Vol. 4: Issue 3
November 9, 2016
Attendees at PDS III, October 2016
PDS III: Stepping Up to Serve
October 6-8, 2016, twenty-one members of twelve Presbytery Diaconal Committees gathered in the Chicago area for Presbytery Diaconal Summit III (PDS III). Previous presbytery diaconal summits were held in 2012 and 2014, and the CDM intends to continue to host these summits every two years. PDS IV is scheduled for October 11-12, 2018.
These summits are designed for Presbytery Diaconal Committees (PDCs), to help them understand and carry out their important role as the lynch pin in the “network of deacons” pictured at left.
Rev. T. Nathan Trice challenged the men with the concept that PDCs “standing by” to serve is good, but “stepping up” to serve is even better!
One of many examples he gave:
- Standing By = Meeting as needed to consider any needs referred to the committee.
- Stepping Up = Meeting regularly to develop a regional diaconal ministry suited to the presbytery.
This talk was a great encouragement to all of us!
Pastor Nathan Trice of Matthews OPC, Matthews, North Carolina
It was a blessing to see the Presbytery of Ohio strive to have all 5 members of its PDC attend the summit (one could not come at the last minute). The brothers drove there as a group, which provided a great opportunity for interaction both before and after the summit. In the past, the CDM has invited PDCs to send two representatives to the summit, but going forward, it may consider encouraging entire PDCs to attend.
Each summit has a special-focus topic. This year, it was how PDCs might better organize for disaster preparedness and response. The attendees' enthusiastic response to the ideas presented at the summit was a great encouragement to the CDM to provide more leadership in this area going forward. Stay tuned.
The presentations at the summit were videotaped and will soon be available on the CDM page at OPC.org.
The Work of the CDM - Fall 2016
Members of the Committee on Diaconal Ministries at work in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
The Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM) met at the OPC Administrative Offices on October 27-28, 2016. Following is a sample of the actions taken:
- The CDM responded affirmatively to a request from the OP Haiti Mission for funds to purchase 100 water filters for friends and members of the churches on Lagonav to help prevent water borne diseases in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
- The CDM authorized some of the remaining Japan Relief Funds
to be used for travel expenses for volunteers who will help renovate a home purchased by the Lauers, who will be stationed in Yamamoto to continue the ministry of the gospel to those affected by the tsunami.
- The CDM moved to send an additional $12,000 to the Greek Evangelical Church to support its ministry of Word and deed to refugees now residing in Greece.
- The CDM wants OPC retired ministers and their widows
to know that it is able to consider requests for help meeting unexpected expenses such as dental bills. Such requests may be submitted to the CDM through the local Presbytery Diaconal Committee.
- The CDM recently learned that it was listed as a beneficiary of the estate of an OPC member who has gone on to be with the Lord. The CDM was blessed with a gift of $60,000!
- The CDM has begun to consider how it might participate in ministry to the persecuted church.
The next meeting of the CDM is scheduled for March 23-24, 2017.
Refugee Relief Articles
Rev. Al Tricarico, Associate General Secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, wrote a helpful article in the October issue of New Horizons
on ministering to refugees right here at home. Click to read Refugee Relief: Foreign Missions at Home
In March, the CDM sent a gift to the Greek Evangelical Church to support its efforts to serve as a gospel witness to refugees in its region. Having received continued encouraging reports about the work, the CDM moved in October to send an additional $12,000 to support the ministry. Click to read M and J: A Refugee Story from Greece
Missionary Doctor Still Needed in Uganda!
This need continues to stand before the church! This fully-funded position is a unique opportunity for the right individual to serve on our mission field in Karamoja, Uganda!
The Committee on Foreign Missions would be delighted to discuss the position with any interested party who is committed to the Reformed faith.
Former Missionary Deacon Jim Knox, MD, at work in Uganda in 2013
For further information, contact:
Rev. Douglas Clawson
Associate General Secretary
Committee on Foreign Missions
National Diaconal Summit III (June 15-17, 2017)
Plans are well underway for the National Diaconal Summit III to be held in June 2017 in Wheaton, IL.
- All deacons and deacons-in-training are encouraged to attend.
- All costs except travel are covered by the CDM.
- Registration will open on February 1, 2017.
- Stay tuned for more details.
Helpful Documents Available at OPC.org
Principles of Diaconal Ministry
"The heart of God for the poor is the reason for the diaconal ministry of the church. The church ministers to the poor and needy because of the very character and ways of our God..."
Principles for the Ministry of Mercy
"The ministry of mercy of any particular board of deacons is inherently connected to a local congregation (“serve tables”), is always in support of the ministry of the Word (“devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word”), and is under the oversight of the local
session..." Read more here.
Diaconal Training Materials
Powerpoint presentations, instructor notes, participant guides, and case studies from workshops held at a past Presbytery Diaconal Summit will soon be available on the CDM page at OPC.org.
The Presbytery of Ohio made its summer diaconal meeting a family affair! Bob Keys reports: "People really enjoyed just meeting other deacons and sharing experiences. We also had a time of prayer for needs and concerns in our Presbytery. What a blessing. Food, fun and fellowship. How much better does it get this side of heaven?"
Food, Fun, and Fellowship
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Mercy Minute, a quarterly newsletter of the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, is intended to keep OPC deacons informed and encouraged in their labors. It may include opportunities for networking or training, describe the work that a local diaconate or presbytery diaconal committee is engaged in, or bring attention to a need in the OPC.
The Mercy Minute is sent to all OPC officers with whom the CDM has had contact, in hopes that it will be forwarded on to additional deacons.
Officers who would like to be added to the distribution list are encouraged to email such a request to the Editor.