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Thursday Business Tightens Up Bylaws Language and Wraps Up Elections

During the second day of business, resolutions were presented to clarify misleading or inaccurate language in the bylaws and final elections were held.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thursday marked the second day of General Council business sessions at General Council 2023, held in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The call to order was quickly followed by a series of adopted resolutions pertaining to ministerial credentials.

A resolution was introduced that would require ministers to complete one-hour of online training as a prerequisite for renewing their credentials. After deliberation about details such as format, cost, and allowances for extenuating circumstances, the motion was made to refer the resolution to committee for further discussion. The motion passed by a simple majority.

Another resolution that initiated some discussion from the general council floor was the nomination process for additional representation on the executive presbytery. Resolution 20, which was adopted by voters, gave the executive presbytery the responsibility to further vet candidates submitted by districts for the office for one of the three additional member positions. Those positions are an under 40 representative, an ordained female minister, and an ordained African American minister. The executive presbytery will now select and submit eight names for each of the offices from which the general presbytery will choose four to present to the general council for an electoral ballot.

Other resolutions that were voted on, aimed to bring clarity and consolidation to several bylaws that were either using incorrect or outdated wording or were no longer accurate due to previous resolutions or bylaw changes.

Resolutions 4 and 17 brought clearer definition and simplified the language for categories of recognized divorce and annulment situations relating to ministerial credentials. Resolution 3 was adopted, which eliminated a specific quarterly timeline in the submission of restoration reports to district superintendents by pastors walking through the restoration process.

Further clarification of verbiage was adopted in resolutions 5 and 19. The fifth resolution brought clarity to language regarding the ministers dismissal appeals process. Resolution 19 updated wording to accurately reflect the mergence of the Chaplaincy Department as one department.

Resolution 6 added directness about the appeals process for dismissed ministers. To make an appeal, ministers must include new or exculpatory information when sending in their appeal, a point of confusion in the past.  

Resolution 18 added language to clarify that ministerial credentials can be revoked by lapse, by resignation, or by a decision to not renew. Although the decision to not renew by a district had been implied, said the general superintendent, Doug Clay, legal counsel had advised that the language be added.

The passing of resolution 12 eliminated the requirement for the general presbytery district auditor, who is selected by districts, to be a full-time executive presbyter or officer. Rationale presented was the unfairness towards bi-vocational leaders, who are a growing population, and the difficulty in verifying full-time executive presbytery status.

Other business of the day included elections for the final four non-resident executive presbytery positions. Rick Ross was re-elected Southeast area non-resident executive presbyter. Ross, alongside his wife Susan, serves as the superintendent of the North Carolina District.

Incumbent Bradley T. Trask, pastor of Brighton Assembly of God in Michigan, was also re-elected to his position as the Great Lakes non-resident executive presbyter.

Duane Durst, superintendent of the New York Ministry Network, was elected to serve another term as the non-resident executive presbyter to the Northeast Area.

The Language Area-East Spanish non-resident presbytery seat was filled by incumbent Manuel A. Alvarez. Alvarez serves as the superintendent of the Spanish East District which hosts over 500 churches and 70,000 adherents.

Three honorary general presbyters were also approved at the close of the day’s business. Vance A. Cauthon served the Kansas Ministry Network in a variety of roles, including as an executive officer for 29 years. Immediately following Cauthon, Daniel De Leon, minister in the Southern Pacific District for 55 years, 46 of those years being lead pastor at Templo Calvario in Santa Ana, California, was voted in an honorary general presbyter. Dennis W. Marquardt, former district superintendent of the Northern New England District was the final candidate voted into an honorary general presbytery position. 

PHOTO: Manuel A. Alvarez was re-elected as Language Area - Spanish East EP.

Ashley B. Grant

Ashley B. Grant has a master's degree in Human Services Marriage and Family Counseling from Liberty University and is a credentialed Christian counselor through the American Association of Christian Counselors. Grant also holds certifications in crisis pregnancy counseling and advanced life coaching. Ashley is a fourth generation Assemblies of God preacher’s kid and has one daughter and three sons.