Midway Session’s spin that SJC 2021-12’s dismissal represented ”more than a mere technicality” falls apart.
The Midway Guardian has learned that a dissenting opinion was filed in SJC Case 2021-12, and has acquired a copy for our readers. 2021-12 was the long-lived combined complaints by two brothers that alleged that Midway Presbyterian Church’s Session violated 20-2, 20-4, 20-5, and 43-2 in connection to a congregational meeting where 3 Assistant Pastors were elected as Associates as a slate in July 2020. Readers should note that every hearing held on these alleged missteps resulted in a conclusion that the complainants were correct, and that Midway’s Session owed their congregation an apology for not following the rules.
The Northwest Georgia Presbytery’s mishandling of this complaint has become somewhat legendary as they allowed TE David Hall and the respondents from Midway to prevent one of these rulings in favor of the complainants from taking effect by allowing them to make a motion regarding a judicial matter concerning themselves in January of 2021. This grossly unconstitutional process resulted in the equally legendary 40-5 credible report that, among other things exposed TE David Hall’s written false attestations, and is the genesis of the ongoing trials against 3 Ruling Elders at Midway who rightly exposed David Hall’s and the Presbytery’s errors for review by the General Assembly. Readers may recall that the complaint in question eventually rose to the highest court, the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the PCA, where it was administratively in order, but ultimately ruled judicially out of order in a rare split vote of the commission.
Despite the ruling finding the complaint out of order, the SJC made no statements that suggested any of Midway’s behavior was endorsed or correct and in effect remanded the matter to the Presbytery, reminding them that it was their duty to see that the Constitution of the Church was being followed at Midway. Despite this, Midway’s Session was quick to spin the outcome saying in a public letter ”the SJC issued its final decision on these matters on Feb. 4th, 2022, dismissing these complaints in full as being judicially out of order (which is more than a mere technicality).”
Despite judicial commissions repeatedly ruling that the Session was in error and that apologies would be appropriate, they chose to hide behind language implying that the complaint was flawed from the start. It appears that not everyone on the SJC agreed, and while making no judgment on a case they had not yet heard, seemed to signal that there remain serious doubts about the Midway Session’s behavior regarding their refusal to allow their congregation to elect a pulpit committee and by utilizing unallowable forms of voting to elect pastors.
This matters as the members of the Midway Session have overtured the General Assembly to retroactively make these missteps constitutional (a strange move by a body that insisted its actions were constitutional at the time they were taken) and all the while the pattern of appointing leaders without congregational input appears to be about to repeat itself as TE David Hall announced the addition of a new Assistant Pastor to the congregation on Easter Sunday. Will the congregation’s voice be muted again in the future when David Hall decides he needs another permanent pastoral staff voter in the future in the form of an Associate Pastor he selected?
The dissenting opinion is below. Decide for yourself.