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Grace Presbytery » Summary of May Stated Presbytery Meeting

Summary of May Stated Presbytery Meeting

The following items are highlights from the May 26, 2016 Stated Presbytery Meeting at Trinity Presbyterian Church, McKinney. The booklet for the May 26 Stated Presbytery Meeting is available on the Grace Presbytery website.


Ministry and Mission Reports

United African Presbyterian Church, Dallas – Rev. Julius Edah presented information about the reconstruction, renovation, and recent dedication of their new church. The facility, located on Crown Road, was in poor condition and in need of much repair at the time of initial inspection in the spring of 2014. After much work on the foundation, floors, electrical wiring, HVAC, plumbing, interior doors, walls, ceiling, exterior walls and trim, windows, parking lot, driveway, and sidewalks, the building was ready to be a new church home. They began ministry in August 2015 and held their dedication service, in which presbytery representatives, participated, on April 17. Grace Presbytery provided 100% of the renovation costs.

Brazilian New Church Development – Antonio Oliveira, CRE, and his wife, Maisa, led a performance of “How Great is our God” to introduce a presentation on their Brazilian NCD in The Colony. He said they are “living and communicating intensely the kingdom of God’s values” and they strive to “be a relevant church in our community through service, love, and worship as a result of our calling in Christ’s sake.”

First Presbyterian Church, Fort Worth – Rev. Robyn Michalove and Leah Wyckoff discussed the “Worship on Wednesdays!” ministry. WOW! is a community, evangelical ministry in a diverse neighborhood on Wednesday evenings (5:30-7:30 pm). The ministry is in its 10th year. This ministry has three components: 1. participatory worship around tables (communion once a month, worship band); 2. shared community (free) meal (conversation encouraged); and 3. Bible classes for all ages (children, youth, adults) where participants study Scripture and encourage one another in their faith journeys. WOW! began as an outreach of Hemphill Presbyterian, at that time a fellowship of First Fort Worth.  At that time there was an afterschool program with 30 elementary students, but there needed to be a way to reach their families. In 2011, WOW! moved to a new building nearby called Community Crossroads, which houses the dental clinic, food pantry, clothing closet and formula and diapers ministry. New participants came both through relationships with the after school program and by word of mouth. WOW! begins with worship. And while worship attendance is not required in order to enjoy the meal, the worship growth continues to increase as people find that this is a hospitable place to share faith, and some would even call it their church home.


Reports and Recognition

General Presbyter’s Report – Rev. Jan DeVries asked four of the 10 people who were on the recent Israel/Palestine trip to share their reflections: Elizabeth Callender, pastor at Bentwood Trail Presbyterian Church, Dallas; Jimmy Chapman, Ruling Elder and COM Consultant at First Presbyterian Church, Henderson; Gordon Blackmon, pastor at Alpine Presbyterian Church, Longview; and Ruling Elder Gail Fekel of First Presbyterian Church of Grapevine. One by one, the participants told stories of Palestinians being oppressed by Jewish settlers, of Palestinian land being taken away, of military checkpoints, of walls separating Palestinian families from their farm land. They also told stories of strength and inspiration. They met their tour guide, Ibrahim (Abraham in English), who describes himself as an Arab Palestinian Christian, who struggles to make a living with the restrictions imposed on him and his family. They met Jonathan Cook, a British writer and author who chronicles the plight of the Palestinians. They also met with Rabbi Ron Kronish at the office of Rabbis for Human Rights. The group also visited many of the places we are familiar with, such as Bethlehem, Church of the Beatitudes, Sea of Galilee, Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, the Dead Sea, and more. Any participant of this recent trip is available to speak to churches, sessions, and other groups about their experience.

