An Update from Your Session
On Sunday evening, Session passed a recommendation brought to the floor by the Congregational Life and Personnel Committees that reads: 

“We recommend redefining the roles and calls of both of our pastors at Lakeside Presbyterian Church from pastor & associate pastor to co-pastors. Per the Book of Order, “When a congregation has two pastors serving as co-pastors, and the relationship of one of them is dissolved, the other remains as pastor.” 

Prior to voting, the Session agreed that to pass the above recommendation, a two-thirds vote in favor would be required. The votes were cast anonymously. 
To be clear, this recommendation: 
  • Follows the Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order fully. Our polity does allow an associate pastor to become a co-pastor (and/or pastor).
  • Is permissible by our polity and because we have heard from many congregants who would support this possible path, we felt it necessary to prayerfully consider it first. 
  • Will be thoroughly discussed and considered during Q & A sessions. 
  • Will be voted on during a called congregational meeting, allowing full voice to all members of the congregation. 
  • Is just one step in a process that will help Lakeside build on our successes and move into the future God has in mind. 
Timeline and Process 
Formally, this process requires votes from session, votes from the congregation as a whole, and votes from our Presbytery. Informally, this process requires opportunities for the congregation to be heard and to ask questions and have them answered; it requires the full engagement of our Presbytery representatives, including partners from the Commission on Ministry (“COM”); it requires space for Louisa to speak to and answer questions about her call and her vision; and it requires mutual commitment to the larger vision of Lakeside Presbyterian Church. 
To meet all of these requirements, between now and November 14th we will: 
  • Host multiple Q & A sessions, including opportunities to hear and discuss the rationale of the session, opportunities for Louisa to speak and answer questions, and time to address any questions about the process itself. 
  • Create written and filmed communications to keep the congregation fully informed and to address emerging themes, questions, and hopes. 
  • Offer multiple opportunities for Louisa to preach. 
  • Schedule meetings with our Presbytery COM liaisons to fully engage them in our process. 
  • Continue operating as an “open door office,” wherein you are welcome to call your pastors at any time or to schedule time with them to discuss this or any other issue. 
Key Dates 
Tuesday, November 2: 
The Presbytery COM considers for approval the change in staffing model for Lakeside Presbyterian Church from pastor/associate pastor to co-pastorate and that Louisa is eligible for co-pastorate. 
Tuesday, November 9: 
Should the COM approve the above change in staffing model the Presbytery of Cincinnati will consider the motion at its regular meeting. This vote to allow Louisa to become the co-pastor requires a three-fourths majority to pass. This approval does not make Louisa co-pastor; this clears the way for the congregation to vote to elect her as such. 
Sunday, November 14:  
Called meeting of the congregation to 
  • elect a pro forma Pastor Nominating Committee, with the express purpose of nominating the Rev. Louisa W. Umphres to become a co-pastor.2 
  • vote on the nomination of the Rev. Louisa W. Umphres as co-pastor with the Rev. Nancy Ross-Zimmerman. 
  • approve updated terms of call for our co-pastors. 
Should the congregation vote not to call Louisa as co-pastor, we will immediately begin the process of updating our Mission Study and electing a PNC to conduct a national search.  
Should the congregation vote to call Louisa as co-pastor, she would remain as co-pastor or pastor upon Nancy’s retirement in June of 2022. Session and the congregation will determine what pastoral staffing model best fits its vision moving forward. This could be having a pastor and associate pastor, co-pastors, or having a pastor and other non-installed or non-ordained staff.   
An Additional Note about Our Presbytery 
On Tuesday, October 5th, the Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry considered the session’s motion for the first time. The COM believed that it was not ready to approve the motion until it had further opportunity to understand the rationale of the session, to understand how dissenting voices have been managed, and to meet with the session and your pastors. We believe that we can fully address each of these questions between now and November 1st as we invite our COM liaisons – Rev. Trent Holden and Rev. Jean Holmes, as well as two COM members the Rev. Debbie Whaley, and the Rev. James E. Brazell, Jr. – alongside us in the above-mentioned process.

1 PC(USA) Book of Order, G-2.0504c “A presbytery may determine that its mission strategy permits a teaching elder currently called as an Associate Pastor to be eligible to serve as the next installed pastor or co-pastor.”
2As the new co-pastor role is essentially a new call, a PNC is required based on The Book of Order, G-2.0802.