DRAFT MINUTES (As of 5/9/12)

DRAFT MINUTES (As of 5/9/12)



“Growing congregations that passionately engage their community to make disciples.”


Saturday, February 11, 2012 – 9:00 a.m.

Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church

Houston, Texas

Theme for 2012: “The Year of Biblical Scholarship”

Offering: New Church Development Pastor Scholarship Fund for Conference Attendance


Following the gathering hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” Moderator Ruling Elder Mary Lee Going called the meeting of the presbytery to order at 9:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church. She offered the opening prayer.

Minute for Mission – Ruling Elder Carlton, Currie, Chair of New Church Development Committee

WORSHIP – Dr. Frances Taylor Gench, of Union Presbytery Seminary, preached the sermon

10:00 a.m. Opening Business

The Moderator called on the Stated Clerk, the Rev. Lynn Hargrove, who declared a quorum to be present and moved the proposed docket, as amended. The amended DOCKET was approved as follows:



Please silence all devices

8:55 am Gathering Hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”

9:00 am Call to Order and Opening Prayer Moderator, RE Mary Lee Going

Minute for Mission – RE Carlton Currie, Chair of New Church Development Committee

WORSHIP – Dr. Frances Taylor Gench, preaching

10:00 am Opening Business Moderator and Stated Clerk

 Declaration of Quorum and Adoption of the Docket

 Welcome by Host Church – TE David Peterson

 Welcome of Others (First time Commissioners, Corresponding Members, New Minister Members, Visitors)

 Report of the Stated Clerk (B) TE Lynn Hargrove

Reports of Investigating Committees (01-11, 02-10)

Administrative Commissions for Installations/Ordinations

 Omnibus Motion (B.1)

 Moderator’s Remarks and Appointments

  • TE Scott Cummings (Pearland, Peace) – to serve Nominating Committee 2012

10:20 am Ecclesiastical Affairs (C.1) RE John Jo

Consideration of Overture from Covenant, College Station and Grand Lakes, Katy

10:50 am** Celebration of Ministry: Ike Recovery Team, Kendall Boyd

11:00 amKeynote: Dr. Frances Taylor Gench

** Celebration of Ministry: TE Don Wehmeyer, Mission in Mexico

11:55 am Blessing before the meal/Instructions TE Dave Peterson


1:00 pmReconvening Hymn “I Love to Tell the Story”

Sermons for Ordination - Mark Plunkett

1:30 pmCommittee on Ministry (D) (D.1)

  1. Floor Examination for Ordination – Mark Plunkett TE Marie Mickey
  2. Action Items
  3. Service of Retirements

Committee on Preparation for Ministry (E) (E.1) TE Nora Fitch

Service of Candidacy

** Celebration of Ministry: Camp Cho-Yeh, Jason Brown

Ministries Division – No Report (G)

Administrative Division (C) RE Jim Taylor

Finance (C.2) (C.2a) (C.2b) RE Bill Strange

Nominating Committee (H) (H.1) RE Doug Arrick

** Celebration of Ministry: Schreiner University, RE Eldon Sheffer

Report of General Council (F) TE Casey Jones

State of the Presbytery – “The Letter to New Covenantians” TE Mike Cole, General Presbyter


(By rule of the presbytery, no later than 4:00 pm, unless the assembly votes by a 2/3 majority to extend beyond)

[end of amended docket]


  1. TE David Peterson, pastor of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, welcomed the presbytery on behalf of the session and congregation.
  1. Stated Clerk Lynn Hargrove led a time of introductions, recognizing First-Time Commissioners and Corresponding Members: Teaching Elders Anne Wheeler-Waddell (The Antioch Partners and San Fernando Presbytery) and Frances Taylor Gench (Union Presbyterian Seminary and National Capital Presbytery).

