Nine churches join EPC, three church plants become local churches in 2018–2019

 

A total of 12 churches joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church as local churches in the reporting period of May 31, 2018, through June 1, 2019. Of the nine new congregations, eight transferred from the Presbyterian Church (USA). One was previously an independent Presbyterian church. In addition, four church plants attained local church status.

These newest members of the EPC family of churches are:

Antioch Presbyterian Church (Jacksonville, N.C.)
Pastor currently vacant
www.antiochpresbyterian.weebly.com
Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic

Church of the Redeemer (Maryville, Tenn.)
Dave Strunk, Pastor
www.churchotr.com
Presbytery of the Southeast

Deerfield EPC (Bridgeton, N.J.)
Kenneth Larter, Pastor
www.deerfieldpres.org
Presbytery of the East

First Presbyterian Church (Martinsburg, W.Va.)
Rufus Burton, Pastor
www.fpcmartinsbgwv.org
Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic

First Presbyterian Church of Stanton (Stanton, Ky.)
Lucas Waters, Pastor
www.fpcstanton.com
Presbytery of the Southeast

Grace Brevard EPC (Brevard, N.C.)
Brian Land, Pastor
www.gracebrevardchurch.org
Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic

Grove Presbyterian Church EPC (Dunn, N.C.)
Michael Weaver, Pastor
www.grovechurchofdunn.com
Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic

Langhorne Presbyterian Church (Langhorne, Pa.)
Bill Teague, Pastor
www.langhornepres.org
Presbytery of the East

Nación Santa (Haines City, Fla.)
Luis Quiñones, Pastor
www.nacionsantaflorida.com
Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean

New Albany EPC (New Albany, Ohio)
David Milroy, Pastor
www.newalbanypresbyterian.org
Presbytery of the Alleghenies

Stow Presbyterian Church (Stow, Ohio)
Bob Stanley, Pastor
www.stowpres.church
Presbytery of the Alleghenies

The Table (San Francisco, Calif.)
Troy Wilson, Pastor
www.thetablesf.com
Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest

Woodlands Presbyterian Church (Hot Springs Village, Ark.)
Randy Carstens, Pastor
www.woodlandschurchhsv.org
Presbytery of the Central South

#epc2019ga

Case Thorp elected Moderator of 39th General Assembly

 
GA2019CaseThorpPrayer

Former EPC General Assembly Moderators lay hands on Case Thorp, newly installed Moderator of the 39th General Assembly, as Thorp’s father, Chuck, (left) offers the prayer.

Case Thorp, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean, was elected Moderator of the EPC’s 39th General Assembly on June 19 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo. Thorp serves as Senior Associate Pastor for Evangelism at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.

In his opening remarks, Thorp acknowledged that believers—and the Church—will face adversity.

“Oh, we have challenges,” he said. “If we didn’t, we’d already be in the New Jerusalem. But these challenges, friends, are opportunities. So I am honored to serve you, to stand here arm-in-arm with you, and to face the horizons knowing we have the Holy Spirit in our sails and Jesus calling us forward.”

GA2019CaseThorpInvestiture

Thorp receives the the traditional stole and Moderator’s cross from Tom Werner, Moderator of the 38th General Assembly.

In his role in Orlando, Thorp combines his passion for teaching with his interest in the confluence of faith and work. He founded and leads The Collaborative for Cultural and Economic Renewal (a faith, work, economics outreach in Orlando), and also serves as a city network leader for the Made to Flourish Network (a faith and work network for pastors). He also helped found IDignity, a social enterprise that assists the underprivileged obtain essential government identification.

He serves as adjunct faculty for Palm Beach Atlantic University and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, and has preached in Madagascar, Tajikistan, and Brazil. In addition, his writings have been published in the Wall Street Journal, The Green Room Blog and the Orlando Sentinel.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Thorp is a graduate of Oxford College, Emory University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Fuller Theological Seminary (from which he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in Missional Ecclesiology).

He and his wife, Jodi, have three children: Alexandra, 13; Charles, 11; and Brooks, 6.

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Chris Piehl: Ephesians 3:14-19 is a prayer for today’s church

 

GA2019Worship-PiehlIn the Wednesday afternoon worship service of the 39th General Assembly, Chris Piehl noted three components of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus as recorded in Ephesians 3:14-19. Piehl serves as Pastor of Students and Families for Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo., the host church for the Assembly.

“Paul prays for God’s power for them, for Christ to dwell in their hearts, and for them to experience God’s fullness,” Piehl said.

Regarding the prayer for God’s power for the church, Piehl said that it was not physical strength that Paul was praying for them, but rather it was for their spiritual being.

“They needed the strength of someone who could step into the brokenness and aloneness they were experiencing in their lives,” he said. “My question for you is this: Are you struggling with loneliness? Uncertainty? Doubt? Fatigue? Then this prayer is for you.”

Concerning the prayer for Christ to “dwell in their hearts,” Piehl said the word Paul uses is “that Christ would dwell deeply in their lives—that Christ would be the master of their house with full and complete control of them,” he said. “Do you desire that Christ might dwell deeply in your heart? Do you desire to chase after him with everything you have?”

