Category Archives: General Assembly Meeting

#epc2018ga the official General Assembly hashtag

 

GA2018BannerAdd your voice to the proceedings of the 38th General Assembly by including the hashtag #epc2018ga 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 search for #epc2018ga on your favorite social media platform and keep up with what everyone is saying.

Let’s start talking!

#epc2018ga

General Assembly exhibitors provide wealth of ministry resources

 

GA2018BannerA wide variety of ministries and organizations will host exhibit booths at the EPC’s 38th General Assembly, June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.

“Our exhibitors provide opportunity for our commissioners and guests to connect with an assortment of like-minded ministries,” said Jerry Iamurri, Assistant Stated Clerk. “Many of these are official EPC partners, and we are pleased to provide this avenue of contact for our churches and ministry partners.”

Exhibitors scheduled to appear are:

For more information about these organizations, see www.epc.org/ga2018exhibitors. For details about the 38th General Assembly, including online registration, daily schedules, and more, see www.epc.org/ga2018.

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38th General Assembly final preparations underway

 

GA2018PrepIn an annual tradition for the EPC staff, it’s “all hands on deck” assembling registration packets for the General Assembly. From left, Marti Brenner, Samantha Arcara, Joan Smith, Cassie Shultz, Sandi Iamurri, Becky VanValkenburg, Rebeca Santana, Catherine Rutter, and Kristi Jeffcoat ensure that each Commissioner’s lanyard receives the proper credentials, meal tickets, and more.

The 38th General Assembly will be held June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.

#epc2018ga

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GA Networking Lunches offer learning, connecting opportunities

 

GA2018BannerNetworking Lunches at the EPC 38th General Assembly provide opportunity for connecting with others with similar ministry interests on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, June 20-22, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn. For more information, see www.epc.org/ga2018networkinglunches.

Wednesday, June 20

  • Connecting for God for Life (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • Creating Pathways for Church Planting (hosted by the EPC Church Planting Team)
  • Equip your Congregation to be Champions of Human Life (hosted by Presbyterians Protecting Life)
  • Freed by the Truth: Owning and Healing our Racial History (hosted by Clayborn Reborn)
  • Haiti, MBF, and WPC: A Partnership Success Story (hosted by the Medical Benevolence Foundation)
  • How Your Church Can Reach College Students (hosted by CCO)
  • LGBTQ: Caring for the People Behind the Letters (hosted by OneByOne)
  • Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality Question-and-Answer (hosted by the EPC Interim Committee on Pastoral Letter on Human Sexuality Issues)
  • Westminster Society: The Lord’s Supper (hosted by the Westminster Society)
  • What Your PNC Should Know Before Starting a Pastor Search (hosted by the Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Where in the World Are You Going? Missions in the EPC (hosted by EPC World Outreach)

Thursday, June 21

  • Advice for Clerks of Session (hosted by the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest)
  • Creating or Continuing a Disability Ministry (hosted by the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic)
  • Engage 2025 Presbytery Home Teams (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • EPC Benefits and Retirement Plan (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • Generosity and the New Tax Law (hosted by the EPC Foundation)
  • God is Using Business Professionals (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • How to Build a Contagious Church Staff Culture (hosted by the Vanderbloemen Search Group)
  • Medical and Dental Mission (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Millennials in Ministry (hosted by Hope Church, Cordova, Tenn.)
  • Ministry Spouses: Opportunities and Challenges (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)
  • Westminster Society: Jonathan Edwards (hosted by the Westminster Society)
  • Women Teaching Elders and Candidates (hosted by the EPC Women’s Resource Council)

Friday, June 22

  • Bringing Salt and Light to Our Public Schools (hosted by Hope Church, Cordova, Tenn.)
  • EPC Benefits and Retirement Plan (hosted by EPC Benefit Resources, Inc.)
  • EPC Sierra Leone Update (hosted by EduNations)
  • EPC’ers Loving Muslims (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Every Pastor Needs a Mentor (hosted by PastorServe)
  • Fundamental Elements of a Vital Church (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • How Can My Church Re-Engage Millennials? (hosted by the EPC GO Center)
  • International Theological Education Network (hosted by EPC World Outreach)
  • Navigating the Risks of Ministry Life (hosted by Pastor-In-Residence Ministries)
  • Starting a Special Needs Ministry (hosted by Hope Church, Cordova, Tenn.)
  • Westminster Society: The First Sermon Series (hosted by the Westminster Society)
  • Who Will Lead After You? A Guide to Effective Succession Planning (hosted by the Vanderbloemen Search Group)

 For more information about the 38th General Assembly, including online registration, daily schedules, and more, see www.epc.org/ga2018.

