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Denominational Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen » Local Process http://updates.dunellenpres.org Denomination Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:17:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5 CATALOG OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=461 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=461#comments Tue, 15 May 2012 22:07:07 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=461 Here are links to some of the most important documents that can introduce you to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO).

Introducing a New Denominational Home – PowerPoint

ECO INTRODUCTION 2 page

Understanding-ECO1

ECO FAQs

Introduction to ECO polity

ECO Polity

ECO Theological Foundations

John-Ortberg-Transcript1

Things-to-Consider-Before-Leaving-the-PCUSA

 

 

 

 

 

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Una Carta en conjunto con el Equipo de Relaciones de la Denominación de la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana de Dunellen (de parte de la Sesión) y el Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio de Elizabeth http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=454 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=454#comments Mon, 07 May 2012 00:06:19 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=454 Mayo 6, 2012

 UNA PALABRA EN COMÚN, NUESTRA FE EN COMÚN:

Una Carta en conjunto con el Equipo de Relaciones de la Denominación

de la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana de Dunellen (de parte de la Sesión) y

el Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio de Elizabeth

 

Queridas Hermanas y Hermanos en Jesucristo de la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana, Dunellen,

 Nos reunimos dos veces en los últimos dos meses. El 26 de marzo del 2012, examinamos la política y el proceso de despido del presbiterio; comprometidos el uno con el otro para proceder en amor cristiano marcado por la honestidad, gentileza pastoral, transparencia, respeto y responsabilidad; se dio oportunidad a los miembros de la Sesión de expresar sus preocupaciones individuales y colectivas acerca de las políticas de la denominación y sus prácticas. La Sesión proporcionó al Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio materiales escritos y DVD de los foros congregacionales de Dunellen que describen las áreas en las cuales la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana de Dunellen discrepa con acciones dentro de la Iglesia Presbiteriana (U.S.A).

El Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio tomó las preocupaciones de la Sesión en serio y el 30 de abril del 2012, el Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio proporcionó una respuesta detallada a los materiales y testimonios que la Sesión proveyó en la objeción de Dunellen a prácticas dentro de la PC(U.S.A). El Equipo expresamente se dirigió a las áreas de autoridad bíblica e inspiración, la doctrina de la Trinidad, sexualidad humana, aborto, política, y la doctrina de salvación.

El 30 de abril, después de orar y discutirlo detalladamente, reconocimos mutuamente que la doctrina de la PC(U.S.A.) permanece dentro de la fe cristiana apostólica ortodoxa, como expresado por el Credo de los Apóstoles y el Credo Nicene. La PC(U.S.A.) oficial y constitucionalmente afirma un entendimiento tradicional ecuménico acerca de la autoridad de la Escritura e inspiración, la Trinidad y la salvación. Reconocemos que aun cuando la PC(U.S.A.) está arraigada y basada en la fe histórica apostólica, aun existe un amplio espectro de entendimiento y aplicación de la doctrina cristiana, como siempre ha sido el caso de la Iglesia cristiana universal durante siglos. De hecho, reconocemos que la fe cristiana en el Oeste, Este, y Sur global ha sido expresada diversamente en su teología y práctica. La agrupación de iglesias locales en denominaciones es un resultado de esta diversidad.

Mutuamente entendemos que la acción de la Sesión el 20 de febrero del 2012 al recomendar a la congregación que la Primera Iglesia Presbiteriana de Dunellen sea despedida a otra rama del cuerpo Reformado, en gran parte, no es porque Dunellen cree que la PC(U.S.A.) ha dejado la fe cristiana histórica; si no que la flexibilidad y anchura de creencia teológica y práctica de la PC(U.S.A.) han alcanzado un punto donde Dunellen cree no poder servir a Jesucristo fielmente y con integridad.

Lo que se hizo evidente a nosotros es que como seguidores de Jesucristo para siempre permaneceremos hermanas y hermanos amados por nuestro Padre celestial, a través de Jesucristo, en el Espíritu Santo. Al mismo tiempo, reconocemos que vienen tiempos que debido a nuestro compromiso común y fe en el trino Dios que continuamente llama una Iglesia apostólica católica santa para servir de modos diversos en contextos múltiples, el trino Dios puede estar llamando a esta congregación a otra parte del cuerpo de Cristo.

Con ese fin, buscaremos un proceso de despido cortés y elegante en las próximas semanas, de modo que nuestra separación el uno del otro sea entendida no como una división debido a nuestra fe común, pero como una separación apuntada por un deseo de Dunellen de servir a Dios en un contexto eclesial diferente que es más conveniente para Dunellen, según el llamado de Cristo para Su misión en Dunellen y sus alrededores.

