Three years ago you elected me to serve my fifth three-year term on your Session. As a result I have more experience on our Session than any other person, by a considerable margin. I first served on the Session when Lew Evans was our pastor. I can tell you that this current Session is unique and far and away the best Session I have served on, or been exposed to. We have argued and debated many issues, but we have always disagreed agreeably. Searching for God’s will has truly been our guiding light. I am proud and honored to have been part of this body.
The foregoing is to establish my credentials to put to rest a rumor that has been circulated. The Session asked me to write this letter. Some have said that the Session has been unduly influenced by Tom and Wayne in regards to the second vote on the lawsuit settlement proposal. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been amazed at how neutral they have remained during the entire debate, which has been extensive, lengthy and vigorous. Every member of the Session expressed their ideas and concerns and how they felt God was leading them. At no time did any of the pastors try to influence us other than to provide facts and information. They took the position that God would guide the Session and the congregation and that they would accept those decisions as God’s word to them. I believe that they will faithfully and wholeheartedly support whatever decision we make on this matter. That does not imply that they do not have opinions and feelings on these important matters.
Those who know me will tell you that I am not easily intimidated and never, ever back away from a good argument. I have personally disagreed with every one of our pastors on something at one time or another. I have done it publicly and in private. I say that to support what I just said about the pastors not unduly influencing the Session. I repeat, the actions of your Session were taken by each member voting their own conscience.
Anyone who tells you differently is just not aware of the facts of the matter.
The Session is 100% committed to accept the congregation’s decision as God’s will and intends to carry it out to the best of our ability with unity and the spirit of Christian fellowship.
Your brother in Christ,
John R. Haley