Reports and Action Items:

  1. Stated Clerk: The Report of the Stated Clerk (B) is attached to the minutes. The Stated Clerk highlighted a number of items in her report:
  2. The Rev. John Mark Cooper renounced the jurisdiction of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), effective November 2, 2011 and his name has been deleted from all the rolls of the Presbytery of New Covenant in accordance with G-2.0509.
  3. Investigating Committee #01-11 was dismissed with gratitude: TE Dr. Robert F. Murphy, Jr.; RE’s Susan McPhail Wittjen (LaMarque, LaMarque) and Patrick F. (Tim) Timmons (Houston, Pines).
  4. The Stated Clerk has received the minutes of four Administrative Commissions for Installations/Ordinations.
  5. She announced the LaMarque Presbyterian Church in LaMarque has made the decision to dissolve and the date of dissolution will be announced later.
  6. $1624 was received in the morning’s offering and designated for travel scholarships for the presbytery’s New Church Developments, to help with the expenses of a 4-day conference this summer.
  1. The Stated Clerk moved the Omnibus Motion.
  2. Move and recommend approval of the minutes of the Stated Meeting of the Presbytery of New Covenant on Saturday, October 22, 2011 and the Called Meeting on Saturday, December 10, 2011 as distributed (posted separately on the presbytery’s website, as part of the Meeting Materials for today’s meeting).
  3. The Omnibus Motion was APPROVED.
  1. The Stated Clerk announced the enrollment for the day at 9:45: Registered Ministers - 88; Registered Elder-Commissioners - 114; Commissioned Ruling Elders - 3; Associate Certified Church Educator - 1; Elder with Privilege by Virtue of Office - 10; Former Moderators of the Presbytery - 7; Fellow-NACBA – 1; Visitor - 25. The final registration will be recorded at the end of the minutes.
  1. Moderator Going appointed the following persons to serve as Tellers during the meeting: Ruling Elders Don Brown (Houston, Clear Lake), Chuck Davidson (Houston, Spring Branch), Amy Gremillion (Bellaire, ChristChurch), Bill Sandy (Houston, St. Andrew’s) and Jan Hamill (The Woodlands, Timber Ridge).
  1. TE Pat Clark, representing a committee of Moderator, Moderator-Elect, and the immediate past Moderator of the Presbytery, placed the name of TE Scott Cummings (Pearland, Peace) in nomination to serve on the presbytery’s Nominating Committee, Class of 2012. Hearing no nominations from the floor, the motion to elect was APPROVED.
  1. General Presbyter the Rev. Mike Cole welcomed Matt Kahn, Randy Solinsky and Jerry Axelrod, Jewish visitors who were in attendance in order to hear discussion of the proposed overture from Covenant, College Station and Grand Lakes, Katy.
  1. Ruling Elder John Jo, chair of the Ecclesiastical Affairs Committee moved to adopt the overture proposed by the sessions of Covenant Presbyterian Church in College Station and Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church in Katy. (Full text is attached to minutes) (C.1a) The Overture asks that the committee “expend no further efforts” with respect to selected divestments of the denomination’s investments in multinational corporations operating in Israel. It furthermore calls for the General Assembly to “disapprove the MRTI’s (Mission Responsibility Through Investment) recommendation of divestment from investments in the shares of Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions.”

On behalf of their sessions the Rev. Dean Pogue (Grand Lakes) and Elder Connie Brown (College Station, Covenant) spoke to the motion. After a scheduled time for discussion, the Moderator called for the vote. The motion to adopt WAS APPROVED.

  1. A Celebration of Ministry from Ike Recovery Team was brought by Kendall Boyd. He presented a plaque to RE Dave Johnson in recognition of his involvement in the work.
  1. General Presbyter the Rev. Mike Cole introduced the keynote speaker Dr. Frances Taylor Gench, the Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.

She addressed the topic of how the church today can be missional and connectional in a time of transition, leading the commissioners back to the first century church as portrayed in the book of Acts. Afterward, commissioners discussed the study at their tables and then shared with the gathering some of their conversations and thoughts.

  1. New Minister-Members were asked to introduce themselves: Michael O’Neil serving as pastor at First Presbyterian in Angleton; Judith “Judy” Liljestrand, Honorably Retired, transferring from Grace Presbytery and living in Bryan; and SeungHun “Paul” Yeou, transferring from Midwest Hanmi Presbytery, serving as pastor of Love (Korean) Presbyterian Church in Jersey Village. Andrew Adair is transferring from Grace Presbytery and is now serving as Executive Director of the Antioch Partners, a validated ministry. He was unable to be present because of traveling on behalf of Antioch Partners.
  1. A Celebration of Ministry was brought by Teaching Elder Don Wehmeyer on his Mission in Mexico.
  1. At 11:40 a.m. General Presbyter, the Rev. Mike Cole, delivered his State of the Presbytery address, in his “Letter to I Covenantians.”
  1. TE Dave Peterson offered the blessing before the meal.


