Category Archives: Denominational News

‘Leading EPC Sessions and Congregations in Issues of Race and Justice’ webinar recording available

 

On June 10, a diverse panel of EPC Teaching Elders and other leaders presented a 60-minute webinar, “Leading EPC Sessions and Congregations in Issues of Race and Justice: An Online Seminar on These Times and a Biblical Response.” The recording of the presentation is available below.

The webinar was hosted by Case Thorp, Moderator of the 39th General Assembly and Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean. Panelists were:

The recording also is posted on the EPC website at www.epc.org/issuesofraceandjustice and on the EPC YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80.

Church Pivot: The coronavirus crisis and opportunity for the church

 

CaseThorpChurchPivotby Case Thorp
Moderator of the 39th General Assembly

Last month, pastors of Romanian heritage in Illinois declared they will begin gathering for corporate worship despite the governor’s orders. Meanwhile, they filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the orders in defense of religious liberty. Some Presbyterian pastors in my own denomination share similar convictions, while others have said they will delay reconstituting on Sundays for worship. Motives range from fear of the coronavirus’ advance to being blamed for its spread. One mother in my own congregation shared another valid take concerning coming back to corporate worship: “We do not want our four-year-old son to have to wear a mask or see his little friends or their parents hidden behind masks for the sobering image it would see her into his memory.”

Whatever practice a church embraces for restarting Sunday morning worship, this global pandemic will be a turning point for the future of Christianity.

Pastor Chad Scruggs at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Nashville recently reminded his congregation that when it comes to opening up for Sunday worship they have a “fixed theology, but flexible methodology.” Pastor Scruggs recognizes disruptive events like this one challenge methodologies, but do not change the core beliefs and convictions of Christians. As seen in history, individual churches either died out or shifted and thrived through such calamities as the black plague, enemy invasions, or governmental oppression.

Yet, the methodology of most American churches is an epidemic of its own. For the last generation, scholars and a minority of practitioners have questioned the amount of energy and resources that go into Sunday morning worship. Too many churches operate, so they think, as an attraction among many in a community. Rather than the beach, a theme park, your backyard, or little league baseball game, if church is an entertaining enough experience, you’ll come.

Certainly, gathered worship on the day of Christ’s resurrection is central to the Christian experience since the first century, and will be theologically important into the future. Yet, in many churches who thought they were evolving well with the times, Sunday morning corporate worship has become an overproduced performance mimicking the cultural attention we place on lights, cameras, and action. The Sunday event has become an expensive, less-than-average vehicle for discipleship, and a lightning rod for criticism as pastors are seen in slick, overproduced settings following more the ways of the famous than Jesus. Take this away, and many pastors feel naked and out of the driver’s seat. It reveals a reality many church leaders have forgotten: there is more to the church than going to church.

The scale at which the Sunday morning worship service dominates a church’s methodology is being radically disrupted with stay-at-home orders. Pastors are flummoxed with next steps in reopening, thinking that it’s the only move they have. But is it? Is returning to the event-driven, performance-esque Sunday morning corporate worship service the best way to be the body of Christ in this pandemic—and in the 21st century?

Allen Hirsh, an Australian theologian and leading missiologist, recently compared this moment for churches to the game of chess. He provides what he calls a working parable in which the sermon, the very center of the Sunday event, to the queen on a chessboard. We think she is an all-powerful gamepiece and the best reason the game is won. Hirsch says too many churches have over-relied for too long on their queen, and due to lockdown, “now the queen is taken out. They don’t know what the other pieces can do.”

Here he brings the parable full circle with both a vision and a challenge for how churches use this global disruption to reconstitute themselves in a much more effective way. Chess masters will coach new students to play chess without the queen so that they learn the power and potential of all the other chess pieces. Hirsch suggests taking away our queen as Christians is the best thing that could have happened to the church because it will force the issue of effective discipleship, transformative mission, and intimate, authentic outreach. He concludes, “What you were going to do is you’re going to learn what all the other elements of the chess table can do on the chessboard, and then you put the queen back in. At that point you’ve actually learned to become a champion without over-relying on a singular function.”

