Live Blog 186th General Assembly
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15:43:46 That’s it, folks. Business has concluded. Closing Worship at 16:00 Central Time. Wish you were here. Until next year, in Tampa, FL, peace…
15:25:27 Engrossing Clerk Rev. Vernon Sansom now reading the minutes from Tuesday through business session today… (He does a great job, and I wouldn’t want to do it…)
15:23:42 Rev. Hames showering thanks all around — to all the folks of the Host Committee, participants in Worship Services, delegates, children, service persons (cooks, housekeeping, etc.)… everyone who had a part in making this 186th General Assembly a success; urging us all to GO — Outside Where Jesus Is
15:20:17 Moderator Tyus returns to the dais, invites Rev. Anne Hames to the dais to start wrapping things up; won’t be long now
15:18:25 Now voting (finally) on Recommendations 1, 4, 6, and 7; ayes carry the day
15:17:22 Commissioner Rev. Bruce Hamilton (Arkansas Presbytery) speaking to the Recommendation, supporting the right of non-CP ministers to celebrate the sacraments
15:11:01 Nothing to do with Recommendation 2 now “because it died with Recommendation 3” (Rev. Dr. Rice); seems to have been OK with everyone ’cause now we’re talking about Recommendation 6, having to do with ministers from other denominations performing the sacraments
15:09:30 Now on to Recommendation 3… vote being called for… Recommendation denied. Rev. Dr. Rice moves that it be referred back to the Committee on Permanent Judiciary and the Missions Ministry Team; that passed
15:07:29 Vice-Moderator Seki calling for a vote on Recommendation 5; it’ll require 3/4 aye vote here to pass; votes being counted; looks like it failed to me… yup… Recommendation 5 denied
15:03:43 Commissioner Victory Moore explaining Committee’s thinking in making the Recommendation they did (she’s a member); they were told by the Permanent Committee on Judiciary that the Missions Ministry Team’s actions have been illegal (against our Constitution — some of them), so they were focused on making sure that problems are handled appropriately and protects the ordination of our ministers in the field.
15:00:43 Rev. Derek Jacks also speaking against Recommendation 5 — in other words, in favor of sending it back to the Permanent Committee on Judiciary
14:59:33 Rev. Troy Green takes the mic, proposing that this be referred back to the Permanent Committee on Judiciary; yes, it will delay things, but important to get it right (still talking about Recommendation 5, I think)
14:57:47 Rev. Vernon Burrow takes the mic and expresses the notion that Constitutional Rules can sometimes slow us down in doing the work of the church; not really proposing anything, I don’t think, but looking for a little flexibility, I think.
14:55:58 Rev. Robert Rush correcting what he believes to be some misunderstandings; pointing out that the only body in the church that can write a constitutional amendment is the Joint Committee on Amendments; OK, now Rev. Thomas Campbell is admitting to feeling confused; I feel better…
14:53:58 Boy, after that, I feel the need to remind y’all that this blog is by no means “official”; what you read here is just my interpretation of what’s going on — and trying to type as fast as some folks are talking as well; that’s my caveat… now back to business…
14:50:13 Dr. Ortiz asking that the Committee’s Recommendation (actually, a Constitutional Amendment, I think), made after recommending denial of the Ministry Council’s recommendation, be denied, and that they (MMT) continue to work with Permanent Judiciary to resolve their differences; (if you’re not confused by now, perhaps you ought to be here sorting this out); Rev. Michele Gentry moves that the question be divided, separating out Recommendations 2, 3, and 5, and discuss them in reverse order.
