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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States


The mission of Seattle Presbytery is to participate, in word and deed, in God’s transforming work through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: †by strengthening the witness and mission of our congregations and members and by building strong partnerships with each other and the larger Christian community.



For Information:

  • Approval of the Minutes, Presbytery and Executive Board: The Stated Clerk will draft the minutes and distribute them, in the case of the presbytery, to the continuing members and the churches, in the case of the Executive Board, its members, for review and suggested additions, corrections or deletions.  After ten days of the distribution and reviewing any suggestions, the moderator, vice moderator and immediate past moderator may approve the minutes. (Approved April 30, 2019). Link: Seattle Presbytery Minutes 2019-04-30.

  • Ordination vote by ballot – On a vote to ordain a candidate to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, a vote by ballot shall be granted upon the request of any commissioner, without discussion or vote.” (Approved July 18, 2018)

  • The presbytery may change any action taken by a subordinate body (Board, commission or committee) in the same way it may change any previous action by the presbytery by means of the motions to "Rescind" and to "Amend Something Previously Adopted." There is no time limit. A second is required, it is debatable, a 2/3rds majority is required without previous notice; a majority is required if notice is included in the call for the meeting.

STATED CLERK REPORT (updated 7/11/19)

Recommendation - Selection of GA Commissioners

Seattle Presbytery has traditionally selected GA Commissioners by a form of drawing lots.  In order to faithfully reflect the presbytery’s “inalienable right to select its officers,” and to exercise its right to question and select commissioners, (upheld by the GA PJC), this historical form has been omitted from the bylaws when they were updated in 2017.  

Instead, the following process has been drafted after researching practices of other presbyteries, and is offered for adoption. 


   A letter of resignation from the Executive Board Class of 2021 was received from Ruling Elder Rachel Eells, Mt Baker Park, May 16, 2019.

A letter of alleged offense against a member of the presbytery was received May 22, 2019, and has been referred to an investigating committee per D-10.0103.

A written statement requesting “release from the denomination,” was received from Rev. Kolinus Buntaran dated May 29, 2019; the Stated Clerk replied June 3rd clarifying that the request was a written statement renouncing jurisdiction of this church and that the minister has been deleted from the roll of membership as requested.

Judicial Process (this section added 7/11/2019)

A remedial complaint received February 12, 2019 from Eric Tronsen against the session of University Presbyterian Church (previously reported) was dismissed April 11th 2019 on grounds that it did not state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Regarding the letter of alleged offense received April 25, 2019 (previously reported); the investigative committee has reported that no charges will be filed.

Reports of Ordination and/or Installation Commissions

   The Rev. Tyler Kirkpatrick, installed as Pastor of Central Kitsap Presbyterian Church, May 19, 2019, by the following administrative commission who is dismissed with thanks: Revs. Jesse Mabangalo, Susie Beil, John Haberlin, Mike Pickard; Ruling Elders Keith Heino, North Point, Bethany Nupen, Summit Avenue, Lois Anne Sykes Central Kitsap, Linda Wahlquist, Central Kitsap.

The Rev. Erin Grayson was ordained May 26th, 2019 to serve as a temporary pastor, at Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, by the following administrative commission who is dismissed with thanks: Revs. Heidi Husted Armstrong, Nicole Chilivis, Linda Conyers,  Marty Shelton-Jenck, Ruling Elders Kent Chadwick Rolling Bay, Jeanine Lutzenhiser North Point, Joel Walsh Rolling Bay


Authorized Delegated Actions Reported to the Presbytery:

The Executive Board operates as an Administrative Commission of the presbytery.  Its full minutes, which are available here (online only), constitute the minutes of the Directors of the Corporation.  Delegated actions only, taken on behalf of the presbytery according to the bylaws, are reported here.  For more information regarding these actions, please consult the full minutes.

   Indonesian PC Administrative Commission – Sunday, June 2, 2019, the majority of the congregation and all of the session members and deacons voted to leave the PCUSA and the presbytery.  The action was expected since the congregation has experienced instability since the former pastor resigned a year ago due to plagiarism issues. A remnant of the congregation wishes to remain in relationship with the presbytery and as a PCUSA congregation.  The Board, acting on behalf of the presbytery between meetings, and in consultation with staff, concluded that it was necessary for the presbytery to assume original jurisdiction and to designate an administrative commission with the full powers of the session.

   A resolution was approved by unanimous written consent on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 to designate the following persons to the subject administrative commission:  Rev. Jesse Mabanglo (he has served as COM liaison to the Indonesian Church), Margaret Redman Mercer Island, Chris Lim Union Church, and  former member of Indonesian; and Rev. Karen Breckenridge, Pastor of Wedgwood, where IPC has been meeting.  A motion to ratify the action taken by unanimous written consent was APPROVED.

