Session Update

Session Highlights: March 2024

Clerk’s Report:

Action item(s): The following action items were approved by the Session:

  • Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Meeting on February 15, 2024.

Changes in Church Register:

The Clerk acted on the January CONSENT AGENDA from the Regular Session meeting and recorded the deaths of Shirley Gregory, Edward Scott, and Robert Voll. In Breeze, the status of Pamela Sayre was changed to ‘active member’.

  • New Members: x
  • Baptisms: x
  • Marriages: x
  • Deaths:
    • Ruth VanDerpoel, DOD March 7, 2024. Ruth was a member of PCM for 26 years, joining in 1997. She was ordained as a Deacon on February 13, 2011. (#9116) Ruth served as a Stephen Minister, long-time coordinator of our pew maintenance group, and was a Board Member of the Friends of the Library. Ruth was instrumental in creating the Memorial Garden behind the Church on the Green an worked to maintain it.       
  • Dropped from Roll: x
  • Transfers: x
  • New Officers:  Updated Breeze accounts for newly ordained elders and deacons, Class of 2027, as well as the permanent record book. Stan Mack was ordained & installed as a Deacon on March 17, 2024 (Class of 2027).


The Minutes of Session book that is currently in use has another 100 pages remaining to print the minutes. Given that these often are backordered, the clerk would like to place an order with Cokesbury for the binder, $162.79 and 200 numbered pages, – $118 ($59 per 100).  Total $280.79+tax. A MOTION was made and seconded, all members Approving this purchase. The clerk left the order Information on Kay Smith’s desk.


  • Via email, from Highlands Presbytery office, the approved and signed copy of Rev. Daniel Vigilante’s Terms of Call on March 13, 2024 – from Committee on Ministry. (COM)
  • Via email, contacted Rev. Sidney Williams, the pastor of Bethel AME Church, that session directed our Outreach committee to be the point of contact for the Juneteenth author event on June 15th in our Chapel.
  • Via USPS – from PC-USA Ministry Engagement & Support GA committee, reminder re OGHS offering and what this collection enables the denomination to do for the global community. (natural disasters, provide food to the hungry, and empower the poor and oppressed).
  • Via email – Rev. Webber informed the clerk of a request by Diane Morgan to remove her from our rolls. (#9677) She now lives in Florida.

Presbytery Happenings and Information:

Our commissioned elders to the March 12th Presbytery meeting were Carolyn Crosthwaite, Sherry Guthrie, and Rich Schwartz.

  • Rev. Scot McCachren (Mendham) reported on the Insurance Partnership that our presbytery is trying to reinstitute. Twenty-five years ago such a partnership was created with Brown & Brown helping member churches get better group rates, depending on each church’s needs and circumstances. This partnership has been recreated with Brown & Brown and is available for any church within our presbytery. The intention is to improve pricing, give access to special coverage, and to have access to insurance workshops and resources. A church may join or leave at any time.
  • Several churches provided “stories” about programs they were able to create with the aid of the $2,000 “Quick-Start Challenge” Presbytery Grant.
    1. Alexandria First, Milford- Rev. Nicholas Hatch described their Quick-start program as they tried to incorporate being a Matthew 25 Church with their project. It came in the form of helping those in crisis or experiencing an emergency. They have created a task force to have at-the-ready, emergency kits consisting of basic necessities for those in need.
    2. Frenchtown- Rev. Merideth Mueller-Bolton described their project: Fifth Saturdays. Special events are planned on the fifth Saturday of a month that bring the community closer. [Baseball game, coffee house, river canal clean-up].
    3. Union Hill, Denville- Elder June Kibe described their Quick-start program- Appalachian Service Project (ASP). This is a youth summer mission trip to the Appalachians to help folks there with their needs and provide experience for their youth outside of their local community.
  • The 2023 Necrology report was read. These are elders and ministers who died in any given year. PCM had no elder deaths in 2023.
  • Rev. Jeanne Radak reported that congregations are invited to take a deep dive using the Presbytery’s Mission Insite license to help answer the question “Who is our Neighbor.” This demographic work can have both immediate and long-term benefits. Congregations should contact Resource Staff Steve Shussett ( to specify the geographic parameters they are interested in.
  • The next Presbytery meeting is May 14, starting at 4pm. This hybrid meeting is at Camp Johnsonburg. Co-Moderator of the 225th General Assembly, the Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace (Philadelphia Presbytery), will be speaking, the new Highlands (Presbytery) Pavilion will be dedicated, and our GA commissioners and delegate will be commissioned.
  • Rev. Bolton told the group that Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is taking applications to become a team member to the National Response Team (NRT). There was an informative video that was shown.
  • Stated Clerk the Rev. Steve Shussett announced a Young Leader Formation Team event on August 25th.
  • Rev. Hannah Allred reported that the Discernment Team has assigned pairs of churches in the “Presbytery Scramble.” Each participating church will exchange ministers and a reasonable amount of congregants with another church in the presbytery on a Sunday. PCM has been paired with Ringwood. Each minister will preach at the assigned church.
  • Item OVT-013* was removed from the omnibus motion. There was extensive discussion about whether Highlands Presbytery should divest from Fossil fuel companies as New Business. The motion was approved to divest. See below the overtures voted on for concurrence: The ACT Recommends the following to the Presbytery for action: That the Presbytery concur on the following Overtures to the General Assembly as an omnibus motion:
    • OVT-013* On removal of investments in and subsidies for fossil fuels
    • OVT-014 On Becoming Free from Plastic Pollution
    • OVT-022 Internal Displacement Crisis within the United States
    • OVT-024 On Creating a General Assembly Administrative Commission on Mid Councils
    • OVT-027 On Supporting An Amendment to the United States Constitution to Abolish the Exception in the 13th Amendment That Permits Those Who Are Convicted of a Crime to be Enslaved
    • OVT-030 On Adjusting the Presbytery Boundaries within the Synod of Alaska-Northwest
    • OVT-031 Insurance Study Request

Adjournment and Closing Prayer

There being no further business to come before the Session, the Session voted to Adjourn the Meeting and the Rev. Vigilante closed the meeting with prayer at 8:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Wendy M. Doidge
Clerk of Session

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