General Assembly registration deadline May 31

 

GA2018BannerIf you have not yet registered for the 38th General Assembly, June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn., don’t delay—registration fees double on June 1. Click here to register now.

Why the increase in fees? Think of it as our encouragement to “live considerately with one another.” In the past, too many attendees registered after June 1—which caused unnecessary uncertainty for the host church planning team. Raising registration fees in June has helped our local planning teams tremendously, and in recent years less than 10 percent registered after June 1. Thank you for registering before the deadline!

In other GA-related news, we are in the process of final editing of the Committee Reports and Commissioner’s Handbook. These and other Assembly documents will be posted at www.epc.org/ga2018documents when they are available.

If you are a Ruling Elder planning to attend, be sure to complete the two-part registration process. Step one is to ensure that your Clerk of Session has completed and submitted the Commissioner Certification Form. For you to vote at the Assembly, we need certification that your Session has elected you as a Commissioner. Also, be sure you are registered. You can start the online registration process at www.epc.org/ga2018.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in Memphis!

GA Women’s Resources activities feature discipleship, connection opportunities

 
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Speakers for the Women’s Resource Council gatherings include (from left), Sharon Beekmann, Mary Brown, Lana Roberts, Jacqueline Smith, Brent Stenberg, Leila Todd, and Karen Walls. 

The EPC Women’s Resource Council is hosting a variety of gatherings at the 38th General Assembly, June 19-22 at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.

“Connecting with the Marginalized” is the theme for the annual “TESS Talks” dinner on Wednesday, June 20. Speakers are Sharon Beekmann, Women’s Resource Council Chair; Jacqueline Smith, wife of Hope Church Senior Pastor Rufus Smith; and Karen Walls, Director of Hope Church’s Special Needs Ministry. Beekmann will discuss sexual abuse and harassment; Smith will examine Impacting Public Schools for Christ; and Walls’ topic is “Welcoming and Including People with Disabilities into the Family of God.” Each speaker’s 10-minute presentation will be followed by a 20-minute round-table discussion.

Modeled after the popular “Ted Talks,” TESS (Teaching, Encouragement, and Spiritual Sustenance) Talks offer practical discussions on topics of interest for women across the EPC.

“TESS Talks provide sisters in Christ the opportunity to consider and discuss topics that are relevant to churches today,” Beekmann said. “Plus, we have fun!”

Networking Lunches offer opportunities for fellowship and enrichment around a variety of relevant topics.

In “Connecting with God for Life” on Wednesday, Sharon Henderson will discuss growing in Christ as well as in spiritual disciplines. She is the wife of David Henderson, Pastor of Covenant EPC in West Lafayette, Ind.

On Thursday, Lana Roberts will host the annual lunch gathering for women Teaching Elders and candidates to connect, encourage, and pray for one another. Roberts has served on the pastoral staff of First Presbyterian Church in Fresno, Calif., for more than 10 years and is a member of the EPC Women’s Resource Council.

Also on Thursday, Brent Stenberg and Leila Todd of the Christian Psychological Center in Memphis will host a Networking Lunch for ministry spouses. In their topic, “Opportunities and Challenges,” Stenberg and Todd will focus on the unique challenges ministry spouses face, and on building resilience in order to thrive in the midst of the God-given opportunities and stressors of ministry life. All ministry spouses—male or female—are invited to attend.

On Thursday evening, the Women’s Ministry Dinner will feature Mary Brown as she discusses “Disciple Making: One Woman at a Time.” She will explore Jesus’ method of making disciples, including practical steps in disciple-making that beginners and mature Christians alike can use. Brown leads the Soul Healing Ministry, Women’s Ministry, support groups, and discipleship groups for Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City and is a member of the EPC Women’s Resource Council.

