From the desk of Rev. White:
Susan says that I don’t ask for directions when we travel. WRONG. I do ask for directions all the time, just ask SIRI on my phone or check my search on Google. The problem isn’t my asking but my timing. I often don’t ask until the midst of the journey when I can’t pay attention to what is being said or how I am directed. I am bad for simply starting off and then asking.
When I was asked to come I indicated that I would help the church in its journey to discern God’s will. For this to happen, I challenged the session to hit the pause button and begin a process of self-reflection and study. I also am going to need each of you to participate if we truly want to discern God’s will for Green Hill.
At times you will be asked to fill out cards. At other times it will be to come to a study. And then there may be a time when you will be asked to wait… whatever happens there will always be one constant, I/we need you to pray. Pray for the session, pray for guidance, and pray for each other.
And if you start feeling like you are in the dark do not hesitate to call me.
Rev. Shuford White
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MEETING BETWEEN
THE RESOLUTION TEAM AND THE SESSION OF GREEN HILL
28 January 2015
On January 28, 2015, a meeting was convened at Green Hill Presbyterian Church (GHPC) between the Session of GHPC and a Resolution Team formed by members of the Presbytery of South Alabama (PSA) to explore our concerns over recent actions of the 221st General Assembly (GA), PC (USA) and the direction the denomination appears to be heading.
Resolution Team Chairman Rev. David Jamison opened with prayer.
In attendance for the Resolution Team were: Rev. David J., Chairman, Rev. Bob M., Ruling Elders Buddy W., Barb M., and Bert H.. Rev. Samford T., Presbytery of South Alabama Presbyter, ex officio. The GHPC Session was in full attendance.
We reviewed the “Process for Pastoral Responsibility, Accountability and Gracious Witness to Congregations at Times of Division, Dismissal or Dissolution (G-3.0301).”
The concerns of GHPC were presented by the Session members. Our present concerns, as well as a history of issues and how they affected GHPC were offered. Although no one desires GHPC to be split, it was noted with regret that we are unlikely to retain 100% of the present membership regardless of what finally happens. A concern was raised of viability, in that if the church splits, would each new subsequent congregation be large enough to support itself?
The role of the Presbytery is to care for everybody, but there is no clear-cut path in these cases. The role of the Resolution Team is to help us understand our options as a congregation. We need to find ways of bringing the congregation together.
The issues surrounding the controversial Authoritative Interpretation (AI) were explored. Although the GA presently has the authority to issue an AI, the manner in which the 221st GA did so was inappropriate, and is believed a violation of our Constitution. At this time, two overtures are being prepared by Presbyters:
1) An overture will be presented to the GA in 2016 to invalidate the recent AI, based upon procedural rules.
2) An overture is also being prepared that will remove from the GA the ability to announce AI’s in the future.
Next, we discussed the place for and role of a conservative congregation within PC(USA). Many here love GHPC and don’t want something that someone else says elsewhere to control us. How can we remain in PC(USA) and hold the (conservative) line? We are all children of God and brothers and sisters in His church. PC(USA) needs the voice of the conservative churches. Whenever a conservative church leaves the denomination, the PC(USA) becomes proportionately more liberal. Liberal theology now outweighs conservative theology in the PC(USA), but the “slant” is really at the level of the individual Presbyteries; that is where delegates to the GA are selected. We cannot blame GA for who the commissioners are, as that decision comes from the individual presbyteries. The GA is a reflection of the combined voices of the presbyteries.
The issue of same gender marriages and attempting to re-define the Biblical definition of marriage was addressed next. The Book of Order and the Bible are both very clear on the definition of marriage. The Association of Stated Clerks reaffirms that “Scripture above all is firm on marriage between a man and a woman.” It was noted our Session can make a statement of the definition of marriage for GHPC. The Session is in charge of our church and decides who can get married. The pastor makes his decision to actually perform or not perform a service. No one can tell the pastor whom to marry; No one can force a pastor to perform same gender marriages. Regarding ordination, a church cannot be forced to have a homosexual pastor unless the congregation votes for it.
Following this, differing views on proposed divestiture from American companies doing business with Israel were presented.
We were encouraged by Rev. T. to remember that our one constant is that God has always been faithful to the church. God will continue to be the God who is faithful. Our hope has to be in God and Jesus Christ.
Our Session was asked to reflect and then tell the Resolution Team what we desired next. Many options were noted. At some point, there will be an opportunity for everyone in the congregation to speak. Our Session was asked to determine when the next meeting and with what group would occur.
The meeting was closed in prayer.
Walter J. L.
Clerk of Session, Green Hill Presbyterian Church
8 February 2015
After opening with prayer by the Moderator, specific prayer concerns were taken.
Elder Walter L. presented a devotion discussing the significance of the biblical genealogies of Christ.
Session minutes from 11 January 2015 were approved as amended.
Notes from the joint meeting between the resolution team from Presbytery and the session were reviewed and accepted. Those will be entered into a historical note book for availability to the congregation.
Teaching Elder Shuford White took the opportunity to offer his guidance for session meetings.
Rev. White requested leave … in order to take annual vacation with his brother. A supply pastor will be needed for that Sunday.
A thank you note to the staff of Green Hill Presbyterian Church was received from Mandy at Family Services for our assistance with food and utilities in 2014 as well as the Toys for Tots campaign. Additionally photographs were shown from articles that appeared in the Southeast Sun newspaper regarding this event.
A thank you card from the family of Edwin L. Fox was received.
