From the desk of Pastor Dan:
The Elders came to a unanimous decision to send an Overture and a Resolution to Presbytery about the careless and even hostile regard for the lives of tiny babies at abortion clinics such as the one operated by Dr. Gosnell in Philadelphia, PA. The Resolution and Overture are both included with this month’s newsletter. (see Page 7 & Page 9)
The Session wants the congregation to become more aware of the plight of children at risk in the world we live in and to rediscover the obedient response of Christians to their desperate spiritual and physical needs (see James 1:27). The leaders of your church are calling you to attend a series of vesper services (brief evening worship services) when a call will be issued for repentance, confession of sin, and a new resolve to seek justice and salvation for God’s children. It will also be a time for devotion to God’s Holy Word, praise for God’s goodness and faithfulness, and prayer for God’s people, especially God’s little ones.
Will you join me and the leaders of Green Hill in these important services of evening devotion? More details will become known in the immediate days ahead. Pay particular attention to the church website and of course the Sunday bulletins for exact day and time. These services will occur one Sunday evening each month over the remainder of the year.
Another newsworthy note: Green Hill continues to seek the association of members of the Fellowship of Presbyterians in our area through a newly organized cluster called a mission affinity group. The group includes, along with Green Hill, the Westminster Church in Mobile, Euchee Valley Church in DeFuniak Springs, FL, and Overlook Church in Mobile. The next meeting of church leaders from these four churches is set for September 29th in Pensacola. Please talk with our Clerk of Session, Betty Cully, or myself, if you would like more information.
Here’s a good verse in line with the recent series of Sunday sermons on Salvation: “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23 NASB)
• Gave permission to Life Scout Andrew Whittington to proceed with his Eagle Scout project that involved the procurement and installation of a special drop-off box for American flags needing proper disposal. It will be placed near the U S mailbox.
• Unanimously approved an overture to General Assembly dealing with the denomination’s heretofore silence on the subject of unregulated abortion clinics and the killing of babies that escape abortion procedures. In addition, a resolution asking that Presbytery impress upon congregations the need to become more aware of the plight of children at risk, and to determine faithful responses in light of James 1:27, was approved with every Elder’s consent.
• The Treasurer reported that the first half of the year found the church in the black, offerings and pledges fully funding the mission of the church.
• Heard from Geoffrey Whittington, our scouting coordinator and representative with the Boy Scouts of America, on the status of our relationship with the national BSA in light of recent changes to their membership requirements.
• Elder Jim Lawrence presented a strategy for Christian Education over the next three years that calls for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to learning the Scriptures across all ages and involving all classes on Sundays and small group Bible studies. A curriculum will be proposed in the immediate future that accomplishes the goal of having the entire church membership studying the same scripture lessons every Sunday, eventually to include the scripture lessons for Sunday worship. The plan and strategy received unanimous approval.
• Gave permission to the Music Club to use the Fellowship Hall on 11 September 2013 and 14 May 2014.
• Dan and Robin Russell (pastor’s daughter) are new missionaries to Malaysia and will be here for a Wednesday night fellowship program on August 21st.
• Wednesday night fellowship meal and programs/Bible studies resume the second Wednesday of August (14th) at 5:30pm.
• Elected Kimberli Fougeron as Commissioner to Presbytery at Spanish Fort, August 23 and 24. Jim Lawrence was elected as alternate commissioner.
• The Session will not hold a regular meeting in August. The next scheduled meeting will be held on the 8th of September.
AL/MS WOMEN’S CONFERENCE REPORT
The 2013 AL/MS Women’s Conference was held at First-Trinity Presbyterian Church in Laurel, Ms. First a big thank you for letting Nancy Smith and myself attend as your representatives. Another big thank you goes to Evelyn McNab for the dolls and baby quilts, and to Nancy Smith for the cross stitch Christmas ornaments and table runner for the gift shop. The gift shop made $1,073 .00 for Living Waters for the World and The Little Light House, an early intervention program for special needs children. Evelyn’s items were the hit of the show. The offering taken for these ministries was $1,111.00.