“Mary’s passion for making disciples is contagious,” Beekmann said. “She will inspire us to proclaim the gospel and bring people into the body of Christ.”

For more information about the 38th General Assembly, including registration, daily schedules, and more, see www.epc.org/ga2018. For details about the ministries of the EPC Women’s Resource Council, see www.epc.org.org/thewell including an informational video featuring Mary Brown offering helpful tips and encouragement on mentoring new disciples of Christ.

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World Outreach dinner to feature Bob Blincoe, honor Greg and Sally Livingstone

 

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Bob Blincoe

Bob Blincoe, President of Frontiers USA, is the guest speaker for this year’s World Outreach banquet in conjunction with the 38th General Assembly. The dinner and program will be held on Tuesday, June 19, at Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn.

In addition, Greg and Sally Livingstone will be honored for their lifetime sharing the love of Christ with and in the Muslim world. The Livingstones helped start Operation Mobilization in the 1960s, directed the U.S. office of North Africa Mission in the 1970s, founded Frontiers in the 1980s, and now serve as EPC World Outreach Senior Advisors. Greg is the author of several books, including You’ve Got Libya: A Life Serving the Muslim World and The Muslim World: A Presbyterian Mandate.

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Greg and Sally Livingstone

Phil Linton, Director of World Outreach, said GA attendees “won’t want to miss hearing John Piper, George Verwer, and Bob Blincoe tell the story of how God has used an EPC couple to change the missional course of the global Church.” Piper and Verwer will appear via pre-recorded video.

The banquet also will feature reports from several EPC global workers, who will tell stories of how God is working among the various people groups they serve.

For more information about the 38th General Assembly, including registration, daily schedules, other World Outreach activities, and more, see www.epc.org/ga2018. For details about the World Outreach Dinner, contact Cassie Shultz, World Outreach Assistant, at cassie.s@epcwo.org or 407-930-4313.

May Jeremiah Journal announces special guest to 38th General Assembly, reviews business items

 

In the May edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah announces a special guest for the 2018 General Assembly, and reviews some business items scheduled to be taken up by Commissioners to the Assembly.

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.

GA Wednesday evening program to feature popular comedian Michael Jr.

 
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Michael Jr.

Michael Jr., one of the most popular comedians in North America, will headline the Wednesday evening program at the 38th General Assembly on June 20 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn. Befitting this year’s GA host church, Michael Jr. views laughter as the “tangible evidence of hope.” This perspective allows him to be as comfortable on late night television as he is in churches, juvenile halls, and homeless shelters.

“If I’m in a club,” he says, “my material has to be clean enough to work in a church. If I’m in a pulpit, it has to be funny enough to work in a club.”

Rufus Smith, Senior Pastor of Hope Church, says Michael Jr.—who has appeared at Hope several times—is “wholesomely funny, and his comedy has a purpose that goes way beyond laughing.”

“The repurposing of his comedy is why I have allowed him to actually preach the gospel message at all four of our weekend worship hours,” Smith said. “If you don’t both laugh at his comedy and leave with some conviction, I’ll reimburse three times your ticket price!”

Michael Jr. has performed on The Tonight Show; Comedy Central; The Late, Late Show; BET’s ComicView; Jimmy Kimmel Live; CNN; ComedyTV; as well as in the most prestigious comedy clubs across the nation, including The Improv; The Laugh Factory; The Comedy Store, and many more. He also is the author of a children’s book, The Parts We Play.

Click here for more information about the 38th General Assembly, including daily schedules, links to online registration, and more.

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GA worship speakers include Ligon Duncan, Eli Morris, Rufus Smith, Dean Weaver

 

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(Clockwise from top left): Ligon Duncan, Eli Morris, Dean Weaver, Rufus Smith

Worship has been an integral part of the EPC’s annual General Assembly since the inaugural Assembly in 1981. The 38th General Assembly, to be held June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn., carries on this hallmark.

Eli Morris, Hope Church Senior Associate Pastor, will speak prior to the opening business session at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20.