14:42:42 Committee Chair Rev. Dr. Perryn Rice moves adoption/concurrence in his Committee’s report; Rev. Dr. Milton Ortiz, Missions Ministry Team Leader steps to the mic to give “a speech”, the text of which is being handed out; I think it’s really some clarification and a plea not to deny the Ministry Council recommendations that are proposed for denial
14:40:58 YAD Jose Garcia begins reading of the Report/Recommendations; YAD Madeline Stence picks up at Recommendation 4; YAD Rande Johnson picks up at Recommendation 6; and the report reading has concluded
14:30:03 Mod turns gavel over to Vice-Moderator Rev. Nobuko Seki, since he’s a member of the next Committee being called to present — the Committee on Judiciary
14:28:40 Committee Chair Rev. Jimmy Peyton moves adoption/concurrence of his Committee’s report; voting… ayes carry, Report adopted/concurred in
14:26:24 YAD (didn’t catch his name) picks up where YAD Webb left off at Recommendation 5; YAD Ryan Day picking up where YAD (dchn) left off at Recommendation 10
14:17:35 YAD Shelby Webb reading Report/Recommendations…
14:15:58 Committee on Missions/Ministry called to present report.
14:13:57 Voting on Committee’s Recommendation 7. Ayes have it, so it’s denied.
14:13:05 Voting now on the substitute motion. Ayes have it.
14:11:57 Substitute for Recommendation 8 is being proposed; “When nominating persons to Boards, Agencies, and Teams, priority will be given to individuals whose lives demonstrate a commitment to the church…” and he was talking faster then I can type… Again, it’ll be in the final minutes if it passes…
14:08:58 OK… now we’re dividing the question again, taking Recommendation 6 out for separate consideration — mainly because if it were to be defeated along with 7 and 8, we wouldn’t have an OUO budget at all next year… 🙁 Passed, so it will be considered separately.
14:07:10 Mod announces a couple of requests for excuse from afternoon session. Voted on and approved.
14:06:09 Jamie Berkley (President of Cumberland Presbyterian Women’s Ministries) invited to the dais to bring greetings from that body. Two projects approved: 1) providing furniture for missionary families ($8k); and 2) supporting Sacred Sparks Ministries, with no financial limit.
14:01:54 Mod gavels the meeting back to order following recess.
13:53:46 Peas’n’Carrots, Peas’n’Carrots, murmur, murmur… Folks drifting in here. Can’t imagine that the session after lunch will be particularly lively, but who knows…? We’ll be getting started again in 5 minutes or so.
11:58:00 Mod recesses morning session — to return at 14:00 Central Time. We’ll take this question up further at that time. See y’all then…
11:57:22 Now discussing Recommendations 6-8 of the Report of Committee on Stewardship/Elected Officers (specifically, Report of the Our United Outreach Committee). Rev. Jan Overton to the mic. Concerned about situations where pastor supports OUO but session does not — that pastor wouldn’t be able to serve under current Recommendation language.
11:54:30 Voting now on Report as a whole, minus Recommendations 6-8. Report adopted/concurred in
11:53:05 OUO Committee Chair Ron Gardner to the mic to explain rationale for setting 15 January as the cutoff for receipt of previous year’s OUO tithes. Some small churches close out books after the end of the year and OUO Committee wanted to cut them some slack.
11:51:16 Another motion to divide out Recommendation 10. Motion does not pass.
11:50:03 Motion from the floor to divide the question. Take Recommendations 6-8 separately. House is divided. Voting on whether to divide the question, count being taken. Ayes have it, question is divided. Voting on Report without Section D.
11:46:46 Rev. Don Wilson explains that “support” means “financial support”
11:45:16 Rev. Philip Layne to the mic. Objects to the Recommendation requiring giving to OUO as a prerequisite for individual membership on denominational Boards and Agencies. Many small churches can’t give.
11:43:22 Rev. Joyce Merritt moves adoption of the Report. Rev. Eleanor Brown, Discipleship Ministry Team Leader notes editorial change of date for The Forum 2016. Didn’t catch the correct dates, but they’ll be published.
11:41:11 YAD Charli Uhlrich reading Report of the Stated Clerk, with Recommendations, Report of the Board of Stewardship, Foundation, and Benefits. YAD (didn’t catch her name) reading Report of the Our United Outreach Committee. YAD Cameron Kurtz reading Report of the Place of Meeting Committee, Line Item Budgets Submitted by General Assembly Agencies, and Report One of the Ministry Council Section III.
