Williston Presbyterian Church hosted the Fall Charleston Atlantic Presbytery Meeting, with great hospitality and charm. The members of the congregation went all out to be sure attendees were directed to parking, registration, coffee, etc., and of course to the recently renovated sanctuary, beautifully decorated for Christmas. Of note were the advent banner and communion set that were brought from Barnwell Presbyterian Church, which has made the difficult decision to close. Many of its members have begun worshipping at Williston and some were volunteering to help make the presbytery meeting a success.
Outgoing moderator, Rev. Sam Martin, brought the message during worship using the words of baseball great Ted Williams and Bible great John the Baptist. Rev. Martin once played pro baseball and avers “there is so much theology in baseball, y’all.” His reaction to being critiqued by the baseball legend in a practice session illuminates the reaction we all may have to being confronted with John the Baptist. It can be irritating to be told to change our ways, to turn our stance around, to try something different when we are sure we already know what we are doing.
After worship, four guests brought greetings and information: Stefanie Marsden called attention to the financial services of the Texas Presbyterian Foundation, which despite its name, serves Presbyterians throughout the country. Elizabeth Little highlighted several positive changes at the PC (USA) Board of Pensions, including the abolishment of vacancy dues and the positive effects of the menu plan option recently added to the medical benefits. Stephen McDonald, Camp Director of the Bethelwoods Camp and Conference Center, gave an update on Camp activities. Joyce Lieberman, the executive Presbytery and Stated Clerk of the Synod of South Atlantic highlighted some of the services of the Synod. Of particular note is its Association of Smaller Congregations which holds an annual retreat and which administers the Mary Hemphill Fund, a designated fund to be used for structural repair, replacement, renovation, and improvement to the church building, for small congregations (100 members or less) in the state of South Carolina. Deadline for the application for a grant from the fund is December 31st. Click HERE for the application to the Hemphill Grant for small congregations.
The Committee on Representation presented nominees for membership on presbytery committees, commissions and teams for 2020, nominees for Moderator and Vice Moderator, nominees for Synod Commissioners, and nominees for Commissioners and a Young Adult Advisory Delegate to the 224th General Assembly of the PC(USA) to be held this summer in Baltimore. Members of an Administrative Commission for dissolving the Barnwell Presbyterian Church also were elected. GA Commissioners wil be Elder Priscilla Holztclaw, Elder Irene Whaley, Rev. Patricia Jones and Rev. Patrick Perryman. Alternates are Elder Betty Bryan and Rev. Lisa Schrott. Click HERE for a complete list of newly elected members of presbytery teams, committees and commissions.
The Commission on Ministry introduced two new pastors it recently examined and received into the presbytery: Dr. Annette brewer is the new pastor at Wallingford Presbyterian Church and Dr. William E. Robinson is the new senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church on Hilton Head.
The Commission also introduced to individuals recently commissioned a Commissioned Pastors: Henry Meeuwse will serve Bethel Presbyterian Church in Walterboro. Bo Hamilton will serve at The Village in Summerville, while continuing to serve at Summerville Presbyterian Church.
After some discussion, the budget proposed by the Stewardship of Financial Gifts of Ministry Team was passed. Two things which came out of the discussion: First, we would be in better financial shape if more churches followed the lead of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Hollywood and paid a true per capita towards the work of the presbytery and the denomination. Second, there are people in our presbytery who have knowledge and ideas in the area of finance who would be valuable members of the SOFGOMT. (The moderator of the team, Peter Jones, and the moderator of the Committee on Representation, James Deavor, are the people to contact if you are interested.)
It was with great joy that the Park Circle Commission, led by Rev. Mike Fitze, reported that the sale of the current presbytery office on Ashely River Road for $1,502,500.00 closed on November 22, 2019, after a three and a half year effort. The presbytery may remain in the building for four months past the date of closing. Presbytery offices will be moved to a portion of the education building of the former Park Circle Presbyterian Church. The balance of the education building and the sanctuary will be converted into flexible space for meetings and mission. The Park Circle Commission was authorized to spend up to $1,400,000.00 from the proceeds of the sale of the Ashely River Road Property for the renovations to the Park Circle Property.
Elder Susan Mellichamp was commissioned as the new moderator of the Presbytery. She received the gavel from outgoing moderator Sam Martin and then closed the meeting with prayer and a benediction.
Respectfully Submitted by Catherine Byrd, State Clerk