Rufus Smith, Hope Church Senior Pastor, will deliver the message at the Morning Worship Service at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 21.

Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary, will preach at the World Outreach Global Worker Commissioning Service on 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21.

Dean Weaver, Moderator of the 37th General Assembly and Lead Pastor of Memorial Park Presbyterian Church in Allison Park, Penn., will lead the Moderator’s Service of Communion and Prayer at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, June 22.

“Each of our worship speakers have been integrally involved in ministries that allow them to address our theme of ‘Forward!’” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “I fully anticipate that God has a dynamic, relevant word for us through these gifted communicators.”

Weaver is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies and has served as Pastor of Memorial Park since 2006. He was Founder and Co-Moderator of the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC), a group of about 200 theologically conservative Presbyterian churches formed in 2001 from growing discontent regarding the general direction of the PC(USA). The NWAC was dissolved in 2011. Weaver also is President and co-founder of EduNations, a non-profit corporation that builds and operates schools in Sierra Leone, West Africa. He is a graduate of Grove City College in Grove City, Penn.; Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (M.Div.); and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).

Duncan was raised in the home of an eighth-generation Presbyterian Ruling Elder, and has authored, co-authored, edited or contributed to more than 35 books. At age 28, he was elected to the faculty of RTS, where he taught Systematic Theology until 1996 when he accepted the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Miss. He served as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) General Assembly in 2004-05, the youngest minister in the PCA’s history to be elected Moderator. He returned to RTS in 2012 and became Chancellor/CEO in 2013. He is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C.; Covenant Theological Seminary (M.Div. and M.A. in Historical Theology); and the University of Edinburgh New College in Scotland (Ph.D.).

Smith served Hope Church as Associate Pastor of Discipleship from September 2010 until November 2013, when he was elected to succeed Richard Craig Strickland’s 25-year founding pastorate. From 1988-2010, he served as Senior Pastor of the inter-racial and inter-generational City of Refuge Church in Houston, Texas. While in Houston he served as Lead Chaplain for the NBA Houston Rockets for three years. He studied at Houston Baptist University and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule.

Morris, in addition to his role as Senior Associate Pastor for Hope Church, serves as Chaplain with the FBI Memphis Division. He is passionate about meeting the needs of the underprivileged, and serves on the boards of STREETS Ministry, Oasis of Hope, Luke 4:18 Ministries, and MIFA Emergency Services. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis, Memphis Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Fuller Theological Seminary (D.Min.).

Click here for more information about the 38th General Assembly, including daily schedules, links to online registration, and more.

Rwandan genocide survivor, racial reconciliation expert, special needs ministry leader to keynote 2018 Leadership Institute

 
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Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, Jennifer Ross

Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, and Jennifer Ross are the keynote speakers for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church’s fourth annual Leadership Institute. The Institute is a strategic component of the EPC’s 38th General Assembly, to be held June 19-22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn.

The theme for the annual meeting—Forward!—reinforces awareness on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. that God is doing something bigger in Memphis and beyond than what He is doing in and through the EPC. Keeping with that concept, the plenary speakers will take an intentional look from contexts outside the EPC at deep hurts that can help attendees minister the gospel more effectively in our culture.

Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which more than 1 million people were massacred in ethnic violence following the assassination of the country’s president. Regarded as one of world’s leading speakers on faith, hope, and forgiveness, she has shared her inspirational story with world leaders, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at events and conferences around the world.

Thompson serves as Director of Research and Strategy for Clayborn Reborn, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reintroduce the historic Clayborn Temple in downtown Memphis to the city, and to engage a national audience. One of the country’s most significant church buildings, Clayborn Temple was the home of the EPC’s Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis from its opening in 1893 until 1949, and later became a landmark in the Civil Rights movement.

Ross is the Director of Matthew’s Ministry, the Special Needs Ministry of the Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City (a multi-campus United Methodist congregation), and serves as Education Chairperson for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City. She will provide relevant data and biblical applications on the topic “Holding a Banquet and Welcoming All of God’s Children,” exploring why churches should offer programs for individuals with special needs.

Each plenary session will include a moderated time for questions and answers.

