• on June 25, 2019

The Presbytery Meets at Second Presbyterian–Little Rock

In case you missed it…

The June 8, 2019 meeting of the Presbytery of Arkansas at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock focused on pastoral leadership and the process of nurturing those under care of the Presbytery. There were the usual reports, and the needs of our brothers and sisters affected by the recent tornado in Pine Bluff and the flooding associated with the Arkansas River were lifted up, but examining candidates for ministry and welcoming new pastors into the Presbytery dominated the one-day meeting — in a very good way!

The first major order of business was the report of the Staff Search Committee, given by Moderator MWS Steve Hancock. He explained that they are searching for five part-time positions, three of which have been focused on first because they are needed most immediately: The Presbytery Administrator position, the staff member to work with Youth, and the Stated Clerk. After interviewing Temporary Stated Clerk MWS Leslie Belden they recommended her (that would be me) for the position of Stated Clerk and I was elected for a three-year term. I am honored to be able to continue serving the Presbytery and hope that I may do so with grace. They will be working to fill the two most needed positions in the near future and then will work toward filling the others.

General Presbyter MWS Stewart Smith updated commissioners on grants awarded to the Presbytery for response efforts to the tornado in Pine Bluff and the recent flooding on the Arkansas River. Former Presbytery staff member MWS Michael Vinson was honored for his service to the Presbytery, and commissioners were reminded that Director of Mission Support Kenneth Rich is now only working mornings so before coming to the office in the afternoon please call to make sure that someone is there.

Worship was led by MWS Steve Hancock and Candidate Stacey Hammons, who preached. The offering of $1,830.66 will go to support the Presbytery’s summer youth trips.

Treasurer RE Bob Boehmler thanked congregations for their financial support of the work and ministry of the Presbytery, noting that investments are doing better than last year but he predicted a decline in the latter part of the year. Other business items included approving increasing the number of Synod commissioners from four to six, and granting honorable retirement to MWS Libby Lizarraga, and to MWS Karen Akin.

The Presbytery learned of the dissolution of Cleburne Avenue Presbyterian Church in West Helena by the Administrative Commission charged with assisting congregations who wish to close. A service of celebration of the ministry of that congregation will be scheduled and announced for later this fall.

One big announcement was that the Presbytery of Arkansas is now a Matthew 25 presbytery, which means that congregations will be encouraged to become Matthew 25 congregations! This news was in previous Banners, but more will be shared in future meetings of Presbytery.

The Mission of the Church Ministry Area promoted the P.L.A.C.E. event, which will be held on August 10, 2019 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. The Resource Center was also highlighted, and congregations were encouraged to share their stories of education and mission so that they may be highlighted at the October 4-5, 2019 presbytery meeting. Contact Gordon Garlington at ggarlington3@hotmail.com.

But as was noted previously, the centerpiece of the June 8, 2019 meeting of the Presbytery of Arkansas was welcoming new pastors and celebrating those undercareof the Presbytery who are discerning their call to ministry. This included:

Examining and approving Candidate Stacey Hammons, who serves as the Chaplain at Presbyterian Village, a retirement center in Little Rock, for ordination, and enrolling her as a member of the Presbytery;

* Approving the call of MWS Bradley Rito as Pastor of Holiday Island Presbyterian Church, and enrolling him as a member of the Presbytery of Arkansas;

* Approving the call of MWS Krista Denne’ as Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Clarksville;

* Approving calling a special meeting of the Presbytery for the purpose of examining and ordaining Candidate Max Hill on August 11,


at Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock;

* Examining and approving Inquirer Julianna Whitson of First Presbyterian Church in Prairie Grove to move to the status of Candidate; and

* Approving enrolling Jeannie Shear of First Presbyterian Church in Conway as an Inquirer

If you missed this meeting of Presbytery you will not want to miss the meeting held on October 4-5, 2019 at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center. Not only will the Mission of the Church Ministry Area be highlighting the mission and educational ministries of congregations of the Presbytery, but the Presbytery will begin a three-part look at the focus areas of being a Matthew 25 presbytery and congregation, and also will be visited by MWS Dori Haljmarson, the PC(USA) Mission Co-Worker serving in Honduras, where the Presbytery is involved in ministry. Ministry Areas working on the three priorities of the Presbytery will also be updating commissioners on their work.

Please keep the Presbytery of Arkansas and its congregations in your prayers…

Yours in Christ,
Leslie Belden
(Newly Elected) Stated Clerk

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