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Cary, NC 27511
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Presbyterian Church (USA)

Important Changes to Cary Presbyterian Church's Governing Body, Ministry Areas and Bylaws

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Final Report of the Organizational Structure Task Force
Articles of Incorporation
Amended and Restated Bylaws
(New) CPC Ministry Areas
Noah Report
Final Conversations @ CPC Report

As a matter of information for the congregation, the following article was written for the upcoming February issue of The Link:

At a special meeting on January 15, the session considered the proposals of the Organizational Structure Task Force and, with the full support of the deacons and the pastors, made several important decisions:

  1. The church will be organized into ten ministry areas: Worship (which includes all matters relating to worship and our music ministry), Pastoral Care (which includes the caregiving activities such as Stephen Ministry and Shepherding), Christian Education, Christian Fellowship, Youth and College Students (which includes our youth groups but not Sunday School for this age group), Communications, Benevolence (which includes the decision-making for those missions we support primarily financially), Hands-On Missions (which includes those missions we support with our time and efforts such as ASP), Equipping (which includes the volunteer coordination and training and the Nominating Team), and Operational Support (including budget and finance, personnel, facilities usage and records). A chart summarizing this breakdown can be found on the website.
  2. A unicameral system will be formed by merging the board of deacons and the session into one governing body. The present deacons, subject to the vote of the congregation, will be elected and installed as elders.
  3. The session will consist of 30 elders in 2007 and 27 in 2008. After that, the number of elders would be determined by the session, but would be between 21 and 30.
  4. Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws were approved and will be submitted to the congregation for a vote at its annual meeting to be held on Sunday, February 18 following the 11 a.m. service. Copies of these documents can be found in the links above.

The session had previously adopted the institution of the Equipping Ministry, which is being formed and led by Belinda Weinbrecht and Jerry Slaymaker, and the creation each year of a “discernment committee” to meet, pray and consider some of the major issues facing our congregation. The discernment committee reports to session and consists of the pastors and the five members elected by the officers: Jeanne Bolick, Gary Govert, Wayne Honeycutt, Cindy Leslie and Scott Peoples. The reasoning for these changes has been explained in detail in the report of the task force, in previous issues of The Link and at congregational meetings this past fall. We can only summarize the reasoning here. The reasons for the move to the unicameral system are:

  • To more closely align our system of government with the Book of Order.
  • To lessen gaps in coverage of responsibilities, as there will be only one governing body.
  • To simplify the work of the Nominating Team: it can focus on selecting people with leadership ability as opposed to filling specific roles within the session or diaconate. Furthermore, more people may be willing to serve as elders if they do not also have to chair a church Ministry Area.
  • To expand the number of leadership opportunities for the congregation, since many team leadership positions will come from those who are not elders.
  • To allow for greater continuity of programs because an elder’s retirement will not result in a gap in team (formerly committee) leadership.
  • To free up elders to focus on the larger issues facing CPC - being proactive rather than reactive.

The new system was built on some of the principles set out in the Noah Report. The session wants to more fully engage all members of our congregation by extending invitations to serve, encouraging participation and equipping those who do answer the call. Streamlining leadership and means of communication will also help avoid the “80-20” rule where 20% of the group does 80% of the work. Having elders serve as liaisons to ministry areas and teams (which, in many cases, will have lay chairs instead of elder chairs) will help to spread out the work and lessen our burnout factor for elders. Its success will depend in large part on the willingness of our congregational membership to step up and participate.

The session believes that these changes will create many more opportunities and are necessary steps to creating the community of faith envisioned in the Noah Report – one full of energy, excitement, outreach and compassion, and one constantly seeking God’s guidance in our individual lives and corporate community.

Should you have any questions or comments about this new system or these changes, feel free to contact any member of the Organizational Structure Task Force:  Sally Goettel (chair), Francis Giesbrecht, Gary Govert, Sue Harley, Rod Morton, Jerry Slaymaker, Tom Stuart, Belinda Weinbrecht.

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