Finally, Piehl explained the portion of the prayer in which Paul prayer for the Ephesian church to experience God’s fullness.

“Paul is saying that to be full of the fullness of God is to understand this vast, unmeasured, deep, deep love of Jesus,” he said. “That is what Paul is praying for his church. My question for you is: If you are honest, would you say your love has grown cold or maybe callous? Do you long to comprehend the love of Christ for you and those you serve? Do you desire to be filled with this love?”

Piehl also noted that Paul’s prayer is based on the work that Christ has already accomplished. “So Paul can pray this prayer with confidence, knowing that it will be fulfilled because it has already been fulfilled in Christ,” he concluded.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities

 

GA2019LI9-SessionsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Turning Sessions into Spiritual Communities, Doug Resler discussed a variety of spiritual practices designed to help Ruling Elders grow in Christ so that they can accomplish their task of being the mind of Christ for the local church.

“We’ve got to look beyond the sermon time in our worship service. That’s not the only time we preach.”

Resler’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Leadership” track. He serves as Senior Pastor for Parker Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Parker, Colo.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Praying the Prayers of the Bible

 

GA2019LI87-PrayerIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Praying the Prayers of the Bible, James Banks emphasized to session attendees that Scripture teaches believers how to pray.

“There are more prayers of praise than anything other kind of prayer in Scripture, which should tell us something about how we pray. The second most are cries for help and deliverance.”

Banks’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Prayer” track. He serves as Pastor of Peace Church in Durham, N.C., and is the author of Prayers for Prodigals and Praying the Prayers of the Bible.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Serving Jesus in the Ordinary (Small) Church Context

 

GA2019LI7-OrdinaryContextIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Serving Jesus in the Ordinary (Small) Church Context, Roy Yanke had attendees divide into cohorts and discuss challenges they continually face in their ministries.

Yanke’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Congregational Ministry” track. He serves as Executive Director of Pastor-in-Residence (PIR) Ministries in Farmington Hills, Michigan. PIR is an commended resource of the EPC Ministerial Vocation Committee.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Leading as a Shepherd

 

GA2019LI6-ShepherdDudleyAs a portion of his 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Leading as a Shepherd, Bill Dudley provided guidance on how Teaching Elders can shepherd the members of a church Nominating Committee tasked with recommending a slate of Ruling Elders for the congregation.

“It’s the holy wisdom that Jethro had and Moses had that a Nominating Committee also needs to understand as they recommend church members for leadership roles. It’s not that they have a just list of names, but that they recommend people who are gifted and called. These people will be serving and facilitating for mission and outreach, and not just preservation of the past.”

Dudley’s session was part of the Leadership Institute “Leadership” track. He serves as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Southeast and was the Moderator of the 33rd General Assembly.

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2019 Leadership Institute: The Church and Its Common Doctrine

 

GA2019LI5-WestminsterHopkinsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar The Church and Its Common Doctrine, Zach Hopkins discussed some of the distinguishing characteristics of the Reformed tradition.

“We are a confessional people. But what does that mean to be ‘confessional?’ As Presbyterians, we adhere to a “good faith subscription” to the Westminster Confession of Faith; what (EPC Stated Clerk) Jeff Jeremiah describes as an ‘open and honest’ subscription.”

Acknowledging the well-known saying that “Doctrine divides,” Hopkins noted that in the EPC, “our doctrinal unity is the foundation upon which our fraternal unity exists. We are united in our doctrinal convictions.”

Hopkins’ session was part of the Leadership Institute track on Reformed Theology. He serves as pastor of Edgington Presbyterian Church in Edgington, Illinois.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Transitional Pastors Training

 

GA2019LI4-TransitionalPastorsIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Transitional Pastor Training, Ken Priddy described the stages in the life of a local church—incline, recline, and decline—and presented some tell-take signs of a declining church.

“A church on the incline is usually driven by vision, while a church on the decline becomes structure-driven. In the absence of vision and programs, church leaders tend to keep the machinery running—having the meetings and the things that are already in place. But they don’t do it with much impact.”

He also noted that while inclining churches are more likely to be innovative in methodology, a declining church tends to be complacent and lapse into routine.

“Not complacent like ‘we don’t care,’ but complacent in the sense that they don’t have the wherewithal to make it any different.”

Priddy’s session was part of the all-day training workshop for Transitional Pastors. He is Team Leader for the EPC’s Church Revitalization Task Force and Executive Director of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic’s GO Center.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Chaplain’s Workshop

 

GA2019LI3-ChaplainsWorkshopIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Biblical Leadership and Decision Making, Michael Moyles asked some poignant questions of those attending the annual Chaplains Workshop.

“What is important to you? What do you use day-to-day to make important decisions? Are you are making life-changing, irreversible decisions based on mistaken priorities? What would it take to change it?”