Texas Presbyterian Foundation – Rev. Rick Young, President & CEO of Texas Presbyterian Foundation, explained the work they do and the partnerships they have created. The TPF helps organizations and individuals manage Christian philanthropy. They have been in existence for nearly 100 years. TPF has a Board of Trustees with elected volunteers who oversee the organization. The board includes representation from 6 of TPF’s founding institutions, including Austin College, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, Presbyterian Pan American School, Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly, and Schreiner University.

Synod of the Sun – Rev. Diane Baldwin discussed some of their recent activities, including a training workshop and an online stated meeting. The Synod provides some funding for Synod Youth Workshop (facilitated by Grace Presbytery’s Gary Holloman, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries), scheduled for week at the University of Tulsa from July 26-31.  The synod is a network of Presbyterians from 11 Presbyteries, about 800 congregations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, representing more than 157,000 members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Encuentro VIII National Hispanic PW Triennial Conference – Ruling Elder Ruth Roman-Meza invited everyone, men and women, to this national conference in Fort Worth. The objective of this conference is to connect, grow, and serve. The goals of this conference are aligned with those of Presbyterian Women worldwide: enhancing diversity, promoting leadership development, and building bridges. This conference will be July 22 – 24 at the Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth.

General Assembly Coordinator for Christian Volunteers in Thailand (CVT) – Rev. Sharon L. Bryant, a member of Grace Presbytery and who has been a Mission Co-Worker in Thailand since 2011, presented information about Christian Volunteers in Thailand, which is organized by the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). Sharon grew up in Thailand as the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries. Today, she helps place volunteer English teachers in 25 schools supported by the CCT, orienting and equipping the volunteers, visiting them and the schools regularly, and ensuring the overall smooth functioning of the Christian Volunteers Thailand Program (CVT). By expanding English offerings, the CCT hopes to strengthen the church’s witness as it gives Thai students an important tool for success in academia and international commerce. Sharon encouraged members of Grace Presbytery to volunteer for a placement in a school.

Recognition of Earth Care Congregations – Kelly Yeager-Chadwick presented certificates to churches in Grace Presbytery that have been recognized as Earth Care Congregations for 2016:

  • Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, Richardson
  • Central Presbyterian Church, Waxahachie
  • Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Bedford
  • First Presbyterian Church, Henderson
  • First Presbyterian Church, Richardson
  • First Presbyterian Church, Waco
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church, Denton
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church, McKinney
  • United Presbyterian Church, Cleburne

Earth Care Congregations is a certification program to celebrate and recognize Presbyterian churches for their care for creation, as outlined in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” To become certified as Earth Care Congregations, churches take the “Earth Care Pledge” and complete activities and projects in the fields of worship, education, facilities and outreach. Visit the Earth Care Congregations website to learn more.


Committee on Preparation for Ministry


Grace Presbytery received Candidate Jennifer Bluestein (Grapevine, First) from Arkansas Presbytery and enrolled her as a Candidate of Grace Presbytery, certified ready to receive a call, for Teaching Elder in the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Jen Bluestein is transferring her care as a Candidate, certified ready to receive a call to Grace Presbytery from the Presbytery of Arkansas. Jen first sensed her call to ministry while working as the director of children’s ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Bentonville, Arkansas. She completed her Master of Divinity degree at Phillips Theological Seminary while serving as a pastoral intern at First Presbyterian Church in Springdale, Arkansas and as pulpit supply at several churches in northwest Arkansas. Jen is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Pastoral Theology at Brite Divinity School. She has been active at First Presbyterian Church, Grapevine for three years and is a part-time chaplain at Cook Children’s Medical Center and Texas Health Alliance in Fort Worth. She and her husband, Mark, have two children, Emma and Ryan.


Grace Presbytery enrolled Leslie Miner (Grapevine, First) as an Inquirer for Teaching Elder in the Ministry of Word and Sacrament. Leslie Miner has taught all levels of Sunday school, including adults and Vacation Bible School. Leslie has worked behind the scenes at First Presbyterian Church, Grapevine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from University of Texas at San Antonio, a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Anatomy, and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Parker College of Chiropractic. Leslie is currently completing a Master of Divinity degree at Brite Divinity School while continuing to practice Chiropractic, Acupuncture and the healing arts.


