Report from the Board of Pensions
The Rev. Alison Seed, regional representative for the Board of Pensions, reported on hopes and challenges related to the work of the Board of Pensions in changing times.
The Board is currently in the process of devising programs and service to assist with the needs of the many church employees throughout the denomination – many of them part-time – who are not currently members of the Pension Plan. Only about 10% of lay employees are members of the Plan.
In 2017, benefits will be provided to members based on the same dues structure, regardless of the size of the family. The Traditional Plan is being renamed the Pastoral Participation Plan. Employers will have a wider range of options to choose from in providing benefits, although the same benefits will need to be provided for those in the same employee category. There will be a more complex system of allocating medical benefits based on zip code. There will also be some age-based adjustment for new members of the plan. For the first time, it will be possible for those who have medical coverage elsewhere to participate in only the pension side of the plan.
Budget Working Group
Treasurer Nancy Tindall reported on behalf of the Budget Working Group, presenting the 2016 Presbytery budget of $391,400. The shortfall of approximately $150,000 in per capita giving by congregations continues to be a serious concern. In 2015, the presbytery remitted only 76% of its per capita apportionment to the Synod and General Assembly. In the 2016 budget, which is balanced, there is a plan to remit 92% of per capita.
Bills & Overtures Committee
The Rev. John Monroe, on behalf of the Bills and Overtures Committee, presented the following proposed overtures for the Presbytery’s consideration that are being recommended by the Bills & Overtures Committee:
-Overture On Advocacy Against Factory Farming
-Overture On A Gospel Vision for the Church (Choosing to be a Church Committed to the Gospel of Matthew 25)
-Overture On PC(USA) Fossil Fuel Divestment (in concurrence with Overture 12 from the Presbytery of San Francisco)
In addition, Mr. Monroe presented two other draft overtures that were submitted too late for the committee to consider:
– Overture on Empowering the Presbyterian Mission Agency Offices to Speak to Injustices Related to Fossil Fuel Extraction, Transport and Storage
– Overture on the Admission of, and Apology for, Harms Done to the LGBTQ/Q Members of the PC(USA), Family and Friends (in concurrence with Overture 50 from the Presbytery of New York City)
Following discussion and debate, the Presbytery took the following actions on the proposed overtures:
-Overture On PC(USA) Fossil Fuel Divestment – approved, 38 to 17
-Overture On Advocacy Against Factory Farming – approved on voice vote
-Overture On A Gospel Vision for the Church – approved on voice vote
– Overture on the Admission of, and Apology for, Harms Done to the LGBTQ/Q Members of the PC(USA), Family and Friends – disapproved on voice vote
– Overture on Empowering the Presbyterian Mission Agency Offices to Speak to Injustices Related to Fossil Fuel Extraction, Transport and Storage – disapproved on voice vote
It was moved and carried to direct the Mission Council to appoint overture advocates for the overtures to the General Assembly that the Presbytery has approved.
Report from the Micro Housing Working Group
The Rev. Myrlene Hamilton Hess explained the vision of the Micro Housing Working Group, which is exploring the possibility of locating property for, and constructing, a community of tiny houses for senior citizens, veterans and Hurricane Sandy survivors. The effort would require the cooperation and support of a broad range of people and organizations, including the municipality (probably in Ocean County) in which the community would be located.
Report from the Leadership Training Working Group
Ruling Elder Joyce Davies and the Rev. Dierdre Thomson presented a report on behalf of the Leadership Training Working group, formerly known as the Educational Ministries Working Group. A series of leadership training workshops will take place at the Old Tennent Church on May 14, 2016.
Ruling Elder Lori Evans announced the Monmouth Presbyterian Women Spring Gathering, April 9, 2016 at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River. There is also a trip planned to the Prebyterian United Nations Office in New York for November 13.
Committee on Ministry
It was moved and carried to approve the request for Honorable Retirement, effective June 30, 2016, of the Rev. C. David McKirachan, Pastor of the Shrewsbury Presbyterian Church, with thankfulness for his service to God and to the Presbytery of Monmouth.
On December 12, 2015, acting on behalf of the Presbytery, approved the request for Honorable Retirement, effective February 01, 2016, of the Rev. Barbara K. Hicks, Pastor of the Hope Presbyterian Church, Lakewood, with thankfulness for her service to God and to the Presbytery of Monmouth. The Rev. Suzanne Schafer-Coates read a statement of appreciation for Barbara’s ministry.