Category Archives: Events

‘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.

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.”

EPC Smaller Church Network to present series of live webinars for the “ordinary” church practitioner

 

SmallChurchWorkshopOn four consecutive Thursdays beginning May 21, the EPC Smaller Church Network will present “The Ordinary Church in Extraordinary Times” in a series of 90-minute webinars. The webinars begin at 7:00 p.m. EDT, and there is no cost to register.

“More than 80 percent of churches in America today have an average worship attendance of fewer than 200 people,” said Roy Yanke, who is coordinating the webinars. He serves as Executive Director of PIR Ministries and is a Ruling Elder for Grace Chapel EPC in Farmington Hills, Mich. “When this year’s Leadership Institute had to be canceled, we thought it could be useful to explore and share what many of us in small—what I call ‘ordinary’—churches are learning about ourselves and our churches during this unprecedented time.”

Other speakers are Zack Eswine, Lead Pastor of Riverside Church in Webster Groves, Mo.; Josh Modrzynski, Pastor of Riceville Community Church in Asheville, N.C.; and Doug Walker, Pastor of River City Church in DeBary, Fla.

Yanke said the content of the series will address the significance of the small church.

“Each of the 90-minute webinars will focus on a key challenge faced by leaders of smaller churches, and how each could become an opportunity for greater ministry impact,” he said.

Topics include:

  • A Pastoral Approach to Re-connecting (May 21)
  • The Life of the Church—Inside and Out! (May 28)
  • Facing the Financial Impact (June 4)
  • The Tech Challenge—Its Use, Purpose, and Value for the Future (June 11)

“We will examine the spiritual, emotional, and financial impact of the pandemic on our people, on us as leaders, and the teaching opportunities this presents,” Yanke noted. “We also will address such questions as ‘Has the value of meeting physically become more apparent?’ ‘Where have we seen opportunities beyond our walls to impact our communities?’ and ‘Has our sense of doing important and significant work increased?’”

Each of the four sessions will conclude with a time for Q&A.

For more information and to register, see www.epc.org/smallchurchworkshop.

SmallChurchWorkshopSpeakers

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

Dean Weaver featured speaker for Jubilee student conference

 
DeanWeaver

Dean Weaver

Dean Weaver, Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Pa., and Moderator of the EPC’s 37th General Assembly, is a featured speaker for the Jubilee 2020 Conference hosted by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). Jubilee is CCO’s annual conference designed for college students; this year’s event is February 21-23 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The theme for Jubilee 2020 is the biblical narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.

Weaver will address the topic of redemption with “The Moment that Changed Everything” at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 22.

“The conference is a life changing and transforming experience and it is exciting to be a part of engaging 4,000 college students with the gospel,” Weaver said. “It is one of the closest things on this earth to experiencing the fullness of the Kingdom of God.”

The EPC has partnered with CCO since 2007 to help local churches engage in campus ministry in their communities. Among the EPC congregations with CCO partnership college ministries are Memorial Park Presbyterian Church; Bellefield Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh; Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.; First Presbyterian Church in Orlando; and many others. In addition, CCO’s Partnership Coordinator for Western Pennsylvania, Jen Burkholder, currently serves as chair of the EPC’s Next Generation Ministries Council.

For more information on Jubilee, see www.jubileeconference.com.

Networking, sharing best practices highlight EPC pastors gathering

 

500-999Pastors2020Fifteen pastors of EPC churches with membership of 500-1000 discussed a variety of topics relevant to their ministries and settings at their annual gathering, held January 15-17 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando. The group meets each year for networking, fellowship, community, and sharing best practices.

Evangelism in a post-Christian culture, campus security, church planting, adult spiritual formation, worship design and staffing, self- and staff care, and a variety of other topics stimulated healthy discussion.

MichaelFlake

Michael Flake

Michael Flake, Pastor of Lake Forest Church in Davidson, N.C., attended the meeting for the first time and said the peer group provided “a lot of encouragement.”

“We brought our questions and batted them around together,” he said. “I leave here with a lot of great ideas to be more effective in ministry.”

CarolynPoteet

Carolyn Poteet

Carolyn Poteet, Pastor of Mt. Lebanon EPC in Pittsburgh, Pa., said the gathering is a “high priority” on her annual calendar.

“I always get great advice, but more than that it’s a community that’s supportive and prayerful and intentionally seeking to help the Church flourish and to help each other flourish,” she said.

Others attending were Jeff Chandler, First Presbyterian Church in Bakersfield, Calif.; Scott Farmer, Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, Calif.; Mark Fuller, Trinity Church in Plymouth, Mich.; Bryan Gregory, Knox Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Mich.; David Henderson, Covenant Church in West Lafayette, Ind.; Rob Hock, Southport Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, Ind.; Scott Koenigsaecker, Sequim Community Church in Sequim, Wash.; Peter Larson, Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Lebanon, Ohio; Tony Myers, St. Paul’s EPC in Somerset, Pa.; Doug Resler, Parker EPC in Parker, Colo.; Tom Ricks, Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood, Mo.; Jeremy Vaccaro, First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, Calif.; and Richard White, Christ Community Church in Montreat, N.C.

