Category Archives: Pastors

“In All Things” podcast episode 43 features Bob Garment, EPC Chief Parliamentarian

 

Bob Garment, longtime Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean and the EPC’s new Chief Parliamentarian is the guest for episode 43 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Garment discuss his path to the EPC from his former denomination, including how a newsletter from an EPC church in Louisiana started the process.

Garment also describes how his relationship with the late Howard Shockley, longtime Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, resulted in his own service for more than 30 years as Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean, and how polity serves the mission of the church.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 42 features Luis Quiñones, pastor of first Spanish-language mainland U.S. church in Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean

 

Luis Quiñones, pastor of Iglesia Presbiteriana Evangélica Nación Santa (Holy Nation Evangelical Presbyterian Church) in Haines City, Fla., is the guest for episode 42 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Quiñones discuss his spiritual journey from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, to serving as pastor in Philadelphia, Pa., to planting Nación Santa in Central Florida, and how prayer in an EPC Presbytery of Florida and the Caribbean meeting solidified the decision to transfer the church to the EPC from its previous denomination.

Quiñones also describes the challenges of sharing a facility with another congregation, as well as how Nación Santa lives out Revelation 7:9 as a Spanish-language congregation but with multiple Latin nationalities and cultures in its membership.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 41 features regional ministry, faith-work integration with Case Thorp

 

Case Thorp, Senior Associate Pastor of Evangelism for First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, Fla., (FPCO) is the guest for episode 41 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Thorp discuss his spiritual roots in evangelistic camp meetings in Georgia, FPCO’s church planting efforts and commitment to urban community outreach, and his ministry in Orlando through missions, evangelism, and leadership of The Collaborative—designed to help people bridge the secular-sacred divide by integrating their faith and their work.

Thorp also previews the World Reformed Fellowship’s sixth General Assembly, to be held October 27-30 at FPCO, and The Collaborative’s podcast, “Nuance,” launching in mid-September.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 40 features EPC church planter Michael Flake

 

Michael Flake, planting pastor of Storyhill Church in Davidson, N.C., is the guest for episode 40 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and Flake discuss his church planting DNA in the EPC. Flake recounts his childhood at then-church-plant Hope Church in Memphis, followed by involvement with during his college years with EPC church planter Mike Moses at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, N.C., and culminating after seminary by serving as Lake Forest’s first church planting pastor at the Lake Forest Davidson campus—which localized as Storyhill Church in December 2021. He describes how the EPC’s vision of every local church being a parent, partner, or patron of church planting is embedded in Storyhill, including possibly planting churches in other college towns.

Flake also discusses how he bridges the generation gap as a 38-year-old pastor with the large Davidson College student population that attends Storyhill, and their perspective as Christians in a culture that is increasingly antagonistic toward Christianity.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Tom Ricks named National Director of Church Planting

 

Tom Ricks

Tom Ricks, longtime Chairman of the EPC’s Church Planting Team, has been named the EPC’s National Director of Church Planting. This new role at the Office of the General Assembly in Orlando will oversee the denomination’s strategic priority of Church Planting.

“I am thrilled to lead our efforts to continue to build a church planting culture in the EPC in a full-time capacity,” Ricks said. “We have made incredible progress in church planting as a denomination over the past 10 years or so. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us over the next 10 and beyond as we look to inspire every EPC church to be a parent, partner, or patron of church planting.”

A Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of Mid-America, Ricks planted Greentree Community Church in Kirkwood, Mo., in 1999. He served as the congregation’s Senior Pastor until retiring from the role in early 2022. Under his leadership, Greentree planted five daughter churches: The Crossing in Columbia, Mo.; Riverside Church in Webster Groves, Mo.; City Church in St. Louis, Mo.; River City Church in St. Charles, Mo.; and Woke Bridge Community Church in Ferguson, Mo.

“Anyone who knows Tom knows his infectious passion for church planting,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “While he has led the EPC’s church planting strategy in a part-time capacity since 2011, I am very excited that he will now be able to devote his full energy to our strategic priority of church planting. Under Tom’s leadership, the EPC will be intentional about evangelism through church planting and developing a pipeline of church planters.”

Prior to planting Greentree, Ricks served in variety of pastoral roles at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis from 1990-1998, including Interim Lead Pastor. He also served as Director of Youth Ministries for Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., prior to joining the EPC.

