Fall 2020 ReCAP
The Charleston Atlantic Presbytery held its “Fall” Stated Meeting on a day that felt almost like winter in the lowcountry, Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Elder commissioners and pastors from across the presbytery attended the “Zoom” meeting from the comfort of their own homes or offices. The electronic format also provided a unique worship experience, since each portion of the service was prerecorded in a different location, then blended through the efforts of Michael Hardy of Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church Staff and Rev. Dorothy Blackwelder, the CAP Director of Communications. A particular thank you goes to the combined choirs of the James Island churches, who have mastered the art of choral singing when everyone is in a different place. Our outgoing Moderator, Susan Mellichamp, brought the message “Loving as Jesus Loved,” and Commissioned Ruling Elder Karey Poinsette officiated over communion.
Seated as a corresponding member, Elizabeth Little of the Board of Pensions of the PCUSA, highlighted some recent and prospective changes to BOP benefits and programs. Sy Hughes, the Mission Engagement Advisor for our area from the Presbyterian Mission Agency also was seated as a corresponding member and spoke briefly of that entity’s work, including the invitation for congregations to become “Matthew 25” churches. Elizabeth and Sy are available to anyone who has questions about the work of their agencies of the PC(USA) and their work is funded by the contributions of presbyteries.
The Stated Clerk’s report included, among other things, reference to the “In Memorium” list included in the Handbook. We lost four current members of our presbytery last year plus six others who had served us at one time or the other. They were remembered in prayer by the moderator at the close of the meeting.
Shepherding Team Moderator Rev. Sam Martin asked, and the Presbytery agreed that the Park Circle Administrative Commission, formed in 2016 when the Park Circle Presbyterian Church was dissolved, be dismissed with thanks. The Shepherding Team also recommended, and the Presbytery agreed, that $40,000 from the CAP “Camp Fund” be earmarked to assist Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center with its expected $92,000 budget deficit for 2020. (The Presbytery budget for 2021, passed later in the meeting also includes the usual line-item contribution to the ongoing work of Bethelwoods.) The Shepherding Team also included a written report in the handbook about these items, New Church Development, and the Building-Use Subcommittee.
The presbytery was presented with a slate of volunteers to be elected to positions in the presbytery. All were approved, including, of note: the Moderator of Presbytery for 2021, Rev George “Spike” Coleman and moderator elect, Elder Kent Grimes.
STEPS Co-Chair, Rev. Laurey Harrell reported on the “electronic STEPS” held in September. Continuing “to do a new thing…” in the face of Covid-19 protocols, STEPS will be presented for the first time outside of its usual September date. A variety of STEPS learning opportunities will be presented in conjunction with the February 27, 2021, CAP Winter meeting, available without charge to commissioners and to anyone else who chooses to participate.
The budget for 2021 was presented by the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team moderator Peter Jones, and was passed after only a few questions and responses. The Committee on Preparation for Ministry congratulated two candidates, Margaret Fleming and Terri Wetherell who are now designated as “ready to receive a call” to be ordained. The Commission on ministry presented Rev. Cibele Santos, a newly ordained and installed addition to the pastoral staff of Providence Presbyterian Church in Hilton Head.
The electronic format of the meeting made it easy to check in with mission partners in Honduras, as Service to Others Ministry Team Moderators Sandra Otero and Antonio Colon-Roman presented a short update on the devastation wreaked by back-to-back hurricanes this fall. Information on how to help was included (you can give to the Presbyterian Church in Honduras or to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Hurricane Relief Fund). CAP Moderator pointed out that electronic worship at this and September’s meeting did not include taking up an offering, and suggested donations be made in lieu.
The reports of the above and other agencies of the presbytery were received as information. They can be found in the handbook on the CAP website.
The meeting closed with a service commissioning the new moderator and vice moderator. Outgoing moderator Susan Mellichamp presented the gavel to incoming moderator Spike Coleman, who closed the meeting with prayer and benediction.
Resolution of Thanks
Ruling Elders, Teaching Elders, and others from near and far
Established the presence of the church and didn’t really use cars
Susan’s dash will include trusting, obeying and her great leadership
Opportunities to vote were offered for commissioners in attendance
Lots of cheers to Dorothy, Michael, and others for all the technical work
Uniquely allowing us to gather and not one of us went berserk
Thanks for our new building where we can gather and meet
In a few weeks or months or whenever outside is clean
Online or in person we are grateful for sure
Never missing the chance to give God glory galore
Of course, we have many, many reasons for giving God thanks
Far too many to list, but at least 97 reasons were among the ranks
Today our thanks include but is not limited to
Hearing from our guests and all the work that they do
Also hearing reports from committees who work very hard
New moderator and moderate elect are now even on board
Keep welcoming new ministers, attend STEPS, and uphold this balanced budget
Seems like we are well on our way to a new season that we won’t soon forget
A RESOLUTION OF THANKS can be really serious or fun
The letters of the words were used to get this important work done
Submitted by Rev. Cecelia D. Armstrong