Welcome to New Teaching Elder

Rev. Dr. James Johns – He is transferring to Grace Presbytery from Coastal Carolina Presbytery and has accepted the position of Interim Pastor at Faith United Presbyterian Church, Farmers Branch. Jim has a background in retail management and construction, and earned his Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Born a “cradle Presbyterian,” Jim considers himself slow to answer his call to ministry. He began work on his Master of Divinity degree at the age of 45 at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree at Union Presbyterian Seminary, and served his first church, Montpelier Presbyterian Church in Wagram, North Carolina. After 14 years as installed pastor of Indian Trail Presbyterian Church, he began his career as an interim pastor at Carolina Beach Presbyterian Church. Jim is excited to come to Texas and looks forward to helping Faith United with the developmental tasks of a transitioning church.


Approval of Terms of Call

Rev. Chris Campbell – Approved the terms of call for Rev. Chris Campbell as Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Arlington beginning July 1. He was previously Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church of Greenville.


Honorable Retirements

Grace Presbytery approved the honorable retirements of:

Rev. Anne Cameron – She was ordained May 27, 2004 at First Presbyterian Church in Georgetown, Texas, which is in Mission Presbytery. Her retirement date is May 26, 2016. Anne graduated with a B.A. in Psychology/Philosophy in 1979 from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1984 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She completed her Masters of Divinity from Austin Seminary, in 2004. Her professional services include: Private Psychology Practice, Austin (1987-2000); Intern and Pastoral Associate of Round Rock Presbyterian Church in Round Rock, Texas (2002-2004); Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas (2004-2007); Pastor of Lake Highlands Presbyterian in Dallas (2007-2013); Interim Director of Missions at Canyon Creek Presbyterian in Richardson (2013-2015); Adjunct Lecturer in the Psychology Department at Southern Methodist University (2013-2015); and Adjunct Lecturer at the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (2015-present). Her family includes husband George Holden, children Meg (29), John (25), and Paul (21). Anne’s retirement plans include SMU Lectureship, teaching hand weaving and continuing her handwoven business, selling handwovens, travel, and writing.

Rev. John F. Tolson – He was ordained in 1969 at First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport, Louisiana by the Presbytery of the Pines. His retirement date is April 30, 2016. John earned degrees from Northern Arizona College in Flagstaff, Arizona (1962-1964), William Carey College in Hattiesburg, Mississippi (1964-1966), Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia (1966-1969), and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California (1975-1980). His professional services included Youth Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport (1969-1972); Youth Ministry at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss. (1972-1974); Youth Ministry at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas (1974-1978); Men’s Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Houston (1978-1983); Men’s Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Orlando, Florida (1983-2004); and Men’s Ministry at Highland Park Presbyterian Church as a Parish Associate (2004-2011). His first wife, Ruth Anne, died in 1999. He was married to Punky in 2002. He has a son, a daughter, and three granddaughters. John’s retirement plans are to make disciple makers around the country and to implement a plan to share a winsome presentation of the good news of Christ to every man in America in the next 10 years.

Rev. Richard William Selby – He was ordained April 26, 1972 in Berwyn, Illinois by Chicago Presbytery. His retirement date is July 31, 2016. Richard received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from North Park College, Chicago in 1968; a Master of Divinity in English Bible and Communications from McCormick Seminary, Chicago in 1972; and a Doctor of Ministry in Proclamation and Worship from Austin Seminary in 1996. His professional services include Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, Texas, (2002-2016); Pastor of Ridgeview Presbyterian Church, Farmers Branch (1994-2002); Pastor of Sinton Presbyterian Church, Sinton, Texas (1987-1994); Pastor of St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Austin (1981-1985); Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Kouts, Indiana, (1975-1981); and Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church, Albion, Iowa, and the United Church of Christ of Clemons, Iowa (1972-1975). He and his wife, Beverly, have four children and 10 grandchildren. Richard plans to “test drive” retirement for a few months. He said, “That time will also be used as a time for discernment to listen for a call to what my next form or forms of ministry will be, professional or volunteer.”