The conference music was led by the outstanding conference music leader Althea Jerome who was the 2012 Recipient of a MS. Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and Derrick Meador, organist, that could make that organ really rock. The conference had 3 Hymns written for the conference by Inez Dunlap, Rachel Caldwell and P.L. Miller. A beautiful banner springing from the conference theme, “God is on the Journey,” was designed and constructed by Myra Hester. There were table hangings, and pulpit hangings showing ways God was present in the Exodus. The cloud and fire pulpits were created by Hardie Franel of Leland, Ms.
In addition to our 3 workshops we were divided into tribes to explore the Exodus through film, food, literature and Scripture. Each table decoration was an original creation representing one of the 12 tribes. The whole conference was truly unforgettable. Next year it will be at Alabama’s Spanish Fort Church on July 23 – 25th, 2014 so mark your calendars now and save those days so you may attend.
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN NEWS
With the conference behind us we are turning our efforts to prepare for fall. Our Bible Study will begin Thursday, September 12. 2013 at 10:00 A.M. and will continue on the second Thursday of each month. This year we will study all of Genesis and a little of Deuteronomy. It is called “An Abiding Hope, The Presence of God in Exodus and Deuteronomy.” It was written by our own Janice Catron. She also wrote our 1979 study on Job if you can remember.
Green Hill’s Fall Gathering will be on September 14th. Plan to gather for coffee at 10:30 A.M. in our Fellowship Hall. Then we will begin our journey with the Hebrew children at 11:00 A.M. with joyous song. Maybe even a dance or two. Our guest speaker will be Nancy Jankowski who is the Religious Education Director at Ft Rucker. She will teach us about 3 of the Jewish Holidays that are celebrated. At Noon we will partake of some food from the Exodus. As you can tell we are so excited about what lies ahead on our journey this year. The biggest blessing of course is the promise that God is on the Journey with us.
COMMUNITY BIBLE STUDY
The Community Bible Study at First Baptist Church will begin on Monday August 26th. The study meets from 10:00 – 12:00 A.M. on Mondays and we will be studying the book of John. Please come if you can. It also has a wonderful Bible program for children. Call if you need more information.
RECOMMENDATION FROM THE SESSION at
GREEN HILL PREBYTERIAN CHURCH, ENTERPRISE, ALABAMA
This unanimous recommendation calls for the Presbytery of South Alabama and its various congregations to give dedicated time and study to the plight of the most unprotected innocents of our time.
Recognizing that the blood of little children cries out to God and to Christ’s church for protection and justice, Green Hill Presbyterian Church calls on the Presbytery of South Alabama and member churches to join them for a season of reflection upon the plight of unwanted children, over the interim months between presbytery meetings, September 2013 until February 2014; that we as a presbytery seek to enter the purest worship of God by offering aid and comfort and the Gospel to siblings, parents, church and community leaders, the medical profession and all who are called to care for the least of God’s children in the face of such evil.
In addition, the Session of Green Hill calls on the committee that plans worship for the Winter 2014 meeting to order that time of worship and study around the theme of caring for all of God’s children, and that member churches be encouraged to conduct similar services of worship and devotion in their various congregations.
1. The recent news reports from around the USA that have revealed shocking life-ending procedures for babies born alive who had somehow escaped so-called partial birth abortions.
2. The now famous trial and conviction of an abortion doctor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that has placed Planned Parenthood and similar Abortion Clinics under suspicion for tolerating abuse of both mothers and infants (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/05/30/nurses-describe-unsafe-conditions-at-delaware-abortion-clinic/).
3. The fact that neither the PCUSA Stated Clerk in Louisville, nor the Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. have called for minimal medical regulations (federal or state) for Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinics; and not one official representative of the Presbyterian Church USA has offered a single word of protest against the taking of innocent life at Planned Parenthood and similar abortion clinics.
