Sunday, November 28, 2004

11/28/04, First Washington Society Letter to Elders

November 28, 2004
Session RPNA, (General Meeting)
Dear Esteemed Brethren,

We, the undersigned members of the Washington Society would like to respectfully bring to your attention a couple of items regarding the ministry of the word and church government/organization.

As regards the ministry of the word, if preaching is the chief means of grace, it is very discouraging when Pastor Price, who is the only minister in the church right now, leaves the Albany pulpit for whatever reason, and there is no corresponding offical notice by Session so we may have time to obtain/ schedule another sermon tape. Can we come up with some kind of solution to this other than learning of Pastor Price’s planned absence via third hand rumor on the various unofficial email forums?

Even further, an official library or site where we may obtain approved sermons would be very much appreciated. We have pretty much heard, if not a couple of times the sermons available at SermonAudio by Pastor Price. While we appreciate the quick response of Elder Barrow to our recent request for sermons, there are not that many covenanter sermons at the SWRB page at SermonAudio he suggested. Yet as an extension of the official preaching ministry of the church - for that is exactly what it is, is it not? - posting on the official Edmonton (and Albany) web sites of our church would be very much in order. (We assume that is what they are. There has been some extraneous advertising on the Albany page in the past.) Posting on the SWRB page was what threw us off the track in the first place trying to run down some of the Edmonton sermons. (And if SWRB is an official arm of the church, official notice of that would also be appreciated.) Again, we would hope that sermons could be put up on the Edmonton site like is done in Albany - or more on the Albany site. - For that matter, it is our understanding that the mp3 recorder we previously sent Albany is not being used and Edmonton could use it to digitize any sermons read in the future. We mention this because one: it is much easier/quicker to obtain digitized sermons on the web. Two: the quality of the digital recording is a practical issue for us now that the _______ from Vancouver visit regularly on the Lord’s Day and ____ _______ has a hearing problem. For that matter there is even the possibility that we could get some of these sermons digitized if we had a place to post them on the web.

In other words, it is our respectful but firm opinion, that time is ripe for an official decision on the matter and whatever is done, we as a society, much less all the societies, should be notified of it so to know where to go in the future for sermon tapes. Again we consider this issue, the ministry of the Word, to be of primary practical Protestant importance to our survival as a church of Jesus Christ, even more as gathered in reformed presbyterian society meetings. We would urge your consideration of and action on this in order that we as members of the same, don’t wither, if not die, on the vine.

Two, as regards church government and organization, we have also noticed that with the last two letters from Session, there has been a name change from the RPNA to the RPNA, (General Meeting). Can we assume that this is in accord with the practice of the Reformed Presbytery? That is, as is noted in the RP Minutes for 1888, “upon the death of one of its constituent members, Rev. David Steele,” the Reformed Presbytery reverted to the “General Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church . . . which, according to the known and established usage of this Church, attends to its public interests when it is deprived of a Presbytery.” If so, will there be - as then - at least one stated public meeting of the RPNA, (GM) a year and likewise, a published/public record of that meeting, as well that the correspondence and communication with the societies will be put on a more regular footing and basis? Again, the lack of official or regular communication and prevailing disorganization can be very discouraging/confusing at times for us as a society, as we assume it also is for Session. Yet we hope something can be done about it, as was done in the past, in like circumstances by the RPNA,(GM) those whom we claim to faithfully follow and continue as a church.

To that end, a more regular schedule for pastoral visitation would also help. We believe we are about due for a visit and look forward to it, having received one last year about this time. (We were hoping to see both Pastor Price and Elder Barrow then, but only Pastor could make it.) Some kind of schedule though, would help us plan for an elder visit particularly if our taking care of finances is to be a part of the picture. We also would hope that the church is moving forward in regard to possibilities of other ministers coming on aboard, as well as other venues for ordination and ministerial supply, for in the long run, without preachers, practically/humanly speaking we will perish. The same would go for more ruling elders, we would hope.

Some kind of quarterly, if not annual financial statement, would also be appreciated so that we are kept current as to what monies are coming in and what the expenses are. Elder Dohms used to do something like this when Pastor Price was in Edmonton, but now that Session is divided between Edmonton and Albany - and Albany has no other church officers to speak of since the departure of [Elder] Hart - there is not much of anything of this sort.

