At the 2013 OPC General Assembly: Reports of Committees

The OPC General Assembly is meeting at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California

The 73rd OPC General Assembly authorized the Committee on Christian Education to develop a Psalter-Hymnal. Its mandate is to include musical settings of all 150 Psalms, in their entirety, with as much accuracy and as little archaic language and confusing syntax as possible, for use in churches. In 2012 the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA) accepted the invitation to join the OPC in this project.

 

The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension exists to help the presbyteries and congregations of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church to start new Presbyterian and Reformed congregations throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

The new General Secretary for Home Missions is the Rev. John Shaw, who was the founding pastor of Mission OPC in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is a lifetime member of the OPC, having grown up in the church. Mr. Shaw reported to the assembly that there are six new church plants in 2013 with more expected in the coming months. Shaw shared his vision for home missions to plant churches that are biblical, confessional and Presbyterian.

The Rev. Jeremiah Montgomery, the church planter of Resurrection OPC in State College, Penn., gave a report on his ministry.  He indicated that representatives of over 55 nations live in State College, the home of Penn State.

The General Secretary of the Foreign Missions Committee is Elder Mark Bube. Associate General Secretary Doug Clawson is responsible for seeking candidates for mission fields. One part of the Committee’s report mentioned that the mission in Uganda is wrestling with the issue of polygamy and seeking to resolve in accordance with biblical principles.

The General Secretary of the Committee on Christian Education is the Rev. Danny Olinger. The Committee provides assistance in the teaching ministry of the church through the Subcommittee on Resources for the Churches, and the training of ministerial candidates through the Subcommittee on Ministerial Training. In 2012, the Ministerial Training Committee assisted in funding 19 internships, and in 2013, 13 summer and 17 year-long internships were funded.

The 73rd OPC General Assembly authorized the Committee on Christian Education to develop a Psalter-Hymnal. Its mandate is to include musical settings of all 150 Psalms, in their entirety, with as much accuracy and as little archaic language and confusing syntax as possible, for use in churches. In 2012 the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA) accepted the invitation to join the OPC in this project. The committee presented a list of 238 metrical Psalms that will be considered at next year’s GA. Comments from members of the OPC and URCNA may be made on the work in progress through a password required web site.

The CE Committee also sponsors the Timothy Conference, where young men who are recommended by their sessions are invited to explore the process of how to become a minister in the OPC. New Horizons has published an article by Danny Olinger that summarizes the work of the Conference.

The report on Great Commission Publications noted with sorrow that Executive Director the Rev. Thomas Patete, who served GCP for 34 years, died suddenly in December 2012. The GCP board of trustees appointed the Rev. E. Marvin Padgett, a minister in the PCA, to serve as interim administrator. Mr. Padgett was serving as president of the board of trustees before being appointed as the interim administrator.

The Rev. Mark Lowery, GCP Director of Publications, presented the newest aspects of the Sunday School curriculum and the newest book, a children’s version of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. GCP has recently revised the Junior High curriculum to have a middle school program. Lowrey reported that GCP is seeking ways to integrate electronic publishing in the curriculum.

Lowery also presented “A Firm Foundation,” a plan for teaching the next generation (Ps. 78:4, 6–7). The desire is that the next generation might know the deeds of the Lord, set their hope on him, not forget the works of God, and keep his commandments. A complete plan has been developed using the Show Me Jesus and So What? material.

An overture from last year’s assembly, to amend the Form of Government, Chapter 23, paragraph 22, was approved with the following wording and sent to the presbyteries for their consideration:

If a retired minister of another denomination desires to transfer his ministerial credentials to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he may be enrolled as a member of the presbytery without a call and without installation, provided his reasons are satisfactory and he is received in accordance with the relevant provisions of Section 18 (of the Form of Government).

A poll was taken of the years when men were first ordained as presbyters. The results are as follows:

1940s – 0
1950s – 1
1960s – 7
1970s – 14
1980s – 24
1990s – 34
2000s – 38
2010s – 8

The Committee on Coordination is responsible to recommend to the General Assembly a combined budget for the three program committees (Christian Education, Foreign Missions, and Home Missions and Church Extension), to support the ministry of the pastors and Sessions in their responsibilities as they teach and promote the practice of biblical stewardship in the church, and to help coordinate the promotion of the three program committees in the development of support for their ministries.

Mr. David Haney, Director of Finance and Planned Giving, presented the financial report for the World Wide Outreach (WWO). He indicated that budget goals for 2012 were nearly met. He also noted that the 2012 Thank Offering was the largest in the history of the OPC. A significant gift was  received earlier in the year that strengthened the WWO’s financial position for 2013.