11:35:43 YAD Zeke Lake reading Report/Recommendations, Report of the Moderator, specifically
11:33:32 Committee on Stewardship/Elected Officers called to present report.
11:32:08 Commissioner (didn’t catch name) rises to mic and suggests that there are many groups we may need to apologize to. We ought to offer blanket apology to everyone we’ve offended. Concerned about “negative tone” of the Recommendation. Rev. J. C. McDuffie to the mic. Offering explanation for the Committee’s recommendation. Rev. Joy Warren to the mic. Supports amended motion (i.e., motion by Dr. Rice). Rev. Vernon Burrow to the mic. “If you have a lot of apologies to make, you ought to do them one at a time.” In favor of Dr Rice’s motion. Rev. Howell-Diamond puts on her delegate hat and supports Dr. Rice’s motion to amend her Committee’s Recommendation. Rev. Byron Forester to the mic to defend the amended Recommendation. Rev. Derek Jacks to the mic. Supports passage of the amended/substitute motion. Again, for clarification, the upcoming vote is whether to adopt the Resolution rather than to refer it to the UTF. A vote of “Aye” means the Resolution is adopted. A vote of “Nay” means it gets referred to the UTF. The Ayes carry. The Resolution is adopted.
11:20:36 Reverends Seki and Satoh rise to mic. Note that Japan Presbytery had similar situation that the Resolution addresses. Japan Presbytery offered official apology to Hong Kong Presbytery for Japanese aggression during WWII. Both are in favor of Dr. Rice’s motion.
11:17:09 Rev. Dr. Perryn Rice rises to the mic concerning Recommendation 12. Moves that we approve the Resolution of Repentance, Apology, and Resolve straightaway rather than referring it to the Unification Task Force. Discussion…
11:12:24 Recommendations 9, 10, and 11 under discussion. Rev. Philip Layne goes to mic, asks for Committee’s thinking in denying the Memorials. Rev. Howell-Diamond explains that the Memorials are actually asking that we distance ourselves from our ecumenical partners, we’d be “kicking ourselves in our backsides”. Pointing out all the ministries we’d have to abandon if the Memorials were to be concurred in. Also, we don’t have an “official” relationship with CWS. We want to be able to give our financial assistance in the most effective possible. Rev. Ray Santiallano speaking in support of the Committee’s recommendation of denial of the Memorials. Rev. Thomas Campbell goes to mic in defense of Committee’s recommendation. Voting on the Committee’s recommendations of denial. Body votes in favor of Committee’s recommendations.
11:04:48 Recommendations 1-8 being voted on. Recommendations 1-8 pass.
11:02:52 Rev. Dr Perryn Rice to the mic, asking that we divide the question. Sections A and B together. Sections D and E together. Section F. Vote due to division of the house being conducted. Dr. Rice’s motion carries.
11:00:14 The Recommendation in Section C of the report, the Memorial from Covenant Presbytery Regarding Church World Services, should be noted Recommendation 9. The Recommendation in Section D of the report, the Memorial from Covenant Presbytery Regarding Homosexuality, should be noted Recommendation 10.
10:52:32 Committee on Theology and Social Concerns called to present report. Acting Chair Rev. Cardelia Howell-Diamond takes the mic to read report/recommendations. Notes some editorial changes that need to be made.
10:45:59 Moderator Tyus reconvening the body…
10:33:34 Well, I’m back, but still a lot of milling around going on… By the way, that YAD who read the report/recommendations for Bethel? The one whose name I didn’t catch? It was James Hood… Just don’t want to short-change any of the younger folks who’ve put at least as much work into all this as the older folks have. (Sorry, James) We’ll resume here in a few more minutes.