The opportunity before the leaders of the church offered by coronavirus is to learn to play the game relying on the other moves on the board: effective conveyance of the faith from one person to another, truly teaching biblical literacy rather than ethical vignettes, sound and clear theology, spiritual habits that shape the rhythm of a flourishing life, transformative works of benevolence in a community that last and they are witness to God’s common grace, and a worship expression build not on performance and production, but on intimacy and confession. May church leaders not waste the opportunity of this crisis, and perhaps usher in yet another great reformation of the church.

Case Thorp is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean. He serves as Senior Associate Pastor of Evangelism for First Presbyterian Church in Orlando.

Lamentos y oraciones sugeridas para el 8 de junio Día de Lamento, Ayuno y Oración disponible en español

 

June10LamentosOracionesUna lista propuesta de Lamentos y Oraciones para el Día del Lamento, el Ayuno y la Oración del EPC el 8 de junio está disponible en español en www.epc.org/june8lamentprayerfasting. La traducción es gentilmente proporcionada por nuestras congregaciones EPC en Puerto Rico.

 

Suggested Laments and Prayers for June 8 Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer available in Spanish

A proposed list of Laments and Prayers for the EPC’s Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer on June 8 is available in Spanish at www.epc.org/june8lamentprayerfasting. The translation is graciously provided by our EPC congregations in Puerto Rico.

June 10 webinar to explore biblical, congregational response to racial injustice

 

June10WebinarPanelistsOn Wednesday, June 10, at 4:00 p.m. EDT, a racially diverse panel of EPC Teaching Elders and other leaders will present a 60-minute webinar, “Leading EPC Sessions and Congregations in Issues of Race and Justice: An Online Seminar on These Times and a Biblical Response.”

The webinar will be hosted by Case Thorp, Moderator of the EPC 39th General Assembly and Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean.

“Several EPC Teaching Elders of color and the Co-Chairmen of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force will discuss racial injustices, congregational leadership, and a Reformed and biblical response,” Thorp said. “Our panelists will discuss these timely topics, and there will opportunity for question-and-answer.”

Panelists include:

For more information and to register, go to www.epc.org/june10webinar.

Resources available on EPC website for June 8 Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer

 

June8DayOfLamentFastingPrayerA message from Tom Werner, Moderator of the 38th General Assembly, calling for June 8, 2020, as a Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer:

Recent events surrounding the wrongful deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minnesota demonstrate the persistence of severe racial injustices in the United States. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church laments the turmoil our nation is suffering as a result of these and other injustices, and the hurt—property loss, injury, and death—that is visited on those who are responsible by their actions and those who are not responsible but who are hurt as a consequence of sin. In times of national crisis and tragedy, the EPC turns to God and His Word for direction and encouragement.

Genesis 1:27 declares God created man in His own image. As bearers of God’s image, all people share in divine dignity and are equal before Him. Racism is an abomination to God. It distorts, diminishes, defames, and destroys those whom God in His goodness created in His image.

The idea or ideology that one race is superior to another is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s love in Jesus Christ casts out the fear that generates hatred (1 John 4:18). Christ’s work on the cross has torn down the dividing wall of hostility and hatred so that we are no longer enemies of God and no longer enemies of one another (Ephesians 2:14-18). A key calling of the church of Jesus Christ is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-20). The church looks forward to the day when believers “from every nation, tribe, people, and language” will join as one and celebrate the redeeming work of Jesus Christ together (Revelation 7:9-10).

Because of the clear testimony of God’s Word, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church unambiguously declares that racism in any form is an abomination to the God who created all races and is antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church condemns racism and calls to repentance all individuals, groups, and structures that advocate it.

In response, the National Leadership Team has called all members of our churches to a Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer on Monday, June 8, 2020.

A proposed list of Laments and Prayers to lift to the Lord on June 8 is available at www.epc.org/june8lamentfastingprayer.

EPC issues Call to Lament, Prayer, and Fasting for Monday, June 8, in response to killings, racial unrest

 

In response to the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and subsequent protests nationwide against police brutality, the EPC has issued a Call to Lament, Prayer, and Fasting for Monday, June 8.

“I am profoundly grieved by the tragic events unfolding in our country in recent days,” said Jeff Jeremiah, Stated Clerk. “The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—and countless others over the years—followed by protests, riots, and destruction have again exposed the vein of unequal justice that has existed for far too long in our society.”

