A Stump with Its Roots in the Ground: The Fulton Story
In God’s gracious providence, He sometimes reduces enterprises to their bare minimum (Dan.4). He chops down a tree and burns the stump (Is.6:13). His purpose may be to humble the proud, as with Nebuchadnezzar, or to produce new growth (see Jn.15). The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Fulton, New York is experiencing heavy pruning and new growth under the tender and skillful hand of our Vinedresser. We testify to you of His power and goodness and we invite you to join with us in praising the Lord and rejoicing in Him.
Our congregation was planted by the Lord through The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Oswego, NY in the early 1990s and organized by The St. Lawrence Presbytery of The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America in 1995. In the fall of 2021, our beloved Pastor of almost 30 years, Nick Iamaio, retired and moved to Tennessee. At this time, a number of members also relocated to our sister churches in Oswego and Clay. Elder Kevin Plummer from our Oswego congregation continued to serve us as a Provisional Elder as he had done for decades but, because we did not have a Resident Ruling Elder, our ecclesiastical status was reduced to a preaching station.
It seemed that we were like the tribe of Benjamin in Numbers chapter 21, in danger of becoming extinct. But, as in that case, the Lord remembered us and saved us from death. The Lord gave perseverance to the remnant of our formal members, He moved the hearts of a number of brethren from our mother church in Oswego to come and help us as transferred members, He brought some old and new friends into membership, He raised up Doug Chamberlain and Kit Swartz as Provisional Elders and He provided many gifted and generous preachers to serve us well.
During the latter half of 2022, we had great hope in the Lord that Colin Doyle would be our next Pastor but the Lord led Colin and us in different directions. This was a hard providence for all of us, a burning of the stump. But we trust His wisdom and goodness. We pray for God’s blessing on Colin and his family, and we continue to seek the Lord earnestly for the provision of our next Pastor soon. We are encouraged that the Lord is drawing together our hearts and the hearts of a young seminary graduate and his wife.
We have been aware of our need for resident officers in order to reorganize the congregation and provide for our mutual care and common outreach. We were also thankful that the Lord had provided us with many individuals who enjoyed the character and skills necessary to serve us in the various biblical offices. Therefore, we held an election on the Lord’s Day, March 5th, 2023 through which the Lord raised up among us Kit Swartz and Ethan Wyant as Elders, Mike Melita and Silas van Norstrand as Deacons and Mary Himes and Holly Wyant as Deaconesses. Silas agreed to accept Session’s appointment as a Deacon-in-Training in prospect of his election and ordination in the future. Mike Melita also accepted Session’s appointment as an Elder-in-Training with the same prospect. Mike accepted his election as a Deacon and all the other Officers-Elect accepted their elections. Our Provisional Session interviewed the Officers-Elect on March 16th, 2023 and found each one qualified in character, suitably gifted and ready to serve in the office to which they were elected. On the Lord’s Day, April 9th, all the officers elect were ordained and Mr. Swartz was installed being previously ordained as a Teaching Elder.
We are thankful to the Lord Jesus and amazed but not surprised at these many notable fulfillments of His promise to build His church (Matthew 16:18). He is producing a new shoot from the stump He recently cut and burned. He has delivered us from death and is giving us life as a family in Israel. We testify of His power and goodness and rejoice in Him.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
- Ephesians 3:20,21