Multiple sections of the BCO were ruled to have been violated…
In a third judicial decision, a commission of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery once again upheld that the Session of Midway Presbyterian Church violated multiple provisions of the constitution of the PCA in its actions at the July, 2020 congregational meeting.
Specific violations and reasons are as follows:
- The Session of Midway Presbyterian Church did violate the constitution by calling for a congregational meeting on July 19, 2020, for the election of three assistant pastors to the pastoral relationship of associate without first holding the election of a pulpit committee as outlined in BCO 20-2.
- Rev. David Hall, as moderator of the July 19, 2020 congregational meeting erred and violated the constitution by prompting a second vote whereby he afforded the minority (42.3%) of dissenting voters an opportunity to change their vote without attempting to dissuade the majority (57.7%) as is required in BCO 20-5.
- The Session of Midway Presbyterian Church violated the constitution by recommending the assistant pastors as a “single slate of pastors to be voted up or down together” at the July 19, 2020 congregational meeting. This was out of accord with the singular language of BCO 20-2 and 20-6.
- The Session of Midway Presbyterian Church violated the constitution by refusing to hear two complainants at its next stated meeting on July 20, 2020, as is required in BCO 43-2.
- The Session of Midway Presbyterian Church violated the constitution by failing to provide ballots for the election as outlined in BCO 20-4 at the congregational meeting of July 19, 2020.
The commission further sent instruction that the Session of Midway Presbyterian Church must publicly acknowledge their missteps to the Midway congregation, specifically:
- failing to elect a pulpit committee,
- failing to use a ballot and provide for votes on individual candidates, and
- failing to attempt to dissuade the majority in the event of a large, considerable minority.
The session was also instructed specifically to endeavor not to repeat these errors in the future. The commission further instructed that the congregants that filed complaints receive personal apologies for the unacceptable mishandling of their cases. The commission upheld that “the complainants should not have been warned against circularizing the court simply for insisting the session follow our constitution.”
If upheld by the NWGP, then the congregation of Midway Presbyterian Church is owed an explanation and apology for the way that the meeting was mishandled.
What Then Should I Do as a Midway Member?
The commission demanded that the session endeavor not to repeat these errors.
It is the congregation’s responsibility to hold its leaders accountable and ensure that unconstitutional behavior is challenged. Every member should request and review session meeting minutes so that Midway’s leadership will know the church members are engaged and actively monitoring the Session’s actions.
The session has now been judicially shown to be operating outside the prescribed limits of the constitution of the PCA on multiple occasions. Every communicant member of the church should insist that transparency be restored. Members should allow their session opportunities to set an example of godly leadership while removing any remaining appearances of politicized centralization of power