    Taiwanese Fellowship Request to Charter – The fellowship has requested to charter as a congregation.  After discussion, the Board decided to act on behalf of the presbytery so the process of chartering could begin, to be ratified by the presbytery.  A motion was APPROVED that an Administrative Commission be designated by the presbytery Moderator to charter the Taiwanese Fellowship as a congregation of the presbytery according to G-1.02.  

   Matthew 25 Initiative –  Rev. Eliana Maxim presented the PCUSA Matthew 25 initiative.  A motion was APPROVED to declare Seattle Presbytery a Matthew 25 mid-council, which includes the following commitment:

“We do hereby commit to become a Matthew 25 mid council. We pledge to encourage 20% or more of our congregations to become Matthew 25 churches and embrace these areas of focus:

   •  Building congregational vitality

   •  Dismantling structural racism

   •  Eradicating systemic poverty

We promise to keep track of the impact of our ministry and share our stories with the PC(USA) from time to time.”

   Cash Management – The Property and Finance Committee recommended the following to cover property management expenses which was APPROVED as follows:  "Resolved, That the Executive Board authorize the transfer of $100,000 from Mission Asset Reserve Fund to Mission Asset Fund to cover property management operating expenses, including continuing legal fees related to First Presbyterian Church of Seattle litigation.”

   Long Range Property Management Strategy Proposal1 – The Property and Finance Committee has been consulting with the Architectural & Planning Firm GGLO to help the presbytery develop a long-term property strategy.  GGLO’s proposal includes a price quote for gathering initial data (see section 110). An analysis of the community and potential property uses could eventually include all the property of the churches.  A second phase (see section 120) to obtain more specific data about particular properties was described, but a price quote was not included. The following resolution was APPROVED, “That the proposal from GGLO dated June 6, 2019 for a long range planning study be accepted, and that Property and Finance Committee proceed with the Scope of Service Task 110 as described in the proposal, that it obtain a price quote for Task 120, and proceed if the committee deems it reasonable and that subsequent tasks be subject to further review and acceptance.”

   Reserve Fund Policy Revision – The PCUSA makes grants funds available for new worshiping communities and new church development typically in the amount of $25,000; the presbytery matches these grants.  The timing of the PCUSA grants is unpredictable making it difficult to budget for presbytery matching grants within a specific fiscal year, e.g. two PCUSA grants may be awarded in one year, and none the next.  The Property and Finance Committee recommended that presbytery matching grants be funded from reserve account funds instead of the annual budget. This would be consistent with the practice of many presbyteries. A resolution was APPROVED as follows, “Resolved, That presbytery grants matching grants those from the PCUSA for new worshiping communities and new church developments be made from the Mission Asset Reserve Fund instead of the Grant Fund.”

   UPC/Bennett Grant – The session requested $15,000 for the support of missionary Marta Bennett, who is serving in Kenya.  A grant of $5,000, which matches the financial support provided by the UPC session, was APPROVED.

   Task Force Name Change – The Anti Racism Task Force name was revised to “The Race and Equity Task Force.”

   Northminster PC Per Capita Forgiveness – A request was received from the Clerk of Session for credit of overpayment of per capita which was based on incorrect reported membership.  A motion to accept the revised reported membership and credit Northminster PC $840.00 was APPROVED.

   Position Title Revision – A motion to adopt the personnel committee’s recommendation that Rev. Tali Hairston’s title be revised to “Director of Community Organizing, Advocacy and Development” was APPROVED.

New Worshiping Communities -- Current New Worshiping Communities recognized by the Board and the presbytery: City of Glory, New Hope Revival, South Park Neighborhood Church, Coastland Commons; West Seattle Contemplative Church.

1. Letter dated June 6, 2019, GGLO to Scott Lumsden, re: Property Analysis for Long Term Strategy.


From Eliana:

Dear friends,

The Mission Agency of the PC(USA) recently issued an invitation to churches and mid-councils to commit themselves to be identified as a Matthew 25 faith community. And at the last Executive Board meeting, it was voted unanimously for the Seattle Presbytery to join the Matthew 25 movement. In order for the presbytery to live into this, we commit to have at least 20% of our congregations identify as a Matthew 25 church. I invite your church to be one of those… will you?

What is a Matthew 25 church?

Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. Convicted by this passage, both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.

How the vision unites all Presbyterians

By accepting the Matthew 25 invitation, you can help our denomination become a more relevant presence in the world. We recognize Christ’s urgent call to be a church of action, where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth and are contagious. And we rejoice how our re-energized faith can unite all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose: our common identity to do mission.

What are we committing to?

The Matthew 25 church has three foci: commitments to building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty.

