Tag Archives: EPC

37th General Assembly Of The Evangelical Presbyterian Church

As I begin this post let me make two prefatory comments: First, there are two other meetings this week which I regret I do not have the time to preview. These are the GA of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland (hashtag #gaqld17) and the joint General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church of America (hashtag #cpga17). Second, in a related comment, I had hoped to be at the EPC GA in person this year since it is in my neck of the woods. The missing posts and the canceled trip are both due to a family commitment that happened this week so my time and tether are both short right now.

But on to the topic of this post, the 37th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church which began yesterday at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church, near Sacramento, California. (And as Fair Oaks notes, it is in partnership with four other churches in the area.) According to the schedule Tuesday began with workshops in the morning and classes as part of the Leadership Institute in the afternoon. There will be Leadership Institute plenary sessions the next two mornings and business will convene Wednesday afternoon. Committees of Commissioners will meet later on Wednesday and Thursday morning if needed. Then the Assembly returns to plenary business sessions Thursday afternoon and running through Friday – as long as it takes to get the work done.

The Assembly meeting will be live streamed and it appears that plenary programs outside the business meeting will be part of the streaming.

There is a lot of information online, most linked through the Documents page. Here are some of the links for information about Assembly business and operation:

As for social media, there is a bit of that out there. There is a Facebook page for the EPC that is currently being updated regularly with Leadership Institute items. The official EPC Twitter feed is @EPChurch and the declared official hashtag (#epc2017ga) has sprung to life. There is also a feed for EPC Student Ministries (@EPCStudentMin) and the Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah (@Jeff_Jeremiah ) -but neither has been active for a while.

As for individuals, strong live tweeting going from Matthew Everhard (@matt_everhard), Joshua Brown (@PastorJoshBrown) and Heather Strong Moore (@StrongHeather).

A couple of items of business stand out. I mentioned above the Preliminary Position Paper on Human Sexuality, which was provisionally adopted by the last GA and has been under study by the church this year. This is part of ongoing work and the Ad Interim Committee that considers revisions plans for additional work later this year, but the National Leadership Team will be bringing the recommendation that the Paper be approved.. There are two Overtures from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies related to the Report. One would add fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness to the section on the standards for leaders. The other overture would have an Ad Interim Committee consider the Human Sexuality paper and the Sanctity of Marriage paper (not available online) to eliminate duplicate issues between the two documents.

Another interesting report is that of the Ad Interim Committee on Ministerial Education. While there are no action items in that report, it describes the new education requirements beginning on January 1 of this year. These include a fourth ordination exam in original language exegesis and change in specific course requirements. There is also a Mentored Apprenticeship Program that is being tested. Going forward, they hope to clarify the position of Commissioned Pastor.

And the Stated Clerk’s report has a couple of items related to the dynamics of the denomination. One of those is funding the budget and the use of Per Member Asking was reviewed. There was some significant discussion but sticking with the asking for support on a per member basis is currently the plan. The other interesting note relates to the growth in the denomination. Traditionally GA’s have been hosted by individual churches but with the growth there are now a limited number that are capable of hosting the meeting. The Assembly will consider options and provide input on how they should proceed in the future.

With that, I will wish the EPC commissioners well and we will be lifting them up in our prayers as they meet. I am sorry I can not be there this year but I look forward to observing this particular assembly at a future time.

36th General Assembly Of The Evangelical Presbyterian Church

2015-EPC-sealAnd today we complete our “four diamond week” with the opening of the 36th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. What we have are the three largest and, what was until recently, the fourth largest American Presbyterian denominations meeting all at the same time. And it is worth noting that they all are part of that great dividing of the mainstream branch, while acknowledging that a few pieces of the Reformed Presbyterian branch have been absorbed in.

The next four days the EPC will be meeting at Ward Church in Northville, Michigan. According to the schedule, today there will be workshops as part of the Leadership Institute seminars, and some additional related keynotes on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Business begins with opening worship tomorrow afternoon followed by the beginning of business sessions. The meeting is docketed to adjourn by noon on Saturday morning.

The Assembly meeting will be live streamed through the host church and the view is embedded on the Documents page.

There is a lot of information on line, most linked through the Documents page. Here are some of the links for information about Assembly business and operation:

As for social media, there is a bit of that out there. There is a Facebook page for the EPC that is currently being updated regularly with Leadership Institute items. The official EPC Twitter feed is @EPChurch and the declared official hashtag (#epc2016ga) has sprung to life. There is also a feed for EPC Student Ministries (@EPCStudentMin) and the Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah (@Jeff_Jeremiah -but not active for a while). I would add to this the host church, @wardchurch.

