In a called meeting, the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Aurora, Ill. voted to cancel the congregational meeting previously called for September 14. At that meeting the congregation was scheduled to vote on whether or not to seek dismissal from the Presbyterian Church (USA). The Session also cancelled two town hall meetings that were to be held leading up to the September 14 vote.
Rev. Charles Legvold, in an email announcing the cancellations said, “The reason for the decision is simple mathematics. Since we have been bound to base the required 75% supermajority vote on the last officially reported membership number of 313, rather than our actual current membership of 233, there is no possible way to meet the supermajority.”
Doing the math one sees the bind: 75% of 313 is 234, which is one vote more than Westminster Aurora actually has on the rolls at present. The vote could not possibly succeed, even with 100% affirmative participation of the entire current membership.
When it comes to presbytery dismissal policies, the devil is almost always in the details.
“presbytery dismissal policies, the devil”
In addition to being out of control liberals, the PCUSA is inflexible & heartless.
In other news, the Presbytery has graciously agreed to allow the church to pay Per Capita on the actual number of current members rather than the artificial number being leveraged against it to keep the vote from succeeding.**
**DISCLAIMER That’s a joke, I don’t actually know anything about the situation.
This is why churches must clean the rolls on an annual basis. Not because they may decide leave, but because you’re paying per capita on ghost members who no longer fulfill the requirements of membership. These requirements include participating in the congregational life of the church, as well as supporting its ministries through donations of time, talents, and funds.
All this does is cause the church, if it is diligent in paying per capita, to pay more than it has to out of operating funds.
The Presbytery thinks its clever.
Since when does “clever” trump inalienable rights of conscience regarding religion?
To be honest, the presbytery is following the letter of the law, that is, the established dismissal process within Blackhawk Presbytery. So be it. The Session and congregation will now have more time to pray, educate and prepare for what’s next. By the way, dear friends at the Layman, it would be nice if you would spell my name correctly!
As the Rev’d Mr. Legvold (please notice, sir, I got your name right) pointed out, the presbytery is following the letter of the law and he seems accepting of it; certainly it may well be that God is allowing some more time to educate and discuss the matter so that it might be done with less disruption to the congregation.
This is just one example of why rolls should be kept accurate.
Excuse me, the Rev’d Dr. Legvold.
@ Moor – that was funny.
@ Chuck – the Presbytery only follows the letter of the laws when it is convenient for them.
Regardless, I pray your vote happens, goes well, and your consciences are not held hostage to polity in the meantime.
You may well be right, Frank. But for now, we will use this time to educate, pray and continue the gospel mission we have been given. Sometimes, I have discovered, God also says, “Not yet.” I perceive this to be one of those times. We are seeking to exercise His patience and grace as we do so.
Since lawlessness is the order of the day, why cannot your church Rev. Chuck just leave the pcusa organization, declare yourselves free from anything the pcusa organization would hold on your church, that is, the property, take what you have and move on???? I say this because we have a great example of lawlessness, Washington DC where the person in the White House is the outlaw of outlaws doing what is felt right, and since the pcusa organization is no longer a church, you people are free to do what you need to do to preach the Gospel of Christ. The Trust
clause is null and void, only applies to a Biblical church which the pcusa is not, the pcusa is apostate.
Perhaps the Westminster Presbyterian Church could purge its rolls of departed members, submit a new reduced membership population and try again.
The PCUSA’s poisonous apostate policies and positions are likely to be the reason there has been such a decline in membership. If the Westminster Presbyterian Church does not get away from the PCUSA, then it is likely to continue to lose members and eventually become a dead congregation. Its survival may depend on getting clear of the PCUSA.
The solution to this small detail seems very simple to me. If the vote must be from the last officially reported membership, then go ahead and officially report the new actual membership. Then you will have the correct membership officially reported. Surely a valud membership may be officially reported at any particular time.
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
— Luke 16:1-13, King James Bible
Official membership statistics are reported at the end of each calendar year, via the annual report to the GA, and hold true for the following calendar year.
Unless you want to bow down to the Pope in Louisville, Official membership is the number of members you have on the books at any given time, period.