Truth be told, many of our churches are already hard at work in one or more of these areas such as active partnership with their communities to help the poor, to engage in honest conversations around privilege and prejudice, and the revitalization of their congregations through commitment to their communities.

These can be expressed in a variety of ways and our denomination has provided helpful resources for churches seeking to find creative ways to pursue these goals.

I invite you to embark on this missional journey with the presbytery. And share with us your stories of how your church is expressing the Matthew 25 identity. I look forward to how together we can be a presbytery that makes a loving commitment to fearless discipleship in our communities.

And one more invitation...

Over the past five years, the Seattle Presbytery and the presbytery of the North Coast in Colombia have built a foundational base of relationships that has enriched both our presbyteries. Through these years, one of the congregations we have come to know well in Barranquilla, Colombia is the Novena Iglesia Presbyteriana - affectionately called La Ceiba - led by Rev. Vilma Yanez who is spending a sabbatical month of July here in Seattle with us. “Ninth” Presbyterian has been providing significant hope, love, and service in a neighborhood very much longing for all three gifts. Up until recently, their ministry flowed out of very “humble” building. A couple of years ago, it was condemned and the congregation has been doing their best with a makeshift location.

With the help of their presbytery and contributions from the congregation, the church was recently able to purchase a house in the neighborhood which they hope to convert into their permanent worship space. Significant work needs to take place in order to make this structure safe and appropriate for their mission and ministry.

Seattle Presbytery has been invited to partner with our sister presbytery to help the Ninth Church. With materials and labor factored in, Rev. Yanez and her congregation need to raise an additional $20,670. Within one day of hearing of this need, our own Vashon Presbyterian Church voted to contribute $2500 toward this ask. We know that we have numerous, generous congregations in our presbytery who would welcome the opportunity to help out as well. 

If your congregation would like to come alongside of Ninth Presbyterian Church (and Vashon), please contact any member of the Colombia Task Force (Doug Early, Renee Notkin, Staci Imes, or Eliana Maxim). Any amount contributed will be deeply appreciated.

fpcs ac/session REPORT

Ministry Update:

Transitional Pastor Heidi Armstrong has announced she will retire from FPCS in May 2020.  As FPCS continues to discern the new thing God is doing, we searched for a Transitional Associate Pastor, and found Rev. Jordan Uomoto in our own backyard.  Jordan brings a wealth of experience in and commitment to ministry in Seattle, as well as gifts of creativity and communication. As Jordan and Heidi work in tandem in the coming months, Heidi will coach Jordan in what she has gleaned from Pittsburgh Seminary Church Planting and Revitalization certificate program that she will complete this September.   Heidi will also work with the research and logistics of the Presbyterian Foundation Grant on discovering best practices on thriving PC(USA) congregations.

Property Update:

The buyer was not able to close on their offer, so the session has re-engaged the services of our broker, and the property is again listed for sale.

Legal Update:

On June 7, Division I of the Washington Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the appeals brought by (a) the former elders with respect to church governance and church property issues, all of which were resolved against them in 2016, and (b) the former co-pastors with respect to severance agreements they signed in November 2015, which the trial court ruled were invalid and unenforceable.

The Court of Appeals is expected to issue a decision by this fall. Earlier the same court rejected a request by the former elders to block the planned sale of church property.

commission on ministry REPORT (updated 7/15/19)


1. Resolved, That having been previously examined for temporary presbytery membership, and upon receipt of evidence that membership in all other Christian churches has been surrendered, the membership status of Rev. Aaron Williams be changed from “a minister of another Christian church serving temporarily in a validated ministry of this church (G-2.0506)” to “Engaged in a validated ministry of this church (G-2.0506),” and that the presbytery judge that there are good and sufficient reasons why he not be required to satisfy the requirements of G-2.0607d” (standard ordination examinations) by a three fourths vote, that the alternative means of oral examination by COM on June 6, 2019 be accepted as an alternate means to ascertain readiness for membership, the reason for this waiver being that the alternative means of oral examination by COM on June 6, 2019 be accepted as an alternate means to ascertain readiness for membership, the reason for this waiver being  that the Rev. Aaron Williams, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary has over 30 years of ministerial experience, including being on staff at a PC(USA) church in Texas prior to coming to Seattle. In the area of Presbyterian polity, Rev. Williams will continue to meet with the Stated Clerk in order to gain greater proficiency.

Aaron Williams: Statement of Faith

I Believe in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament (a total of 66 Books) are the Word of God. It is divinely inspired, infallible, inerrant, entirely trustworthy and serves as a supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct (2 Tim.3:16-17).

