who have remained in the PCUSA even though their church has been or is going to be dismissed.
Margaret and Jack Longley held a meeting with some of the people from Hollister who are now attending Gilroy PC.
Elder Jane Odell reported on her safe church seminars including her experience in a meeting in Eastern Oregon Presbytery where a small presbytery was extremely hospitable.
1. To concur with the vote of the congregation of San Martin Presbyterian Church to dissolve the pastoral relationship with the Rev. Edd Breeden effective December 31, 2014, and to move Rev. Breeden to Honorably Retired status in the Presbytery.
2. Recommend that the call of the Rev. Vincent Arishvara to serve as Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church of
San Jose be approved, effective February 1, 2015. Terms of call:
Salary: $48,246 SECA Supplement: $5,061 Housing: $35,424 Reimbursable Expenses: $3,000 Pension/Medical: $20,500 Vacation: 1 month; Study Leave: 2 weeks
3. COM requests that the Presbytery authorize COM to approve the date of installation and composition of the installation commission for the Rev. Vincent Arishvara as Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church of San Jose.
4. Consistent with section (B)(5) of the dismissal policy approved by the Presbytery of San Jose, that the debate on the motion to adopt terms of dismissal for West Valley Presbyterian Church be limited to 20 minutes with individual comments limited to 1 minute per speaker and with alternating debate between speakers for and against the motion.
5. Consistent with section (B)(5) of the dismissal policy approved by the Presbytery of San Jose, that no amendments or other modifications may be made to the motion to adopt terms of dismissal for West Valley Presbyterian Church.
6. To approve the dismissal of West Valley Presbyterian Church (“WVPC”) from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to the denomination ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (“ECO”) consistent with the terms of the Agreement for Dismissal of West Valley Presbyterian Church and Mutual Release of Claims (“Dismissal Agreement”). The Stated Clerk and the Moderator are authorized to sign the Dismissal Agreement and the Stated Clerk is authorized to execute other documents necessary to complete the dismissal of WVPC to ECO.
7. To approve the transfer of the membership of the Rev. Kim Engelmann to the denomination ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (“ECO”) concurrent with the dismissal of West Valley Presbyterian Church to ECO and contingent upon request from ECO to the Stated Clerk.
8. Motion referred to COM by Presbytery at November 22, 2014 Presbytery Meeting: "I move that this presbytery declare for the record that all of our member congregations in the process of dismissal, and their currently installed teaching elders, are ‘validated’ per the provisions of G-2.0502 and G-2.0503, and that no ‘pendency’ or interim status of member at-large is either necessary or warranted for the affected teaching elders." (Motion by TE Richard Spencer) COM considered the motion and recommends that the Presbytery not approve the motion. Consideration of whether the Presbytery should validate the ministry of a Teaching Elder must be an individualized determination by the Presbytery. As drafted, the motion appears to attempt to avoid the Presbytery’s responsibility under the Book of Order and Presbytery Policy ML-2. It is unclear whether the purpose of the motion is to “validate” the ministries of pastors serving member congregations or congregations which have been dismissed. The use of the term “their currently installed teaching elders” and reference to “member congregations” causes this confusion. However, the confusion is furthered because teaching elders serving in installed positions in member congregations do not require further validation as long as the call remains in place (i.e., as long as the congregation remains a member of the Presbytery). To the extent the motion is somehow intending to extend validation beyond the departure of the congregation, COM’s position is that this is not proper under the governing documents referenced above.
9. COM received a request from the Rev. Mike Ladra for the validation of his ministry as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Salinas (dismissed on December 31, 2014, to ECO). COM considered the request, met with Dr. Ladra through its Validations Subcommittee, and does not recommend that the Presbytery approve the request for validation. As reported at the June 2014 Presbytery Meeting, COM adopted the following resolution: “Teaching Elders serving in called positions in congregations in the Presbytery of San Jose seeking dismissal are expected to transfer to the receiving denomination.” COM does not find convincing reasons for the Presbytery to deviate from this position based on the information it received from Dr. Ladra and FPC Salinas.
COM’s recommendation to the Presbytery and the Presbytery’s ultimate decision in this matter are not judgments on FPC Salinas or any of its ministries. In the context of G-2.0502 & G-2.0503, a “ministry” is not a church or any employer, but a particular work undertaken by a particular teaching elder. Presbytery validation of a ministry is a process in which an analysis is made of work to be performed in a particular setting by a particular Teaching Elder. This determination requires that everything entailed in the exercise of the particular ministry is compliant with the full text of G-2.0502 & G-2.0503 – including the provisions for accountability to the presbytery.
The Presbytery does not have the ability to exercise jurisdiction over the ministry of Dr. Ladra at FPC Salinas because FPC Salinas is not a member of the Presbytery or our denomination. The committee is convinced, based on COM’s understanding of the historical interaction between the Presbytery and Dr.
Ladra during his service at FPC Salinas, that the Presbytery’s lack of jurisdiction over FPC Salinas makes validation of Dr. Ladra’s continued work at FPC Salinas an action which is not in the best interest of the mission and ministry of the Presbytery. Finally, COM is not satisfied that Dr. Ladra has been consistent or candid with regard to the reasons for his desire to remain a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). During his interview with the Validations subcommittee of COM Dr. Ladra stated that his request for validation of his continued ministry with FPC Salinas was being made to maximize his PC USA) pension benefits. COM also understands that Dr. Ladra has informed assembled groups within the FPC Salinas congregation that his desire to remain in the PCUSA is solely related to a desire to maximize pension benefits upon Dr. Ladra’s eventual retirement. COM cannot identify any provisions in the governing documents supporting maximization of retirement pay as a justification for validation of a ministry.
1. Next Meeting of COM is February 9, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. at Presbyterian Church of Los Gatos.
2. The following congregations have been dismissed to ECO and are no longer members of the Presbytery of San Jose: Carmel Presbyterian Church; Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church; FPC Salinas; Saratoga Presbyterian Church; Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos; Christ Community Church of Milpitas, and Hollister Presbyterian Church.
To: San Jose Presbytery Subject: Mike Ladra Validation Request We are writing to ask that Presbytery validate Mike Ladra’s ministry at FPC Salinas while he remains within the PC(USA). There does not seem to be any question as to whether FPC Salinas, per the Book of Order, meets the criteria for being a “validated” ministry. FPC Salinas has been a member in good standing of PC(USA) and other Presbyterian denominations since our founding in 1869.
In addition to meeting the criteria set forth by the Book of Order, we have gone through the “Gracious Dismissal
Process” (GDP) properly and have done everything asked of us:
• Fully engaged the PET process
• Agreed to an $800K payment to Presbytery
• Agreed to join an approved denomination – ECO
• Agreed to a 10-year reversion clause
• Conducted a congregational vote with near unanimity
• Presbytery voted to dismiss with a large majority While we understand COM’s position regarding pastors of those churches being dismissed, we are asking for special consideration from Presbytery. We believe that Mike Ladra merits this special consideration.
Regarding Mike’s status, following are some of the reasons for him remaining in PC(USA) and continuing as our
Senior Pastor in a validated status:
• Mike has been a member in good standing for 43 years in 3 Presbyteries
• FPC Salinas has grown from some 400 in worship to often more than 2,000 under Mike’s leadership.