A small, representative group of presbyters met in the Ryerson Fellowship Hall at First Presbyterian Church in Iowa City for the special (called) meeting of the Presbytery on Saturday, September 13, starting at 10:00 a.m. Four docketed items prompted reflection, discussion, thanksgiving and celebration.
The first item, brought by the Committee on Ministry, recommended that Teaching Elder Emory Gillespie be installed as Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. It was necessary for the body to take this action because the current presbytery guidelines for ministerial preparation, ordination, certification call and installation processes, adopted originally in October, 2007 at the 144th stated meeting and affirmed again in October of 2011 at the 156th stated meeting, follow the definitions and boundaries set by language in Chapter 14 of the 2005-2007 Book of Order. At Saturday’s meeting, the body voted unanimously to affirm this call. The installation service is tentatively set for October 14th . Congratulations to Emory Gillespie and the entire Westminster church community. May God richly bless you as this new chapter in your ministry together begins.
With profound gratitude laced with sadness, the Committee on Ministry recommended the second docket item, the dissolution of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. After a unanimous vote to approve the dissolution, Teaching Elder Tim Dyck, Knox’s most recent moderator, praised the church session for handling this dissolution process with grace and integrity, stewarding the financial and material resources wisely with a deep understanding that they were not simply acting for themselves, but were acting in trust for the larger presbytery community, the denomination, and most importantly, Christ’s ministry in this place. Teaching Elder Jim Bonewald, Knox’s last installed pastor, echoed Mr. Dyck’s thoughts, urging the Presbytery to consider keeping the building as a site and opportunity for further ministry within this neighborhood in the future.
The Presbytery Coordinating Council brought the third business item, a recommendation that the Presbytery engage Iowa Solutions, an IT company that specializes in providing support services to non-profit organizations affordably, as the IT provider to replace the current provider, Premier Technologies, as soon as is practicable. The body affirmed this motion unanimously along with a motion to direct the Stated Clerk to effect the transfer of service in coordination with Presbytery office staff.
The last docket item concerned a recommendation from the Trustees that the Presbytery concur with a request from St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Iowa City to affirm the following motion, approved by the congregation: To authorize the Session, on behalf of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, to obtain a construction loan for up to $8.5 million and a long-term loan not to exceed $6 million, from a lender to be identified later, for the purpose of constructing a new church campus at the Camp Cardinal site.
Associate Pastor Kyle Otterbein, currently serving as Presbytery Vice-Moderator and moderator of the Trustees, presented the recommendation on behalf of the Trustees, but noted in response to a question that he had not directly participated in the Trustee discussion and would recuse himself if it were necessary in future as this project progresses.
The lengthy discussion involved particular questions from the body concerning how the Presbytery as the agent of fiduciary trust would be involved with or encumbered by these loans and the real estate property, how the church planned to finance this project (specific lender, interest rate, and loan length) as well as what capital campaigns have occurred or are envisioned, and how the sale of the current property and the move to the Camp Cardinal site would help the mission and ministry of the church to move forward. Teaching Elder Matt Paul, Pastor of St. Andrew, and Ruling Elder Dr. Dan Fick, Church Treasurer, responded to these questions, prompting further consideration of the process as well as how the Presbytery could support this ministry while ensuring accountability and responsible stewardship of resources. To achieve such an outcome, the body approved an amended version of the above motion to read as follows: To authorize the Session, on behalf of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, to obtain a construction loan for up to $8.5 million and a long-term loan not to exceed $6 million, from a lender to be identified later, for the purpose of constructing a new church campus at the Camp Cardinal site, subject to final approval of the Presbytery of East Iowa and to empower the Trustees to act on behalf of the Presbytery of East Iowa for this issue only.
This meeting then adjourned with prayer at 11:01 a.m. Please contact Stated Clerk Rebecca Blair
if you have further questions about this called meeting. The next stated meeting of the Presbytery will take place at United Presbyterian Church in Washington, Iowa on October 7th, starting with registration at 2:30 p.m. George Abu Eid, international peacemaker, will present a pre-presbytery workshop, beginning at 3:00 p.m.