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Mid Council Relations

Mid Council Relations | February 13, 2017



Musings from the Road
Information on the Travel Ban
Have You Reported Your Exam Readers?
Mid Council Transitions
Learning Community
Mark Your Calendars

musings from the road

When I travel, one of the side benefits is getting to know the food of a particular city or region. I enjoy locally sourced ingredients that are informed by the culture of the people who live there.

But I must also admit, there are times when I also just crave predictable food—food that I know I will like. I appreciate a restaurant chain where I know that I can get a particular item and there is no guesswork.

synod map

Prior to the revision of our Form of Government, presbyteries and synods were a little like chains that served decent and predictable food. Back then, you could have gone to one of the then 173 presbyteries or 16 synods and things would have been more similar than different. Everyone had a committee on ministry and a committee on preparation for ministry. Most had someone who functioned as an executive presbyter (in addition to a stated clerk). There was a common vision for what a presbytery was and did.

But since the Form of Government revision in 2010, things have become more diverse. There are still core functions that a presbytery must perform, but the way in which it is organized, does its work, and sees itself can vary greatly. The work of synods vary greatly as well. We have synods that are reduced function (doing only those things deemed necessary and including at least the “provision of judicial process and administrative review of the work of the presbyteries” G-3.0404) and we have others that maintain a distinct and vital role in the life of their council.

We like to say now that there are 16 ways to be synod and 170* ways to be presbytery.

It is more complicated now—there is not the same sense that you can safely predict what a particular presbytery is like anymore. But what we lose in predictability (and perhaps comfort?) we gain in flexibility and the ability for a gathering of churches to determine its own needs. And now that the existential question about synods seems settled (at least for now), synods are wrestling with questions of “what” and “how” rather than “if.”

General Assembly entities are still working to effectively partner with synods and presbyteries in this new era of difference. We hope that you’ll let us know when we get it wrong, then forgive us and continue working with us. But we also hope that you’ll tell us when we get it right—that you’ll help us to establish some muscle memory and make it a habit!

The hospitality provided, whether a chain or local favorite, is what often keeps people coming back. …

* Note—Since 2010, some presbyteries have been dissolved and or/merged with neighboring presbyteries, leaving us with 170 presbyteries currently.


—Kerry Rice, Director, Ordered Ministries and Certification 


information on the travel ban 

Office of Immigration Issues

On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13769. This order, among other things, called for a temporary suspension of the resettlement of all refugees, indefinite suspension of the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and a temporary suspension of the previously approved visas of nationals of Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Libya.

On February 3, 2017, Judge James L. Robart of the Western District of Washington entered an order lifting the ban on travel for refugees and nationals of the seven countries listed above. This case is in the midst of the appellate process and no one is certain if the executive order or the order of the district court enjoining that order will prevail.

Our congregations are led by and comprised of people of all nationalities and the reach of the church, through mission engagement and ecumenical and interfaith partnerships, is global as well. Right now travel is available to previously approved refugees and visa holders but that could change quickly. The Office of Immigration Issues has created this resource to help guide you in your long-term travel and event planning during this uncertain time and later, if the executive order should prevail.

Here is a link to the Compassion, Peace and Justice We Choose Welcome email newsletter

For additional information, contact Teresa Waggener, Office of Immigration Issues, at or 1-888-728-7228 ext. 5372. 


have you reported your exam readers? 


As of the beginning of the Winter Ordination Exam Reading Week on February 6, about 1-in-5 (22 percent) of the presbyteries in the Southern and Midwest Regions (that evaluate exams in the winter and spring periods) had not yet reported their readers for 2017. The absence of these potential readers significantly impacts the ability of the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC) to assure timely evaluation of the exams and release of the results as scheduled. If your presbytery is in either of these regions and has not yet reported your readers this year, please do so by March 31 so they can be included in the May 1–5 reading week. Presbyteries in the other four regions are reminded that reports of their 2017 readers for the August and November reading weeks are due by June 30. For additional information, contact Tim Cargal, Preparation for Ministry,
at or 1-888-728-7228 ext. 5771.


mid council transitions

The Presbytery of Tropical Florida executive presbyter, Amalie Ash, retired December 31st. Their new general presbyter, Dr. Daris Bultena, began his work in the office on Monday, February 6th, 2017. Dr. Bultena comes to the Presbytery of Tropical Florida from the Presbytery of Baltimore, where he worked on many committees, but was primarily the pastor of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, in Joppa, Maryland.

New Stated Clerks
Catherine Boyd, Charleston-Atlantic
David Crittenden, Ohio Valley
John Wiederholdt, The Peaks
Albert Bush, Tropical Florida

New Presbytery Leaders
Craig Howard, presbytery transitional leader, Giddings-Lovejoy
Mary McClung Quam, transitional presbytery leader, Milwaukee
Sharon Core, general presbyter, Western Reserve


learning community

Learning Community for Mid Council Leaders, August 6–10, 2017. For more information on how you can be a part of this event, please follow the link to the brochure


mark your calendars

  • New Stated Clerk Orientation, April 3–5, Louisville, Kentucky. To register:
  • Big Tent, July 3–8, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Registration opens mid-March,
  • AMCL, ASC, and Moderators Conference, October 13–15, St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Mid Council Leaders Gathering, October 15–17, St. Louis, Missouri. 


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