I Believe in the Triune Godhead. The one God is eternally self-existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut.6:4-5; Mt. 28:19)

I Believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. As God, He was manifest in the flesh. I believe in His virgin birth; His sinless human life; His divine miracles; His vicarious and atoning death, His bodily resurrection; His ascension; His mediatorial work; and His future personal return in Power and Glory (Lk.1:32-33; Jn.1:1-4; 1 Tim.2:5-6; 6:13-16).

I Believe that the Holy Spirit is God. As the third Person in the Godhead, He indwells every believer upon conversion and enables the believer to live a holy life; to witness in power; and to work for the Lord Jesus Christ (Act. 5:3-4; Mt.28:19; Acts.1:8).

I Believe that man was made in the image of God. By choice Man fell out of favor into sin. In God’s mercy, Salvation comes to every lost and sinful person freely and simply by faith in Jesus Christ who shed His blood for sin, and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Gen.1:26-28; 3:1-21; Jn.1:11-13), 1Cor. 12:13).

I Believe in the Priesthood of all believers, and that all believers in Jesus Christ are One Body, the Church, of which He is the Head (1 Cor.12:13; Eph.2:14-22).

I Believe in the Bodily Resurrection of all the dead will take place someday. Believers in Christ will rise unto everlasting blessedness while unbelievers will rise unto judgment and everlasting punishment (Rev. 20:11-15; 2 Cor.5:9-10).

I Believe that there are two main sacraments in scripture that were instituted by Jesus and the Early Church: baptism and the Lord’s supper (Matthew 3:13-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-27).

Aaron Williams: Bio

Aaron has been preaching and teaching the gospel for 30 years. He was born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised by his grandparents, which explains why some of his friends say that he has an “old spirit”. Being the oldest of three brothers and five sisters, he has a strong commitment to family. He’s a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and prior to serving University PC, he served as the senior pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church for 9 years. He loves good fellowship with friends and delights in deep spirited discussions over a good meal or a cup of coffee. Early morning talks with the Lord and late-night talks with his wife, Michelle, are the ways he stays grounded and keeps an eternal perspective. He is a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan. Reading, photography, playing golf are some of the ways he enjoys life.

2. Resolved, That having been previously examined for temporary presbytery membership, and upon receipt of evidence that membership in all other Christian churches has been surrendered, the membership status of Rev. Tali Hariston, be changed from “a minister of another Christian church serving temporarily in a validated ministry of this church (G-2.0506)” to “Engaged in a validated ministry of this church (G-2.0506),” and that the presbytery judge that there are good and sufficient reasons why he not be required to satisfy the requirements of G-2.0607d” (standard ordination examinations) by a three fourths vote, that the alternative means of oral examination by COM on June 6, 2019 be accepted as an alternate means to ascertain readiness for membership, the reason for this waiver being that the alternative means of oral examination by COM on June 6, 2019 be accepted as an alternate means to ascertain readiness for membership, the reason for this waiver being that the Rev. Tali Hairston, a graduate of Fuller Seminary has many years of ministerial experience, many of them teaching and preaching in PC(USA) churches, particularly in the Seattle Presbytery. Besides serving as a presbytery staff member, he is also active at Lake Burien Presbyterian Church. In the area of Presbyterian polity, Rev. Hairston will continue to meet with the Stated Clerk in order to gain greater proficiency.

Tali Hairston: Statement of Faith

The son of a minister and pastor, I was called to ministry at a young age and began preaching at the age of seventeen. My uncle was the lead pastor of the church and mentored me into the ministry and into higher education. Rev. Dr. Hairston PsyD, my uncle, also led me to salvation through faith in Jesus and baptism at the age of eleven.

         I believe the Lord our God is one, revealed in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

         I affirm and celebrate the sacraments of baptism and communion. I believe baptism is a sign and seal of God’s grace and covenant. In baptism we are united to Christ as members of his body, the church. At communion we join the church through eternity in fellowship and salvation in Christ. I believe the Sacraments are instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ and ordained by God. 

         I believe in the Father/Mother - God as creator, the ancient of days who has no beginning and no end. The God of scripture is the Great I am, Alpha and Omega, and the one for whom Jesus Christ cries, “Father, why have you forsaken me.” We are loved unconditionally by the Father, and experience that love in creation, in community through relationships, and personally through prayer.

         I believe Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord, truly God and man born of the Virgin Mary. Christ died and rose on the third day as was prophesied, and will return for his body and bride, the Church. He is the anointed one, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Emmanuel – God with Us, born of virgin, persecuted under Pontius Pilate, endured the cross, appeared to others before his ascension, and is the chief cornerstone. Jesus Christ “thought it not robbery to equal with God, but made himself of no reputation” (Phil 3). He is the seed of Abraham and the root of Jesse. My hope is that my life glorifies him in how I treat everyone, raise my children, love my wife, and befriend the stranger.