Para terminar, afirmamos que nuestra esperanza es por último encontrada en Jesús, que es el autor y consumador de nuestra fe (Hebreos 12:2).

Sinceramente,

El Equipo de Resolución del Presbiterio                                 Equipo de Relaciones de la Denominación

(de parte de la Sesión)

Anciana Ruth Arriaza                                                              Anciana, Laurie Fitchett

Anciana Claudia Heffner                                                        Anciano Stephen Geiger, Co-presidente

Anciana Helen Moseley                                                          Anciana Suzanne Geiger, secretaria

Anciana Karen Castro Plaza                                                    Anciana Diana Linares

Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, Coordinador sindical                         Anciano Harry Schoepp, Co-Presidente

Rev. Paul Rack, secretario                                                      Rev. Silvio Del Campo

Rev. James Thomas                                                                Rev. Jeffrey Hayes Wildrick

Cooptado (ex-officio, sin derecho de voto):

Rev. Greg Albert, Ejecutivo Presbítero Interino

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Joint Letter from Presbytery Resolution Team and Denominational Relations Team to Dunellen Church members http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=450 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=450#comments Mon, 07 May 2012 00:02:55 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=450 May 6, 2012

 A COMMON WORD, OUR COMMON FAITH:

A Joint Letter from the Denomination Relations Team

of First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen (on behalf of the Session) and

the Presbytery Resolution Team of the Elizabeth Presbytery

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ of the First Presbyterian Church, Dunellen,

We met twice in the past two months. On March 26, 2012, we reviewed the presbytery’s dismissal policy and process; committed to one another to proceed in Christian love marked by honesty, pastoral graciousness, transparency, respect and accountability; and gave Session members an extended opportunity to express their individual and collective concerns about denominational policies and practices.  The Session provided to the Presbytery Resolution Team written and DVD materials from Dunellen’s congregational forums that describe the areas that the First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen disagrees with actions within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The Presbytery Resolution Team took the Session’s concerns seriously and on April 30, 2012, the Presbytery Resolution Team provided a detailed response to the materials and testimonies that the Session provided on Dunellen’s objection to practices within the PC(U.S.A.).  The Team specifically addressed the areas of biblical authority and inspiration, the doctrine of the Trinity, human sexuality, abortion, polity, and the doctrine of salvation.

Through the prayerful and detailed discussion on April 30, we mutually recognized that the doctrine of the PC(U.S.A.) remains within the orthodox, apostolic Christian faith as expressed by the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.  The PC(U.S.A.) officially and constitutionally affirms a traditional, ecumenical understanding of the Scripture’s authority and inspiration, the Trinity and salvation.  We recognize that even as the PC(U.S.A.) is rooted and grounded in the historic, apostolic faith, there exists a wide spectrum of understanding and application of Christian doctrine, as has always been the case in the universal Christian Church for centuries. In fact, we recognize that the Christian faith in the West, East, and global South has been expressed with diversity of theology and practice. The grouping of local churches into denominations is one result of this diversity.

We mutually understand that the Session’s action of February 20, 2012 to recommend to the congregation for First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen to be dismissed to another Reformed body stems, in large part, not because Dunellen believes that the PC(U.S.A.) has left the historic Christian faith; rather, the flexibility and broadness of theological belief and practice in the PC(U.S.A.) have reached a point where Dunellen believes it cannot serve Jesus Christ faithfully and with integrity.

What became apparent to us is that as followers of Jesus Christ we forever will remain sisters and brothers loved by our heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.  At the same time, we recognize that there comes a time that because of our common commitment and faith in the triune God who continually calls the one holy catholic apostolic Church to serve in diverse ways in multiple contexts, the triune God may be calling this congregation to another part of the body of Christ.

To that end, we will seek a gracious and graceful dismissal process in the coming weeks so that our separating from each other is understood  not as a division because of our common faith, but a separation prompted by a desire of Dunellen to serve God in a different ecclesial context that is more suitable to Dunellen’s sense of Christ’s call for His mission in and through Dunellen.