4. The clear teaching of the Scriptures that human life is sacred to God primarily because human life is created in God’s image (Gen 1:27). The taking of life in the Old Testament required the perpetrator to forfeit his/her own life (Gen 9:6; Ex. 21:12, 14; Lev. 19:16b); ancient Israel was taught to value life while it was still in the womb (Ex 21:22-23); the glory of the Creator’s handiwork in the womb is profoundly revealed by the Psalmist (Psalm 139); Jesus taught God’s especially tender love for innocent and defenseless children (Mark 10:14-16; Matt 19: 13-15; Luke 18: 15-17); numerous Old Testament passages (Lev. 18:21; Jer. 19:4 and 32:35; Psalm 106: 37-39) clearly warn against offering children as sacrifices to please the god(s) of pagan culture (today, the gods of convenience and pleasure). The New Testament lifts up the plight of widows and orphans as an opportunity for offering what James calls pure and undefiled religion (James1:27).
Betty Cully, Clerk of Session Dan McMillan, Moderator
OVERTURE TO 221ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY,
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (USA)
by the SESSION OF GREEN HILL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, ENTERPRISE, ALABAMA
23 JUNE 2013
The session of Green Hill Presbyterian Church, Enterprise, Alabama, overtures the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to:
1) Call for the Presbyterian Mission Agency and member congregations to enter a two-year season of reflection upon the plight of unwanted children, both born and not-yet born, and to purposefully seek to enter the pure worship of God by offering aid, comfort, and the Gospel to those responsible for the care of our most desperate orphans (including those who survive abortion procedures): parents, siblings, church and community leaders, and the medical profession;
2) Direct the Moderator of General Assembly and the Stated Clerk to issue statements that denounce the practice of killing babies born live following an abortion procedure, such as was revealed in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell clinic in Philadelphia;
3) Direct the Moderator to appoint a Special Committee on Abortion Review, carefully balanced with members representing both pro-life and pro-choice viewpoints, to:
a. Conduct a thorough assessment of the financial, in-kind, lodgment, publicity, and staff support that the PC(USA) provides to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and other abortion providers or pro-choice organizations. A similar review should be made of denominational support provided for pro-life organizations and pro-life crisis-pregnancy support centers.
b. Propose new policies that will more accurately represent the PC(USA) in its breadth of conviction about abortion, taking into account our churches’ desire to worship God in purest form (James 1:27). The policies shall incorporate more fully the voices of pro-life Presbyterians, who have to this point largely been kept silent in denominational advocacy.
Most, if not all, of the Special Committee meetings should be conducted in virtual conferences using appropriate audio-visual technology. The Special Committee on Abortion Review shall report its findings and recommendations to the 222nd General Assembly.
The blood of little children cries out to God and to Christ’s Church for protection and justice.
The 2013 trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell has placed Planned Parenthood abortion clinics and similar organizations under suspicion for tolerating medical abuse of both mothers and infants (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/05/30/nurses-describe-unsafe-conditions-at-delaware-abortion-clinic/)
Neither the PC(USA) Stated Clerk in Louisville nor the Presbyterian Church (USA) Washington Office has called for even minimal medical regulations (federal or state) for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, nor have our denominational representatives offered a single word of protest against the taking of innocent life at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.
The clear teaching of Scriptures reveals that human life is sacred to God primarily because human life is created in God’s image (Gen 1:27). Ancient Israel was taught to value life while it was still in the womb (Ex. 21: 22-23); the glory of the Creator’s handiwork in the womb is profoundly revealed by the Psalmist (Ps 139); Jesus taught God’s especially tender love for innocent and defenseless children (Mark 10:14-16 Matt 19:13-15; Luke 18: 15-17); numerous Old Testament passages (Lev. 18:21; Jer. 19:4 and 32:35; Psalm 106: 37-39) clearly warn against offering children as sacrifices to please the god(s) of pagan culture (today, the gods of convenience and pleasure).
The New Testament clearly teaches that the purest expression of religion in the sight of our God and Father is to care particularly for orphans (our society’s unwanted children surely qualify) and widows during their times of distress, and to keep ourselves unstained by the world (James 1:27).
Every Session of every congregation in the PCUSA is required to be proactive, “warning and bearing witness against error in doctrine and immorality in practice within the congregation and community” (G-3.0201c)
Prayerfully and Respectfully Submitted,
Betty Cully, Clerk of Session
Dan McMillan, Moderator
If you have any questions/concerns about either the Recommendation or the Overture, please contact Pastor Dan.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL 2013