         I believe in the Spirit of the Living God, the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, the spirit of Wisdom, and the one for whom the disciples were told to wait for until they are endued with power from on high. This is the same spirit that hovered over the face of the waters during creation. We are to be filled with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, and led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit leads and guides into all truth, corrects, informs and instructs. For this, I am grateful for the Comforter. 

         I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. The quick, powerful, and sharp Word, that was in the beginning with God, and was made flesh and dwelt among us, inspired and animates the Bible. It is the good news, the gospel, the love story, redemption’s plan, reconciliation, and prophetically speaks to the renewing of all things. My call and faith journey has led me to experience the church ecumenically in hopes of seeing the church be the example to the world of a people filled with compassion, and committed to preaching a gospel bigger than ones culture, class, or ethnicity.

         I am a member and committed to belonging and participating with a local congregation, so as not to forsake the assembling of believers. The church is the bride of Christ that exists to embody the life of Christ as resident aliens. We are the people of God, for the purposes of God, to witness the good news of God. Often the church has experienced greater division than unity, and in this we must be faithful. Jesus’ final prayer was for unity, a unity within diversity. We are a diverse people, with a diversity of gifts, living in a diverse creation.  

My faith journey is one in which I have experienced the God of all nations, desiring to redeem the cultures of the world, and who is called to the poor and marginalized. Micah 6:8, is how I attempt to practice my faith, to walk humbly with God and do justice. A deep and abiding justice is one that embraces mercy and seeks the transformation of both victim and offender. I seek radical love that transforms relationships and disempowers principalities and structural sin.  

Tali Hairston: Bio

W. Tali Hairston, MAGL, is Director of Community Organizing, Advocacy, and Development at Seattle Presbytery. He is father to four wonderful children, Isaiah, Kennadi, Lynia, and Jordan. He and his wife Crystal enjoy doing ministry together, going to plays and musicals, and being foodies. Along with an amazing community of friends, these are the true gifts of his life that encourage and strengthen him.

Born and raised in the Rainier Valley neighborhood of Seattle, Tali loves his community. Tali grew up doing ministry with at-risk youth and young adults in Seattle, and is a graduate of the University of Washington and Fuller Seminary. He is on schedule to complete his PhD in Educational Leadership by June 2019. As a noted speaker, writer, consultant, researcher, and educator he is passionate about the work of organizational diversity, reconciliation studies, global urban community development, and equity and diversity in higher education, marketplace, and the church.

For 17 years Tali was the founding director of the John M. Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development at Seattle Pacific University. He was responsible for leading the educational advancement in reconciliation and community development emphasizing research and development of reconciliation, equity, and diversity. The center also provided service-learning and experiential education opportunities in justice, poverty, ethnicity, and cultural literacy for undergraduate students.

Called to engage the work of reconciliation and community development, the work has taken Tali all over the world, working with ministries and leaders from Cambodia to South Africa. Formed by these global experiences and inspired by his own family history as one of the largest enslaved families in American history, Tali is known for his gift to encourage and equip youth and young adults of all backgrounds to pursue God’s call and purpose to be and become.

3.  Steel Lake Presbyterian Church/Rev. Colleen Chinen:

Resolved, That the presbytery determine that Rev. Colleen Chinen, currently serving in a temporary relationship with the session of Steel Lake Presbyterian Church, is eligible according to G-2.0504c to serve as the next installed Associate Pastor at Steel Lake Presbyterian Church;

a. That the presbytery establish (requires a 3/4 vote per G-2.0505)  an “installed associate pastoral relationship for an indefinite period” between Rev. Colleen Chinen and Steel Lake Presbyterian Church, according to the following terms:  Effective Salary $62,500 (cash and housing portions to be determined by the session), $750 expense allowance, $1,500 study leave, full Board of Pensions Benefits, four (4) weeks annual vacation; two (2) weeks annual study leave;

b. That Rev. Chinen be installed by the following Administrative Commission Sunday, August 11, 2019 at 4:00 p.m., 2415 South 320th Street, Federal Way, WA  98003, Revs. Lee Seese, Rev. Dr. Will Mason, Leigh Weber; Ruling Elders Steven Dent, Steel Lake, Pattie Holt, St. Andrew.

Authorized Delegated Actions Reported to the Presbytery:

1. Approved an MIF from the session of John Knox Presbyterian Church.

2. Approved a request from Seattle First Presbyterian Church to create a temporary Transitional Associate Pastor position. 

3. Approved a temporary pastoral relationship titled “Parish Associate” between the Steel Lake Presbyterian Church session and Rev. Arleigh Champ-Gibson. Background: No calendar commitment, salary (except pulpit supply), or benefits.

