October 8, 2017 **UPDATE**
The congregation voted to adopt the proposal set forth by the Governance Implementation Ministry Team and the Session that will reduce the size of the session from 30 to 18 over the next three years. A summary of the proposal is outlined below.
A study group was formed to determine the best size and term for the Session. After much prayer and discussion the unanimous decision was presented to the Joint Leadership Commission who in turn approved and sent it to the Session.
Report to Session
Date: June 17, 2017
From: WPC Session Size/Term Study Group
Study Group Members
Glen Covington Don Wildman
Paul Petersen Harriet Moxley
Claude Saleeby Rachel Segars
The Study Group was asked to provide the current Session a recommendation for an orderly phased reduction of the Session of Westminster Presbyterian Church. The study group based its work on ECO Polity (section 1.06) and some of the resulting works of the WPC Governance and Implementation Team. The study group recommendations should be considered as a revision of the governance plan and not a whole new plan.
Much congregational dialog has occurred during the time from October of 2016, when the Congregation was asked to consider reducing the size of the Session. Covenant Partners through town hall, small group, bible class, elder meeting and meetings of all kinds shared their views with study group members. Study group members factored this feedback from covenant partners into these recommendations.
- Session Size: 18 + 3 Pastors
- Session Term: Three (3) years (no change)
- Phase Down – Ordering of Session:
- Class of 2021 – Elect six (6) new elders – Session size 26 elders
- Class of 2022 – Elect six (6) new elders – Session size 22 elders
- Class of 2023 – Elect six (6) new elders – Session size 18 elders
Through the gradual reduction of four (4) elders per year, WPC would arrive at a Session size of 18 at the beginning of the Class of 2023.
The consensus of the group was a Session of eighteen (18) elders would provide -
- Six (6) elders per commission plus a pastor for each commission. The study group felt that six commission members provided the level of members necessary to sustain continuity of commission business and to support and build ministry team leadership.
- The three (3) year phase down to 18 elders would allow time for the Commissions to build support for existing ministry teams and build new ministry teams & leaders.
The phase down period would provide time for ELI training of new elders and ministry team leaders.
The phase down period would provide time for the Session to optimize the Joint Leadership Commission member makeup.
Vote by the Congregation – October 8, 2017: The consensus of the group was that an oral summary report of these recommendations be presented to the Joint Leadership Commission June 13, 2017 by Rachel Segars and Harriet Moxley. If agreed upon by the JLC, this report should be presented to the Session June 20, 2017 for consideration and possible vote. If approved by the Session, that would provide a three-month time period to communicate to the WPC Covenant Partners the proposed Session changes and allow the Session to form a team to begin this communication and dialog with the congregation.
Session voted to approve the recommendation of the study group on session size during the June 20th, 2017 meeting. Plans were made to inform the Covenant Partners how they came to this number and how the reduction would be accomplished so that a congregational vote could be held on October 8, 2017.
The Commission makeup was changed to three commissions and the Joint Leadership Commission on May 1, 2017. This was done by a vote of the Session. It did not require a congregational vote since the size or term was not changing.