In addition to the plenary speakers, 14 seminars are available on Tuesday, June 19:

  1. The Beauty of Reformed Worship.
    Led by Zach Hopkins, Pastor of Edgington EPC in Taylor Ridge, Ill.
  2. Being a Public, Media-Friendly Evangelical in the Trump Era.
    Led by Carmen LaBerge, President of Reformation Press (formerly Presbyterian Lay Committee).
  3. Building Blocks of a Missional Church.
    Led by Randy H, EPC World Outreach Global Worker who serves in an unpublished location.
  4. Discerning the Spirits.
    Led by Sharon Beekmann, Chair of the EPC Women’s Resource Council and author of Rescued and Redeemed: How to Discern Demons from the Divine.
  5. Discipleship in Student Ministry.
    Led by Meg DeHaven, Director of Children and Youth for Bethany EPC in Havertown, Pa., and Mike DeHaven, Assistant Director of Youth for Bethany EPC.
  6. Embracing God’s Cities: Bus Tour of Memphis.
    Led by Larry Lloyd, President of the Memphis Leadership Foundation, and Eli Morris, Senior Associate Pastor of Hope Church in Memphis.
  7. The Gospel in Dark Places: Ministry to Exploited and Trafficked Women.
    Led by Bonnie Gatchell, Director of Route One Ministry in Boston, Mass., and Tricia Grant, educator, speaker, and trafficking survivor.
  8. The Lord’s Supper in the Reformed Tradition.
    Led by Stephen Hess, Pastor of Highview EPC in Dousman, Wis.
  9. Making Disciples Who Make Disciples.
    Led by Doug Resler, Senior Pastor of Parker EPC in Parker, Colo.
  10. The Means of Grace in the Scriptures Proclaimed.
    Led by JT Holderman, Pastor of Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Gap, Pa.
  11. The Reformation of Preaching.
    Led by David Swanson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Orlando, Fla.
  12. Religious Support and Protecting Free Exercise.
    Led by Daniel Blomberg, Senior Counsel for Becket Law in Washington, D.C.
  13. Planting Multi-Ethnic Churches.
    Led by Léonce Crump, Pastor of Renovation Church in Atlanta, Ga., and Richard Rieves, Pastor of Downtown Church in Memphis.
  14. Putting Baptism to Use.
    Led by Mike Glodo, Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Chapel for Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Fla.

Click here for more information on the Leadership Institute, including full seminar descriptions, times, and speaker bios.

Click here for more information about the 38th General Assembly, including links to online registration, discounted hotel rates, and more.

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38th General Assembly registration open

 

GA2018BannerOnline registration for the 38th General Assembly is now open. The Assembly meets June 19–22 at Hope Church in suburban Memphis, Tenn. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Forward: Engage, Empower, Embrace,” based on Philippians 3:13–14.

The annual Leadership Institute on Tuesday has 14 seminars this year to help provide resources for building a leadership development culture. Topics include:

  • Being a Public, Media-Friendly Evangelical in the Trump Era
  • Building Blocks of a Missional Church
  • Discerning the Spirits
  • Discipleship in Student Ministry
  • Making Disciples Who Make Disciples
  • Planting Multi-Ethnic Churches
  • Putting Baptism to Use
  • Religious Support and Protecting Free Enterprise
  • The Beauty of Reformed Worship
  • The Gospel in Dark Places: Ministry to Exploited and Trafficked Women
  • The Lord’s Supper in the Reformed Tradition
  • The Means of Grace in the Scriptures Proclaimed
  • The Reformation of Preaching
  • The Life and Legacy of MLK in Memphis (special bus tour of MLK-related sites)

The theme reinforces our awareness on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that something bigger is happening in Memphis and beyond in our culture in 2018 than just what God is doing in and through the EPC. Our Leadership Institute plenary speakers on Wednesday—Immaculée Ilibagiza, Greg Thompson, and Jennifer Ross—will take an intentional look at deep hurts beyond our denomination to help us minister the gospel effectively in our culture.

Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and is regarded as one of world’s leading speakers on faith, hope, and forgiveness. Her book Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust has sold more than two million copies and has been translated into 17 languages.

