Church Planting in the URCNA

At their most recent meeting of Synod, the URCNA approved the publication of a denominational church planting manual (pdf).  It is titled “How to Plant a Reformed Church: The Church Planting Manual of the URCNA”.

Its Introduction is helpful in delineating its purpose:

This manual is a suggested strategy for church planting in the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA). The Missions Committee of the URCNA has written it in partial fulfillment of their mandate to develop helpful guidelines for the assistance of Consistories and church planters in the work of missions. It is not intended to say everything that needs to be said on the vast subject of church planting. Instead, it provides Consistories, church planters, and core groups with a plan for and advice on establishing a congregation in the URCNA.

Though it has been developed by office-bearers in the URCNA for use in the URCNA, many others will surely find it to be beneficial.  Click here for the PDF.

When Choosing a College…

be sure that there is a good church nearby.  For those of us that are Reformed, this often coincides with a church that belongs to NAPARC.  Here are some words of wisdom from the blog of Westminster Seminary California.

Christ has given the church the great commission, and Christ has gifted ministers to preach the word and administer the sacraments. No school is ever a replacement for the church and the means of grace. Why would you send your child off into the wilderness without food to sustain him?

Read the rest of the post here.

Introducing Westside Reformed Church

WRC101_Logo_FinalWestside Reformed Church is the newest NAPARC church on the scene in Cincinnati.  They are a church plant of Zeltenreich Reformed Church in New Holland, PA and part of the United Reformed Churches in North America.  Click here to visit their website.

Whereas the Reformed churches that descend from the United Kingdom (“Presbyterians”) confess the Westminster Standards, WRC is from the Continental Reformed tradition.  Therefore, they confess the Belgic Confession (1561), Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and Canons of Dort (1618-19).

WRC utilizes an historic liturgy and prioritizes the preaching of Christ from all the Scriptures, which includes preaching through books of the Bible and also teaching biblical doctrine.  They have been gathering as a small group since July (chapel of Westwood First Presbyterian Church) and are being served by Zac Wyse, a recent graduate of Westminster Seminary California who will be ordained on Nov. 22 of this year.

Morning worship services are on the horizon, but all are welcome to join them right now on Sunday afternoons.  They are meeting at 2:00, but they will begin to meet at 12:00 on the first Sunday in November.

An Introduction to Member-Churches of NAPARC

NAPARCPreviously on this blog, there was a series on NAPARC and the way it is intended to promote official unity among Presbyterian and Reformed Churches.  Scott Clark, of the Heidelblog, recently asked some pastors of four NAPARC denominations (PCA, OPC, URCNA, and RPCNA) to introduce them for us.  It just so happens that these four are represented in Greater Cincinnati.  I hope this helps you understand the Reformed and Presbyterian landscape a little better.

Heidelcast: Around the horn and the globe with NAPARC

Installation service at Good Shepherd OPC

Rev. Bob Eckardt delivers the charge to Rev. Chris Malamisuro, the new minister of Good Shepherd OPC.

Rev. Bob Eckardt delivers the charge to Rev. Chris Malamisuro, the new minister of Good Shepherd OPC.

Last night, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s Presbytery of Ohio installed the Rev. Chris Malamisuro as the minister of Good Shepherd OPC, which is one of its mission works.  The Rev. Bill Kessler preached from John 20:19-23, proclaiming the wonders that our ascended Lord would draw near and announce “Peace be with you” through His ministers.  The Rev. Ken Montgomery and the Rev. Bob Eckardt delivered the Exhortation to the Congregation and Officers and the Charge to the Pastor.

A Juvenile Church?

Juvenile

“What is the history of today’s youth oriented culture, and what kind of effect is this culture having on churches in our time?”

This Wednesday, the West Side Cincinnati White Horse Inn Discussion Group will get together at its regular spot, the Cleves Drive-In, at 6:30pm to have dinner and listen to and discuss segments of the episode A Juvenile Church?  You are very welcome to join this informal conversation and consider more of “what you believe, and why you believe it”.  And, please, visit our Facebook event to let us know you’re coming and invite your friends.

White Horse Inn Discussion Groups, Jan. 2013 (Updated)

WHI FB Banner

This month, a series of White Horse Inn Discussion Groups will be held across the west side and Uptown.  They are for any Christian that would like to think more deeply about the faith.

Please, join us.  If you have a Facebook account, simply go to the event page and click “join”.  If you don’t have an account, send us an email so we know you’re coming.

From Dream to Reality – an interview with Pastor Danny Hyde

What follows is an interview with Pastor Danny Hyde of Oceanside United Reformed Church about his recent address to the annual NAPARC meeting, which encouraged them to pursue Reformed ecumenicity.  Pastor Hyde blogs at Meet the Puritans and is the author of numerous books on Reformed theology, such as Welcome to a Reformed Church.

1.  Thanks so much for your willingness to answer a few questions, Pastor Hyde.  First, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a Reformed minister?

Thank you for the opportunity, Zac. I am a born and bred native of SoCal. After being baptized in the Roman Church out of custom and superstition, my father was converted at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. I spent some time there as a young child in Sunday school, as well as in Mass during holidays with family. After the brokenness of my family finally came to a climax, I was finally converted in a Foursquare Church before heading off to college to play basketball. It was there that I became disillusioned with my Charismatic and Pentecostal experience. I went on a spiritual journey, investigating every major world religion before God found me at the right time, at the right place with the purity of the gospel in the Reformed confession. I went off to Westminster Seminary California with the goal of planting a Reformed church in an area of SoCal that had no Reformed church.

2.  You obviously have a lot of responsibilities within your congregation, so why did you consider it important to attend the NAPARC meeting in Chicago?

I am thankful that I am given time off from my labors here at OURC to speak to a wider audience. When I was asked to be the annual speaker at NAPARC I was humbled that I of all people would be asked to do that. As a total outsider to the alphabet soup known as the conservative Presbyterian and Reformed world, I have my own particular vantage point on the problems that plague us. And I pray that I also have a unique perspective on the way forward. So, it was important because I believe that in our unity we find our strength to be salt and light in our culture that I agreed.

3.  From an historical standpoint, why are there are so many different Reformed and Presbyterian denominations in America (I count twelve in NAPARC)?  Also, what keeps them apart?

The different denominations find their roots in distinct reformations in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For example, the United Reformed Churches (URC) and Free Reformed Churches (FRC) are rooted in the Netherlands reformation. There are historical reasons why the mother churches of these denominations in the Netherlands were distinct, which led to their distinctness when they arrives in North America. Because these churches originally spoke Dutch, and were from the European continent, this meant there would be differences with Presbyterians in England and Scotland who spoke English. So when these people came to the New World and later United States, their circumstantial and well as doctrinal differences became distinct denominations.

4.  What was your message to the NAPARC delegates?

My message was a follow-up to Dr. W. Robert Godfrey’s address last year, A Reformed Dream.  It was entitled, “From Reformed Dream to Reformed Reality: The Problem and Possibility of Reformed Church Unity“.  In a word, the problem of unity is our sin, but the possibility is the power of the Holy Spirit.

[To read the manuscript of Pastor Hyde’s address, click here]