4. Approved changes to terms of call for Bellevue Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Rosalind Renshaw as follows; the changes to Rosalind’s hours (and therefore her total comp) are within the range previously approved by session and the congregation. Currently, her total comp is $41,875 for 20 hours ($4,175 salary and $36,700 housing) and will be increasing to $61,313.00 for 30 hours, the allocation of which between cash salary and housing allowance to be determined by the associate pastor and the session, effective May 1, 2019.  

5. The work of the following ministers engaged in validated ministries outside the congregation was reviewed per G-2.0502: 

Rev. Bruce Baker

Rev. Mei-Hui Lai

6. Approved the following revision to the Presbytery’s sexual misconduct policy: 

“The good standing of honorably retired teaching elders who are incapacitated and/or who are no longer engaged the work of any kind of ministry normally conducted by teaching elders according  to the Constitution is not affected by this policy, however no teaching elder, regardless of status, may engage in the work of ministry without complying with this policy. Honorably retired ministers who are not currently compliant with this policy may request permission from COM to engage in single events (e.g. weddings, baptisms, etc) which must be obtained before engaging in this work.” 

7. Approved the dissolution of the call, in concurrence with the congregation, between Trinity Presbyterian Church and Rev. Randy Butler effective June 30, 2019.  Granted Rev. Randy Butler Honorably Retired status.

8. Approved the dissolution of the call, in concurrence with the congregation, between Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church and Rev. Mark Zimmerly effective June 23, 2019 and dismissed him to Chicago Presbytery.   Prior to dismissal a consultation was held on May 7th and it was agreed that continued approval for the work of ministry was contingent upon working with a COM mentor and issuing a public apology for a breach that occurred at the last stated meeting of the presbytery; these contingencies were communicated to Chicago Presbytery. July 14, 2019 update: Seattle Presbytery received a letter postmarked July 8, 2019 from Rev. Zimmerly. Linked online.

9. Granted $3,195 to Marcus Whitman Presbyterian Church to participate in the Renewal Ministries Northwest spiritual discernment program. 

10. Approved a request from Magnolia Presbyterian Church to create a temporary associate pastor position.

11. Approved a request from Rev. Adrienne-Schlosser Hall to be released from ministry per G-2.0507, setting aside ordination without prejudice.

12. Granted Zac Calvo permission to participate in the PC(USA) 1001 Apprenticeship and cohort group beginning this fall, as part of his vocational training for Coastland Commons (Seattle Presbytery NWC).

13. A temporary pastoral relationship was approved between the session of Bethany Presbyterian Church and certified candidate Danielle Merseles to serve as Temporary Associate Pastor upon examination and ordination by the Presbytery. 

14. Approved the request from Rev. Kelly Wadsworth to serve as Transitional Pastor, a validated ministry outside the jurisdiction of the church, of Alki United Church of Christ under the Formula of Agreement; according to the following terms (¾ time): $54,000 salary, $4,131 employer’s portion of social security tax, $600 travel reimbursement, up to $1,000 study reimbursement, $500 cost of ministry reimbursement, 20 days vacation, two weeks study leave. 

15. Approved a temporary pastoral relationship between the Trinity Presbyterian Church session and Rev. Todd Holdridge.

16. Designated Rev. Larry Low (HR) as moderator of the Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church session until a transitional pastor is hired.

17. Postponed a motion to consider a grant request from Inglewood Presbyterian Church until further discussions with the session takes place.

18. Approved the following changes in terms of call for Rev. Leigh Weber, Vashon Presbyterian Church: increased to full time with effective compensation of $60,000.00 per year effective August 1, 2019 ($30,000.00 salary and $30,000.00 housing allowance); all terms remain unchanged. 

19. Approved a renewal of the temporary relationship between the session of John Knox Presbyterian Church and Rev. Shari Monson to cover the period from August 15, 2019 through May 31, 2020 (renewable on a monthly or annual basis).

commission on preparation for ministry REPORT (updated 7/11/19)


  1. Southminster Presbyterian Church, Ohio (Presbytery of Miami Valley/Laura Nile: Having received evidence that Certified Candidate Laura Nile has fulfilled the educational requirements of the Constitution of the Church, Be it Resolved, That Laura Nile proceed to ordination by an Administrative Commission to be designated by the Moderator, and service as Associate Pastor at Southminster Presbyterian Church, Ohio (Presbytery of Miami Valley) upon successful examination by the Presbytery.

    a. “The presbytery shall examine each . . . candidate who seeks membership in it on his or her Christian faith, views in theology, the Bible, the Sacraments and the government of this church.” (G-3.0306).  The examination shall also include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W- 4.4003).

    b. When a motion to end the exam is approved by a 2/3rd vote, the candidate will exit; the presbytery will “discuss and discern,” and vote.

