THE TIE THAT BINDS The calendar is beginning to run out on 2019. November is here and the holiday season is now in sight. It is the time of the year when we review those things for which we give thanks. Here are some things that took place within Central Florida Presbytery this year:
On January 13, 2019, Central Florida Presbytery chartered Hope Presbyterian Church at Lake Nona. Over the next several months a number of things happened behind the scenes, overseen by the Administrative Commission of the presbytery empowered to establish this congregation: articles of incorporation and bylaws were drafted with the help of a local attorney, ruling elders were elected, trained, examined, ordained and installed, and jurisdiction over the congregation was transferred from the administrative commission to the session in late August.
Rockledge Presbyterian Church called Sandy Lacey to be their installed pastor, and her first Sunday as pastor was November 3. Sandy arrives almost three years after George Wilcox had to step down because of a disability. The Pastor Nominating Committee worked diligently to review potential pastors gleaned from the denomination’s Church Leadership Connection system, and worked with the presbytery office and the Committee on Ministry to make this call happen.
We have had three of our four stated meetings of presbytery so far this year, with special speakers including Karoline Lewis (March) from Columbia Seminary, and Michael Gehrling (June) and Jose Luis Casal (September) from the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Layton Williams, author and writer for Sojourners Magazine, will be with us in December. These guests have provided thoughtful plenary sessions and workshops the day before or after the stated meetings.
Presbytery, through the Church Transformation subcommittee of the Church Development Committee, began a program of micro grants for transformation projects and made grants totaling about $20,000 to six congregations in 2019. The funds for this program came from the closing of the Orlando Presbyterian Church and were invested with the Presbyterian Foundation, but are now invested in the presbytery’s portfolio overseen by the Investment and Endowment Committee of the presbytery.
In October, the presbytery signed a lease on our new office location at 3101 Maguire Boulevard in Orlando, beside Fashion Square Mall. We should move in by February 1, 2020, into a larger location that will allow for our largest committees to meet there. We are updating our phone and internet systems to allow for greater efficiency and the ability to better host electronic meetings in our new location.
These five stories were chosen for a purpose, because there is a common thread that runs through all of them. Each of these situations came into being in part because of the use of per capita funds, whether on the presbytery, synod, or General Assembly level. Sometimes it is travel expenses, rent, or other administrative costs being provided by the per capita. Other times it is staff salaries, programs like the Church Leadership Connection, references secured between presbytery leaders, or legal assistance to properly structure the documents needed by a congregation funded in this shared way. The annual per capita apportionment has an impact on many of the things that we do as a presbytery. It may be hard to adequately define and describe what per capita supports, but if it were not present and not paid, we would then know the difference.
Presbytery Council is working on the 2020 Budget for recommendation to Presbytery at the December stated meeting. This budget will have no increase in per capita for the General Assembly ($8.95) or the Synod of South Atlantic ($1.50). There is an increase being proposed for Presbytery’s per capita of $1.25, moving it from $7.55 to $8.80, if approved by Presbytery. We are working to define more specifically what per capita supports on the presbytery level, so you will know what these contributions are supporting. Per capita for 2020 will either be $18.00, or if the increase is approved, $19.25.