The Call: All members of EPC churches set aside Monday, June 8 as a day of lament, fasting, and prayer to cry out to God for His help in the midst of this crisis in the United States.

Jeremiah noted that a key difference between the June 8 emphasis and previous EPC calls to prayer and fasting is the addition of “Lament.”

“I read two short articles on lament recently, which I believe are especially relevant to this time in our history,” he said. Those resources are:

“As social unrest escalates, it is appropriate for the church to lament this crisis to the Lord, to fast, and to pray about how we as believers in Jesus Christ can be part of the solution to the racism, inequality, and injustice that violate the ideals enshrined in our Constitution and laws,” Jeremiah said. “I hope that all of our pastors let their congregations know about this call to humble themselves and pray to almighty God for His grace, mercy, and love to heal the divisions in our country—and especially for God’s people to repent of the sin of racism.”

Specific prayers and other resources will be available on the EPC website soon.

In related actions, the EPC National Leadership approved two motions in a special called meeting on June 1 to encourage EPC Teaching Elders during the crisis.

The first recommendation is for Teaching Elders “to address this week with the congregations they serve the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd and the extreme indifference to his life demonstrated by the police officers who have been disciplined and/or charged with his murder. Mr. Floyd’s death is emblematic of a pervasive historical pattern of disproportionately aggressive policing in far too many communities of color.”

Jeremiah noted that Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words “are just as applicable in our time as they were in his: ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’”

The second recommendation is for EPC Teaching Elders and congregations “to consider acting, as the Lord Jesus Christ leads, to speak out for justice and equality; to speak against racism, injustice, and inequality; and to work to arrest the origins of civil unrest—namely, poverty, racial separation, immorality, and a lack of radical love.”

Teaching Elder and NLT Member Case Thorp, Moderator of the 39th General Assembly, noted that protests in response to Lloyd’s death “carry with them a sincere understanding by the greater public like I have never seen before.”

“We get it,” Thorp said. “The anger and rage of so many are not without cause. Likewise, I am grateful for the vast majority of our men and women in law enforcement who get up every day to serve the citizenry in faithful ways. This is not an ‘either/or’ moment, but a ‘both/and’ opportunity in America’s journey. My hope is we have peaceful assemblies crying out for justice, and those causing violence find their energies best expressed in a peaceful political process.”

An additional NLT action on June was for a Zoom meeting designed for EPC Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders to be scheduled for after the June 8 Day of Lament, Fasting, and Prayer.

“This event will include leaders of color in the EPC who will address the appropriate ongoing response to this crisis,” Jeremiah said. “The goal is to help provide insight to the questions many of us may have.”

Additional details will be announced soon.

“What is going on has demanded a response from us as a denomination,” Jeremiah said. “May we be the voice of peace, love, and reconciliation that our communities, country, and world so desperately needs today. Now is not the time to be silent, but to speak out for justice and equality, and against racism, injustice, and inequality.”

May Jeremiah Journal offers encouragement during pandemic

 

In the May 2020 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah offers encouragement during the coronavirus pandemic. He also describes some ways the Office of the General Assembly is serving and resourcing EPC churches and pastors during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here.

April 2020 EPC budget report: COVID-19 impact on churches felt in PMA giving drop

 

The economic effects of shelter-in-place orders around the country due to the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Per Member Asking (PMA) contributions to the EPC. As of April 30, PMA received by the Office of the General Assembly during fiscal year 2020 (FY20) total $2,024,614. April PMA receipts were $162,333—26 percent below the April budget projection of $219,369.

Despite the downturn, the amount received in the first eight months of the EPC’s fiscal year is $12,509 more than the $2,012,105 received during the same period in fiscal year 2019. The fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

“With the ongoing economic uncertainty and job losses of the past two months, plus the fact that most—if not all—of our 630 churches had to stop holding public worship services, we all expected a drop in giving in our churches and to the EPC,” said Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah. “I am very grateful for our churches’ continued support of PMA in such uncertain times, and that the April decrease in PMA support was not as great as we had anticipated. On the expense side, in late March we began to restrict expenditures as much as reasonably possible. As a result, as of April 30 our operating expenses for the year are 9.7 percent below budget.”