Clerk’s note:  It is the presbytery moderator’s duty (not CPM or COM) to rule a question out of order if he or she believes it is outside the bounds of the exam.  Any member may rise and immediately appeal a ruling by the moderator. A second is required. Debate ensues. No member may speak to the appeal more than once, except for the moderator, who may respond with additional reasons for the ruling.  A majority or a tie sustains the moderator’s decision.

Seattle Presbytery Exams Process (available online)

Laura Nile: Statement of Faith

I believe in the Triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit— neither in perfect confidence nor blind allegiance, but through faith. As Hebrews 11 attests, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” My faith is a lifelong journey of wrestling with doubts, learning from a rich diversity of sources, and trusting that the God revealed to me through the incarnation, scripture, and Spirit is real and present in this world and the world yet to come. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, that out of love, God sent Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be made incarnate for the salvation of humankind. I believe that the sins of the world were forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice death and resurrection.

I trust and believe in the authority of the holy scripture of the Bible. I believe the Bible is God-breathed, meaning the Spirit was active in the formation process. The Bible is, first and foremost, the Church’s book and it is the human influence on this holy book gives us hope that God’s Spirit will always be present with us in our work of reading and interpretation today. Scripture, along with reason, tradition, and personal experience, form the pillars of my faith.

I believe that in the beginning, God created this world with order and purpose and called it good. My theology is rooted in the garden of Genesis 2, where God’s desire for a relationship with humanity began. Grounding my theology in the Earth focuses my attention to the importance of embodiment, creation care, and a personal relationship with God. I believe that humans are imago dei—created in and reflections of the image God. This assertion ascribes to all human beings worth and value, no matter their sinful actions. Therefore, our holy obligation is to treat all people with dignity and to pursue systemic justice in our communities and world. The Christian’s hope should not simply be to die and go to Heaven, but to be an active part of living in the Kingdom of God on Earth. The Kingdom of God is not merely a place, but a way of life that we are called to choose. The world is infected by sin, which is systemic and personal actions that lead people away from loving God and neighbor. Scripture affirms that God is on the side of the oppressed, which means that God is actively working toward justice for all and we are called by God to be a part of that work.

I believe that the sacraments of Eucharist and Baptism are signs and seals of God’s grace. In the waters of baptism and the bread and cup, the Church receives visible signs of God’s invisible grace, and returns to God our worship and gratitude. The ordinary elements of water, bread, and wine are used to proclaim the extraordinary love of God. The way in which the Spirit of God is present in the physical elements is, indeed, a mystery. Sacraments are not a remedial offering due to our inability to respond without physical signs but are a fitting tangible expression of God’s grace, as we were created with physical bodies in need of both physical and spiritual nourishment and cleansing.

I believe that the church is called to be salt and light to a world marred by sin and still deeply loved by God. The church is to be a witness to the world of the saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the Body of Christ in the world, all Christians have a vocational calling and are accountable to one another. The Church is found wherever the Word of God is truly preached and heard, the Sacraments are rightly administered, and mutually-accountable discipline is practiced. The global church stretches throughout time and geography, connecting all followers of Christ as adopted children in the family of God.

Laura Nile: Bio

Laura Nile has been called as Associate Pastor at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio. Raised in the Christian Missionary Alliance denomination in Salem, Oregon, Laura has always felt called to ministry. Laura attended Seattle Pacific University where she majored in Christian Theology. During college, she found her way to the quirky Bethany Presbyterian Church up the hill where she was eventually hired as the Middle School Coordinator. At Bethany, Laura found a deep love and call to pastoral ministry in the PC(USA). She attended Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and spent time in seminary studying in Vermont, India, and the Czech Republic. She is excited about her move to the Great Midwest and enjoys cooking, hiking, and reading.

2. Bethany Presbyterian Church/Danielle Merseles: Having received evidence that Certified Candidate Danielle Merseles has fulfilled the educational requirements of the Constitution of the Church, Be it Resolved, That Danielle Merseles proceed to ordination by an Administrative Commission to be designated by the Moderator, and service as Temporary Associate Pastor at Bethany Presbyterian Church upon successful examination by the Presbytery.

c. “The presbytery shall examine each . . . candidate who seeks membership in it on his or her Christian faith, views in theology, the Bible, the Sacraments and the government of this church.” (G-3.0306).  The examination shall also include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W- 4.4003).

d. When a motion to end the exam is approved by a 2/3rd vote, the candidate will exit; the presbytery will “discuss and discern,” and vote.

Danielle Merseles: Statement of Faith

I believe in God, who created all in the earth and heavens, with love.

I believe God is revealed through Jesus, who is God incarnate.  Jesus is the Son of God, both divine and human.  

I believe that in his life and teachings, Jesus reveals God through grace, mercy, and justice.  I believe in Jesus’ miraculous healing power. Jesus reveals the God is always with us.