World Outreach plans three summer mission projects in U.S. for 2020

 

What are you doing this summer? EPC World Outreach is planning three mission projects among non-native people groups in the United States in July 2020—one designed for families and two intended for high school students. Each of the six-day experiences are in partnership with a local EPC church.

WO-ExperienceWO2020ExperienceWO: El Cajon will take place July 5-10 in the San Diego suburb of El Cajon, Calif. Participants will share the love of Christ among the local Muslim population by teaching English classes, leading children’s programs, and visiting homes in the neighborhood.

“This is a great trip for families or groups, as well as individuals,” said Phil Linton, Director of World Outreach. “You’ll learn how to spark conversations that create opportunities to share the gospel with our Muslim neighbors.”

Participants will stay with host families from the EPC’s Covenant Church in San Diego. The registration deadline for church groups is January 15. For more information and to register, see www.epcwo.org/experiencewo.

WO-SMJ2020Summer Mission Jam returns in 2020 with two opportunities for high school students. Participants will serve among Afghan, Bangladeshi, Iraqi, Pakistani, and Yemeni peoples in ethnically diverse areas of Hamtramck, Mich., July 13-18, and Sacramento, Calif., July 20-25.

Students are scheduled to spend the afternoon each day serving residents by picking up trash, cleaning yards, and leading outreach games and activities in a local park. In the evenings, students and leaders will gather for worship services and reflect on the experiences of the day.

“Summer Mission Jam is an amazing opportunity for churches to invest in their students as they learn more about Muslims and how to interact in a way that is loving and beneficial for the Kingdom,” said Shawn Stewart, World Outreach Mobilization Coordinator. “In the mornings and afternoons, students will learn how to ‘bridge the gap’ with Muslims and be the fragrance of Jesus through instructive teaching and service opportunities in the local community. In the evenings, we’ll worship together around God’s Word, inspiring students to grasp that it is worth their life to follow Jesus…no matter the cost.”

Participants in Hamtramck will stay at Wayne State University in Detroit. Those who choose the Sacramento option will stay at the EPC’s Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento. The registration deadline for either event is January 15.

For more information and to register, or see www.epcwo.org/summermissionjam.

If you have questions about any of the World Outreach summer mission projects, contact Stewart at shawn.s@epcwo.org or 828-273-2009; or Cassie Shultz, World Outreach Church and Agency Liaison, at cassie.s@epcwo.org or 407-930-4313.

EPC church planter’s retreat: five takeaways

 

CaseThorpChurchPivotby Case Thorp
Moderator of the 39th General Assembly

Escaping the swamp of Florida’s heat and humidity is always a welcomed occasion. Such was just a side benefit of joining the EPC Church Planter’s Retreat in Colorado Springs in October. Little did I know how on-fire our church planting leadership and planters are! My time with them moved me and inspired me, and I’m excited to share five key insights—and their implications for our broader denomination.

1. Tom Ricks is the bomb

The retreat struck the perfect tone: rich worship, challenging content, available counselors, amazing fellowship, and one-off meetings with coaches, experts, patrons, and participants. This was made possible because of the vision and leadership of Tom Ricks, leader of the EPC’s Church Planting Team. Tom is the full-time pastor of Greentree Community Church in suburban St. Louis, and brings to this role decades of church planting and coaching experience.

The planters and their spouses enjoyed a lovely stay at a nice resort—a special blessing that church planters on lean budgets rarely experience. In addition, Tom discovered that renting a nearby (and large!) home through AirBnB was less expensive than hosting two evening dinners in the hotel banquet room, so that’s what he did. The home set a relaxing tone for fellowship, feasting, and friendship-making that sent everyone home with full hearts.

Tom balances casting of vision, setting of tone and table for engagement, and networking through the greater EPC family to see that every church takes at least one of three roles: Parent, Partner, or Patron of church planting. Which one are you?

2. Almost majority minority

It was thrilling to see about 30 percent of our church planters are either African-American or Hispanic. A diverse worship team led our worship times.

As our Revelation 7:9 Task Force calls the EPC to consider how we reach the neighborhoods immediately around our churches, our church planters are leading the way in helping the EPC reflect “every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.”

EPC church planters are going to communities with resources, and with no resources. Wow!