10:24:47 Mod calls for 15-minute break. We’ll be back shortly…
10:23:54 Report and its recommendations passes unanimously.
10:22:29 Committee Co-Chair Rev. Kristi Lombard moves adoption of her Committee’s report.
10:19:25 Actually, Ms. Cagle read the Referrals and Persons of Counsel section. YAD (didn’t catch his name) reading report/recommendations for Bethel. YAD Eleanor Forester now reading report/recommendations for Children’s Home section.
10:15:34 Now YAD Elizabeth Warren reading report section dealing with MTS. (Ms. Cagle presented on CPCH and Bethel)
10:13:35 Committee on Children’s Home/Higher Education called to present report. YAD Sarah Cagle reading report/recommendations.
10:12:05 Rev. Iwao Satoh and Rev. Nobuko Seki rise to mic to offer substitute motion on Recommendation 7. Change wording to “encourage each Presbytery in the U.S.” Motion passes. Entire report adopted/concurred in — with noted change.
10:09:21 Committee Chair Rev. Michele Gentry moves adoption of her Committee’s report
10:06:24 Committee on Chaplains/Historical Foundation called to present report. YADs Abby Herman and Kaylee Liehr reading the report/recommendations.
10:03:35 Rev. Linda Glenn, Credentials Committee, goes to mic to announce that Mrs. Carla Bellis has been elected to the Ministry Council (see below at 09:43:36 for more details)
10:02:57 First recommendation requires change in By-Laws, and requires 2/3 vote. But… no one was opposed to any of the recommendations, so it all passes.
10:01:43 Ministry Council Representative Rev. Troy Green at mic to urge adoption.
10:00:22 Committee Chair Rev. James Buttram moves adoption of his Committee’s report.
09:56:34 Report being read by YAD Justin Barkley from Grace Presbytery.
09:55:21 Committee reports proceeding while ballots being counted. Committee on Ministry Council/Communications/Discipleship invited to the front to give their report.
09:54:03 Former Moderator Rev. Michele Gentry rises to microphone. Notes that the original intention was that no more than two people from the same presbytery be elected to the Ministry Council. Mod responds that that was “just a suggestion”, so it’s not a rule apparently. Ballots being counted.
09:49:56 Mod asking for ayes and nays on Nominating Committee slate except for Mrs. Bellis or Mrs. Ainley. Slate passes. Instructions now being given for filling ballots for the Bellis/Ainley question.
09:47:41 Rev. Linda Glenn rises to mic. Asks for clarification on the two names that are in contention (Carla Bellis and Vicky Hoover Ainley). Noted that Mrs. Bellis is not an attorney.
09:45:14 Vice-Moderator Rev. Nobuko Seki rises to microphone to provide another editorial change to Mrs. Satoh’s name.
09:43:36 Rev. Byron Forester rises to microphone to speak to Rev. Green’s concerns. Reiterates concern about so many nominees from WTn Pres (Synod of Great Rivers) Nominates Mrs. Carla Bellis from Missouri to provide better balance to slate of nominees.
09:40:31 Rev. Dr. Jay Earheart-Brown rises to microphone to note editorial change in one of the Seminary’s nominee’s name.
09:39:21 Mrs. Bean responding to Green’s concerns. “We gave a great deal of thoughts to gifts — felt that we needed an attorney — a female attorney (for gender balance)” (not verbatim quotes, but pretty close, I hope, and capturing the essence of Mrs. Bean’s comments.)
09:36:29 Green expresses concerns about imbalance in the nominee list. Notes that all three new people nominated come from West Tennessee Presbytery, and two from same congregation. Concerned that this at least gives the appearance of a kind of consolidation of power.
09:33:57 Rev. Thomas Campbell moves acceptance of the report. Rev. Troy Green asks to speak to body re: nominees for the Ministry Council.
09:29:40 Mrs. Bean now reading nominations. These can be found on page 96 of the Preliminary Minutes (http://www.cumberland.org/gao/PreliminaryMinutes/2016_PM.pdf) so I won’t try to type them all here.
