ARP News Update

A Note From Our Moderator

0714 Littlejohn headshotIt doesn’t seem that long ago we were wondering what the new century would hold. Now 15 years into it, we can see the importance of investing in things that matter. Today I challenge you to consider doing so in two very practical ways, one free and one not.

Next month just prior to the Board of Trustees’ meeting, I have the privilege of giving greeting on your behalf at the Erskine Spring Convocation. I would like to be able to say that Erskine enjoys the support of the churches in our denomination. Sadly, this is not the case; as of January 15, only nine congregations have given donations to this year’s annual fund since the fiscal year began last July 1.

It would be a great encouragement to the entire staff, faculty, and student body if each church would send an annual fund gift prior to the February board meeting. The amount is not as important as the message of support which it will convey. Dr. Kooistra and his leadership team have made difficult decisions in an effort to redirect Erskine on a healthy path fiscally and philosophically. All stakeholders at Erskine have make sacrifices. 

Now is the time for the churches to step up and support our college and seminary both prayerfully and financially. I realize this relationship has experienced rocky times in the past, but the present is encouraging and the future promising. Without reservation I say, “This relationship is worthy of your pursuit!”

The other relationship I encourage is with ARP News Update and The ARP Magazine, your denominational publications. Use them as informational and prayer guides. The ARP News Update goes out on an as-needed basis. It is a great way for churches and central office personnel to communicate with a large audience quickly and without cost. Starting this month, The ARP Magazine is now available as a free online resource. It is a great way to strengthen your denominational ties. 

I applaud Susan Tanner’s and her staff’s work; they look for ways to make The ARP Magazine attractive and engaging. The January/February magazine focuses on adoption. Check it out at here. You will be blessed by those who share their adoption stories. You will read about God’s work through your denominational ministries. You might even enjoy the moderator’s challenge and Harper Price’s emphasis articles.

If you are a pastor or elder reading this News Update​, remember to share with your church members how they can subscribe to these two relational resources. May God continue to bless you during this New Year, and may you faithfully make His imprint on lives in your church and community.

Larry Littlejohn, moderator

The new edition of our Form of Government is online

Don’t Forget to Register

9013299994_5d6bf6baca_kChristian Education Ministries will host a Camp Joy Vision Dinner, February 7 at Bonclarken Conference Center. Dr. Brent Turner, Director of Christian Education Ministries, and Rev. Bob Whittet, Christian Education Ministries Board Chairman, will give an overview on the new vision for Camp Joy and Mrs. Ann Brice, Director of Camp Joy, will review us on the historical past of Camp Joy. Our main speaker, Dr. Boyce Wilson, Retired Pastor of Ebenezer ARP in Rock Hill, SC, former ARP Missionary, and Associate Pastor of the Church of the Atonement in Bethesda, MD, will challenge us on giving of our time, talents and treasure to the Lord. Mr. George Fields, Camp Joy Music Ministry Director, along with staff, campers and counselors will give a presentation on how Camp Joy ministers to those with special needs. An added bonus will include honoring Mrs. Ann Brice, the 2015 recipient of the Julia Hardeman Rhodes Award.

Register online www.campjoycem.com.

Sanctity of Human Life

575448_450653065036777_1666480172_nThis Sunday, January 25, marks Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Please pray for all unborn children, children of our country, new parents and legislators during this time.

ARP News Update

Arizona ARP Church Goes to Supreme Court

 — A small church in a Phoenix suburb appeared likely Monday to win its Supreme Court dispute over a local ordinance that puts limits on roadside signs that direct people to Sunday services.

Liberal and conservative justices alike expressed misgivings with the Gilbert, Arizona, sign ordinance because it places more restrictions on the churches’ temporary signs than those erected by political candidates, real estate agents and others.

The Good News Community Church and Pastor Clyde Reed sued over limits that Gilbert places on so-called directional signs, like the ones the church places around town to point people to its services in local schools and retirement communities.