Rev. Glen John Hunihan – He was ordained December 2, 2007 at Faithbridge Presbyterian Church, Frisco by Grace Presbytery. His retirement date is July 31, 2016. Glen received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Paper Engineering in 1972 from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. Glen graduated with a Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia in 2007. He served as Organizing Pastor of Legacy Presbyterian Church, Frisco. Before his call to ministry, he worked more than 30 years in flexible packaging and ended his secular career as President/COO/Part Owner of a privately owned, multinational corporation. He also held engineering, manufacturing, sales, and executive management positions. As a Ruling Elder, Glen was involved in several new church developments in North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, and Georgia for the 10 years prior to graduating from seminary. Glen and his wife, Linda, have two children and three grandchildren. His retirement plans include extended travel to rekindle relationships with family and friends and spending time “discerning God’s future leading as to where I might be called to serve and use my gifts.”


Teaching Elders Completing Service

The following Teaching Elders were recognized for completing service: Rev. Charles Somervill, HR; Rev. Elizabeth Lockhart (Trinity Presbyterian Church, Mansfield; Rev. Julie Riley (Lake Highlands Presbyterian Church, Dallas); Rev. Ellen Dittman (Stated Supply Associate Pastor at Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church, Richardson).


Ordination Anniversaries

Grace Presbytery recognized many people in the year of the ordination anniversaries:

20 Year: Melinda A. Veatch – June 30, 1996

25 Year: Kofi Adzaku – April 28, 1991

30 Year: Nancy Secrest Christy HR – June 8, 1986 and Horacio G. Quiroz – April 6, 1986

40 Year: Ronnie Holloman – June 20, 1976, Jimmie Johnson HR – June 20, 1976, Michael L. Rutledge HR – May 9, 1976, and Larry S. Tyler HR – June 20, 1976

45 Year: Robert H. Bullock, Jr. HR – June 6, 1971 and Calixto C. Sodoy HR – April 17, 1971

50 Year: Louis W. Adams HR – June 1, 1966, William Benner HR – June 26, 1966, George W. Hunt HR – June 19, 1966, and Roger T. Quillin HR – June 19, 1966

55 Year: Charles A. Taylor HR – June 4, 1961

60 Year: Benjamin F. Gutierrez HR – June 24, 1956 and Ralph E. Person HR – June 19, 1956

65 Year: Alvin J. Brunn HR – May 11, 1951 and Edward Dodson HR – May 20, 1951


Motions from the Stated Clerk

Standing Rule Changes

  1. That Grace Presbytery adopt the following change in the Standing Rules and Manual of Administrative Operations. (This amendment is recommended by the Examinations and Admissions Subcommittee of the Committee on Ministry.) This motion was adopted, and the committee has been renamed Examinations Committee. The duties of the renamed committee were changed to reflect the role and activities of the committee.
  2. That Grace Presbytery adopt the following change in the Standing Rules and Manual of Administrative Operations. (This amendment is recommended by the Stated Clerk.)

This motion was adopted. The motion changes the notification time for proposed standing rule amendments from 45 days to 10 days.

New Business

Two items of new business were proposed concerning the Commission on Ruling Elders which propose transferring oversight of people preparing to become Commissioned Ruling Elders from the Examinations Committee to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry (CPM). This new business was postponed until the October 6 Presbytery Meeting.

Financial Reports

This report included the Balance Sheet for March 31, 2016, Income Statement as of March 31, 2016, and Shared Mission Support Report for March 31, 2016. Details of the financial report are on pages 49 – 56 of the Presbytery Meeting Booklet, which is on the Grace Presbytery website.