From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 05 May 1996 08:07:02


                      OF EXECUTIVE PRESBYTER 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--A year and a half after San Diego Presbytery tried to fire 
him, the Rev. Neil W.  Brown was ordered reinstated as executive presbyter 
by the General Assembly's Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) Feb. 27. 
     The PJC ruled that the presbytery "failed to follow procedures 
demanded by the  Book of Order'" when it ousted Brown in July 1993. 
     The presbytery, faced with a financial crisis, voted to "institute 
termination procedures" against Brown, citing "a significant loss of 
confidence and faith in his ability to unify and lead the presbytery." 
     The "Book of Order" (G-9.0705) calls for a "statement of findings" -- 
that is, the reasons for a recommended action -- in such a situation. 
     "In this case," the PJC stated, "the reasons for termination implied 
     However, the presbytery committee that brought the termination 
recommendation did not call any witnesses or produce any evidence that 
Brown was in any way responsible for the presbytery's financial crisis.   
     Therefore, the PJC ruled, the investigative committee did not "provide 
[Brown] with sufficient notice of the misconduct suggested" by its 
recommendation to fire him. 
     It ordered that Brown be allowed to resume his duties as executive 
presbyter immediately and be given back pay to July 15, 1993.   
     It also ordered the stated clerk of San Diego Presbytery to report the 
decision to the presbytery's next meeting and the stated clerk of the Synod 
of Southern California and Hawaii to report the decision to the next 
meeting of the synod. 
     Additionally, the PJC criticized the synod's Permanent Judicial 
Commission for "willfully refusing to meet and hear this case." 
                             # # # 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
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