The directional signs can be no larger than 6 square feet. They must be placed in public areas no more than 12 hours before an event and removed within an hour of its end. Signs for political candidates, by contrast, can be up to 32 square feet and can remain in place for several months. Other ideological signs, including a message from a church welcoming people to its services without the pointing the way, can be as large as 20 square feet.

Justice Samuel Alito sarcastically described how the church could erect a larger, temporary sign telling passers-by about an upcoming service. “We can’t tell you where it is because the town won’t let us,” Alito said, to laughter. “But if you drive by here tomorrow morning at a certain time, you’ll see an arrow.”

Philip Savrin, the town’s lawyer, essentially agreed with Alito that the ordinance would allow what the justice described.

Justice Stephen Breyer indicated he didn’t like the arrangement any better than Alito did. “Well, my goodness. I mean…it does sound as if the town is being a little unreasonable, doesn’t it?” Breyer asked Savrin.

Less clear from the argument is whether the justices would use the case to make an important First Amendment ruling on the regulation of speech, or decide more narrowly in a way that affects the particular ordinance and not much else.

Lower federal courts upheld the town’s sign ordinance because the distinction it draws between different kinds of temporary signs is not based on what a sign says.

Justice Anthony Kennedy indicated he might prefer a narrower outcome when he suggested that a broad ruling would lead local governments to ban all signs or lead to a proliferation of messages ranging from “Save your soul” to “Happy Birthday, Uncle Fred.”

The church is joined by religious groups and the Obama administration in urging the Supreme Court to strike down the ordinance.

The church, which serves roughly 30 adults and up to 10 children, argues that the regulation’s significant difference in the size of the signs and how long they can be displayed is essentially regulation based on content, which the Supreme Court only rarely allows in First Amendment cases.

“The town’s code discriminates on its face by treating certain signs differently based solely on what they say,” said David Cortman, the church’s lawyer.

The National League of Cities and other associations of local officials are backing the town and warning that a ruling in favor of the church would make it “nearly impossible” for cities and towns to craft sign regulations that deal with a community’s appearance and safety.

A decision is expected by June in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, 13-502.

 

Watch the video about Reed vs. Town of Gilbert.

http://youtu.be/snCSw7h5UWw

ARP News Update

A Note From Your Principal Clerk

Your Executive Board has taken the first preparatory steps toward the historical occasion of the concurrent (joint) Synod meeting with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America next year. A proposed schedule of worship and the churches’ business has now been approved.

This will be the 184th meeting of the Synod of the RPCNA and the 211th meeting of the General Synod of the ARPC, and it will be held at Bonclarken in June.

Those who might be interested in learning more about this denomination with whom we share so much history are encouraged to visit the RPCNA website, http://reformedpresbyterian.org/.

The ecclesiastical rationale for such a meeting is found in both denominations.

An excerpt from the RPCNA Covenant of 1871 reads: “ …believing the church to be one, and that all the saints have communion with God and with one another in the same Covenant; believing moreover, that schism and sectarianism are sinful in themselves, and inimical to true religion, and trusting that divisions shall cease, and the people of God become one Catholic church over all the earth, we will pray and labor for the visible oneness of the church of God in our own land and throughout the world…”

The Standards of the ARP Church affirm that, “There is but one Church set forth in the Scriptures. This Church in all ages is one and the same, and consists of those who by faith are in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1.4) and, “ The visible unity of the Church, though obscured, is not destroyed by its division into different denominations of professing Christians; and all of those maintaining the Word and the Sacraments of the Lord Jesus Christ in their fundamental integrity are to be recognized as branches of this one visible Church.” (1.5)

Neither denomination has plans for organic union at this time. Perhaps the best statement is found in the report of the Interchurch Committee of the RPCNA: “Please be praying for this…To be clear, this is not a proposal to join together blindly. Rather it is a serious call to pray for and draw close to this sister church who holds dear many of the same aspects of the Reformed faith.”

May it be so.

Ron Beard, Principal Clerk, ARPC

 

Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Rock Hill, SC is seeking an experienced Senior Pastor. 