“We have about 50 active church plants in the EPC right now—about eight percent of the total number of EPC churches,” Ricks said. “We would love to see that double in the coming years. Studies have revealed over and over that new churches have some of the highest rates of first-time salvations. Church plants also often make an impact for the gospel in their communities that outpace more established churches. The EPC is well-positioned to capitalize on this, and I am looking forward to hitting the ground running.”

“Over the past several years I have been privileged to serve on the National Church Planting Team under Tom’s leadership,” said Michael Davis, EPC’s Chief Collaborative Officer. “The Lord has blessed him with a heart for church planting in the EPC. It has been a joy to watch.”

A native of St. Louis, Ricks is a graduate of Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga., and holds Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

He and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 40 years and have three children and seven grandchildren. He is a spirited St. Louis Blues fan, and in his spare time enjoys golf and reading historical biographies.

“In All Things” podcast episode 36 approaches intersection of suffering and spiritual growth with Bryn MacPhail

 

Bryn MacPhail, Senior Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Kirk in Nassau, Bahamas, and author of Purposeful Pain: What Your Troubles Achieve, is the guest for episode 36 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things.”

This week, host Dean Weaver and MacPhail discuss how God uses suffering to make believers more like Jesus. MacPhail explains how repeated pain and suffering—unlike manual labor that develops strength and durability—results in a heavy burden that only being yoked to Christ can relieve. He also provides a list of additional resources on the topic.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Diversity fuels mission of newly localized Tennessee church plant

 

The congregation of The Avenue Community Church in Memphis, following the service of localization held on March 20, 2022, at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Memphis.

Embracing diversity has fueled the mission and growth of The Avenue Community Church (TACC) in Memphis—leading to achieving local church status in the Presbytery of the Central South in March. Local church status means a congregation is self-governing with its own elected and installed officers, including Ruling Elders and Deacons.

“We know from Scripture that God’s true church is diverse, from every nation, tribe, tongue,” said Lead Pastor Tim Johnson. “So as the local church, we strive to be diverse as well.”

Tim Johnson

Johnson noted that TACC’s goal is to be not only multi-ethnic, but also multi-class and multi-generational.

“We have to seek to reach people from all types of backgrounds,” he said. “Our heart is to do what every other faithful church has been doing since its inception, and that is to be working for the God of the Bible reverently, passionately, and faithfully. There’s a blueprint to the church that the Lord left us and that’s what we want to fulfill. We want to witness, we want to worship, we want to edify the body until He comes back.”

TACC has been focused on the community in and around—and is named for—Summer Avenue since its launch in September 2018. Running east-west on the north side of central Memphis, Summer Avenue is one of the most diverse areas of the city. In fulfillment of Johnson’s vision for ministry in the community, TACC acquired and is renovating the old Highland Heights United Methodist Church property on Summer and hopes to hold its worship services in the historic Gothic structure within the next year or so. TACC has met at a local school for the past three and a half years.

“The new location places us right in between two communities we would love to wed and be a bridge and bring together,” Johnson said. “One has the highest dollar amount per square foot, and the other is a very multiracial, lower-middle-class. We strategically have always prayed to be on the Avenue. Now that we are officially on Summer Avenue, we can truly be The Avenue sitting right in the middle of all the intersection of all the people who are doing business on our streets.”

The Summer Avenue corridor in central Memphis is the focus of The Avenue Community Church’s ministry.

Johnson and TACC are accomplishing the work that Second Presbyterian Church of Memphis envisioned in the pre-pandemic days of 2017, according to Dan Burns, Second’s World Missions Pastor.

“We were dreaming and praying about how to help plant a diverse, multi-ethnic church in one of our ‘edge’ neighborhoods,” Burns explained. “There are many dividing lines in Memphis where economic and racial patterns tend to divide the community. We were praying about launching a church ‘on the line’ that could serve the community on both sides and draw them into a common fellowship.”

Burns said Johnson has both the vision and passion to pursue this vision.

“He sensed the Lord lead him and his core team to Summer Avenue, immediately got engaged in the community through youth work and community connections, and launched The Avenue a year later,” Burns said. “The Lord soon gave them energy, direction, and resources to launch—and they weathered the pandemic and racial tension of 2020 with gospel grace.”

