At the March Presbytery Meeting we were introduced to the invitation to move forward with the process of going from 7 presbyteries in New Jersey to 4 presbyteries. At the May Presbytery meeting we voted to YES to accept the invitation.
So where are we now…
This process includes all seven presbyteries voting to accept the invitation. So for four presbytery have voted in the affirmative: Newark, Newton, Elizabeth and Palisades. West Jersey and Monmouth will vote in September and New Brunswick, presently, is scheduled for November.
What happens if a presbytery does not accept the invitation? It does not mean that the process is over. Instead the working group with review and recommend new boundaries or new concept. Ideally the new presbyteries need to be a particular size of member in order to be sustainable into the future. The Missional Structure Working group would look into a way that can continue should a presbytery vote no.
Let’s be positive. Once all have agreed the Synod will form a “Technical” team who will be responsible for developing a plan that deals with issues around assets, debts, corporations, final boundaries, membership, and all the other stuff that no one thought of beforehand. They will prepare the paperwork necessary for the state and General assembly. At some point we will have another vote to approve the technical issues.
Our Presbytery at this time will become the Northwest New Jersey Presbytery. ( A different name can be determined later). The boundary lines are presently Sussex, Morris, Warren, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties as well as three churches in Passaic County. These boundaries may shift a little here and there. Roughly the Northwest New Jersey Presbytery will have 78 to 82 congregations and somewhere around 15,000 members.
The Presbytery Coordinating Team (PCT) has approved forming a Transition Team to help develop relationships within the bounds of the new presbytery and to provide guidance on next steps to becoming that new presbytery. Later in the year we will publish more specific information about the transition team.
In the meantime, continue to pray for the future of our presbyteries and congregations. As we receive new information we will share it with you.