3. Socialize before you memorialize

At my home church, we are going through a significant process of realigning our ministry model for missional effectiveness. One of our consultants used a great phrase that we repeat often: “Socialize before you memorialize.” His point was this: before you launch some big marketing campaign, restructure your Session or staff organization chart, or endorse some major ministry initiative, socialize things first. See how and where people naturally congregate, lead, live, and breath. Then, as you see the healthier way a community or individual naturally lives out the kingdom of God, memorialize it in architecture, imagery, new staff design, or more.

The church planters are a society of friends, co-laborers, champions, and band of brothers (and sisters!) where the action is happening. As a non-church planter—but a huge champion—I stand on the outside but want to be on the inside where God is doing big things.

4. Networking works

Did you know we have nine church-planting networks already up and running in the EPC? Presbytery-wide church planting work has its pros and cons. In the meantime, presbyteries have endorsed these metro-area networks of mostly (but not exclusively) EPC churches to tackle the task of church replication in their city. Check out www.epc.org/churchplanting and learn more about these networks and their contributions to the EPC church planting effort.

5. More, more, more

ChurchPlantersRetreat

Mike Moses led a session for pastors of churches that want to multiply through church planting.

New to the retreat this year was a workshop solely for senior pastors who want to take their church from no action to becoming a parent, partner, or patron of church planting. I loved meeting these pastors who have a passion to bring a church-planting vision to their flock!

Mike Moses, Lead Pastor of the Lake Forest family of churches in the Charlotte, N.C., area, taught the workshop and helped these pastors consider the opportunities, costs, pitfalls, and issues with doing church planting well.

Finally, here are two statistics that are worthy of our consideration:

  1. A church that plants another church within the first five years of its founding is statistically likely to double in size themselves.
  2. Churches that plant other churches increase in their worship attendance and missions giving more than those that don’t.

The question then becomes: Why isn’t your church planting a daughter 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.

Noted church leadership expert Mike Bonem headlines annual Executive Pastor/Church Administrator gathering

 

XPGatheringAt the first of two EPC Executive Pastor/Church Administrator workshops, noted church leadership coach and consultant Mike Bonem discussed the topic “Managing change for revitalization.” The event was held October 24-25 in Denver, Colo.

In his presentation, Bonem described the challenges of change, models for change, and some of the unique dynamics of being in a second chair through change in a church.

“Change is kind of like being in a sports car on a two-lane road in the mountains,” he told the group. “It can be incredibly fun to drive, but it can be terrifying to be a passenger. Second-chair leaders have the best—and worst—of both. And the members of your congregation most often feel like they are in the passenger seat. So leading change is hard, that’s all there is to it.”

Regarding the challenge of change, Bonem noted that people desire stability and predictability, but change often equals chaos, threatens comfort and power, and can imply that “we’ve done something wrong.” He added that these factors apply to any organization, not just the church, but change in the church is more difficult because churches are dependent on volunteers and rich in tradition.

“Churches are also often resistant (or unaccustomed) to feedback, and may have weak or informal governance structures,” he said. “We also have history—the past is always present—and many times people will put a theological overlay on that history.”

As a model of change, Bonem described the “Congregational Transformation Model” that formed the basis for his book, Leading Congregational Change.

“As church leaders, we often focus on vision and how we get there, but that’s just one piece of a much larger process,” he said. “We are never going to be done with change in the church, so what we want to do is create and reinforce momentum through alignment.”

He noted that the challenges in change management “are less about the changes we want to make, but more about the pieces around it—things like communication and having the right people involved,” he said, emphasizing that change always produces some kind of conflict.

“Not all conflict is bad,” Bonem said. “It can be life-giving, as we see so many times in Acts. But conflict without spiritual and relational vitality can be life-threatening. When decisions in the church—particularly contentious ones—start to become like the decisions in Washington or whatever your state capitol is, it makes me wonder about its spiritual and relational vitality.”

Regarding the dynamics of the second-chair role in change management, Bonem addressed a variety of factors, including being aligned with the senior pastor, helping manage the pace of change, taking the pulse of the staff and congregation, paying attention to process, and several others.

Bonem earned an MBA from Harvard University, is a longtime business executive, and later served 11 years as Executive Pastor for a large, multi-site church in Houston, Texas. He is author of Leading Congregational Change , Leading from the Second Chair, Thriving in the Second Chair, and In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership.

The gathering, now in its seventh year, is a two-day event for EPC executive pastors and directors, church administrators, and others in senior ministry (but second-chair) leadership positions.

Sixteen EPC church leaders attended the workshop. In addition to discussing recent challenges and opportunities in their ministry settings—particularly related to change—participants shared best practices on a variety of topics related to church administration and operations, and networked on such issues as technology systems, personnel, outreach efforts, vision and strategy, finance, and more.

The workshop is a resource of the Office of the General Assembly. The second roundtable, which also features Bonem and has the same format as the October 24-25 event, takes place November 7-8 in Orlando. For more information, see www.epc.org/xpadmingathering.

