Northwest Georgia Presbytery Could Have Prevented Ongoing Trials Dividing Midway! Moderator Fails to Act!

The Moderator of Presbytery failed to exercise his duty.

The Midway Guardian Editorial Board has learned that the certain members of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery exercised their rights to demand a called meeting to hear and rule on the complaint that arose from Midway Presbyterian Church late last year alleging that the judicial proceedings against Ruling Elders Clay David, James Scott, and Don Barnett were unconstitutional.  

The Midway Guardian has learned that the threshold for a called meeting via a petition was met, which according to the BCO 13-12 is:

13-12. The Presbytery shall meet at least twice a year on its own adjournment. The Moderator shall call a special meeting at the request or with the concurrence of three teaching elders and three ruling elders from at least three different churches. Should the Moderator be for any reason unable to act, the Stated Clerk shall, under the same requirements, issue the call. If both Moderator and Stated Clerk are unable to act, any three teaching elders and three ruling elders of at least three different churches shall have power to call a meeting.

PCA Book of Church Order 13-12 excerpt

Yet the Moderator of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery refused to call the meeting. Note the language of the BCO. It says “the Moderator shall call” the meeting. The threshold for a meeting having been met, the Moderator had no choice but to call it.  “Shall” is not optional.

The reason that he failed to do so is unknown. One could surmise it was for partisan reasons since no mention of the petition for a called meeting was made by the Clerk of Presbytery at their next meeting in January of 2022, and the existence of the petition was not even acknowledged on the agenda or in the minutes. How is this possible? Is the leadership of the presbytery trying to protect the leadership of Midway Presbyterian Church from other honest presbyters who wish to study the apparent issues at the church? Maybe so, since to date the Midway Guardian can find no evidence that SJC decisions on cases 2021-12 (which called the court to action) or 2021-13 (which ruled against Midway’s Session and the presbytery) have been supplied to members of presbytery by the Clerk.

Perhaps most troubling of all is that this proposed called meeting of presbytery preceded the first session of Ruling Elder Clay David’s secret trial at the church (which is ongoing to this day). The Moderator of presbytery should have called a special meeting prior to handle the complaint. Upon his refusal, the Clerk also failed to act. If the complaint was sustained, the trials ongoing that continue to shred Midway’s unity and further deteriorate the church would have never even started! 

The Midway Guardian expresses its thanks to the Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders at presbytery who took their responsibility seriously and requested the called meeting according to BCO 13-12. Members of Midway should be grateful that there are members of presbytery paying attention. But sadly, it appears as if Midway’s influential operators might control the presbytery leadership, which renders their good faith efforts moot.

Given that the presbytery is currently investigating Midway Presbyterian Church for disorder and contention and the SJC ruled regarding Midway that presbytery should exercise its authority under BCO 13-9f to ensure compliance with the constitution of the church… readers may be asking themselves whether or not the leadership of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery exists to protect Midway Senior Pastor David Hall and his Session.

The answer to this question has never been more timely to answer.