28 June 2009


I spent last week in Brighton, Michigan at the 29th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It was a joyous, Spirit and spirit-filled week.

The week began with the Fifth Stated Meeting of the New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery on Tuesday afternoon. After a rousing worship service led by Rev. Carol Rettew of Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village, Ohio, the presbytery began a series of break-out sessions to study a plan for “BECOMING ONE,” the next step in the relationship between New Wineskins and the EPC.

Becoming one missional, evangelical, Reformed, presbyterian body that is being used by our Lord to further His Kingdom in the world has been the vision that gave birth to concept of the NWEPC Presbytery within the EPC. It is designed to provide for those churches and pastors who are now members of the NWEPC Presbytery (NWEPC), and those who will in the future become members, to enter into full membership in the EPC.

Existing and entering NWEPC churches and pastors will begin to be received into the geographic EPC presbyteries according to the provisions of the EPC Book of Government beginning today. Our goal is to complete the process by the 32nd General Assembly (June 2012). Congregations and pastors so received will have the option of becoming joint members of both the NWEPC and the appropriate geographic presbytery. For joint membership churches and pastors, the geographic presbytery will be responsible for their ecclesiastical/governance matters, and the primary focus of the NWEPC will be the development of missional practices.

During the presbytery meeting, panels made up of both EPC and NWEPC TEs and REs answered questions and discussed the processes by which NWEPC TEs and REs will be examined and moved, with their congregations into full membership in the EPC.

We were once again blessed by the open and loving reception from the EPC. The Moderator of the 29th General Assembly, RE Allen Roes, the Stated Clerk and Executive Pastor of the EPC, Rev. Dr. Jeff Jeremiah, the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the West, and other ordained leaders of the EPC made special efforts to be part of our meeting. The result was that questions were answered and concerns allayed.

And we once again explored the breadth of the EPC’s belief that evangelism is the first business of the Church. Our meeting ended with over 30 minutes of testimony from church after church about the local and worldwide mission and ministry that is being provided to folks who are hungering and thirsting for the good news of Jesus Christ.

And that was just the beginning.


Strode said...

Thank you for your report Mac.
I believe it was at the convocation in Orlando that I received the impression from the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah that the EPC, being excited by the work and polity direction of the New Wineskins, desired to throw off the yoke of their current polity structure (most of which came from the UPCUSA days), to move to a new yet distinctly Presbyterian way to "do church." Was this addressed at the Presbytery meeting or at the General Assembly? Obviously the "missional" focus is a critical aspect to this (and was addressed), but it sounded as if much of the polity structure would need to be changed to more efficiently work in our regional groups.

(Sorry that I couldn't be there.)

Mac said...

Stay tuned for Part II