Of the $2,024,614 received, $404,923 (20 percent) was allocated to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, the Office of the General Assembly received $530,038 in designated gifts in April, bring the fiscal YTD total to $5,167,450. The amount is $568,973 (12.4 percent) higher than the $4,598,476 in designated gifts received in the same period in fiscal year 2019. Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s holiday offerings.

Among the designated gifts was a $100,000 donation to a World Outreach project from a foundation grant.

“These gifts to specific ministries are a very clear illustration of how generous the members of EPC churches are,” Jeremiah noted. “While PMA support comes largely from our churches, these designated gifts mostly come from individuals.”

Of the YTD total, $4,424,295 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $743,155 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Jerry Iamurri reappointed as EPC Assistant Stated Clerk

 
JerryIamurri

Rev. Dr. Jerry Iamurri

The National Leadership Team (NLT) has reappointed Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri to a second three-year term in the role. His new term runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2023. The NLT made the appointment unanimously during its April 30 virtual meeting. Iamurri is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean.

“I am grateful for the past three years working with Jeff Jeremiah and the staff of the Office of the General Assembly,” Iamurri said. “I look forward to three more years and am extremely thankful to be able to serve the EPC in this way.”

As the EPC’s Chief Constitutional Officer and legal counsel, Iamurri helps facilitate the work of the Ministerial Vocation Committee and the Permanent Judicial Commission as that body addresses polity and other concerns related to the EPC’s Book of Government. In addition, he oversees the strategic priorities of Global Movement and Effective Biblical Leadership and works closely with the Stated Clerk on Church Revitalization and Church Planting.

“Jerry’s command of the Book of Order has allowed us to swiftly navigate a wide variety of situations,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “But more than his technical knowledge and skill, he consistently demonstrates a high level of integrity and sensitivity. I am especially grateful for how he oversees the Leadership Institute at our General Assembly each year. His steady hand will be invaluable as I pass the Stated Clerk baton to Dean Weaver in 2021.”

March 2020 EPC budget report: PMA contributions 4.6 percent above FY 2019, fall below FY 2020 budget projection

 

In spite of the national emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Per Member Asking (PMA) giving held steady in the month of March. As of March 31, contributions received by the Office of the General Assembly since the July 1 start of Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) total $1,862,281. The amount received is $82,699 higher—4.6 percent—than the same period in the previous fiscal year (FY19). The EPC’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

While PMA support is higher than FY19, fiscal-year-to-date contributions have fallen $10,485 below the $1,872,766 budgeted projection to support the EPC’s Collaborative Ministries, Connectional Support, and Custodial Operations.

“Obviously, our churches faced significant challenges in the latter part of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to hold in-person worship services,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “Despite the economic uncertainty and the reality that many church members have lost income in recent days, I am very thankful that so many of our churches were able to give to PMA last month. It’s been inspiring to see how our churches have quickly adjusted in this new reality to creatively and effectively share the good news of Jesus Christ.”

Of the $1,862,281 received, $372,456 (20 percent) was contributed to EPC World Outreach.

In addition to PMA contributions, $4,637,512 in designated gifts were received through March 31. This total was $498,377 (12 percent) higher than the $4,139,135 in designated gifts received in the same period in FY19. Designated gifts include support for World Outreach global workers and projects, and contributions to EPC Special Projects such as Emergency Relief, church planting and revitalization initiatives, and the EPC’s holiday offerings.

Of the total, $3,899,781 was designated for World Outreach workers and projects, and $737,731 was designated for EPC projects. These amounts only reflect gifts received and distributed by the Office of the General Assembly, and do not reflect donations given directly to WO global workers or other projects.

Among the designated gifts received in March was a $10,000 donation for a World Outreach project.

“Giving to our designated accounts actually increased from 9 percent above fiscal year 2019 in February to 12 percent above fiscal year 2019 last month,” Jeremiah said. “I continue to thank our Lord for how sacrificially generous our churches and individuals are and how they support the ministries of the EPC.”

General Assembly called meeting set for May 1 to reschedule 40th GA to September

 

GA2020ThemeArt-BannerNoDateA called meeting of the General Assembly is scheduled for May 1 at 4:00 p.m. EST to approve a motion to reschedule the 40th General Assembly from June 23-26, 2020, to September 17-18, 2020. The called meeting will be conducted as a video conference. Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova, Tenn., will host the 40th General Assembly.