I believe that in his death, Jesus reveals God’s determined presence in the world even in the face of hatred, violence, and pain.  

I believe that in his resurrection, Jesus reveals a God who grants us forgiveness for all of our sins and abundant hope that death is not the end of the story.  We are all sinners in need of salvation offered through Christ. God’s love for us is greater than our sins.  

I believe that through Christ, we are offered eternal life.  

I believe that God dwells within us by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is through the Spirit that God speaks and partners with us to bring transformation into our lives and the world.

I believe in the universal church with Christ as the head of the body.  I believe in the local church where all people, united in Christ, come together to worship and participate in God's divine mission as a community of believers. 

I believe God continues to be revealed to us through Scripture. The Bible is God’s word to us.  

I believe the sacraments of baptism and communion are visible reminders of God's glory and grace.  We remember our identity as children of God and Jesus' sacrifice for each of us in love.   

I believe we see God's glory all around us in his created works on earth.  Our response is to worship God with all of our lives.  

I believe God calls us to stand with the marginalized, seek peace and justice, and participate with God in bringing reconciliation to all of creation and all of God’s creatures.  

I believe Jesus taught us to treat all of humanity as imago dei, or made in God's image. Through Christ, we are all family. God desires to be in relationship with each of us.  I believe that God calls each one of us his beloved children and adopts us into his family as a gift of grace we cannot earn.  

I believe that all things are made new through the transforming power of Jesus, and we are each loved abundantly forever.

Danielle Merseles: Bio

Danielle was born and raised in New Jersey. She moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, earning her Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree in 2007. Following graduation, she moved to Seattle to work in architecture, mostly designing public buildings. Eventually, Danielle went on to seminary at Seattle Pacific and earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div) in 2017. Since 2016, Danielle has served Bethany Presbyterian Church as the Youth and Family Ministries Director. Danielle is passionate about young people experiencing Jesus’ transforming power and love. Danielle loves spending time with friends, playing extremely competitive strategic board games, Christmas decorating, walks around Green Lake full of good conversations and coffee, and travel.

Authorized Delegated Actions Reported to the Presbytery:

1. Received Rachel Morris, John Knox PC, as an inquirer on May 7, 2019.

2. Annual consultation was held on May 7, 2019 with Beth Douglass, Union Church, and she was approved to continue as an inquirer. 

3.Removed from the rolls, Rob Mathis, per his request.

4. Annual consultation was held with Dan Hammer, Mercer Island PC, and he was approved to continue as a certified candidate. 

5. Deactivated Erin Rodenbiker from care of Seattle Presbytery CPM on July 2, 2019. (Background: Erin is in good standing and can apply to be reactivated.)

6. Received Fredrik Mansfield, University PC, as an inquirer on July 2, 2019.

7. Annual consultation was held with Kyle Turver, Bethany PC, and he was approved to continue as an inquirer.

8. Annual consultation was held with Susanna Hoke, University PC, and she was approved to continue as an inquirer. 

9. Inquirer Steve Kamm, member of Sammamish Presbyterian Church, was interviewed, examined, and received as a candidate by the Commission on Preparation for Ministry on May 7, 2019 as authorized by the bylaws (since the 2013 revision).  The commission examined Steve with respect to his Christian faith, forms of Christian service undertaken, and motives for seeking the ministry. 

Bio: I was born in Spokane, WA, but spent my high school years in Phoenix, Arizona, with a short, uneventful season in Fresno, CA. After graduating from Sunnyslope High School, I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara and majored in english and philosophy. Unsure what path to take post graduation, I started working for a home builder, a fellow member of Santa Barbara Community Church. After 5 years building homes, I decided to return to school and enrolled at Fuller Seminary. 

For a variety of personal reasons, I stopped my studies at Fuller and took a job as a major gift officer for the University of Chicago, out of their Los Angeles office. Five years into my fundraising career, I transitioned to the University of Michigan and have held a variety of roles supporting Michigan's fundraising efforts in the western states for the past 20 years. Amy (my wife) and I moved to Sammamish 7 years ago with our two boys, Robby (age 12) and Richey (age 10). I have two children from a previous marriage, Jordan (28) and Ruth (25). We are glad members of Sammamish Presbyterian Church and enjoy friends, long dinner conversations with good food and wine, and almost anything produced by Masterpiece Theatre. 

Link to Steve’s candidacy essay. (Available online only.)

Reported For Information:

1. CPM reassigned liaisons at its May 7, 2019 meeting. 

2. PC(USA) ordination exam readers needed during the week of October 7-11, 2019. All training and scoring takes place online and can be done from your home. Seattle Presbytery must provide two ruling elders and two ministers, and currently has one ruling elder vacancy. Contact to learn more.