Session Meetings

First Press - Newsletter

Session Meetings

 

October Session Meeting

Bullet Points from Your Session’s October 2015 Meeting:

  • Your Session spent the first twenty minutes in small group prayer, using the ‘ACTS’ scheme: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
  • The Personnel Committee reported on the ongoing efforts to fill key leadership positions in our new organizational structure. Please pray that God will raise up those elders and others to chair the key positions, which will be discussed in November.
  • Stewardship & Finance reported that this year’s Stewardship Campaign will kick off on November 8th, and the theme will be “Rediscovering our Future.” Finances were somewhat down in September but were tracking with last year’s giving patterns. As our future direction becomes clearer, we anticipate that the resulting stability will increase giving which at this time may be being held back temporarily.
  • The Property Committee made two requests for funding for needed building maintenance. First, for approximately $32 thousand dollars, to address serious drainage issues causing water to leak into our building along the southeast side. This has been causing damage to carpeting and has required rooms to be closed. Second, our telephone system has failed and is not able to handle voice mail. After significant research, the entire phone system needs to be completely replaced and updated, which will allow flexibility in the future as well. The cost for this is approximately $40 thousand dollars. Both requests were approved.
  • The Session received a report from the Church Relations Committee, which after years of prayer and thoughtful planning and discussion, resulted in a series of motions:

The Session of First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio approved and recommended that the congregation adopt the following resolutions:

  1. That First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio terminate our voluntary affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
  1. That First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio petition A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) for voluntary affiliation, and so affiliate, if approved.
  1. That First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio reaffirm and ratify its previous elders and deacons, both active and those on rotation; the officer nominating committee; and the terms of call of all ordained staff wishing to remain employed by First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio.

Further, The Session set:

  1. October 25th after the 11:00 o’clock worship service for a congregational informational meeting, to be led by the Church Relations Committee, to discuss these issues.
  1. November the 1st after the combined 11:00 o’clock worship service for a congregational meeting to vote on the above three resolutions according to our church’s by-laws.

Your Session also approved a packet of informational materials to be distributed to aid members in better understanding the reasons behind these actions and the implications of the choices before us. Please look for this packet in your U.S. mail, your e-mail and on our website, fpcsanantonio.org.

Tripp Stuart, Clerk of Your Session

 

September Session Meeting

Bullet Points from Your Session’s September 2015 Meeting:

    • Your Session spent the first twenty minutes in small group prayer, using the ‘ACTS’ scheme: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.
    •  The Personnel Committee reported that three of our empty positions have been filled! Please join us in welcoming:
      1.) Alex Solorio, our University Ministry Associate
      2.) Kevin Dailey, our Contemporary Music Leader
      3.) Hank Cherry, our Communications Director.
      We are still searching for our Minister of Christian Education.
    •  Stewardship & Finance reported that this summer was the first in many years that we did not have to dip into the operating reserve fund to borrow money to make up for the summer doldrums in giving. However, that was due mainly to the fact that we have less ministerial staff salaries to pay at this time. Please continue to be faithful in your giving, as our call and our ministries in service to Christ’s Kingdom continue! This year’s Stewardship Campaign will kick off on November 5th, and the theme will be “Rediscovering our Future.”
    •  Janet Slayden reported that the official third party audit of our church’s finances was completed, was successful, and that our financial accounting was found to be in order.
    •  The Session received a report from the Church Relations Committee, which proposed a letter which the Session approved, as a response to the letter we had received from the Session of University Presbyterian. An update on the progress of our property litigation suit was also presented. All of these documents will be e-mailed to our members and be available on our website.Tripp Stuart, Clerk of Your Session

Session Resolution in Gratitude for the Life of Ralph E. Lehr:
Click here for the full Session Resolution.


June Session Meeting

Bullet Points from Your Session’s June 2015 Meeting:

      • The Session approved a new organizational plan for the church which was designed by a special task force of the Personnel Committee. The plan is built around Purpose rather than Function. It will allow Session members true responsibility for their committees and allow pastors more time to devote to pastoral duties. The plan will also guide us as we begin to define and refill our empty pastor positions.

      • The Session heard an encouraging report from the Stewardship & Finance Committee that giving is up. The budget will eventually be re-worked to match the changes in Church organization, and will become a Mission-based budget.

      • The Church Relations Committee will host several informational “Gatherings” which will provide information and discussion on two of the critical issues we are facing as a congregation:
        1) Can we keep our property? and
        2) Where might we go if we decide to leave the PC(USA) denomination? Look for announcements in the near future concerning the schedule for these important meetings.

      • The Session, acting in concert with a request from the Global Missions Committee, approved $50,000.00 to be added to $10,000.00 already earmarked to build two sorely needed bakeries to serve the Yazidis in Iraq.