In closing, we affirm that our hope is ultimately found in Jesus, who is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Sincerely,

The Presbytery Resolution Team                                            Denominational Relations Team

      (on behalf of the Session)

Elder Ruth Arriaza                                                                  Elder, Laurie Fitchett

Elder Claudia Heffner                                                             Elder Stephen Geiger, Co-Chair

Elder Helen Moseley                                                              Elder Suzanne Geiger, Clerk

Elder Karen Castro Plaza                                                        Elder Diana Linares

Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, Convener                                           Elder Harry Schoepp, Co-Chair

Rev. Paul Rack, Clerk                                                              Rev. Silvio Del Campo

Rev. James Thomas                                                                Rev. Jeffrey Hayes Wildrick

Co-opted (ex-officio, non-voting):

Rev. Greg Albert, Interim Executive Presbyter

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Letter from Elizabeth Presbytery http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=392 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=392#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2012 00:36:29 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=392 April 19, 2012

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ of the First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen,

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! On February 20, 2012, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen voted to recommend to your congregation and to the presbytery to be dismissed to another Reformed church body. As a result of that decision, the Presbytery of Elizabeth, in accordance with its recently approved Disaffiliation/Dismissal Policy, formed a Presbytery Resolution Team. As you may know, in the Presbyterian/Reformed tradition, we believe that we can best discern the will and mind of Christ in community, as we engage in prayer, study of Scripture and our confessions, and mutual discussion and debate. Thus, any final action for your congregation to be dismissed will require an affirmative action by your congregation and the presbytery.

 The task of the Team is to engage in prayer and discussion with both the Session and Congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen to discern the will and mind of Christ together as to whether dismissal to another Reformed body is what God is calling you to do in this time in the life of this congregation and its relationship to the 48 other congregations of this presbytery, and, indeed, the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Our Team is also charged to provide pastoral care and support for the congregation as we together undertake a prayerful, careful process of discussion, deliberation, and discernment over the coming months.  Providing pastoral care and support becomes all the more critical particularly for those of you who sense your call is to remain as a communicant member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

As we proceed, if we together sense that God is calling you to be dismissed to another Reformed church body, we will work with your Session to negotiate the terms of your congregation’s dismissal, bring periodic and a final report to the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, and, then, ultimately, to the Presbytery.

Your Session and our Team met jointly in a first of several meetings on March 26 and will do so again on April 30.  We had a good productive meeting where our Team spent considerable time listening to Session members on their thoughts and concerns over denominational decisions and positions.  All of us committed to proceeding in a spirit of openness, transparency, pastoral responsibility, grace, and accountability.

Out of a deep desire to hear from any and every member of the congregation who wishes to share their thoughts, concerns, and questions, our Team invites and encourages you to communicate with us in several ways:

  • Electronically: by sending a message to our Team at: PRTD@googlegroups.com
  • Setting up an appointment to meet with us by contacting our Team Convener,

Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa at (908) 433-4527

  • Face-to-Face Hearings: we will be arranging pre-scheduled times throughout the coming weeks for at least two of our Team members to be present for us to listen to you and to hear your questions

At our March 26 meeting with the Session, our Team received the written materials and DVD that you all were furnished as part of a series of congregational forums on denominational decisions and policies. Our Team will be responding to both those materials as well as to what Session members have shared at our next joint meeting with the Session on April 30.  We wish to share our response with you as well.

We proposed to the Session, through your Denominational Relations Team, and they have agreed, for us to convene a congregation-wide town hall gathering. Therefore, we wish to invite you to join us for such a gathering on Sunday, May 6 at 11:40 a.m. for the English-speaking congregation, and 3:30 p.m. for the Spanish-speaking congregation. Both town-hall gatherings will be held in the Fellowship Hall of your church building.  These town-hall gatherings will enable all of us to share our thoughts, to respond to some of the concerns that were raised by Session and by the written materials distributed to us and to you by Session in an informal setting conducive to conversations and questions-and-answers.

We look forward to meeting you and hearing from you in the weeks ahead, and in our journey together in the one faith, one hope, and one calling we have been given in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior through the Holy Spirit.

Partnerly yours in Christ’s service, we remain,

The Presbytery of Elizabeth Resolution Team

Rev. Dr. Neal D. Presa, Convener                              Rev. Paul Rack, Clerk

Presbytery Moderator                                                 Presbytery Stated Clerk

Elder Ruth Arriaza                                                      Elder Claudia Heffner

Iglesia Presbiteriana Nuevas Fronteras                       Westfield Presbyterian Church

Rev. James Thomas                                                     Elder Karen Castro-Plaza

Chair, Presbytery Committee on Ministry                  Iglesia Presbiteriana Nuevas Fronteras

Elder Helen Moseley

Siloam-Hope Presbyterian Church, Elizabeth

Co-opted (ex-officio, non-voting):

Rev. Greg Albert, Presbytery Interim Executive Presbyter

 

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Congregational Town-Hall Meeting May 6 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=389 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=389#comments Sat, 21 Apr 2012 23:34:22 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=389 Today, all of our church’s members received a letter from the Presbytery of Elizabeth inviting them to a “Congregational Town-Hall Meeting” on Sunday, May 6. There will actually be two meetings: The first at 11:40 am in English, and the second at 3:30 pm in Spanish.