We are a generationally balanced congregation seeking to build a community in Christ to reach our community for Christ.  Our strong children’s, youth and adult programs enjoy a blended worship style of both contemporary and traditional music and activities. We strive to be both prayer and mission focused. For more information, please visit our website at ebenezerarp.org or contact us at searchcommittee@ebenezerarp.org.

Senior Pastoral Opportunity at First ARP Burlington

First ARP Burlington is seeking a Senior Pastor who can preach and teach the Gospel with passion and one who can graciously and professionally manage staff roles, delegate responsibility wisely, address and resolve conflicts, and communicate the vision and direction for the church.  Also he would love and shepherd all the people of this congregation and his interactions with them would reflect the love of Christ. Contact Bill Haynes, Chairman of the Pastoral Search Committee by email wwhjr@triad.rr.com.

ARP News Update

ARP Magazine — Jan-Feb 2015Click on the
cover image
to view the newest
ARP Magazine.

I hope you will join me in 2015 and read the Bible through in a year. On pages 19 and 20 of the ARP Magazine, you will find a prayer calendar featuring daily scriptures that follow a chronological reading of the Bible. You will also find ARP events listed and either a church, retired minister, or former Synod employee to pray for each day. I hope you will join me in this challenge to make 2015 the best yet. The ARP Magazine is available free online through this site and our website www.arpmagazine.org. Please share with your family and friends to let them know of this great resource. Happy New Year!

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 4.15.54 PMHoly Land Tour

First ARP Church in Gastonia, NC is hosting a 10-day Holy Land Tour in 2015, just a few weeks before Palm Sunday and Easter.  This trip will be lead by a Christian Tour Guide, and Dr. Jeff Morrison (Associate Pastor at First ARP Church) will serve as the spiritual leader of this trip.  With a significant contingent from First ARP Church already committed to this trip, we would like to extend an invitation to our fellow ARPs to join us for this special spiritual journey.  On this tour, you will be able to walk in the footsteps of Jesus when he ministered in Israel some 2,000 years ago.  You will also find that the Bible will come alive as familiar names and places take on a new depth as you see them with your own eyes.  If interested, you need to reserve your space for this trip as soon as you can as the trip will probably close out during January.  Travelers can still be added, subject to seat availability and reasonable air fare.

To learn more about this exciting trip, see the accompanying flyer or contact Mike Foster (Elder at First ARP Church) at 704-460-5324.

ARP News Update

unnamed-6Pray for the People in Peshawar

All are grieved at the massacre of schoolchildren and staff in Peshawar, Pakistan. We are extremely thankful to God that our schools in and around Sahiwal are not directly affected. But all in Pakistan, and around the world, are suffering from this tragic and devastating act of violence. Some schools will be temporarily closed for security, while observing a nationwide 3-day period of mourning. Let us continue to pray for God’s grace and mercy to prevail even in this tragedy.

A Year-end Tax-Effective Gift Option

The ARP Foundation offers a simple, no cost, alternative to making cash gifts: By giving appreciated stocks, bonds or mutual funds, you can make a single gift through the ARP Foundation which will handle the sale and paperwork, then direct the proceeds to any combination of ministries you choose – 100% goes to ministry. Making a gift of appreciated securities also avoids capital gains taxes; you receive an immediate charitable deduction & protect your cash.

Gifts of appreciated securities can be transferred directly to the ARP Foundation brokerage account before December 31 (before they are sold): we handle the process and send you the tax deductible documentation. Since transfers can take several days, we encourage you to contact your investment firm before the Christmas holiday.

For information or immediate personal attention please call me at: (864) 326-5242.

Merry Christmas,

Steve Nichols

Director of Gift Planning, ARP Foundation

Bonclarken Motel Renovations

10525724_821799724542508_7309211743305252278_nJust before Thanksgiving, we began renovating the Bonclarken Motel.  We are excited about all of the planned changes. They include completely updated interiors, replacing the bathtubs with showers, new HVAC units and improvements to the exterior.  Please pray for the progress and success of the renovation. We look forward to these efforts blessing many of our guests for years to come!10858018_821799744542506_7690271498770223091_n

 

 

A Letter from the Erskine Board Chairman

December 17, 2014

Dear Erskine Family:

The Erskine Board of Trustees held a special meeting on Tuesday, December 16th to hear a report from Dr. Kooistra and get an update on the progress of the financial stability plan. 

