Category Archives: URGENT

EPC churches in Puerto Rico request prayer in face of Hurricane Maria


MariaPath

Puerto Rico, in red at bottom center, is expected to take a direct hit from Hurricane Maria on September 20. There are three EPC churches on the island. 

As Hurricane Maria bears down on Puerto Rico as a major category 5 storm, leaders of EPC churches on the island are requesting prayer.

“The entire island will be impacted and major damage is expected,” Alfredo Aponte, ruling elder for Iglesia Presbiteriana Westminster in Bayamón, wrote in an email on September 19. “Please pray for our island and our EPC churches in Bayamón, Añasco, and Mayaguez. May the Lord protect us. May the Lord be praised. May this be an opportunity to serve the Lord wherever we are, under all circumstances.”

The National Weather Service has issued a Hurricane Warning for Puerto Rico. Sustained winds are expected to be 105-125 mph, with gusts to 175 mph. The warning indicates “extreme” threat to life and property throughout the island from wind and flooding rain, and a high risk of storm surge and tornados.

“In Luke 18, Jesus reminds us of the power of persistent prayer,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “Please pray for the people of Puerto Rico, and for the protection of our churches there as they minister through and after this storm.”

Emergency fund launched for Hurricane Harvey relief


EPNewsHurricaneHarveyReliefIn response to devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the EPC has launched an emergency relief fund to help with recovery efforts. Harvey hit the Southeast Texas coast on August 26 as a category 4 hurricane, and torrential rains continue to inundate the region.

“I’m sure by now we have all seen pictures of the devastation from the winds and flooding in southeast Texas,” EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah said. “The EPC is at its best when we help our member churches and others in times of need like this.”

Click here to donate online (Choose “Emergency Relief” from the first pulldown menu and “Hurricane Harvey Relief (506)” from the second pulldown menu,) or make check payable to Evangelical Presbyterian Church and designated “Hurricane Harvey Relief,” and send to:

Evangelical Presbyterian Church
5850 T.G. Lee Blvd., Suite 510
Orlando, FL 32822

In collaboration with the Presbytery of the Gulf South, donations to the fund will be sent to EPC churches in the greater Houston area affected by the storm.

Thank you for providing help to those in need.

Signature counter on Andrew Brunson petition now registering


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For the first time since it launched on February 6, the White House petition to free Andrew Brunson is now indicating more than one signature. On February 14, the counter moved from 1 to 208 in the late afternoon (EST), then slowly grew in number to approximately 1200 by 10:00 p.m. As of Wednesday morning, the petition was registering more than 3,800 signatures. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by March 8 to receive a response from the White House.

The petition is available at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgotten-american-turkey.

Andrew Brunson

Andrew Brunson

Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk, is requesting that all EPC churches inform the members of their congregations about Brunson’s situation.

“If your church has an email newsletter, would you consider using it to make your congregation aware of Andrew’s situation and this action they can take on his behalf?” he said. “A quick way to bring your people up to speed is to share our EPConnection articles and our Facebook page.”

These are available at www.epconnection.org/?s=brunson  and www.facebook/EPChurch.

Individuals are encouraged to share these articles among their social media networks, and include the hashtag #ForgottenAmericanInTurkey and the Twitter handles @WhiteHouse and @realDonaldTrump as they share these links.

White House petition suffers glitch; Trump to talk with Erdoğan


brunsonpetition

Technical issues have plagued the “Forgotten American in Turkey” petition at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgotten-american-turkey since it launched on February 6. While tested prior to release, when published it was discovered that the signature counter does not register an accurate count. The petition was initiated in an effort to bring EPC teaching elder Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment in Turkey to the attention of the White House. Brunson was arrested in October 2016 and falsely charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization” in December.

In the meantime, EPC leadership learned this morning that President Trump is scheduled to speak by phone with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan at 4:00 p.m. EST on February 7. It is not known if Brunson’s situation will be discussed.

White House petitions must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days of launch to be considered for response by White House officials, so the inaccurate counter may hinder this effort to reach President Trump. Until the counter problem is resolved, those interested in reaching the White House are encouraged to use www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page.

#ForgottenAmericanInTurkey

White House petition launched on behalf of Andrew Brunson


Andrew Brunson

Andrew Brunson

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church has launched a “Forgotten American in Turkey” petition in an effort to bring Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment in Turkey to the attention of the White House and President Trump. Brunson is an EPC teaching elder who was arrested in October 2016 and falsely charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization” in December. He has languished in prison for more than four months with no evidence against him.

