The 218th General Synod meeting has concluded. Registered delegate numbers were higher than in the last three years and It was possibly due to being back at Bonclarken Conference Center. Seven delegates were approved to attend the Synod meeting virtually. Two appeals were brought before the court which were sent to a special committee to be formed by the moderator. Moderator McKay gave his challenge to the denomination from Philippians 1:12 and encourages us to “advance the gospel.”
Each business session began with a season of prayer followed by a sermon and then by a testimony from a church planter or missionary. While many of the Special Committee reports we waited to hear from have asked for one more year for various reasons. The Special Committee on Restructuring asked for another year to report as did the Special Committee on Retirement Fund Crisis Study. It was clarified that it is a study of a crisis, we are not in crisis. The Special Committee on Women Deacons asked for another year to report.
The Special Committee on Presbytery Composition made several recommendations encouraging presbyteries to look into changing their boundaries to strengthen existing presbyteries. One of the recommendations is for Catawba Presbytery to be advised to transfer, and the Mississippi Valley Presbytery, be advised to receive the churches of Catawba Presbytery located in Texas and Louisiana.
Theological and Social Concerns presented a paper on “Women in Worship” which states women should not be involved in leading public worship. The worship service should be conducted by ministers and elders who have the ability to call the people into worship and then lead in worship by virtue of their ordained office, always in accordance with the Holy Scriptures and the Standards of the ARP Church. This paper was approved not as a position paper but as information. The paper “On the Question of Virtual Communion” was received as a position paper and virtual communion is not permissible.
Outreach North America and World Witness will join together to promote Go2 in each church. Together they will work with church “missions advocates” in keeping our missionaries and their ministries before their congregations while also promoting goal setting for missions committees that seek to: inform, engages, and mobilize.
Reverend Rob Patrick, pastor of Boyce Memorial ARP Church, was elected Moderator for 2023-2024 by Rev. Andy Putnam. Kingswood seconded the motion by saying, “Over 20 years I have watched Rob come to the microphone not to demonstrate power but to ask questions. He understands the functions of courts, boards, and committees. He is gifted and suited for this position.” Vice Moderator Elect is Elder David Smith from First ARP Gastonia.
Rev. Andy Putnam was recognized as parliamentarian for 26 years. Rev. Patrick Malphrus will be taking over beginning next Synod.
Moderatory McKay closed saying, “I am thankful for those that gave sermons and addressed Synod. I am thankful for those more than willing to serve.”
For a more detailed Synod summary, look for the July/August ARP Magazine.