Midway Presbyterian Church’s Defender of Purity.
Given that Midway Presbyterian Church is in the unprecedented situation of having a third of the Ruling Elders elected by its congregation indicted, charged, and suspended in recent times by the Session majority led by Senior Pastor David Hall, the Midway Guardian Editorial Board is pleased to continue the series: Faithful Servant Profiles. This series is intended to highlight a faithful servant from Midway’s Session who has been on the receiving end of misused church discipline.
Ruling Elder Clay David
Clay David joined Midway Presbyterian Church in 1992. He immediately became involved in the children’s ministries and youth group with his sons. Shortly after, he became involved in facilitating Children’s Church with his wife Nancy. Applying his financial vocational talent and visionary spirit, he prepared all of the financial models for what would become Midway Covenant Christian School. He was a chief participant on the planning committee and was a critical part of the establishing the school. Once created, Clay served on the school committee and assisted in the hiring of its original teachers. He continued this service for over two decades, setting a sound financial trajectory for the ministry that continues to see success to this day.
Through his efforts to help found and then facilitate Midway Covenant Christian School, Clay’s contributions to Midway, the surrounding community, and most importantly Christ’s Kingdom on Earth, are deeply felt to this day by hundreds of families who call the school home. Due to this selfless effort, untold generations of children may be exposed to a Christian worldview, the tenants of the Christian faith, and may come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the mid 1990’s, Clay was elected to the office of Deacon at the church. He served faithfully for two 6-year terms. It was during this time that Clay established financial reporting mechanisms for the church that are still in use to this day and served as the Diaconate’s representative on the church’s financial committee. As a Deacon, Clay dedicated his time to numerous mercy cases at the church and utilized his financial expertise to assist those in financial need.
Clay was instrumental in multiple facility expansion efforts on the Midway campus, including the multi-million dollar 2009 sanctuary construction effort. He assisted in the development of the prudent financial practices that led to this successful expansion and assisted in presenting them to the congregation. Clay served on the building committee and oversaw the planning, bidding processes, and financial management of the project. Having been involved in some way in every construction project on campus, Clay has lent his expertise to not only the large 2009 sanctuary expansion, but to the construction of the gymnasium, its recent classroom expansion, the library, and the renovations of Midway’s 1905 sanctuary and the 1987 building. Wise fiscal management, purity, and accountability characterized Clay’s management of these projects.
After a short break from office, Clay would return and start third 6 year term on the Diaconate. This was interrupted by his election to the office of Ruling Elder at the church. His new office saw him serving as the Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Midway Covenant Christian School committee for span of multiple years. Clay also served as a regular Sunday School teacher and on the Board of Directors of Reformation Hope Inc., a ministry primarily focused on supporting Haitians in poverty and sharing the Gospel across the Caribbean.
As a Ruling Elder, Clay championed improving the church’s background check policies and procedures and made child safety and protection a priority for Midway’s ministries. Alongside his brother Ruling Elder Philip Dudt, he helped to found two Christian scouting ministries at the church where he served as volunteer alongside Philip.
Clay’s heart for children’s and youth ministry is clear from establishing generational ministries designed to serve them, bless their families, and protect them from harm. His commitment to the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth is apparent in Cobb Country and beyond and he has shared well the financial and managerial talents that the Lord has blessed him with freely to all who have encountered him.
Charged and Suspended…
Sadly, Ruling Elder Clay David was indicted and suspended from his office and is currently subject to a seemingly never ending secret trial for a manmade offense (outlined in a secret report) by the Session majority under Senior Pastor David Hall’s leadership following his signing of a credible report. The Session has removed Clay as chairman of the school and has denied him reasonable indulgences at his trial, including a request for an independent moderator and a court reporter. Clay continues to be tried in secret against his will – just like his fellow Ruling Elder Philip Dudt. The same fate awaits his other brothers Ruling Elders James Scott and Don Barnett unless the local presbytery acts to stop the unconstitutional proceedings. He was charged alongside his brothers Rulings Elders James Scott and Don Barnett who stand accused of the same manmade offense of signing a credible report.
The Session expects the church to believe that this man who served faithfully for decades in a variety of positions has all of the sudden become a slanderer who has signed his name on a divisive letter. Interestingly, multiple entities with the denomination have determined that the letter is not slanderous but in fact credible and worthy of investigation.
Clay’s crime? Signing a credible report to the PCA’s Stated Clerk outlining alleged unconstitutional behavior at the local presbytery. Clay stands charged even though the signing of a credible report of this nature is a constitutionally protected right and Midway’s Session has been warned in the past by the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) that asking higher courts for review is a protected right of all members of the church.
Interestingly, David Hall and his Session may have particular reason to see their brother Ruling Elder Clay David suspended from office. It was Clay who assisted and defended Deacon Dan Crouse in his complaints against the Midway Session that alleged wrongdoing. The SJC ultimately found in favor of Deacon Crouse in one instance and warned the Midway Session in another. It was Clay who spoke against the Session’s unconstitutional pastoral election at a congregational meeting in 2020. It was Clay who defended his brother Ruling Elder Philip Dudt at a prejudicial secret trial that lasted all night long. It was Clay who continued to defend RE Dudt all of the way to the SJC where we may receive the panel’s decision in the next few days. It was Clay who joined a dozen other ordained brothers and signed the credible report that, in part, exposed Senior Pastor David Hall’s written false statements.
Consider Clay’s actions according to Westminster Larger Catechism 145: he has refused to prejudice the truth, plead a false cause, call good evil and evil good, conceal or prejudice the truth, stop his ears against a just defense, or remain silent in an unjust cause. Clay’s past actions are clear: he will defend the purity the church and will try to restore it when it has been violated. Just as his officer vows prescribe.
How can it be that a man who has served the Lord faithfully over his lifetime, whose qualifications as an officer have never before been challenged, who is committed to the purity of the church and the defense of his brothers, is all of the sudden charged and suspended for exercising his right alongside twelve other ordained men to alert higher courts of the PCA of procedural missteps in lower courts? Perhaps his conviction was more motivated by the politics of control and a desire for revenge on the local Session than by any “offense” he has committed.