Building and Grounds:
a. Elder M. presented an Eagle project submitted by Scout Gavin W. to enhance safety on the children’s playground. Session recommended allowing submission of the project to council, for review and approval to proceed, with the final approval of the Session pending clarifying specific materiel details of the project.
b. A loose threshold board at the entry to the sanctuary and a water leak in the main hallway were noted for repair.
a. Elder S. estimated 110 people attending the Boy Scout Sunday service and reception.
b. He is revising the Outreach Committee, and is hoping for five or six members.
1. A change to the Manual of Operations was approved clarifying eligibility to election as an Elder.
2. The following changes to Elder committee assignments were announced:
• Buildings and Grounds Committee will be shared by Elders M. and S.
• Outreach Committee will be shared by Elders M. and S.
• Elder F. currently is serving as an Elder-At-Large, but participates on several committees and heads the Alzheimer’s support group.
1. Resolution Team Visit: Members of the Session will meet Sunday, 22 February, at 2:00 PM for open discussion about the recent visit from the resolution team and to select possible dates for the next meeting with the resolution team, participants, and topics.
2. South Alabama Presbytery Meeting: 27-28 February 2015 in Gulf Shores. Commissioners: Elders L. and A.
3. Easter Sunrise Service Plans – Rev. White will coordinate directly with the pastor of Lee St. Baptist Church for this event.
4. GHPC Softball Team: Elder M. will be coaching the softball team this year.
5. Elder A. expressed a strong interest in developing a Youth Ministry.
Date/Time of next Session meeting: Sunday, 8 March 2015 at 2:00 P.M.
March Elder of the Month: Charles W.
Moderator White led the session in prayer to close the meeting.
Walter J. L.
Clerk of Session
The ladies want to thank our men for the delicious valentine breakfast they served us on February 15th. Our boxes of chocolates were so good. It is wonderful to be reminded we are loved and your special valentines.
Please mark your calendars now for our Green Hill General Gathering as we will welcome and get to know our new pastor’s sweet wife, Susan. On April 18, 2015, Susan will be our guest speaker as she shares some of her live adventures here and abroad. The CT will provide a light lunch and time of fellowship. More details will follow.
The South Alabama Spring Gathering will be April 11, 2015, at Spring Hill Church in Mobile. If you can attend, please contact Gloria W. This is the time our Mission Challenge of cotton underpants to benefit Mission Haven will be collected.
It is that time of year when we elect your next year’s Women’s coordinating team (CT). A big Thank You goes to all this year’s Coordinating Team. They have been so faithful. Please let Linda B. or the search committee know if you will serve in any capacity this year.
Due to Cursillo our April Corinthians Bible Study has a date change to April 16th.
My heart has been touched by our women’s study of 2 Corinthians. Paul had complete faith and trust in God, no matter what difficulties and suffering came his way. He points out how we, as Gods coworkers, are ambassadors for Christ, no matter where we are. We are so blessed to be given this opportunity to serve our Lord.
Our annual PW Birthday Dinner on Sunday May 3rd right after worship service. Meat, cake, and drinks, will be provided, and everyone else is asked to bring a vegetable or salad.
Looking forward to our time together again this month, on March 12th, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. Please read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. May God continue to bless and care for us.
Remember, only one life, it will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.
Your fellow coworker for the Lord,
Betty Jo B.
NEW BIBLE STUDY
April S. would like to invite anyone who is interested to her house for a Monday evening Bible Study on covenants (Covenant: God’s Enduring Promises) starting April 6th at 6:30-8:30pm. It will go for 9 weeks. It is a Lifeway Kay Arthur study that has 5 days of 1/2 hour homework between our group meetings. The workbooks are approximately $20 each. Though you get so much out of doing your homework, we will be easygoing about it. Each meeting will include group discussion time and viewing of a DVD of Kay Arthur’s teaching. If someone has to miss a session, the DVD will be available to them to check out. Please call April if you have any questions or if you’d like to come. April will order the books, so she would like to know how many to order by March 19th.
GIRL SCOUT SUNDAY
Sunday, March 8, is Girl Scout Sunday, the annual celebration of the founding of Girl Scouting in America over 100 years ago. It is also a time for Girl Scouts to be recognized in their places of worship and to focus on the meaning of “To Serve God” in the Girl Scout Promise. Our Green Hill Girl Scouts, Kendall, Makayla, and Emma, will act as ushers. We hope that the other members of Troop #9338 will be able to join us.
Included in this month’s printed version of the newsletter is a survey card that Rev. White would like each member of the church to fill out and return to the church office. It asks for information about why you came to Green Hill, why you stayed, what you like about Green Hill, and more.
If you don’t get a printed version of the newsletter, or if you lost your card, or need an extra card, there is a stack of cards available in the church narthex.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE
The annual World’s Smallest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 14, at Noon. Did you know that Lucy Klein, Green Hill’s previous Church Secretary, is the one who got the whole thing going back in 1993? After relocating to Alabama from New York, she was distressed to see that the town didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. So, she went to Kathy Souer, the head of the Chamber of Commerce. The two of them decided since Enterprise is a small town, it should host the World’s Smallest Parade. Kathy, who is of Irish decent, was the very first marcher. Lucy, who had to be out of town that day, was the Grand Marshal in absentia. She and Jim sent a telegram from their hotel in Chicago wishing everyone in Enterprise a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY FELLOWSHIP MEAL
If you are going to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Fellowship Meal on March 18, please let the church office know. Reservations slips will be available in the pew racks beginning on March 8. Slips can be dropped in either the offering plate or in the basket on the office door. Thank you.
If you are going to place a lily in the sanctuary for Easter, please let the church office know. The names of those being remembered and/or honored will be printed in the bulletin on Easter Sunday. Slips will be available in the pew racks beginning on March 22.