And the gospel ministry of TACC will now reach literally around the world.

“I was overjoyed to see the first couple from The Avenue commissioned at the 2022 EPC General Assembly to serve as World Outreach global workers in the Middle East,” Burns said.

Johnson said the journey to local church status wasn’t as encumbering as he anticipated.

“The administrative commission from Second Presbyterian and the delegates from the Presbytery just really made it seem more relational, and that we are brothers and sisters and that we’re excited about this process,” he said. “It did not feel like an interrogation—like with the hope that you would fail—but was a discovery and birthing of a new relationship and friendship. That was quite refreshing.”

Tim Foster, Senior Pastor of Highland Heights Presbyterian Church in Memphis, prays over Tim Johnson during the service of localization held March 20, 2022.

Seeing God’s hand in the formation of TACC and its success led to a “marvelous day of God’s grace” when TACC was constituted as a local congregation, said Ken Van Kampen, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Central South.

“It was, in one sense, the climax and closing of one chapter and the opening of another chapter in the life of the church,” he said, explaining that the timing of TACC’s localization was evidence of God’s blessing.

“The Lord graciously upheld the congregation during COVID,” Van Kampen said. “It was during this time that the leadership of The Avenue—who were ordained and installed as the initial class of Elders and Deacons on March 20—was raised up and trained. In the midst of this it was clear that the Lord prepared the congregation for localization. It was all the power and grace of the Lord.”

Johnson said he has been humbled to see God work through TACC from the very beginning.

“We believe the nations are literally in our backyard: Black, white, Hispanic, rich, poor. We believe that God has placed us uniquely and strategically in the middle of all those people,” he said. “And we think He has placed us in the middle of all those people to preach the gospel, to preach it faithfully, and to preach it indiscriminately to whomever we encounter.”

by Tim Yarbrough
EPConnection correspondent

“In All Things” podcast episode 33 highlights innovation in local church ministry with Dave Wahlstedt

 

Episode 33 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Dave Wahlstedt, Pastor of The Table in Dallas, Texas, and author of Shift: Catalyzing Creative Change in Innovative Christian Ministry.

This week, host Dean Weaver and Wahlstedt discuss the ministry of The Table as a worshipping community—what Wahlstedt calls a “craft church” surrounded by megachurches in suburban north Dallas—and how spiritual formation became the focus of the ministry. Wahlstedt also talks about how his book is a reflection of his ministry experience, and describes ways to innovate in the local church and among its people.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 30 previews 42nd General Assembly with host pastor Scott McKee

 

Episode 30 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Scott McKee, Senior Pastor of Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

This week, host Dean Weaver and McKee discuss preparations for the denomination’s June 21-24 annual meeting including how the worship service speakers will help develop the theme of “Recharge” based on Acts 1:8. The two also discuss several business items coming before the Assembly—including McKee’s involvement in the Giving Culture Study Committee and how that group helped lay the groundwork for Recommendation 42:11 to change the funding model from Per Member Asking (PMA) to Percentage of Income (POI).

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 29 explores marketplace ministry with Florida pastor Doug Walker

 

Episode 29 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Doug Walker, Pastor of River City Church in DeBary, Fla.

This week, host Dean Weaver and Walker discuss how evangelism is a catalyst to a growing faith, as well as Walker’s journey from the financial services industry to the pastorate. In addition, Walker describes his experience integrating his faith and work in a marketplace ministry, and his expectation as a pastor that the members of the church view themselves as missionaries.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 28 features 41st General Assembly Moderator Brad Strait

 

Episode 28 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Brad Strait, Lead Pastor of Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church in Englewood, Colo., and Moderator of the 41st General Assembly.

This week, host Dean Weaver and Strait look back on his year as Moderator of the Assembly, and peer into the future as Strait serves the next year as Chairman of the denomination’s National Leadership Team.

Strait also describes two seminars on persecution at the EPC’s Leadership Institute on June 21-22 that he is co-leading with Andrew Brunson, EPC Teaching Elder who was imprisoned in Turkey from 2016-2018. In the first, Brunson will share his experience of being persecuted for his faith and what believers in the western world can expect as hostility toward Jesus and the gospel grows. In the second, Brunson and Strait will be joined by a panel of Christian leaders who have experienced significant persecution, including EPC Teaching Elder Setan Lee, who escaped the “killing fields” genocide of the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia in the 1970s, and Erick Schenkel, Executive Director of Cru’s “The Jesus Film Project.”