We as trustees understand this plan to ensure Erskine’s long-term financial stability has a significant impact on the campus community, and we continue to lift them up in prayer. We would further like to express our appreciation and gratitude to those who continue to serve Erskine sacrificially, especially the faculty and staff.

The Board recognizes the cuts and changes that have been made are painful. Yet amid the challenges in Dr. Kooistra’s report, we heard several things that cause us to celebrate God’s blessings on Erskine: Continue reading

ARP News Update

merry christmas arp center sign

Merry Christmas from the 273 congregations and 12 countries represented by the ARP Church!

 

Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Rock Hill, SC is seeking an experienced Senior Pastor. 

We are a generationally balanced congregation seeking to build a community in Christ to reach our community for Christ.  Our strong children’s, youth and adult programs enjoy a blended worship style of both contemporary and traditional music and activities. We strive to be both prayer and mission focused. For more information, please visit our website at ebenezerarp.org or contact us at searchcommittee@ebenezerarp.org.

Senior Pastoral Opportunity at First ARP Burlington

First ARP Burlington is seeking a Senior Pastor who can preach and teach the Gospel with passion and one who can graciously and professionally manage staff roles, delegate responsibility wisely, address and resolve conflicts, and communicate the vision and direction for the church.  Also he would love and shepherd all the people of this congregation and his interactions with them would reflect the love of Christ. Contact Bill Haynes, Chairman of the Pastoral Search Committee by email wwhjr@triad.rr.com.
 

ARP News Update

Announcement from Erskine College

December 2, 2014

Dear Erskine Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As you know, we have been working for several months on the details of a financial plan that will ensure the long-term quality and value of an Erskine education by addressing several immediate concerns related to accreditation and finances. 

In August I announced the first of several measures, which included a reduction in salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, as well as a mid-year tuition increase. Our Aramark partners were also able to make reductions and adjustments resulting in a savings of approximately $300,000. Combined, these actions will enable us to achieve our budgetary goals for 2014-15.

I also announced in August that we would review programs in both the college and seminary, including structure and personnel. The various faculty and administrative committees have completed their reviews and provided their input and recommendations to me.

Yesterday, I began implementing a series of actions that will address the needs for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Altogether, the reductions and adjustments across the various categories total approximately $875,000 ($400,000 in the seminary, and $475,000 in the college). Unless otherwise noted, these changes will take effect in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which starts July 2015.

First, salaries for the president and vice president members of the senior leadership team will be reduced by an additional three percent.

In the Seminary:

  • We will be eliminating three full-time faculty positions.
  • The remaining seminary faculty members will voluntarily take a 25 percent salary reduction.
  • We also anticipate an increase in seminary tuition revenue next year through expanded and new programs.

In the College:

  • Three professors have announced voluntary departures or retirements at the end of 2014-15 (June 2015).
  • Three professors will be on sabbatical for 2015-16 at reduced salaries for the year.
  • Two professors have voluntarily requested significant load reductions with commensurate salary reductions.
  • The department of Modern Languages will be discontinued, resulting in the elimination of all faculty positions in that department.
  • In addition to measures already taken internally, the athletic department budget will be further reduced by $75,000.

These changes will require adjustments to curricular and graduation requirements and scheduling. Students with majors, minors, or specific courses directly affected by these changes will be contacted directly.

I encourage us all to exercise patience and extend grace to one another as we deal with the details of these changes. Disruptive changes such as these are especially difficult because they affect Erskine family members whom we love. So I would also ask you as an Erskine family to pray with and for those who are affected.

These actions, together with those we have already taken, will position us to achieve our financial and accreditation objectives. As we do that, I am confident that Erskine will be able to maintain compliance with accreditation standards, continue to operate from a solid financial base, and establish a pattern of long-term financial stability within our targeted two-year horizon.

Sincerely in Christ,

Paul D. Kooistra

President, Erskine College & Theological Seminary