In conclusion, thank you very much for your consideration and action on these items. We have no desire to unnecessarily add to the confusion and bother that accompanies a situation like we find ourselves in these days in the RPNA,GM. We also know there has been lots of change and growth in the church and the corresponding workload and questions before Session, especially since the time when Pastor Price was still in Edmonton and this letter again, would seem to add to it. Yet we would be so bold as to hope that by writing you, it might help you further clarify, prioritize and resolve some of the issues that face us as a church, much less that we as a society at least consider ourselves as obligated before the Lord to go on record about these concerns. May the Lord continue to bless your labors for his kingdom and church as the Session of the RPNA,(GM).

we are,
cordially yours,
in the Lord Jesus Christ
the Washington Society, RPNA, GM
Paul R, Bob S, Rick & Joyce T

See also:

12/10/04, Elders' Reply To The Brothers And Sisters In The Washington Society
1/16/05, Second Washington Society Letter to the Elders

Saturday, November 13, 2004

11/13/04, Public Fast Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

From: Greg Barrow
To: L Dohms ; G Price
[Bcc: List]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2004 3:04 PM
Subject: Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Announcement From the Reformed Presbytery in North America (General Meeting) Regarding a Public Fast, and a Special Free Will Offering.

The Session of the Reformed Presbytery in North America (General Meeting) solemnly calls upon the members of our Societies, and any adherents who may desire to participate, to join with us in a public fast on Saturday, November 27, 2004.

The purpose for our calling you to join with us in this solemn occasion is as follows:

1. Our dear brother in Christ, G S, has been recently diagnosed with cancer. Because of the very serious nature and degree of his illness, we call upon the members and adherents of our societies to fervently pray for G and his family, while humbling ourselves before our Almighty God and Great Physician.

In this regard, we would direct you to consider the prayers found in our Directory for Public Worship, under the subheading, "Concerning Visitation of the Sick", wherein it states:

"That, if God shall please to add to his days, he would vouchsafe to bless and sanctify all means of his recovery; to remove the disease, renew his strength, and enable him to walk worthy of God, by a faithful remembrance, and diligent observing of such vows and promises of holiness and obedience, as men are apt to make in times of sickness, that he may glorify God in the remaining part of his life.

And, if God have determined to finish his days by the present visitation, he may find such evidence of the pardon of all his sins, of his interest in Christ, and eternal life by Christ, as may cause his inward man to be renewed, while his outward man decayeth; that he may behold death without fear, cast himself wholly upon Christ without doubting, desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, and so receive the end of his faith, the salvation of his soul, through the only merits and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ, our alone Savior and all-sufficient Redeemer."

2. Recently we sent out an announcement wherein we stated that our dear brother in Christ, N P, has been suspended from participation with us at the Lord's Supper, and we call upon our members and adherents to solemnly and humbly remember Nate in prayer, calling upon God to mercifully grant repentance so that N might be reconciled to God and to us, with the hope that he may be soon restored to full privileges in our societies.

3. Our dear sister in Christ, J I has been experiencing very serious and debilitating pain in her back and has received significantly conflicting diagnoses from the medical community. We ask our members and adherents solemnly and humbly to remember J (and E and their children) in prayer, calling upon God to grant wisdom and skill to those who are involved in her diagnoses and treatment--asking our Great Physician to mercifully bless all means used for her recovery, while granting our dear sister courage and strength to faithfully endure these trials.

In addition to this, we ask that you would pray for God's continued gift of strength, grace and blessing upon all those in the Albany congregation who have so commendably blessed E, J, and their family by graciously helping them during this time of need. Your Session and the Societies in general are thankful, greatly encouraged, and strengthened by this testimony and example of faithful care for those in need.

In addition to our announcement regarding our upcoming public fast, we call upon the members and adherents of our Societies to participate in a special free will offering to be used solely for the purpose of helping Grant Soles manage the significant medical expenses he is presently facing.

For those of you who wish to participate in helping our brother in this time of need, we would ask that you send funds directly to the Societies in Albany or Edmonton with a note indicating that these funds are to be used specifically for this purpose. The Session will then administrate the dispersal of these funds to Grant.

It is our hope that each of you will seriously consider all of these matters with the utmost care, and that you will conduct yourselves in such a way as to glorify our Lord and testify to the whole world of our thankfulness for God's many mercies.

You are dearly loved and in our prayers.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have in regard to these announcements.

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

Greg Price
Lyndon Dohms
Greg Barrow


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