 

April Session Meeting

Bullet Points from Your Session’s April 2015 Meeting:

    • The Personnel Committee, with the concurrence of the Stewardship and Finance Committee, made a motion to amend the Interim Pastor Employment Contract between First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio and the Rev. Doctor Ron W. Scates to reflect an increase in the Salary and Housing allowance terms from the specified $120,000 per annum to $150,000 per annum, effective April 6, 2015, this was unanimously approved by the Session.
    • March donations to the church were not quite as robust as had been hoped for. Despite this, Stewardship and Finance did approve the release of 1st Quarter benevolences in the amount of $166,002.17, to be distributed per the pre-approved schedule of 15% to Benevolence and Oversight, 40% to Global Missions, and 45% to Local Missions.
    • The Session approved an email voting policy, for those non-controversial decisions and votes which are time sensitive.

 

The Session received a report for the Church Relations Committee, which plans to have another meeting with representatives of Mission Presbytery, later in April.

 

 

March Session Meeting

Bullet Points from Your Session’s March 2015 meeting:

    • The Session heard a report that Mission Presbytery had approved – 212 to 142 – an amendment to The Book of Order to change the definition of marriage from “one man and one woman” to “two people.” (As of Tuesday, March 17, 2015, the majority of presbyteries needed to approve the amendment across the PC(USA) had been achieved.)
    • The Session formed a Task Force at the suggestion of the Personnel Committee to redesign our church’s organizational chart, to be approved by the Session to best support our ministries and to guide our search for new associate ministers in the future.
    • The Stewardship & Finance committee reported that we were behind in collections as of February, but they were closely monitoring the decrease in giving.
    • The Benevolence & Oversight committee successfully brought a motion for FPC to divert our voluntary per capita payments from The Synod of the Sun and The General Assembly to The Fellowship (of Presbyterians) Community, due to the fact that Mission Presbytery had decreased their own funding to the higher governing bodies and due to the fact that The General Assembly is currently being investigated for possible misappropriation of funds. The Session in April of 2014 had approved and published the statement that “Going forward, the session intends to give increased scrutiny to denominational funding that does not align with our theological convictions.”
    • The Session strongly supported Reverend Ron Scates’ letter to the congregation and stood by him while voicing their own disappointment that the amendment to the Book of Order regarding marriage had passed in that it was contrary to our local church’s historic beliefs, contrary to the Directory of Worship, contrary to the Constitution of the PC(USA) as found in our Book of Confessions, and most importantly, contrary to the authority of Scripture. The statement by the Session will be mailed to the congregation as well as published in First Press and on our website.

 

February Session Meeting

Minutes in Seconds

At the Stated Session Meeting on February 9 the following business items were conducted:

    • The meeting was moderated by the Rev. John H. Seiders as appointed by the Rev. Dr. Ronald W. Scates.
    • Elder Chuck Bunn opened the meeting in prayer.
    • The Session approved the items on the Consent Agenda including: the approval of minutes from previous Session meetings, the review and approval of minutes of previous Deacons’ meetings, changes to the Church Register, and received the minutes of Session Committees.
    • The Clerk reported on correspondence and other details.
    • Committee Reports were given by the following committees:
      • Personnel – Elder Buddy Johnson (Chair) reported on the details of the dissolution of the respective calls of the Rev. Dr. Ruthie Seiders and the Rev. John H. Seiders; reviewed the current organizational chart and noting reporting and supervision responsibilities after Ruthie and John Seiders depart; and, urged Session members to step up in their roles as we enter this season of ministry transition.
      • Stewardship and Finance – Elder Butch Gerfers (Chair) reviewed the final 2014 financial report indicating a surplus in excess of $2,000; received approval of the Session to apply the entire overage to the previous year’s deficit; and, addressed the current status of the 2015 budget.
      • Worship – Elder Ed Moore (Chair) noted the good work of the Interim Contemporary Worship Leader (Samuel Pitamber); gave and update of the search for a permanent Contemporary Worship Leader; and, spoke about the possibility of a new hymnbook.
      • University and Young Adults – Elder Brian Biggs (Chair) gave a brief report.
      • Church Relation – Elder Dirk DeKoch (Chair) introduced the report and asked committee member George Spencer to review the report which contained four separate motions: one which provides survey information for elders to review, one for authorization of committee members to meet with representatives of Mission Presbytery regarding the survey results, one which is an official Wedding Policy, and one to provide a task force to prepare and recommend a policy for the election of officers at FPC. All the motions were passed.
    • New Business included approval of the 2014 Statistical Report; the setting of the date of April 12 for the Annual Congregational Meeting; and the setting of the date of May 31 at the 11:00 Traditional Service for the Ordination and Installation of new officers.
    • Several announcements were made: the March Stated Meeting of Session will be on March 16 and the Mission Presbytery Meeting will take place at the Parkway Presbyterian Church in Corpus Christi on March 6 and 7.
    • The meeting was adjourned in prayer by the Rev. Dr. Ruthie Seiders.

 

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