Rev. Phil Pockras of Belle Center, OH was unanimously elected as the moderator of 2014Synod. Rev. Pockras has served faithfully for 30 years in Belle Center, a rural congregation. He is a godly example of a pastor with an ordinary-means-of-grace and confessional ministry and who exhibits love for his flock and love for the church of Jesus Christ. Rev. Pockras is truly a churchman.
The 183rd Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA) was called to order Monday, June 23, on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind. Delegates and fraternal delegates traveled the globe and descended upon the campus looking forward to a week of discussion, decisions, fellowship, and encouragement.
Retiring Moderator Rev. Bruce Backensto (Beaver Falls, PA) opened the court in prayer in the name of Jesus, the King and head of the church, and the court sang from the 119th Psalm. “O how I love your law it is my study all the day. It makes me wiser than my foes; its precepts with me stay. More than my teachers or the old, I’ve come to understand; for on your words I meditate, and follow your command!”
Rev. Backensto read from one of the ordination vows for ruling elders – and the corresponding vow for ministers of the gospel. He asked for the ruling elders to stand and then thanked them for keeping their vows concerning participation in the courts of the church.
Preaching from John 13, Rev. Backensto called the shepherds and teachers present to have a “towel and basin ministry,” serving the church as under-shepherds of the one who has brought us into union with himself. The sermon ended with a prayer for the Holy Spirit to help the ministers and elders present to have the mind of Christ during this week of deliberation.
First time delegates were introduced to the court, including ruling elders from PA, IL, KS, and IN. First time ministers of the gospel included Rev. Steven Miller (Beaver Falls, PA), Rev. Kyle Borg (Winchester, KS), Rev. Daniel Hemken (Sparta, IL), and Rev. Shawn Anderson (Kokomo, IN). Rev. Dr. Bill Edgar (Broomall, PA) was particularly pleased to introduce a ruling elder on whose head as an infant he had put the water of baptism. Years later Pastor Edgar laid hands on him at his ordination as ruling elder. Rev. Johnston (Second Indianapolis, IN) introduced with delight his son-in-law as pastor and first time delegate.
The court then unanimously elected Rev. Phil Pockras of Belle Center, OH as the 2014 moderator of Synod. Rev. Pockras has served faithfully for 30 years in Belle Center, a rural congregation. He is a godly example of a pastor with an ordinary-means-of-grace and confessional ministry and who exhibits love for his flock and love for the church of Jesus Christ. Rev. Pockras is truly a churchman.
Office bearers who have gone to the Lord since the last meeting of Synod were remembered with gratitude. Memorials for ministers who have died in the past year were shared and prayers of thanksgiving for their lives and ministries were brought to the throne room of grace.
Following this sober reminder that our days are like grass, the moderator adjourned the meeting until Tuesday morning.
Nathan Eshelman serves as pastor of the Los Angeles, CA, Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is clerk of the Pacific Coast Presbytery, Vice-President of the denomination’s Home Mission Board, and also serves on the Board of Education and Publication. He holds a Master of Divinity from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is married to his wife, Lydia, and they have five children: Anna, Owen, Watson, Calvin, and Ruth.