Final Discernment Vote
On Sept. 24, 2017 at 10:45 AM (after our one worship service that morning) the Session has called a special congregational meeting for the purpose of voting on motions related to the Session’s unanimous recommendation that PCBW accept the terms of dismissal negotiated with the Presbytery of Kendall, and be dismissed to ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. While only PCBW members are eligible to officially vote at that meeting, the Session will also be taking an advisory vote of affiliate members and attenders.
We’ve made this recommendation because we believe this is God’s leading for this church - for a number of different reasons.
- Because we believe ECO’s theological “essential tenets” are in better alignment with our core beliefs, and will provide a more solid foundation for our future as a church.
- Because we believe ECO will bring us into a denomination whose mission is in better alignment with our sense of calling as a church.
- Because moving to ECO will allow us as a church to exercise control of our property as we see fit, and give us more flexibility with our property in the future.
- Because we believe that these things together mean that moving to ECO will help us to more effectively reach out both here in the Valley and beyond with the gospel of Jesus.
For your reference, we have provided the following documents:
The vote on that day is expected to be the culmination of what has been a four and a half year process. That process has included a special congregational task force, an almost year-long time of weekly study and prayer by the Session, informational meetings for the congregation, as well as a straw poll vote of congregational members and attenders, which showed PCBW overwhelmingly in favor of seeking affiliation in ECO, with 83% in favor.
That straw poll led the Session to form a negotiating team which has been interacting with a Kendall Presbytery negotiating team to come up with a dismissal agreement - one which we hope has now been reached. This agreement has been approved by both negotiating teams, legal counsel for both sides, and has been studied by the Presbytery Council of Kendall Presbytery, who approved sending it on to be voted on by the whole presbytery at their September 23 meeting. In addition, we as the Session have had a chance to study the agreement, and are unanimously recommending that you the congregation, vote to accept it.
While more costly than we might have hoped, the Session believes the negotiating team has done their best to come up with an agreement that will work for PCBW. Here’s a summary of the terms:
- $450,000 cash to Kendall Presbytery. $160,000 of this amount will be given to Camp Sawtooth, a Christian camping ministry here in the Wood River Valley that the church has supported for years. In addition, another $160,000 (interest free) will be due Kendall Presbytery in ten years.
- Our property must continue to be used in support of the church’s ministry for a period of 10 years.
- There are also some non-monetary requirements involving things like our minutes and our by-laws.
- PCBW must remain a part of an approved reformed Christian body (such as ECO) for ten years.
- Reversion clause: if for some reason PCBW fails to continue to use the property in support of the church’s ministry or fails to remain a part of an approved reformed Christian body, the property would revert back to Kendall Presbytery.
We understand that some of you might have some questions about the agreement, and so have arranged a special time with members of the negotiating team where you can get answers to them. That Q and A meeting will be this coming Sunday, August 27th at 12:00 PMin the River Room.
Please be praying for God’s best for both PCBW and Kendall Presbytery in what appear to be the final steps of this process. As always, Pastor Mark is available to talk with you about this.