The session strongly encourages all members to attend one of these two meetings, at which the Presbytery Resolution Team will present their perspective on the session’s recommendation that First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen be dismissed from the PC(USA) and join the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. We want our congregation to be fully informed, and we want your voice to be heard.

 

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First meeting with Presbytery Team is gracious and productive http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=378 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=378#comments Thu, 29 Mar 2012 15:59:10 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=378 On Monday, March 26, our session met for the first time with the “Resolution Team” (RT) from Elizabeth Presbyter to discuss our request for dismissal to the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO).

The meeting began with introductions, and a Bible study on Ephesians 4 led by presbytery moderator, Rev. Neal Presa. He explained that the purpose of the RT is to work together with the session and congregation to discern and do God’s will, whatever that may be.

After this, the RT asked each member of session, as well as the members of our Denominational Relations Team who were present, to share why they believe that God is calling First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen out of the PC(USA) and into ECO. This took up the bulk of the meeting, as the RT listened carefully to each of the congregational leaders.

In the near future, the RT will be communicating with members of the congregation, inviting anyone who wishes to share their own thoughts, beliefs, and feelings about the session’s request to be dismissed from the PC(USA). They will provide opportunities to meet with team members face-to-face, and will also invite written comments through a special email address. The session encourages all of our members to take advantage of this opportunity.

On April 30 the RT and session will meet together again to review and plan next steps in the dismissal process. Please continue to keep all of the people involved in prayer.

 

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Session votes unanimously on new denominational home http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=370 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=370#comments Sun, 25 Mar 2012 23:17:22 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=370 This afternoon, Sunday, March 25, the session voted unanimously to ask the Presbytery of Elizabeth to dismiss our church to the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO).

ECO is a new reformed denomination, born in January of this year. Pastor Wildrick and Elder Suzanne Geiger were fortunate to be in Orlando for its birth.

In prayerfully considering what we were looking for in a new denominational home, the session agreed that our new denominational home must:

  1. be radically committed to the Lord Jesus Christ
  2. be Reformed (Presbyterian) in its theology and polity
  3. be Evangelical, with a clear set of theological standards or core beliefs shared by all ordained leaders
  4. celebrate the ministry of women in ordained ministry
  5. be outwardly focused, and passionately committed to evangelism as well as serving those living in the margins of society
  6. have a limited, flexible structure that encourages and enables congregations to be innovative in ministry, accountable and encouraging to one another in fulfilling the great commission, and minimizes bureaucratic overhead
  7. will provide a comprehensive and affordable health care and retirement plans for our pastors

We believe that we have found just that denomination in ECO!

Is ECO a perfect denomination? Of course not, and if it were it would cease to be perfect once our church joins it. But it is a body of like-minded believers, moving forward in the same directions that we believe God is calling our church. The leadership is humble, passionate, and committed. Not only do we believe that ECO can provide a healthy environment in which we can grow, we believe that we can contribute in a meaningful as we help build ECO into a strong and vibrant denomination.

Please continue praying for our pastors, session and the denominational relations team. Pray also for the members of the presbytery’s Resolution Team. The session’s first meeting with the team is tomorrow, March 26, at 7:30 pm.

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First Meeting with Resolution Team Monday, March 26 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=367 http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=367#comments Wed, 21 Mar 2012 22:04:33 +0000 editor http://updates.dunellenpres.org/?p=367 One of the key components of the Presbytery of Elizabeth’s process for churches seeking dismissal is appointing a “Resolution Team” from the presbytery. This team will meet with the session and members of the congregation to determine if there is a way to reconcile differences and keep First Presbyterian Church within the PC(USA). Failing that, the Resolution Team will meet with us to negotiate the terms and process for dismissal.

Please pray for our session, Denominational Relations Team, and pastors, as well as for the Resolution Team and our presbytery as we enter this stage of the dismissal process. Pray for wisdom, discernment, patience, understanding, grace, and that we may demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ in our meetings together.

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