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

GA worship services focus on Assembly theme of ‘Recharge’

 

For more than 40 years, worship has been a central component of the EPC General Assembly meeting. This year’s Assembly is no exception, and the worship speakers will speak to the theme, “Recharge.” The 42nd GA will be held June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.

Julie Hawkins, Pastor of Next Steps at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, Wash., will preach prior to the opening business session on Wednesday, June 22. Her message, “Powered Up by Prayer” from Acts 4:23-31, will challenge attendees to prayer that results in courageous proclamation of God’s Word. The service begins at 3:15 p.m. (Eastern).

Scott McKee, Senior Pastor of Ward Church, will preach on Wednesday evening, June 22. His message, “To a Thousand Generations,” is based on Exodus 20:45. An offering will be received for the EPC’s Care of Pastors and Spouses Fund. Proceeds will fund projects designed to help restore the emotional and spiritual health of EPC pastors. The service begins at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern).

Terence Gray, Ward Church Assistant Pastor, will deliver the message at the Morning Worship Service on Thursday, June 23. His message, “The Church: A Recharging Community,” is based on John 13:1-17. An offering will be received for the Tim Russell Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations will assist EPC students from under-resourced communities studying at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. Russell, who served as Assistant Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, succumbed to COVID-19 in March 2020. The service begins at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern).

Marcelo Robles will preach from Acts 1:8 in the Global Worker Commissioning Service on Thursday evening, June 23. Robles serves as Senior Pastor of La Misión Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An offering will be received for the EPC’s Restore Global Worker Health Fund. Proceeds will fund projects designed to help restore the emotional and spiritual health of World Outreach global workers. The service begins at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern).

Brad Strait, Moderator of the 41st General Assembly, will lead the Moderator’s Service of Communion and Prayer at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern) on Friday, June 24. His message, “Declare His Glory Among the Nations, His Marvelous Deeds Among all Peoples” focuses on 1 Chronicles 16:24. An offering will be received for the EPC’s Moderator’s Scholarship Fund. Donations provide financial assistance to offset travel costs for ministers and Ruling Elders from smaller EPC churches who otherwise may not be able to attend General Assembly.

Click here for more information about the 42nd General Assembly, including daily schedules, the Leadership Institute, GA business items, and more.

#epc2022ga

Knox Presbyterian Church ministers amidst Buffalo shooting tragedy

 

The Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, N.Y.

Five miles north of the Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, N.Y., Knox Evangelical Presbyterian Church Pastor Justin Olivetti is comforting a community jolted by the May 14 shooting that took 10 lives.

“Everyone here is a bit shaken up,” Olivetti said. “We had some members who had relatives who worked there or some other community connections to the area and the store, but none of the casualties were among them.”

Justin Olivetti

Olivetti added that the congregation prayed in the Sunday morning worship service for the families of those involved. He also attended a multi-church prayer meeting that was held on Sunday afternoon around the block from the store.

EPC Stated Clerk Dean Weaver served as Knox EPC’s Pastor from 1995-2006. He also is a former member of the Board of Directors for Urban Christian Ministries in Buffalo, which is located a few blocks from the site of the shooting.

“I am just devastated,” Weaver said. “The security guard who was killed was a friend of one of my closest friends from our years there.”

Olivetti said he and his congregation are praying for a revival and healing.

“It was definitely designed to inflame racial tensions,” he said. “So I’ve been counseling people that our job as Christ’s ambassadors is to bring His love and grace in where others bring hate.”

“In All Things” podcast episode 24 discusses evangelism, Africa baptisms with NLT Chairman Glenn Meyers

 

Episode 24 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Glenn Meyers, Chairman of the EPC National Leadership Team (NLT) and Commissioned Pastor of Ardara United Presbyterian Church in Ardara, Pa. This week, host Dean Weaver and Meyers reflect on the Chairman’s six years serving on the NLT. As part of that discussion, Meyers expects the renewed commitment to evangelism in the EPC to inform how the denomination’s four strategic priorities of church planting, church health, global movement, and effective biblical leadership are carried out in the years to come.