Thompson is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and currently serves as Director of Research and Strategy at Clayborn Reborn, a historic Civil Rights site in Memphis. He is active in national conversations surrounding race and equity in America, and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where he wrote his dissertation on Martin Luther King Jr.

Ross has served as Director of Matthew’s Ministry, the Special Needs Ministry of the Church of the Resurrection (United Methodist) in Kansas City, for 15 years. She also serves as Education Chairperson for the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City and serves on the board of Inclusion Connections—a regional non-profit organization serving the special needs community. She has degree in special education and 30 years of experience working with individuals with special needs in schools, state facilities, colleges, and churches.

The first of five business sessions convenes on Wednesday afternoon, June 20, at 4:00 p.m. Business sessions continue on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; and Friday at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. (if needed).

Worship service speakers include:

  • Rufus Smith, Senior Pastor of Hope Church (Thursday at 8:30 a.m.)
  • Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary (Thursday at 7:30 p.m.); and
  • Dean Weaver, EPC Moderator (Friday at 8:30 a.m.).

A special event this year is a Wednesday evening program featured renowned comedian Michael Jr. He has appeared on The Tonight Show, Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel Live, CNN, ComedyTV, as well as in the most prestigious comedy clubs in the country, including The Improv, The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, and others. He also is well-known for bringing his family friendly comedy to Christian and church audiences.

Numerous other gatherings are available that cover a wide variety of ministry interests, including Networking Lunches, World Outreach, Women’s Ministry, and more.

For complete information, see www.epc.org/ga2018.

March Jeremiah Journal describes General Assembly participation benefits

 

In the March edition of The Jeremiah Journal, EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah describes just a few of the benefits of attending the EPC’s annual General Assembly in June.

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.

Hope Church Memphis featured in The Gospel Coalition

 

HopeChurchTGCThe Gospel Coalition’s lead story on November 2, “How the Country’s Largest White Presbyterian Church Became Multiethnic,” tells the story of Hope Church in Cordova, Tenn. Planted in 1988 in a predominately white suburban area, within 20 years the congregation was the largest in Memphis—but with less than 1 percent of its 7,000 attendees African American.

The EPC’s largest congregation is now more than 20 percent African American, including the senior pastor, Rufus Smith.

Hope Church will host the 38th EPC General Assembly in June 2018.

Click here for the full story.

The Gospel Coalition is a network of evangelical churches in the Reformed tradition, and was founded by Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and D.A. Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.

Closer to God Church (Kearny, N.J.) receives 2017 Bart Hess Award

 
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Valdir Reis (right), pastor of Closer to God Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Kearny, N.J., received the Bart Hess Award on behalf of the congregation from Jeff Jeremiah during the church’s worship service on September 10.

Closer to God Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Kearny, N.J., is the recipient of the 2017 Bartlett L. Hess Award for church revitalization. The award was announced at the 37th General Assembly in June at Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif.

“This award is tremendous to our church,” pastor Valdir Reis told commissioners to the Assembly. “Thank you to the EPC, this faithful church that received us with much love.”

Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, presented the award to the congregation during their September 10 worship service.

Jeremiah said Closer to God Church received the 2017 award “because of its outstanding outreach efforts into their local community, which includes those of Brazilian, Mexican, Portuguese, and Dominican background—as well as many immigrants.” He also noted that the church provides professional courses, medical care, legal assistance, and counseling to immigrant families.

“They also serve the underprivileged in the Newark area through a food bank and used clothing store that deeply discounts its prices,” Jeremiah said. “I’m excited for the great things the Lord is doing through their ministry.”

The church was launched on July 3, 2011, and came into the EPC’s Presbytery of the East on April 5, 2012.

The Hess Award is given annually to the EPC church that has demonstrated the most innovative approach to church growth or revitalization. Church growth—in both its spiritual and numerical aspects—is an essential part of the mission of the church. The award provides a vehicle by which positive, reproducible innovation is encouraged and shared with others in the EPC. It is named for Bartlett L. “Bart” Hess, founding pastor of Ward Church in suburban Detroit, who was instrumental in the establishment of the EPC in 1981.