A five-time brain cancer survivor who has undergone 10 brain surgeries, 42 rounds of radiation, and 29 rounds of chemotherapy, Moyles noted that his wife has sat in a waiting room for 11 hours, 10 times, praying.

“I have undergone three major surgeries—including brain surgery—in the past two months. My wife was adamant that I not take this engagement today, because her priority is my health. Now, I am with my tribe here—speaking to and being with chaplains and military—so I made it a priority to be here. But I have every expectation that she will be proven right tomorrow.”

A retired Air Force Colonel, Moyles is a popular Christian speaker, teacher, and writer.

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2019 Leadership Institute: Unstoppable Youth Ministry

 

GA2019LI2-YouthMinistry.jpgIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Unstoppable Youth Ministry: Self Care, Andrew Mills offered some practical tips on maintaining healthy life-ministry balance as a youth worker.

“One of the most important thing you can do is to set and maintain boundaries. There is no shortage of good things you can do, so you have to say ‘no’ to some good things. Not all good ideas are great ideas—some produce great results and others would hardly be noticed if you stopped doing them. Know what the truly valuable things are and do those. Don’t feel like you need to try every good idea.”

Mills’ session was part of the all-day Leadership Institute track, “Unstoppable Youth Ministry.” He serves as Associate Pastor/Director of Youth Ministry for Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss..

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2019 Leadership Institute: Children and Family Ministry Training

 

GA2019LI1-ChildrenFamily.jpgIn the 2019 Leadership Institute seminar Transformational Family Ministry: Catch the Vision!, Becky Shultz discussed the importance of prayer to a local church’s ministry to children and families.

“I encourage you to pray for your children’s ministry, the children who are in it, and the volunteers who serve in it, and listen to what God tells you. Take those steps in obedience and join Jesus in the work He’s doing. And know that your children’s and family ministries might look different than the children and family ministries down the street. And that’s okay. There’s no formula; just pray and follow Him and He will lead.”

Shultz’s session was part of the all-day Leadership Institute track, “Children and Family Ministry Training.” She is the Community Engagement Director for FamiliesAlive in Centennial, Colo., and co-author of the Words of Grace family devotion series.

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39th General Assembly check-in underway

 

GA2019CheckInUnderwayThe check-in disk at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver, Colo., is a busy place as commissioners and guests arrive for the 39th General Assembly. Among those checking in on June 18 are (from right) Lisa and Gary O’Keefe from Fellowship Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Lyon, Mich., where he serves as a Ruling Elder, and (left) Dean Weaver, Moderator of the 37th General Assembly and current Chairman of the National Leadership Team.

#epc39ga

Updated mobile app, Commissioner’s Handbook, Committee Reports available for 39th General Assembly

 

GA2019ThemeArt-WebBannerThe 39th General Assembly Commissioner’s Handbook and reports from the EPC’s permanent and interim committees to the Assembly are now available for download in pdf format at www.epc.org/ga2019documents and in the GA mobile app. The Handbook is available in its entirety as well by individual sections.

The Assembly is at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver, Colo., June 18-21.

In addition to the GA Documents page of the website and app, all permanent and committee reports for the 2018-2019 ministry year are available at www.epc.org/committees/reports.

GA2019AppThe GA mobile app has been updated with information and content for the 39th General Assembly and is available for Apple iOS and Android operating systems.

The app includes a wide variety of information, including daily schedules, all GA-related documents including daily dockets, committee reports, standing committee information, and more. The app offers one-touch access to EPConnection (the EPC’s news and information service) and the denomination’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Users also can view live streams of Assembly business sessions and worship services, and send prayer requests to the Cherry Creek prayer team.

Previous users of the iOS version will need to update the app on their mobile device for the most current content (look for the EPC GA app under the “Updates” tab of the App Store).

New users can click here to download the GA app for iOS; click here to download for Android, or search for “EPC GA” in the iPhone App Store or the Google Play Store app.

The app was developed by the EPC Communications Department and AppsforMinistry.com.

#epc2019ga

Brief video provides high-level GA overview of schedule, business items process, Commissioner’s Handbook

 

In a four-minute video, Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri provides a high-level overview of the 39th General Assembly, including the schedule, features of the Commissioner’s Handbook, and an explanation of where the GA business items originate and how they come to the floor for consideration by Commissioners.

“First-time Commissioners to an EPC General Assembly will especially benefit from taking a few minutes to watch this,” Iamurri said.

This year’s General Assembly is June 18-21 at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver, Colorado.

Click here for more information about the 39th General Assembly, including a full schedule, speaker bios, Leadership Institute details, Networking Lunch locations, downloadable Commissioner’s Handbook, reports from permanent and interim committees, and more.

#epc2019ga

#epc2019ga the official General Assembly hashtag

 

GA2019ThemeArt-WebBannerAdd your voice to the proceedings of the 39th General Assembly by including the hashtag #epc2019ga on your social media posts. Connect your message with others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

If you are not attending the Assembly, you can watch the live stream and monitor the social media feed at the same time at www.epc.org/ga2019livestream.

Let’s start talking!

#epc2019ga