“With so many uncertainties about when meeting restrictions will be lifted—not to mention the safety of our attendees—the National Leadership Team unanimously agreed that rescheduling the 40th Assembly was in everyone’s best interest,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “I am grateful for their wise decision to postpone GA until the fall, and for Hope Church’s flexibility in being able to host us in September.”

The motion that the called meeting of the General Assembly will be asked to approve is:

The 40th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church is rescheduled from June 23-26, 2020, at Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, Tennessee, to September 17-18, 2020, at Hope Presbyterian Church, Cordova, Tennessee.

The National Leadership Team approved the motion and the date and time of the called meeting on Tuesday morning, April 14. A quorum of registered Commissioners to the 39th General Assembly approved the motion later on April 14.

Commissioners to the 39th GA will be notified soon with the called meeting video conference details.

Book of Government 20-5B provides for a called meeting of the General Assembly. Ten percent of Ruling Elders and ten percent of Teaching Elders who were Commissioners to the 39th General Assembly in 2019 must “petition” for the called meeting. A total of 571 Commissioners attended the 39th General Assembly: 282 REs and 389 TEs. In order for the called meeting to take place, 29 Ruling Elders and 39 Teaching Elders needed to sign the petition. The Office of the General Assembly emailed all 571 Commissioners following the NLT action, inviting them to sign the petition. The required number to constitute a quorum had petitioned for the called meeting by 5:00 p.m.

Jeremiah said the proposed September 17-18 meeting will be “business only,” with no Leadership Institute on Tuesday or Wednesday. He added that the Office of the General Assembly staff is exploring the possibility of providing virtual as well as on-site participation for Commissioners at the proposed September meeting. The quorum for meetings of the General Assembly is five Ruling Elders and five Teaching Elders from three presbyteries (Book of Government 20-5C).

If the motion is approved, the following will occur:

  • The fiscal year 2020 budget (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) will be continued until the 40th General Assembly approves the fiscal year 2021 budget at its September 17-18 meeting.
  • Permanent Committee members in the Class of 2020 will continue on their committee until the General Assembly acts on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee at its September 17-18 meeting.
  • Online registration will open July 1.

Jeremiah noted that precedent for a called meeting of the General Assembly was set in September 2006, when a called meeting took place in which he was elected Stated Clerk.

Search Committee to nominate Dean Weaver as fourth EPC Stated Clerk

 
DeanWeaver

Dean Weaver

D. Dean Weaver, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies, is the Stated Clerk Search Committee’s nominee to succeed Jeff Jeremiah as EPC Stated Clerk. Weaver is Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., and was Moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly. He currently serves as co-chairman of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force.

Weaver will be presented at the EPC’s 40th General Assembly for confirmation. The Assembly currently is scheduled for June 23-26 at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.

Bill Dudley, Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Southeast, is chairman of the search committee.

“Our committee is pleased to present a nominee who has extraordinary gifts to lead the EPC in this decade,” Dudley said. “Dean’s gifts have been evidenced in the church during his year as Moderator and the subsequent year as chairman of the National Leadership Team. He is deeply devoted to the Church and to serving in the spirit of our Lord.”

In addition to serving Memorial Park, Weaver currently is the Interim Chaplain and member of the Leadership Team for Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. He previously served as Moderator for the Presbytery of the Alleghenies. Weaver was one of the founders and former co-Moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches and served as co-chairman of the New Wineskins/EPC Joint Commission.

He also is a co-founder and former president of EduNations, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that builds and operates schools in Sierra Leone. EduNations currently operates 15 schools, educating more than 3,000 children in one of the most under-resourced countries in the world. He also was instrumental in the founding of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sierra Leone, which has six congregations and 18 preaching stations in the largely rural, Muslim-majority northern region of the country in western Africa.

Weaver holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion from Grove City College; a Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Beth, have been married for 31 years and have seven children (three natural born and four adopted—two from Sierra Leone, one from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and one in the U.S.) and two grandchildren.

Weaver will relocate to Florida and transfer his ordination to the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean.

Dudley noted that the search committee spent seven months engaging with candidates for the role.