The petition is available at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/forgotten-american-turkey and must reach 100,000 signatures by March 6 in order to be considered for response by White House officials.

The White House also can be contacted directly at www.whitehouse.gov/contact#page.

The hashtag #ForgottenAmericanInTurkey has been registered for this effort to make Trump aware of Brunson’s unjust imprisonment.

In addition, the Senate House Foreign Relations Committee is circulating an open letter requesting Andrew’s immediate release and is addressed to Turkish President Recep Erdoğan. This letter is signed by leadership of both parties. The EPC is urging all American citizens to contact their representatives in Washington and request that they co-sign this letter before it is sent to Turkey on Friday, February 10.

Responding to spiritual attack


JeffJeremiahJeff Jeremiah

I have good reason to believe the EPC—specifically the GA staff team responsible for putting on our General Assembly—is under spiritual attack. In response, I am asking all our churches to make this a matter of intentional and regular prayer between now and when we convene on June 22.

What would lead me to make this declaration? Consider these two recent events:

EdMcCallum

Ed McCallum, EPC Assistant Stated Clerk

On April 9, Assistant Stated Clerk Ed McCallum was rushed to the emergency room with acute abdominal pain. He was subsequently diagnosed with a severe case of acute pancreatitis. I have not had much exposure to pancreatitis, but after some research I discovered that the most likely candidates for pancreatitis are those who abuse alcohol.  Ed doesn’t drink alcohol. His pancreatitis was caused by his gall bladder “spitting out” stones that irritated and inflamed his pancreas. After a week of treatment, Ed was released from the hospital on April 16. On April 19, his doctors discovered that his white blood cell count was dramatically elevated so he was readmitted. Given the severity of his symptoms and this setback, I relieved Ed of any work-related responsibilities through May 15.

The 2016 General Assembly is Ed’s 19th. He has been the key staff person overseeing the “GA Planning Team,” which is the staff team that puts on the Assembly each year. His absence led to a major re-shuffle of duties to ensure the 2016 Assembly would stay on schedule.

On Thursday, April 14, the GA Planning Team was convened to update progress on arrangements and address the matter of Ed’s absence. With the hope that Ed would be able to rejoin us by May 15, his responsibilities through that date were given to others, with the majority of these duties given to Brian Smith, our Director of Communications.

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Brian Smith, EPC Director of Communications

On Wednesday morning, April 26, Brian was rushed to the emergency room with severe abdominal and lower back pain. The initial diagnosis was “kidney problems, possibly stones.” By the end of the day this was changed to a severe urinary tract infection.

On April 26, we had two key members of the staff team that puts on our annual meeting in the hospital. One, a non-drinker suffering from a severe case of acute pancreatitis. The other is a man suffering from a urinary tract infection, something that men rarely contract. I prayerfully decided that the staff team responsible for the 2016 General Assembly was under spiritual attack, and asked the Committee on Administration (which I consider the Session of the EPC) to pray.

Thankfully, Ed was sent home on April 29 after spending 17 of 30 days in April in the hospital. His recovery will be slow, but he is working from home as he is able. Surgery to remove his gall bladder, gall stones, and other pancreatitis-related damage has not yet been scheduled.

By April 28, Brian’s diagnosis was changed to “acute prostatitis” caused by a bacterial infection that is a “cousin” of staph. He was bombarded with antibiotics and finally sent home on Sunday, May 1. Brian hopes to return to work by the first of next week. He’ll be on Cipro through May to ensure he doesn’t have a setback and this infection is wiped out.

Why would the evil one single out the EPC and our General Assembly in June? Given the increase in sexual chaos he’s enjoyed in American culture since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last June, he cannot be pleased that the EPC is proposing a Position Paper on Human Sexuality in June that is firmly rooted in God’s Word and is redemptive and pastoral in tone. I am not aware of another Church in the United States declaring “yes” to God’s design for human sexuality this summer. In addition, in June we will consider partnering with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in church planting, one of the most effective ways that people come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  The evil one must be enraged at a fraternal agreement that could mark the beginning of an historic Kingdom growth movement in North America.

For several years, we have said that the evil one cannot be pleased that the EPC has grown from 182 churches to almost 600 that unapologetically and unashamedly declare the good news that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord and that salvation is found only in Him. In 2016, I believe he has us targeted as we gather for our annual meeting at Ward Church in June.  Will you commit to pray that our Lord Jesus Christ, reigning in power and glory for His church at this moment, will protect our “little band of churches” that is the EPC?

Thank you, and remember—He is risen!