09:25:47 Mrs. Nancy Bean invited to dais to give Nominating Committee Report. She’s not a member of the body, so motion made, seconded, and passed that she be allowed to present.
09:24:26 Mod returns to the dais. Reiterating a couple of rules of order. “Use time wisely”… That’s a big one.
09:22:20 Stated Clerk Rev. Mike Sharpe rises to dais. Announces that offering last night (going to multiple ministries like Room in the Inn, Sacred Sparks, Burrito Ministry, etc. — specific list can be provided later) was over $3k. Now laying out some ground rules for proceedings to come. A few nods to parliamentary procedure, etc.
09:17:00 All rise. Elder Ron Gardner, Chairman of the OUO Committee, being honored for his service to the committee and is now burning “the note”, marking the retirement of debt.
09:13:57 Rev. Hudson announcing the total elimination of denominational debt in April of 2015, so that now, over $120k/year going to ministries instead of debt service.
09:12:19 Rev. Cliff Hudson invited to dais to give presentation from the Our United Outreach Committee
09:10:14 Rev. Jimmy Peyton bringing greetings from the Haiti Council of Churches and praying for that body.
09:05:25 Mr. Leon Cole, Moderator of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, bringing greetings from that body.
09:03:05 And we’re off. The meeting has been brought to order by Moderator Tyus (hereafter referred to as “Mod” for the sake of brevity). Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Campbell providing the opening prayer.
It’s Thursday, 23 June, and we’re back, folks. Things should be getting started in about five minutes or so. If you’d like to follow along more closely, you can find the Committee Reports at: http://www.cumberland.org/gao/assembly/2016_COMMITTEE_REPORTS.pdf You’ll want to refer to them as we move along.
That’s it for today (Monday) folks. Be sure to check back on Thursday for the real crust of the biscuit!
16:24:10 Moderator Tyus adjourns the business session until Thursday (Committee meetings between now and then). Tune in then for blow-by-blow (just kidding) of the main business session on Thursday
16:22:32 Moderator Tyus calls wife Guin and Rev. Jesse Freeman to the dais for introduction.
16:19:53 Rev. Troy Green called to dais to introduce new Ministry Council staff members Rev. Nathan Wheeler (Discipleship Ministry Team) and Rev. Chuck Brown (Team Leader — Pastoral Development Ministry Team)
16:17:43 Rev. Cliff Hudson called to dais to give a short presentation on Our United Outreach. He’s introducing the new Regional Representatives. Rev. Dr. Susan Parker, Elder Calotta Edsel, Rev. Jeff McMichael, Carolyn Harmon.
16:15:01 Board and Agency representatives being introduced
16:12:51 Stated Clerk going over some housekeeping stuff. Last minute changes, etc.
16:10:57 Resolutions called for. Rev. Byron Forester (West Tennessee Presbytery) reading the Resolution. Be it resolved that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church repent, and seek God’s forgiveness for the many ways we have participated in racism against our African American brothers and sisters, and that we apologize to our African American brothers and sisters for same. (full text of Resolution will be published in the Minutes, this was just my summary) Resolution referred to Committee on Theology and Social Concerns.
16:00:21 Governor Haslam of TN and Nashville Mayor Barry both sent letters of welcome. They’re really glad we’re here…
15:58:28 Rev. Rosemary Herron and Rev.Don Tabor welcoming everyone on behalf of host presbyteries
15:51:57 Rev. Nobuko Seki, Japan Presbytery has been elected Vice-Moderator of the 186th General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church
15:46:12 Rev. Dr. Dwayne Tyus has been elected Moderator of the 186th General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church by acclamation
15:33:31 Constituting prayer offered by Rev. Dr. Perryn Rice
15:32:10 Rev. Linda Glenn, Credentials Committee, confirms quorum is present
15:29:20 Moderator Rev. Michele Gentry calls meeting to order.