In addition, Meyers relates his recent experience baptizing Muslim-background converts in a river in Sierra Leone, and how his church of 120 members has committed to a capital campaign to help the African village construct a church building.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Natrona Heights pastor Rick Harbaugh profiled in local media

 

Rick Harbaugh, Pastor of Natrona Heights Presbyterian Church in suburban Pittsburgh, Pa., was featured in Trib Total Media on April 18.

The article, “Faces in the Valley: New pastor of Natrona Heights Presbyterian brings experience, energy to leadership role,” profiles Harbaugh in his first pastorate following 11 years on staff with The Presbyterian Church of Portersville (Pa.). Both churches are in the Presbytery of the Alleghenies.

Trib Total Media serves Allegheny, Westmoreland, Armstrong, and Butler counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Click here to read the article.

“In All Things” podcast episode 20 explains EPC Fraternal Relations with Alan Trafford

 

Episode 20 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Alan Trafford, Senior Pastor of Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lake Jackson, Texas, and Chairman of the EPC Fraternal Relations Committee. This week, host Dean Weaver and Trafford discuss what fraternal relationships are, and how a formalized relationship between the denomination and groups with the same theological basis as the EPC can serve and benefit both. In addition, Trafford describes his ministry path from England to Texas.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 17 features David Swanson, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando

 

Episode 17 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features David Swanson, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, Fla. This week, host Dean Weaver and Swanson discuss three of Swanson’s books: Everlasting Life, Learning to Be You, and The Economy of God. Swanson also shares how generosity was manifested in FPCO’s recent “Cup of Rice” campaign, his efforts to address human trafficking in Central Florida, and how FPCO is involved in church planting.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Jerry Iamurri to assume missions agency leadership post

 

Jerry Iamurri, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk, has been named the Chief Executive Officer of InFaith.org, effective April 4. InFaith is an evangelical, non-denominational ministry based in suburban Philadelphia. Iamurri said the organization serves some of the most “overlooked and underserved” people in the United States through nearly 200 U.S.-based missionaries.

“These missionaries serve in urban ministry, rural ministry, church planting, discipleship, children and youth ministries, chaplaincy, prison ministry, camps, and much more,” Iamurri said.

“I am deeply disappointed personally to not have opportunity to continue to serve with Jerry,” said Dean Weaver, EPC Stated Clerk. “However, I am thrilled for the opportunity he and his wife, Sandi, are stepping in to. I know God will use Jerry in mighty ways leading InFaith, just as He has used him in the EPC.”

Iamurri has served Assistant Stated Clerk since 2017. He previously served as Pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church in Havertown, Pa. Under his leadership, the congregation transitioned to the EPC in 2012. Iamurri previously served Presbyterian congregations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. In addition to his ministry experience, Iamurri was an Assistant District Attorney for the Philadelphia (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office from 1999 to 2003.

He also is a former chairman of the EPC Ministerial Vocation Committee.

“I have been incredibly blessed to serve the EPC over the past five years,” Iamurri said. “It’s been a privilege, pleasure, and the greatest blessing of my life. With this new call from the Lord, I am looking forward to helping InFaith reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, as we do in the EPC.”

“In All Things” podcast episode 16 examines loving Muslims with Timothy Harris

 

Episode 16 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Timothy Harris, longtime EPC Teaching Elder. Host Dean Weaver and Harris discuss Harris’ life in ministry, including his recent book, Loving Your Muslim Neighbor: Stories of God using an Unlikely Couple to Love Muslim People, and How He Might Use You to Do the Same. The book is available at www.lovingyourmuslimneighbor.com.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 15 explores church planting in the EPC with Tom Ricks

 

Episode 15 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Tom Ricks, leader of the EPC’s Church Planting Team. This week, host Dean Weaver and Ricks discuss why church planting is a strategic priority in the denomination. Ricks also shares poignant memories of Kirk Adkisson, planting pastor of All Souls Church in Nashville, Tenn., who died on February 19.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

Death of church planter Kirk Adkisson

 

Kirk and Deb Adkisson

Dear sisters and brothers of the EPC,

It is with great sadness that I share the news that our church planter in the Presbytery of the Central South, Kirk Adkisson, has fought the good fight and is now fully with his Savior. Please join me in prayer for his bride, Deb, and the congregation of All Souls Church in Nashville, Tenn., which they planted in 2017.