As for individuals, so far Ivan Strong Moore (@ivansmoore) is going strong live tweeting it, so there is a good point to start. For some tweets with a slight edge and sense of humor, check out Chreeha (@chreeha) and their hashtag #rowdyGA.

The list of the business items shows that much of the business is important but generally routine. Maybe the most out-of-the ordinary set of recommendations deal with a revised Position Paper on Human Sexuality that can be found in the report of the Committee on Position Paper Revision. There is also a request to appoint a committee to draft a pastoral statement on Ministering to the Church and the World on Issues Pertaining to Human Sexuality.

With that, I will wish the EPC commissioners well and we will be lifting them up in our prayers as they meet.

35th General Assembly Of The Evangelical Presbyterian Church

EvangelicalPresbyterianChurchLogoAfter a short respite we now turn to the 35th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church which will be meeting in Disney World Orlando, Florida. The host church is First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. The meeting began today (23 June) with a Leadership Institute which will continue tomorrow morning and again Thursday morning. The Assembly will convene with worship after lunch tomorrow (24 June). The meeting concludes with lunch on Saturday 27 June.

The Assembly meeting will be live streamed through the host church. There is a lot of information online to help you follow along:

  • There is the Schedule and the Docket (being issued in daily segments) so you know when the business sessions are and what is being covered.
  • Almost all of what you need will be on the Documents page which also has another embedded webcast window. This includes the Commissioners Handbook by parts or as a full download. Also note that there are additional and replacement pages available on the page or by download. There are also two interesting appendices – the statistical report for us data geeks (and also check out the Stated Clerk’s report) and the proposed Revised Book of Worship.
  • At some point we can expect daily summaries to be posted and I will link here. Also keep an eye on the EP News Blog.
  • And yes, there is an app for that – The church has made available a Smartphone App for both Android and Apple iOS. (But at least the Android version does not seem a best seller as it is listed 10-50 downloads when I installed it on my phone.)
  • And don’t forget the current Book of Order from the web site.

As for social media, there is a bit of that out there. There is a Facebook page for the EPC that is currently being updated regularly with Leadership Institute items. The official EPC Twitter feed is @EPChurch and the declared official hashtag (#epc2015ga) has sprung to life. There is also a feed for EPC Student Ministries (@EPCStudentMin) and the Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah (@Jeff_Jeremiah). I would add to this the host church, @fpcorlando.

As I look at individuals to follow the first two I would suggest are individuals who will be speaking at the GA. Thom Rainer of Life@ay (@ThomRainer) will be giving two keynotes as part of the Leadership Institute. Carmen Fowler LaBerge of the Presbyterian Lay Committee (@CarmenLaBerge) will be bringing the word at Friday evening’s worship service. I am seeing a few other familiar faces on Twitter but will update my list here are the meeting gets rolling.

gaidentity1Regarding the business before the Assembly, I had mentioned above the revision of the Book of Worship. This revision was approved by the 34th General Assembly and received the concurrance of all the presbyteries. It is now before this Assembly to give it the final ratification. There is an ascending overture to this Assembly (15-B) “to erect a study committee to examine and report on the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s understanding of the Regulative Principle of Worship in our Reformed and Confessional heritage, and its application thereunto.” It is helpful to note that the Book of Worship is structured around the Westminster Standards and this overture seeks to tie that understanding with the Regulative Principle of Worship. It is interesting to note that in the recommendations section of the Commissioner Handbook, Recommendation #56 from the Committee on Theology (on page 52) deals with the Book of Worship and what is allowed in the Westminster Confession 21-8. This is in response to the issue being brought before the Assembly last year. The recommendation is that the Book of Worship is sufficient and deals with primarily with worship and that regarding the WCF on sabbath keeping:

What the Book of Worship 2-2 does not do is further embrace nor deny the Westminster
Confession 21-8, which further regulates actions, “rest the whole day from their own works
and words, and from thoughts about their worldly activities and recreations; and take up the whole time in public and private worship and in the duties of necessity and mercy.” The
Book of Worship 2-2, in effect, creates allowances for exceptions of the Westminster
Confession 21-8.

This is of interest because a similar matter was before the PCA General Assembly and they chose to not study it further.

The other recommendation to the GA from the Committee on Theology is to erect a study committee to consider the expansion of the church’s position papers on Homosexuality and The Sanctity of Marriage.

It is instructive to note that there are a grand total of two ascending overtures, the other one (15-A) is related to presbytery boundaries and extending Florida to include Puerto Rico now that a church on that island has joined the EPC.

With that, I will wish the EPC commissioners well and we will be lifting them up in our prayers as they meet.