At 1:00 the commissioners reconvened in the sanctuary, with the hymn “I Love to Tell the Story.”

  1. Chair of the Examinations Committee TE Marie Mickey introduced the candidate Mark Plunkett who preached his sermon for ordination.

15. Floor Examination for Ordination

The preaching part of Candidate Plunkett’s examination was APPROVED and the motion to sustain his examination in full WAS APPROVED. He is serving as Transitional Pastor at Heritage Presbyterian, Houston.

  1. Committee on Ministry (D) and (D.1)

Service of Retirement for Teaching Elders Gerald Hurst, Philip Chiang and Daniel Intsiful – TE Mike Cole

General Presbyter Mike Cole led a Service of Retirement for these three retiring ministers. (Also retiring but unable to be present were Teaching Elders Alice and Bernie Nord and Susan Phalen.) The motion that they be granted Honorably Retired status was APPROVED and the General Presbyter offered a prayer.

  1. TE Nora Fitch, Chair of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry brought the committee’s report, found in its entirety in the minutes (E & E.1) She recommended and moved that:

a) Laureen Suba (Houston, St. Philip) a student at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary be elected Theological Seminary Advisory Delegate to the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) June 30-July 7, in Pittsburg, PA.The motion was APPROVED.

b) Jessica Edstrom (Katy, New Hope) a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, be elected Alternate Theological Seminary Advisory Delegate to the 220th General Assembly of the PC(USA) June 30-July 7, in Pittsburg, PA. The motion was APPROVED.

c) Wendy Bleike (Houston, First) be granted permission to do an Alternative Examination for her Biblical Exegesis examination. The motion was APPROVED.

d) Inquirers Luke Gordon (Houston, Memorial Drive) and Amy Klinkovsky (Bryan, First) be enrolled as candidates. Each person spoke of his/her faith journey and sense of call.

A Service of Candidacy was then led by Moderator Going. Friends and family of the two candidates were invited forward to stand with them while they answered the constitutional questions for candidacy. The Rev. Robert Murphy offered the charge and Ruling Elder Agnes Adair closed the service with prayer.

  1. A Celebration of Ministry from Cho-Yeh Camp and Conference Center was brought by Jason Brown.
  1. Administrative Division (C)

a. Finance (C.2) – Chair Ruling Elder Bill Strange

The Chair called attention to the three documents which had been posted on the presbytery’s website earlier: Budget vs. Actual for the first six months of the current fiscal year (C.2); the Debt Repayment Schedule 2007-2012 (C.2a); and the Analysis of New Church Development Accounts as of 12/31/11 (C.2b). He noted that as there is a small surplus that finances are better this year than last and that the debt to the General Assembly had been paid off as well as the debt for the copier lease, a goal for which the presbytery has been working toward for five years.

21, Nominating Committee (H) and (H.1) – RE Doug Arrick

RE Doug Arrick placed in nomination the names found in the Nominating Committee reports (H) in the PACKET and in the ADDENDUM (H.1). There being no further nominations, the motion to elect was APPROVED.

  1. A Celebration of Ministry from Schreiner University was brought by RE Eldon Sheffer.
  1. As no New Business was submitted to Stated Clerk 4 days prior to the meeting, the Moderator offered closing remarks, thanking all of the volunteers from Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church for the time and energy given to provide hospitality that made the day’s meeting possible.
  1. The meeting adjourned with the Benediction and Prayer offered by the Moderator at 2:35.

The final registration numbers are: Teaching Elders Commissioners – 95; Commissioned Ruling Elders- 4; Ruling Elder Commissioners – 116; Certified/Associate Church Educators – 1; Ruling Elder with Privilege – 8; Former Moderators – 5; Presbytery Staff – 4; Fellow-NACBA – 1; Corresponding Members – 2; Visitors – 16; Inquirer/Candidate – 4 for a Total of 252.

Janice Schessler

Recording Clerk