Deb set up a Caring Bridge page, www.caringbridge.org/visit/kirkadkisson where you can share your love and support. As she posted late last night, “I take comfort that our separation is only temporary.” I praise our Lord that we all can cling to that promise.

Coram deo,

Dean Weaver
EPC Stated Clerk

“In All Things” podcast episode 13 features Louisiana pastor and author Gerrit Dawson

 

Episode 13 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Gerrit Dawson, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, La. (FPCBR). This week, host Dean Weaver talks to Dawson about his books, Raising Adam: Why Jesus Descended into Hell and The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy, as well as devotional resources for Lent provided by FPCBR and available at www.fpcbr.org/content.cfm?id=1462.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

“In All Things” podcast episode 12 features longtime EPC pastor and author Rodger Woodworth

 

Episode 12 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Rodger Woodworth, Pastor of New City Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., and author of several books. This week, host Dean Weaver talks to Woodworth about his experience in cross-cultural church planting, English philosopher and theologian G.K. Chesterton’s notion of the “radical center,” and Woodworth’s recent book, Playing Favorites: Overcoming Our Prejudice to Bridge the Cultural Divide.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.

EPC Pastor David Swanson recognized for human trafficking ministry efforts

 

David Swanson, Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, Fla., was honored by United Abolitionists and the Paving the Way Foundation at the 11th annual Polaris Star Awards Ceremony on January 26. Swanson was named the Faith Community Leader of the Year, given in recognition of his partnership with Samaritan Village in Orlando to fight human trafficking.

Samaritan Village is a faith-based, trauma-informed home and therapeutic program for adult survivors of sex trafficking. It is one of the longest-standing recovery homes for adult female survivors of human trafficking in Central Florida.

“The award is a very humbling thing because I have contributed relatively little compared to the men and women who, night in and night out, are putting themselves in harm’s way to rescue woman from literal sex slavery,” Swanson said. “Florida ranks third in the country for this problem, and it is happening right under our noses every day. I guess I reached the point where I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I decided to get involved.”

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida has the third-highest number of calls in the country to the Center—only behind California and Texas—with the average age being 10-13 years old. The Florida Department of Children and Family Services reported that more than 1,700 child human trafficking cases were reported between May 2019 and May 2020.

Swanson noted that the most-often asked question of the host committee working to secure 2026 World Cup soccer matches in Orlando is, “Are you prepared to deal with the influx of trafficking that will take place?”

“They didn’t ask about hotel space or field quality or transportation,” he said. “They wanted to know about trafficking. None of us fully understand the size and scope of the problem.”

The Polaris Star Awards are hosted by the Tri-County Alliance on Human Trafficking. The awards are named after the Polaris Star, also known as the North Star, what slaves used to find their way north to freedom along the Underground Railroad. According to The Alliance, the awards are presented to the modern-day abolitionists in Central Florida who are “leading the fight against human trafficking in their profession and/or sphere of influence.”

United Abolitionists is an Orlando-based network of first responders to the national human trafficking crisis. Paving the Way Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to disrupting the cycle of child trafficking through educational and training programs.

Need help?

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls, texts, emails, and live chats from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 200 languages. To get help, call 1-888-373-7888, TTY 711, or text 233733.

The Hotline’s mission is to connect human trafficking victims and survivors to critical support and services to get help and stay safe. The Trafficking Hotline offers round-the-clock access to a safe space to report tips, seek services, and ask for help.

“In All Things” podcast episode 9 features EPC inner-city church planter Brian Evans

 

Episode 9 of the EPC’s podcast, “In All Things,” features Brian Evans, Pastor of 5point7 Community Church in Detroit, Mich., and member of the EPC National Leadership Team. This week, host Dean Weaver and Evans discuss the importance of the local church in effective inner-city ministry, as well as Evans’ background growing up in the same underserved neighborhood he now serves.

Episodes are available on a variety of podcast platforms, including Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Spotify, and others. Search “In All Things” on any of these services.

The audio recordings also are available on the EPC website at www.epc.org/inallthings.