No Images?  Click here

Vol. 3: Issue 1

March 3, 2015


Presbytery Diaconal Conference

Presbytery of the South
Orlando, Florida: February 6-7, 2015

Would you drive 10 hours to attend a regional Diaconal Conference?  At least one deacon in the Presbytery of the South valued such a conference enough to do just that, not to mention the 30 other men who traveled to Orlando from nine OP churches throughout Florida and Alabama to attend the conference.  Knowing that so many deacons were making a similar commitment to attend, the four brothers on the presbytery's newly-minted Presbytery Diaconal Committee (PDC) who organized the conference worked hard to construct the conference in such a way that it would be well worth the time and cost sacrifices made by all the attendees.

The conference ran from 4:00 PM on Friday, February 6th, until noon on Saturday the 7th.  That time was chock-full of a good blend of presentations, workshops, and fellowship amongst the brothers.  The weather was pleasant, the fellowship sweet, and the food fabulous, particularly the dinner planned and executed by a 16-year-old young lady from Lake Sherwood OPC - an aspiring chef who shows great promise!

The majority of these brothers, all members of the same regional church, acknowledged that they had never before met any of the other men around the room.  And yet, by the end, one deacon expressed what must have been in the minds of many - that this was his first taste of what it means to be a regional church.  Praise the Lord!

Presentation topics included those that would edify deacons in their service to their local churches, as well as those that would be instructive to the members of the PDC in their service to the regional church.

For the benefit of deacons in their local labors:

  • The High Office of Deacon (David Nakhla, CDM Administrator)
  • Visitation (Dan Forssell, Deacon)
  • Walk up Requests for Aid (Carson Ryan, Deacon & PDC Member)
  • Working with the Session (Matt Avery, Deacon & PDC Member)

For the benefit of the PDC in its regional labors:

    • What is a Presbytery Diaconal Committee (Michael Borg, Minister & PDC Member)
    • Caring for Ministers (David Haney, OPC Director of Finance)
    • Disaster Response (David Nakhla, Disaster Response Coordinator)

    Since this southern portion of the country receives the brunt of many hurricanes, the PDC does sense a particular burden for facilitating disaster response preparedness within the presbytery.  Yet, evident by the wide scope of topics covered at this conference, this committee seeks to be a resource to the presbytery in all things diaconal.  May the Lord bless this worthy endeavor.

    Please let us know if the CDM can work with your presbytery in organizing a conference like this.


    Hopps Blessed by a Team
    of Skilled Workers


    OPC Missionaries to Haiti, Ben and Heather Hopp and their family, were particularly blessed last month (February 18-27, 2015) to have a team of skilled workers descend upon the mission property in Kaliko, Haiti, and carry out a ministry of mercy.  The work included building and installing cabinets and an island in the kitchen, installing security windows and a door, and installing ceramic tile in large portions of the house.  These enhancements will not only help to resolve a number of problems with the house, but will increase the ability of the Hopps to host short-term teams coming to work alongside of them.

    Special thanks goes to Mr. Broc Seaman, a licentiate of the Presbytery of Southern California and an experienced carpenter who, after nearly 10 trips to Haiti since 2008, took the initiative to raise the funds (much of them from his own presbytery) and recruit the team needed to do the work, on top of planning and leading the execution of this Herculean effort!


    Minutemen Needed to Serve
    Part-Time in Haiti


    While having a full-time missionary deacon in Haiti is a long-term goal for the mission, in the interim the OPC Haiti Mission hopes to manage its urgent needs with the assistance of a corp of minutemen who would be available to serve for a week or so on an as-needed basis.  

    Requisite skills and availability are the key components sought in these men. The main areas in which help is needed is the maintenance and repair of the mission vehicles and mission homes.  On occasion, there may be opportunities for deacons to help train future deacons in the Haitian church.

    If you would like to be added to the list of those who could help, please send an email to


    The Work of the CDM


    Back Row (l to r): 
    Al Zarek, Seth Long, Nathan Trice, Bob Wright, Jr., Chris Sudlow, Bob Keys

    Front Row (l to r): 
    John Voss, Jr., Lendall Smith, David Nakhla, Ron Pearce

    The Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM) will meet on March 27-28, 2015, at Matthews OPC in Matthews, NC.  Your prayers are appreciated!


    What Are Deacons Doing Locally?

    Deacons, would you like to hear what other deacons in the OPC are doing?  Do you have a project you that you think would be helpful for other deacons to hear about?  Are there particular issues that you would like to discuss?

    Please write to and we will see if we can include these ideas, questions, or suggestions in a future edition of the Mercy Minute.  We look forward to hearing from you!


    The Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM)


    • President - Lendall Smith, retired minister from Warrenville, IL
    • Vice President - Nathan Trice, Pastor, Matthews OPC, Matthews, NC
    • Secretary - Ron Pearce, Pastor, Church of the Covenant, Hackettstown, NJ
    • Treasurer - John Voss, Jr., Deacon, Covenant OPC in Orland Park, IL


    • Bob Wright, Jr., OPC missionary deacon to Uganda
    • Bob Keys, Deacon, Grace OPC, Columbus, OH
    • Seth Long, Elder, Neon Reformed OPC, Neon, KY
    • Chris Sudlow, Deacon, Bethel OPC, Wheaton, IL
    • Al Zarek, Elder, Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Franklin Square, Franklin Square, NY


    • David Nakhla, Administrator, Committee on Diaconal Ministries; Disaster Response Coordinator
    • Janet Birkmann, Administrative Assistant


    • Administration & Finance (Sudlow, Long, Voss)
    • Aid Request (Smith, Pearce, Trice, Voss)
    • Disaster Response (Zarek, Keys, Long, Voss)
    • Diaconal Training (Trice, Keys, Sudlow)
    • Missionary Deacon (Wright, Smith, Trice)
    • Ministers & Widows (Smith, Pearce, Zarek)

    Editor: David P. Nakhla
    Administrator, CDM  (562) 760-7606


    The Mercy Minute is a quarterly newsletter of the Committee on Diaconal Ministries intended to keep the deacons of the OPC informed.  It could include sharing the work that one local diaconate or presbytery diaconal committee is doing, bringing awareness to a need in the OPC, or simply bringing a word of encouragement.


    The Mercy Minute is being sent to all OPC officers with whom the CDM has contact with the hopes that it is forwarded on to more deacons. 

    Officers who would like to be added to distribution are encouraged to email such a request to the editor.