The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) Synod is scheduled to meet on August 18-20 at Bonclarken. The ARPC is dealing with a difficult situation with both our voluntary Denomination Ministry Fund (DMF) and, more critically, our retirement program. Due to the state of the retirement program and time-sensitive motions presented by the committee investigating this problem, it is imperative that the ARP Synod meet this year. With this in mind, I am asking both those who are members of the ARP Church and those who are friends of the ARPC to join in prayers for our upcoming Synod meeting that God will help us as we deal with these issues before our Synod.
Here are some ways you can pray:
- Pray that our Synod will be able to meet. As the number of Coronavirus cases rises in North Carolina, there is always a concern that the government would not allow a meeting the size of our Synod. Our Canadian delegates legally are barred from driving into the country. Our delegates from both Canada and the Northeastern part of the US would have to be quarantined for two weeks if they came to Synod. There is a real concern that we may not be allowed to legally meet or that we will not have a quorum due to travel restriction and some older delegates deciding that it is too risky to attend Synod this year.
2. Pray that we will have a quorum no matter how we meet: either in person, online, or a hybrid of both.
3. Pray that if we have to cancel the meeting of General Synod that the Executive Board would have wisdom as they take up the business of the 2020 Synod, especially the recommendations from the Blue Ribbon and DMF Committees.
4. Pray for the Report of the Moderator's Blue Ribbon Committee on Retirement. This committee was made up of some of the brightest and most accomplished financial minds in our denomination. They have worked hard to understand the situation and the need we must address adequately. They have a phase 1 plan to start addressing this issue.
- Pray that the delegates will read and study their report.
- Pray for our deliberations as these issues can be technical and outside the regular work of the average minister or elder.
- Pray that the Synod will understand the importance of taking action now.
- Pray that the Lord will lead the Synod to the right action.
5. Pray for the Report of the DMF Spending Committee. This committee, on which I serve, has evaluated where we spend the DMF, the shrinking membership rolls of the ARPC, and the growth of our denominational bureaucracy over the last few decades.
- Pray that people will understand that we must balance our spending with our revenue.
- Pray that we will see the need to reorganize our denominational structure to better optimize it for doing ministry.
- Pray that the Lord will give us great wisdom in this optimizing of our denominational ministry. There are some things that we must be careful about cutting like Erskine, Bonclarken, and World Witness. These agencies already are hurting because of the Coronavirus pandemic and these are agencies that employ and/or care for many people. If Erskine and Bonclarken were lost, then the ARPC would not be able to begin them anew.
6. Pray that the ARPC leadership will come together to make these required adjustments. We are in a situation that requires us to make some changes, but it is not a situation where we have to drop ministries because we cannot afford to do them. WE CAN CONTINUE to do all that we have been doing, but it will mean some changes in how we do it and how we fund it. Pray that we will all come together to continue the Synod's full work and not just fall back and protect those ministries that we are invested in or are our favorites.
7. Pray for our Moderator, Rob Roy McGregor, III. He has served us well as vice-moderator and as chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Retirement. Pray for him and those on the committee that are tasked with planning this year's Synod. Pray for him and the many roles he has to play for us in the upcoming year.
8. Pray that by 2021, we will see the Coronavirus pandemic gone as a threat, that we will be moving towards a better optimized denominational ministry structure, and that we will be on our way to greater peace, purity, prosperity, and unity in the ARPC.