RECAP: WINTER STATED MEETING
The 2019 Winter Stated meeting of the Charleston Atlantic Presbytery was held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, in the West Ashely area of Charleston on Saturday February 23. Arriving commissioners and guests were welcomed by a small army of WPC volunteers who directed parking, served a lovely array of pastries, coffee and fruit, and directed the way to the sanctuary where Moderator (Rev.) Sam Martin called the meeting to order with prayer at 9:30 a.m.
Opening worship was organized by the Moderator Elect, elder Susan Mellichamp, and members of the Global Missions arm of the Service to Others Ministry Team. Illustrating a bit what it is like to be in a place where one does not speak the language, the sermon was delivered in Spanish by Antonio Colon Roman and translated by his wife, elder Sandra Otero Agosto. His message “The Table and the Shared Bread: Proposal for a Receptive Church” based on the story of Eutychus from the book of Acts, highlighted the tradition of hospitality and generosity in the early church, suggesting that today’s church does well to embrace this tradition. The “Immigrants’ Creed” by Jose Luis Casal was used as the Affirmation of Faith. The members of the Presbytery Mission Team to Puerto Rico were commissioned in advance of their trip beginning March 9 and an offering of $1864 (blessed in Spanish by CAP’s own Rev. Spike Coleman) was collected to support the disaster recovery work of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Puerto Rico.
During the business portion of the meeting, Hope Moore of the Bethelwoods Ministry Team of Providence Presbytery shared the many good things happening at the camp and conference center: from upgraded roads to “Camp in a Van.” This latter is an opportunity for small churches to join together to have “summer camp come to them” in lieu of or to augment VBS this summer.
The Commission on Ministry presented two pastors who have assumed new positions at CAP churches: Rev. Lawrence Peebles has been called to Santee Presbyterian Church; Rev. Russell Benton has been called to Harbor View Presbyterian Church. Each spoke briefly, with full faith statements published in the Commissioners Handbook.
With regard to future member of the clergy, the Preparation for Ministry Team presented Inquirer Cibele Santos, recommending she be moved to Candidate status. After an examination by Rev. Richard Cushman and a short statement by Ms. Santos, the recommendation was approved. Elder Kay Keeler, Moderator of the Team also reported that Antonio Colon Roman was being taken into care as an Inquirer.
Representing the Service to Others Ministry Team, Rev. Alonza Washington presented Self Development of Peoples Grant Awards to Twelve Steps Ministries, Inc. and the Wallingford Senior Ministry Stock the Pantry Mission. The grants are funded by the “One Great Hour of Sharing,” one of the Validated Special Offerings commended to CAP churches by the Stewardship of Financial Resources Ministry Team in its report (a recommendation passed by the Presbytery as part of the Consent Agenda).
Reports of all other agencies of the Presbytery were included in the handbook, as were annual reports by Presbytery Staff. After reports of the Standing Committees on Attendance and Resolution and Thanks, the meeting adjourned with prayer and benediction in plenty of time for enjoying a tasty lunch and time of enjoyable fellowship.
What’s with the Spanish sermon? The immigrant’s creed? Blessing the offering in Spanish?
The Global Mission arm of the Service to Others Ministry Team was offered the chance to create a worship service in recognition of and to include the commissioning of the members of the first Presbytery-wide mission organized in many years. Eight people from various churches (see list below) will travel to Puerto Rico on March 9 to spend a week assisting the work of a PC(USA) congregation in the town of Aguada, where recovery from Hurricane Maria continues.
The sermon was presented by two members of Summerville Presbyterian Church, Antonio Colon Ramon (a new Inquirer under care of the Preparation for Ministry Team) and his wife Elder Sandra Otero Agosto. Sandra and Antonio are natives of Puerto Rico and chair the Mackey Presbyterian Ministry, an outreach of the Service to Others Ministry team, building relationships within the Hispanic population in the Ladson/Summerville area. Hearing the sermon in Spanish and depending upon a translator to understand, those assembled got a sense of what it is like to be an immigrant or a missionary in a place where the language is not one’s own.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving for the offering received was given in Spanish by Rev. Spike Coleman, in recognition that it would go to support the work of the mission team and the ongoing recovery efforts of the PC(USA) in Puerto Rico. (Mission team members pay their own travel and other expenses; money collected at this meeting and at the Fall Stated Meeting goes directly to the work.)
The Immigrant’s Creed is a beautiful exposition of the Apostles Creed as applied to displaced people. The Holy Spirit in which we believe, it points out, “…speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.” It ends with the prayerful belief: “Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal in which no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom, which will never end. Amen.” You can read the creed in its entirty HERE.
Submitted by Catherine Byrd, Stated Clerk
MEMBERS OF THE CAP MISSION TO PUERTO RICO:
Bobby and Catherine Byrd (First Scots PC and CAP Staff)
Antonio Colon Ramon (Summerville PC)
Holly Horseman (Palmetto PC)
Allison Hubbard (James Island PC)
Cassie Oliver (St. Andrews PC, Chas)
Jeff Taylor (Mount Pleasant PC)
Tom Thornton (Summerville PC)
We had technical difficulties and weren’t able to share the Presbytery Joys video at the meeting, but we hope you enjoy watching it now: