My prayer for the day is that God will enhance our vision and increase our capacity for His influence in our lives!  As we walk in faith today, may we find peace that passes understanding.  Amen.

The work of the Presbytery of South Dakota continues in spite of the challenges presented by COVID-19.  Committees have continued to meet, and essential business is being conducted.  A few years ago our Presbytery added a section in our Manual of Operations that allows for voting to happen via video conferencing; thus, we were even able to host our July 11th Presbytery Meeting via Zoom with 70 voting members and several guests present!  What follows is a brief summary of that meeting.

Staff and committee reports were shared, and the Rev. David Cook gave an inspirational sermon entitled, “Learning to Lean”.  We also heard a brief presentation from Bill McConnell who represented the Presbyterian Mission Agency.  Janice Palmer gave a brief summary of the recent Synod meeting, and Paul Penn shared from his Zoom attendance at General Assembly.

Action items and results of the July meeting are as follows:

  1. It was voted to set a service of ordination (into the PCUSA) and installation for David Halleen (Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls).
  2. It was voted to commission the following people to serve as moderators of sessions of congregation, to administer the Sacraments, and to officiate marriages in the state of SD for a term of three years effective July 11, 2020:

Robert Brooks, First, Huron; Tracy Bultena, Westminster, Sioux Falls; Marshall Edelman, Lake Gospel Church, Willow Lake; Robert Flint, First, Brookings; Donna Flint, First, Brookings; Elizabeth Fox, First, Brookings; Lance Griese, First, Britton; and Louise VanPoll, First, Huron.

  1. It was voted to approve the sale of Pioneer Camp property with the following goals:
  2. Strengthening the quality of, and achieving self-sustainability of the presbytery camping ministry
  3. Terms of sale and use of proceeds for the camping ministry would be in coordination and consultation with A & C (Administration and Coordination Ministry).

(Prior to the above vote of approval to sell Pioneer Camp, guests were allowed to share their opinions about the proposed motion.  The Camping and Faith Formation committee then presented information as to what prompted their recommendation to A & C to sell Pioneer.  After this presentation, a motion was made to postpone the vote definitely to the next stated Presbytery Meeting October 16, 2020.  The motion to postpone failed and was followed by a period of debate prior to the vote to sell Pioneer Camp.  Certainly many are saddened by the outcome of this vote; even many who advocated for the sale of Pioneer did so reluctantly, saddened by the circumstances over the past several years that led to the proposal.  As we go forward, I encourage each one to consider thoughtfully what God is calling us to do in support of the camping and faith formation efforts of our Presbytery.)

  1. It was voted to have the Presbytery of South Dakota establish a moderator-appointed commission to oversee the coordination of the sale of Pioneer Camp, including the negotiations of the sale. Final terms would be brought to the POSD for approval.
  2. It was voted to move Rev. Terry Drew to Honorable Retirement, and affirmations were offered.

Please mark your calendars for October 16, 2020, for the next stated meeting; Coronavirus will dictate whether we meet in person or via Zoom.

Following the meeting on July 11th, I began deliberations regarding the appointment of the Pioneer Camp commission.  I am pleased to inform you that we do have a commission.  Benton Visser will serve as moderator, joined by Rev. Donald Buck and Denise Lutkemeier.  Also, I have asked Rolly Kemink to serve as a resource to the commission with regard to donors and dispersal of donated items.  I believe God has put these people before us because he knows they bring valuable gifts to the table.  Please keep them in your prayers.

In closing, I share the following Scripture from Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Go forward encouraged that good things will happen!


Moderator Jane Hohm