american presbytery short report for
Held by conference call
· The special meeting of the American Presbytery, via teleconference, was called to order by Teaching Elder Geoff Donnan of the convening church at 7:15 PM. Pastor Poettcker opened with prayer.
· Roll Call of members was taken and a declaration of Quorum was made.
· Teaching Elder Geoff Donnan was elected as moderator, Ruling Elder Jerry Clay was elected as secretary, Teaching Elder Dan Gibson was elected as preparer of the short report.
· One communication was received from CRPC – Janesville regarding the censure of Justin Stodghill and it was decided to add the censure in the minutes of this presbytery meeting and to include it in the Short Report. (See below)
It was decided to add a new section nine to DCO Chapter 30 to read
· On docket was the question of changing the date and time of the next scheduled meeting of the American Presbytery to accommodate a church that has stated their intent to withdraw from the CRPC. But since that church did not attend presbytery nor asked for a change of the meeting, the date and place was left unchanged.
· It was determined that the next meeting will be at King’s Presbyterian Church, on Nov. 5-7 in Palm Bay, Florida.
· The meeting was adjourned with prayer by Teaching Elder Dan Gibson at 6:33 PM.
Dan Gibson, Preparer of the Short Report
COVENANT REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
July 5, 2007
To all CRPC Congregational Presbyteries
Notice is hereby given according to DCD Chapter 13, section 27 which states:
The most severe form of censure is excommunication and should be used only in cases of persistent impenitence and matters requiring capital sanction in the law of God or heresy. It is a solemn declaration by the court that the offender is no longer a member of the body of Christ. In the case of a minister of the Word, if an announcement has not previously been made, the trial court shall declare the pulpit vacant, the pastoral ties dissolved and the sentence shall be read before the congregation. Such shall be announced to all presbyteries of the CRPC, and read in all the churches and the individual shall cease from preaching or teaching duties or the exercise of other privileges of his office anywhere.
Enclosed is a copy of Justin Stoghill’s censure of excommunication and a letter sent to him before censure was to be determined.
For God's Glory
Clerk of the court
COVENANT REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
July 3, 2007
Subject: Notice of the Censure of Excommunication
On June 30, 2007 this Court took up the matter of your censure pursuant to DCD Chapter 13 on the five charges of which you have previously been convicted.
The Court noted that you had been served notice of the date and time and place of meeting, were offered opportunity to meet with the court prior to the formal proceeding and you were informed that any showing of repentance on your part would be weighed in our decision regarding your censure. However, even though you had a positive duty to attend, you failed to appear or make any excuse for your absence. Therefore, finding only a continuation of your contumacy and seeing no evidence of repentance we proceeded to pronounce censure according to our duty.
The Court finds that your persistent impenitence required the pronouncement of your excommunication from the Church of Christ pursuant to Scripture and our DCD Chapter 13, Section 27. You are further ordered, as per the same section, that you shall “cease from preaching or teaching duties or the exercise of other privileges of his (your) office anywhere”.
As per DCD 13, Section 30, you may not resume office without being ordained again. DCD 13, Section 12 further instructs you that, “Once excommicate, the offender may not be relieved of his condemnation unless he be made right with the church which has condemned him or the broader court which has oversight of the church in such cases”.
Now Justin, we do not want to end this correspondence without once again speaking to you pastorally. No one has ever been properly excommunicated for the conduct that led to his discipline. Rather, all are excommunicated for their persistent contumacy. Should one be confronted with sin, confess it and demonstrates the fruit of repentance, neither a trial nor excommunication would properly follow.
It has been many months since your Session confronted you yet you have chosen a course of belligerence and bitterness which only deepened over time. Surely we are imperfect yet our desire was for the peace of the church and your welfare. However, you have resisted all of our attempts and have set a course for yourself (possibly by the counsel of others) which has led you inexorably to this dreadful consequence. The good news is: while you cannot change your beginning, you can change your ending. God is faithful to forgive those who confess their sins and forsake them.
Excommunication is the gracious precursor to recommunication and that is our attitude; one of hope for you in exercising our solemn duty to impose this censure on you. Discipline is intended by God as a gracious exercise for the restoration of a brother, so please do not despair or allow the devil to give you an evil mind toward these actions and summarily dismiss your condition as hopeless and you broken relationship as irresolvable. Quite the contrary, we long for the time, and hope it comes very soon, when real, genuine and demonstrable repentance will be forthcoming from you and that we will be able to have the joy of returning you to the communion of our church. As the gravity of these actions which we have longed and worked to avoid begin to sink in, keep in mind that we have taken this path out of duty to Christ and love for you and His church.
As always, we remain willing to meet with you personally to answer any questions you may have and to counsel you as to how you may be restored. Please don’t hesitate to call. We remain your servants for Christ’s sake.
Jerry Clay, Clerk of Court