“We all have been blessed by the testimonies shared with us and the evident gifts and skills each candidate portrayed,” he said. “The EPC is rich with leaders called and equipped by the Lord to serve His Church.”

The Search Committee was appointed by the 39th General Assembly, held at Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in suburban Denver in June 2019, with the goal of presenting a nominee to the 40th General Assembly. The committee consists of fifteen members representing each of the EPC’s 14 presbyteries, plus one member of the National Leadership Team.

Jeremiah has served as the denomination’s Stated Clerk since 2006. When re-elected to a fifth three-year term in 2018, he announced that it would be his final term and he would step down in June 2021.

April Jeremiah Journal previews Good Friday Call to Prayer and Fasting

 

In the April 2020 edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah previews the Good Friday day of prayer and fasting on April 10.

The Jeremiah Journal is a monthly video blog hosted on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80. Each month’s update also is posted to EPConnection and the EPC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed

For a transcript of this month’s edition in printable pdf format, click here

 

Good Friday prayer and fasting emphasis adds NAE, ARP, ECO, CRC, others

 

GoodFridayPrayerFastingOn March 31, the EPC announced an ecumenical Call to Prayer and Fasting for Good Friday, April 10. Other participant denominations included the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA).

As the event has gained traction in the evangelical community, additional groups are providing resources for a Good Friday prayer and fasting emphasis. These include the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Converge network of churches, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

“When the leaders of the PCA and ACNA and I first discussed this, we had hoped that many of our 550,000 total church members would take part,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “Between one and two million people are now involved through their denominations and networks. It’s almost hard to imagine that many people humbling themselves and earnestly seeking the Lord.”

A variety of resources to help churches prepare and participate are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/goodfridayprayerfastingresources.

GoodFridayPrayerFastingResources

EPC joins ecumenical Call to Prayer and Fasting for Good Friday, provides resources

 

GoodFridayPrayerFastingThe EPC and its 143,000 members are uniting in prayer and fasting with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) on Good Friday, April 10. The historic, ecumenical effort is a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping North America.

“I am thrilled that our three denominations have united for the first time to pray for God’s mercy and healing,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ On April 10, we are going to humble ourselves and pray to almighty God for His grace, mercy, and love to heal us, restore us, and relieve us from this crushing burden of disease.”

The Call to Prayer and Fasting is “for all believers in Christ in the PCA, EPC, and ACNA to set aside Good Friday, April 10, as a day of prayer and fasting to cry out for God’s help in addition to a day of worship,” Jeremiah said.

“Our goal is for all 550,000 members of these three churches to have the opportunity to participate,” he added. “Other denominations are aware of the planning for this event and have asked to be invited. Among these are the National Association of Evangelicals and ECO. Should these groups participate, we could have millions of Christians joining their hearts in prayer.”

The EPC is providing three resources to help churches prepare and participate:

“We are sending these resources ten days in advance of the event to give our pastors and church leaders time to review and consider their use,” Jeremiah noted. “Of course, churches are free to use other materials that would be helpful to their congregation. Whatever resources are used, the leadership of the PCA and ACNA join me in hoping that we will all unite in prayer to God on Good Friday.”

These resources also are available at www.epc.org/goodfridayprayerfastingresources.

GoodFridayPrayerFastingResources

TE Timothy Russell succumbs to COVID-19

 
TimRussell

Tim Russell

Dear EPC family,

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of the death late Monday night (March 30) of TE Tim Russell. He had been hospitalized with COVID-19 for about two weeks. He served as Assistant Pastor for Middle Adults at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis and was a member of the EPC’s Revelation 7:9 Task Force.

Please pray for his wife, Kathe, and the entire Second Pres family. I am reminded once again during this time of crisis of Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:13, that we do not grieve as others do, who have no hope. Our hope is in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Tim has seen His face!

I’ve known Tim since 2006, when I met him while on a trip to Memphis. We spent an afternoon together as he showed me and talked about the Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies (MCUTS), where he was the President at the time. He was passionate about the opportunity to provide theological education to urban pastors. Tim made an indelible impact for Jesus Christ in Memphis and beyond, and will be missed tremendously.

Jeff Jeremiah
EPC Stated Clerk