This update was shared publicly at all three worship services at SPC on Sunday, April 22, 2018
As you all are aware, the Session and Pulpit Committee have wrestled with and have struggled with figuring out the best procedures for calling the next senior pastor with the retirement of Pastor Riddle. Having been our Senior Pastor for 25 years, we have not had to do this for a very long time. We have certainly made some mistakes and found that this is not easy. In many churches, especially independent churches, the people are left to figure all this out on their own with no outside help. In other churches, leadership at the denominational level may simply take over without regard to the will of the members. We are blessed by the Presbyterian model in that we have resources whereby Teaching and Ruling Elders from our sister churches can engage with us to counsel and minister with the goal of finding a path forward for the Session and Pulpit Committee that resolves issues and conflicts while promoting peace and unity that is rooted in Christ alone.
The Session, in consultation with all of our Elders, has asked the Shepherding Committee of the Pee Dee Presbytery to work with us and guide us forward as a church toward the goal of calling the next Senior Pastor. This means that they will be working with the Session and the Pulpit Committee to develop binding procedures and policies that are fair and are consistent with the Book of Church Order in the PCA. Some of you may be wondering what the Pulpit Committee will be doing during this time with the Shepherding Committee. We have been encouraged to ask them to put their work on hold until we have a better understanding of what the right next steps are. This means that the Pulpit Committee will suspend looking for a senior pastor until directed to resume. A significant majority of the committee has agreed to this and will continue to support our associate pastor, Tim Melton as he fills the role of interim senior pastor as per Session policy. This freeze also applies to all major decisions of the church during this time. It is essential that when we again begin to take steps forward, they are the right steps and that we do so as a single body with common goals.
The Elders of the church believe that Christ can do this and that we will realize this dream. Lasting unity does not come from simply locating a pastor. It comes from strengthening bonds and relationships between each other during the journey. It comes from fostering a biblical love for one another. I have to tell you that the Elders of our church are unanimous in their resolve to submit to the authority of the Shepherding Committee and to put into action those steps that are developed for us. Please pray for the Shepherding Committee as they meet with us to learn about us, encourage us, and help us design plans for the future. As they begin their work over the coming days, we will provide additional updates.
For now we keep our eyes on Jesus as we worship our King.
– RE Will Parker, Clerk of Session