1981 General Assembly recordings featuring D. James Kennedy, Francis Schaeffer now available

 

Recordings of the inaugural EPC General Assembly worship service speakers are now available in both audio and video formats. The speakers for the first Assembly were D. James Kennedy, Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and renowned theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. Kennedy spoke on “God’s Purpose for His Church.” Schaeffer’s message was titled “To be God’s Church in the Midst of the 20th Century Confusion.”

Videos of the messages are available below, and also on the EPC website at www.epc.org/ga1981 and in the “1st General Assembly” playlist on the EPC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPChurch80.

Audio versions in podcast format are available on the EPC’s Podbean channel, or search “Evangelical Presbyterian Church” on Spotify or iTunes.

“We’ve had a number of people ask if a recording of Francis Schaeffer’s talk existed,” said Brian Smith, EPC Director of Communications. “I was afraid that if we had one, it had gotten lost in the Office of the General Assembly’s relocation to Orlando in 2016. In God’s providence, we found the original videotapes in one of the very last boxes we unpacked in our storage room this summer. We are very pleased to make these recordings available at long last.”

The 1981 Assembly was held September 22-23, 1981, at Ward Presbyterian Church in Livonia, Mich.

The recordings include the featured speakers’ introductions. Kennedy was welcomed by Bartlett Hess, longtime Pastor of Ward Presbyterian Church. Schaeffer was introduced by A. George Scotchmer. Hess (1910-1999) and Scotchmer (1916-1993) were later honored as two of five EPC “Fathers of the Church.”

Presbytery Moderators hold annual meeting

 

PresbyteryModerators201908At their annual meeting, Moderators and Moderators-elect from the EPC’s 14 presbyteries developed proposals for Leadership Institute workshop topics, ministry resource distribution strategies, and requirements for churches to adopt child protection policies.

The group met August 22-23 at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando, Fla.

Other items addressed in the meeting included reports from several presbyteries of growth in their church planting initiatives, as well as annual retreats for Teaching Elders that were well-received by the pastors in their presbyteries.

Among topics of concern was a discussion regarding the pipeline of younger Teaching Elders. Several individuals expressed unease about the number of qualified pastors who would be available to fill pulpits that are expected to be vacated in the coming years as pastors reach retirement age. In response, Assistant Stated Clerk Jerry Iamurri reported that the Office of the General Assembly has processed 33 ordination examination requests for Teaching Elder candidates so far this year, and is on pace to have completed 50 by the end of the year.

Current Moderators who attended were Mike Gillett, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; Palmer Griffin, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Southeast; Randall Leonard, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; George Salnave, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Rivers and Lakes; Mike Wright, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of West; and Roy Yanke, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Midwest.

Moderators-elect who attended were Josh Brown, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Alleghenies; Jim Conners, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Pacific Southwest; John Dorr, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the East; Bryant Harris, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Southeast; Joyce Harris, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of the Midwest; George Hertensteiner, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Great Plains; Mac MacGowan, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the Central South; Bill Reisenweaver, Teaching Elder from the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean; and Rich Swedberg, Ruling Elder from the Presbytery of the West.

City of Hamtramck, Mich., thanks World Outreach Summer Mission Jam participants

 

SummerMissionJam2019HamtramckIn a July 11 post on its Facebook page, the City of Hamtramck, Mich., thanked EPC World Outreach for holding its Summer Mission Jam in the southeastern Michigan city.

“Thank you for making Hamtramck a destination again this year for your Team Summer Jam!,” the post reads. “We enjoy working with you on keeping our city ‘Klean’ and beautiful!”

Surrounded by the city of Detroit, Hamtramck has a significant Bangladeshi, Yemeni, and Bengali population. The city made national news in 2015 when residents elected the first Muslim-majority city council in the country.

“We are thankful for our relationships with the people and leaders of Hamtramck,” said Phil Linton, World Outreach Director. “Our Summer Mission Jam provides an opportunity for high school students to make Muslim friends and talk with them about Jesus without traveling halfway around the world. Hamtramck is a great setting for our students to ‘find somewhere different to love your neighbor,’ as we like to say.”

Students from three EPC churches took part in this year’s event, held July 8-13. Participants spent the afternoon each day serving Hamtramck residents by picking up trash, cleaning yards, and leading outreach games and activities in a local park. In the evenings, students and leaders gathered for worship services in which they were challenged to reimagine the cost of following Christ.

Will, a rising 11th grader from Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church in Signal Mountain, Tenn., said his favorite part of the experience was “the opportunity to show God’s love to the people around us and just to be able to serve.”

The 2020 Summer Mission Jam is scheduled for July 20-25 in Fremont, Calif. For more information, see www.epcwo.org/summermissionjam.