Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church’s Session recently recommended that WCPres join Menlo Church as the most efficient and effective way to reach the unchurched in the Bay Area for the Kingdom.
On June 3, the Congregation voted 58% in favor of joining Menlo Church. However, both Menlo and WCPres Sessions were hoping for a 75% level of support, as an indication of a strong and confident decision by our congregation for this partnership.
Before a final decision is acted upon, the WCPres Session is taking a “break” to step back and focus on what God is telling us and to ask Him where He wants to lead us. Over the month of June our Session and Menlo Church’s Session will be taking time for intentional prayer, fasting and worship, as a way to jointly discern God’s will for our community.
On this web page, you can read about the journey that Session and the Congregation have been taking over the last year. Many documents, video clips, and questions and answers related to the recommendation to join Menlo are available for you to explore. You will also fine information on Menlo Church.
Whatever path we take going forward, we are working purposefully to seek God’s will together, and move in one accord for the sake of the Gospel in our community.
Below you will find more information:
On June 3, WCPres members in good standing will vote on Session’s recommendation to join Menlo Church. The Session recommendation is:
Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church is recommended to join Menlo Church in accordance with the Menlo Church-Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church Agreement as the most efficient and effective way to carry out our mission to engage the unchurched in the East Bay for Jesus.
The WCPres Due Diligence Team, with the assistance of our attorneys, completed a final Session-approved Agreement. You can read a summary of that Agreement here, and the various portions of the Agreement in their entirety here. Paper copies of the Summary agreement are available in the back of the Sanctuary starting Sunday, May 20th.
Menlo Panel Discussion
On Sunday, May 20th, Executive Pastor Eugene Lee and Elder David Kim, along with Pastor Benjamin participated in a panel discussion focusing on what worship and ministries at WCPres would be like if we vote to join Menlo.
Congregational Meeting - June 3, 2018 after worship
On June 3, WCPres members in good standing will vote on Session’s recommendation to join Menlo Church. Sign-ins for receiving your ballot will begin at 8:45 am in front of the Sanctuary; once the Congregational meeting starts at 10:45 am, no further ballots will be handed out.
Our WCPres Bylaws, as well as ECO’s rules, require that a quorum of 10% of the membership be present to vote, and that a simple majority vote of those casting ballots is required to decide this important matter.
While our governing documents mandate that our approval is noted with a simple majority, Menlo is not under the same constraint. Sometime after the congregational meeting in April – where it appeared that we may not be unified – Menlo informed our Due Diligence Team that if the favorable vote is less than 75%, then its Session wanted to pause briefly to prayerfully consider whether it would be in everyone’s best interest to continue with the plan as conceived. Menlo wants to be sure—as do we—that the vote indicates WCPres is unified in our desire to join with them on this journey of reaching the lost and the unchurched.
To read more about Menlo’s desire to have strong WCPres support for us joining with them, read their letter to us here.
Congregational Sharing Opportunity
Hosted by Pastor Benjamin on Sunday, May 27, 10:45 to 12:15 in the Sanctuary, members are invited to share excitement, perspectives, viewpoints and thoughts about joining Menlo. An open microphone will provide an opportunity for people to talk for a limit of two minutes. Please join us to hear from all viewpoints as we seek to make this important decision.
Informational Meeting for the Congregation - April 15, 2018
An Informational Meeting for the Congregation to hear the details about this Session recommendation was held on April 15. The presentation included facts about what it would mean to join Menlo, Session’s evaluation process, and their conclusions that resulted in their recommendation to join Menlo.
The video and PowerPoint slides from the April 15th informational meeting -is available for your review. After you listen to the presentation, we hope you will be as enthusiastic and hopeful as Session is.
In the last month many questions have been raised via several different avenues on behalf of "concerned members": one set of questions came through a document circulated by Richard Osicka (April 15) together with questions brought to Session by Lynne Leach and Richard Osicka (April 17); the second set of questions were distributed to the congregation in a brochure developed by several WCPres members (May 6). Both of these documents can be accessed below.
Understanding the vote to be conducted on Sunday, June 3.
Our Due Diligence Team, with the assistance of our attorneys, has finished their work and completed a final Session-approved Agreement. You can read a summary of that Agreement here, and the various portions of the Agreement in their entirety here. Paper copies of the Summary agreement will be available in the back of the Sanctuary starting Sunday, May 20th.
There will be other questions/answers coming later.
Mission Study - Completed October 2017 - Our Path Forward
Our goal and passion as identified in Our Path Forward report and presentation is the Great Commission: to be a strong community that is reaching the unchurched with the gospel and seeing God transform our lives, our neighbors, and our world.
This is the same objective we have had as a church since our founding over 140 years ago.
Appointing Due Diligence Team - December 2017
Both WCPres and Menlo Sessions entered into a “due diligence” process at the beginning of this year. The two churches engaged in asking and answering a variety of questions that explored the following areas: ministries, finances, programs, staff, legal aspects (property) and more. During this time of talking, all facets of what a relationship might look like were explored. Both parties agreed that if any insurmountable stumbling blocks were identified in this phase, then further discussions would cease and we would move on in our separate ways.
Through all of this discussion, our primary question has been "Will we be better together at bringing the Gospel to Walnut Creek and the Diablo Valley, than we would be on our own?"
Exploring Menlo Church - January - March 2018
While the Due Diligence Team met with Menlo, opportunities for WCPres members to get to know Menlo were provided. Menlo pastors came to preach: John Ortberg, Eugene Lee and Scott Palmbush. After their message, Fireside Chats were held offering an opportunity to hear and ask questions about ministry at Menlo. Three bus trips were organized to attend Menlo-Saratoga with over 100 people going.
To prepare themselves for the various discussion with Menlo Church, our Session read the book Better Together . This book is used by Menlo and other churches in exploring what it means to join together. You are encouraged to read this book. Copies of the book are available in the church library, or you can read a summary here .
Session Decides - March 2018
After prayerful consideration of God’s direction for our path forward, and broad discussion of the Due Diligence Team’s findings, Session recommended that the mission of reaching the unchurched for Jesus Christ in Walnut Creek, Diablo Valley and the East Bay is most effectively and efficiently accomplished by WCPres joining with Menlo Church.
College of Elders/Ministry Leaders Informational Meeting - April 8, 2018
On April 8th, the College of Elders (all former and current elders), Ministry Leaders and staff came together to hear about Session’s recommendation to join Menlo. 61 out of 85 COE and ML attended the meeting (72% of our church leadership), along with 5 Staff members and 2 spouses, bringing the attendance to a total of 68 attendees. At the end of the presentation, attendees were asked to complete a straw poll. Of those in attendance, 49 responses were turned in (72% response rate).
The results of that straw poll indicated that approximately 80% favored joining Menlo Church, with 67% strongly in favor of it. A handful of attendees were neutral or undecided while 16% preferred maintaining our independence, with 12.5% strongly against it.
Informational Meeting for the Congregation - April 15, 2018
Below you will find some of the most frequently asked questions with answers. This section will be updated as more information is gathered.