According to documents on the New Harmony Presbytery web site, a recommendation for the dismissal of Midway Presbyterian Church to join the EPC was made during the Oct. 8 stated meeting. A subsequent report summarizing the meeting indicated that the church was dismissed.
Located in New Zion, S.C., southeast of Sumter in Clarendon County, Midway has a membership of 98, according to figures received from Aug. 13 when the Presbytery Response Team (PRT) met with the session to complete negotiations on terms of dismissal.
During a congregational vote on Sept. 29, the 98 members of Midway voted unanimously to accept terms of dismissal and to be received as a transitional congregation of the EPC effective Oct. 8. The congregation was dismissed with its property, according to G-4.0208 of the 2011-2013 Book of Order.
That reference reads, “The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all congregations of the Presbyterian Church (USA) except that any congregation which was not subject to a similar provision of the constitution of the church of which it was a part, prior to the reunion of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has been excused from that provision of this chapter if the congregation, within a period of eight years following the establishment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), voted to be exempt from such provision in a regularly called meeting and thereafter notified the presbytery of which it was a constituent congregation of such vote. The congregation voting to be so exempt shall hold title to its property and exercise its privileges of incorporation and property ownership under the provisions of the Constitution to which it was subject immediately prior to the establishment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This paragraph may not be amended (G-6.05).”
According to terms outlined in the New Harmony PRT report, Midway agreed to release all session minutes to Columbia Theological Seminary within six months of the date of dismissal, file its statistical report to the PCUSA for 2013 and close out its financial and membership books as of the date of dismissal.
If Midway leaves the Mid-Atlantic Presbytery and EPC within a period of five years from the date of dismissal, the property reverts to New Harmony Presbytery.
Additional information was not available. Officials from Midway Presbyterian Church declined to comment about the dismissal as did officials with the presbytery.
Round Hill joins the EPC
Round Hill Presbyterian Church in Felton, Pa., was dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) during the March meeting of Donegal Presbytery to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).
During an October 2011 congregational meeting of the 78-member church located in south-central Pennsylvania, those attending voted 48-3 in favor of the session’s recommendation to engage in the policy established by the presbytery to accommodate churches seeking to leave the PCUSA and align with another Reformed body.
In January 2013, members voted 44-3 in favor of the session’s recommendation to seek dismissal and join the EPC.
The congregation was dismissed during the March 16, 2013, meeting of Donegal Presbytery and agreed to financial terms for dismissal on April 7. Round Hill was received as a member of the EPC’s Presbytery of the East on April 26, completing a process that took nearly 18 months.
Round Hill already was engaged in the presbytery’s dismissal process when the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) ruling requiring presbyteries to take property value into consideration when dismissing churches as handed down in October 2012. There was discussion in the presbytery that the congregation pay 10 percent of its assets ($48,044) to be dismissed, and that proposal was given consideration. However, the presbytery honored its policy in place at the time Round Hill entered the dismissal process in reaching a settlement.
Under the terms of dismissal agreed to by the parties, Round Hill paid $4,516.68 and agreed to pay an additional $6,000 through 2015 to support Camp Donegal ($2,000), the Columbia Presbyterian Church summer food service program ($2,000) and PCUSA missions projects ($2,000).
“It was challenging to say the least,” Round Hill Elder Ron Dorn said of the process, “but things worked out just fine and in the end, Donegal’s discernment process was very gracious. We’re really excited about being a part of the EPC, and enthusiastically look forward to fully supporting the denomination’s ministry and world outreach missions.”