Highlights from recent Session meetings:
Please note that the Session meeting is always open for members to attend and the Minutes (records) are public and available for any member of the church to read and may be found in the church office.
Stated Session Meeting (September 25, 2017):
Below is a recap of items of interest from the September 25, 2017 Session Meeting. Full minutes of all session meetings are available in the church office once approved by the session (the following month).
- The session received a report from the membership assessment task force regarding their efforts to contact members of FPC who no longer living in our community and have not participated at FPC in many years. Multiple attempts to contact these members have been made. Several responses have been received, but many return envelopes confirmed we do not have current contact information. Forty-six names were presented and voted by the session for removal from our rolls.
- The session welcomed Pastor Bud Branscom and elder Eddy Carter from Marthina Chapel. Bud shared the history of Marthina Chapel and gave us an update on activities there. It was a blessing to celebrate the connection of our two congregations.
- Facility Use Policy, Facility Application Form, and Facility Fee Schedules were presented, with a motion for approval. The motion was tabled to allow time for thorough review, with the vote to take place at the October session meeting.
- Worship Committee proposed One Worship services for Sunday, December 24 and Sunday, December 31, with approval by the session.
- HR committee presented a Personnel Files Policy. The committee moved for approval. The motion was tabled to allow time for thorough review, with the vote to take place at the October session meeting.
- The Finance committee shared current financial information for session review.
- The session closed in prayer, praying specifically for our congregation, our church, those affected by recent hurricanes, those ill in our community of faith, and our pastor nominating committee.
Stated Session Meeting (August 28, 2017):
“Besides addressing agenda items and voting on committee recommendations, this meeting was conducted in two parts: listening to and addressing concerns that were brought to our attention by Mark Mervis, Moderator of the Deacons and Praise Team member, and Brian Miller, followed by a long-ranging, introspective discussion on how the session is accountable for these situations which have arisen recently. The questions and concerns raised were mainly related to the session’s official responses to the resignations of Stuart Wilson and Shannan Miller, and the session’s responsibility in each of these occurrences.
The session appreciated the issues raised and recognized that the discussions triggered by this inquiry exposed shortcomings in terms of recent actions and inactions. Stuart Wilson’s resignation preceded the session’s vote on the HR committee’s recommendation to extend his contract. The difficulty in issuing a statement is because we were not informed at all about the reason(s) for Stuart’s resignation. With regard to Shannan’s resignation, we acknowledged as a session that we had failed to act with the urgency deserved to requests she had made and, in turn, had not actively and adequately supported the visions and needs of the 8:30 service over the course of many years. We unanimously agreed that we needed to change this to prevent such from ever happening again. We immediately set forth to do so.
Following this, a dissection of the session’s shortcomings with regard to the handling in such situations was conducted, and action items were proposed to provide greater transparency (this summary being one). Most of all, session members agreed unanimously that we had fallen short of our duties and pledged to work to initiate mechanisms of greater accountability and urgency in our responses. For one, the session voted immediately that representation on committees be intentional such that the 8:30 and 11:00 services are equally represented. It was also decided that an announcement on the progress of the Pastor Nominating Committee and on these resignations will be made at both services in the next two Sundays.
In summary, the session met these challenging discussions head-on and, with unity of spirit, challenged each other on what went wrong and on appropriate corrective actions. Our three and a half hour meeting concluded in prayer for our congregation, our staff, the Miller family, the Wilson family, and God’s grace and blessing on FPC and our community of faith.”