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Vol. 3: Issue 3
November 21, 2015

Relief for Refugees

At its recent meeting, the OPC's Committee on Diaconal Ministries (CDM) received the following recommendation from its Disaster Response Subcommittee:  "That the CDM receive gifts designated for refugee relief." 

The CDM concurred with this recommendation based on the following:

  • The need is great! The world is facing a record number of internally displaced people and/or refugees today; some suggest that number could be upwards of 60 million people!
  • The OPC community has expressed an interest in contributing toward such a purpose.
  • This situation does not look like it will be resolved any time soon.
  • Several of our sister denominations have found ways to minister, both as a service to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and as a witness to our fellow man.

How might the fund be used?

  • Directly ministering to those in refugee and IDP (internally displaced person) camps
  • Transporting refugees
  • Re-settling refugees

The CDM is not soliciting funds at this time.  But, should there be those who desire to make contributions toward this need, knowing their diaconal gifts will be accompanied by a ministry of the Word, the CDM is committing itself to finding such avenues for those gifts.

Gifts for this purpose may be made out to “Orthodox Presbyterian Church” and noted for “Refugee Relief.”  They may be sent to the OPC Administrative Office, 607 N. Easton Road, Bldg. E, Willow Grove, PA 19090.

Any gifts remaining by November 2018 may be re-designated by the CDM, most likely to General Disaster Response work.

Please pray for the CDM for wisdom as it seeks to faithfully carry out this labor on behalf of the church.


Missionary Doctor Needed:
Karamoja, Uganda

The tenure of OPC Missionary Doctor Jim Knox is ending soon as he moves back to the US next month.  While plans are underway for some doctors to fill in short-term, the search continues for a long-term replacement.

At its recent meeting, the CDM committed to funding this replacement who will be carrying out this important piece of the diaconal side of the labors of the Orthodox Presbyterian Uganda Mission.   Now we just wait for that one of the Lord's choosing.

Perhaps, you know of a medical doctor committed to the Reformed faith who would like to be able to spend more time working with patients and speaking with them about Christ, and who might be interested in serving Christ with our missionaries in Karamoja.  If so, please have that person contact Associate General Secretary of Foreign Mission Douglas Clawson at


Encouraging Deacons:
POH and PSE Diaconal Conferences

On Saturday, October 24th in Grove City, PA, and on Saturday, November 7th in Columbus, OH, about 20 deacons of the the Presbytery of Ohio gathered to discuss such topics as "Revitalizing the Diaconate Today under Challenging and Difficult Times" and "Diaconal Presbyterianism:  Working together for the sake of the Kingdom."  In those discussions they covered various areas of diaconal labors such as the biblical principles, burnout in the deacon’s lives, hard-to-deal-with issues deacons are now facing in our churches, and ways to increase involvement together.  This last area led to helpful suggestions such as setting up a single gmail accounts for all deacons of the Presbytery and striving to encourage and help deacon boards that have no or only one deacon.

In a somewhat historic way, there was a second presbytery diaconal conference running concurrently within the OPC.  On November 6-7th in Matthews, NC, about 30 deacons from the Presbytery of the Southeast gathered to discuss the natural disasters that threaten their presbytery, resources for deacons beyond the local church, and the need for healthy cooperation between the diaconate and the session.  One of the most practical sessions was the Q&A round-table discussions at the end of the conference.

For help organizing a conference like this in your presbytery, contact David Nakhla at


Haiti Minutemen:
Short-Term Diaconal Service

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 corps 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.

The CDM is providing the funds to help with the travel costs of volunteers traveling to Haiti to assist with diaconal projects.  Do you have skills?  Would you like to be considered as the needs arise?   To be added to the list of "Haiti Minutemen," please contact David Nakhla at


Mark Your Calendars!
Future Diaconal Conferences

2016 October 6-8:  Presbytery Diaconal Summit III - Geneva, IL

Two representatives from each presbytery's Diaconal Committee are invited to come.  The CDM will cover your travel, room, and board for this important meeting.  This event has previously been referred to as "The D17 Summit."

2017 June 8-10:  National Diaconal Summit IIIWheaton College in Wheaton, IL

All deacons and deacons-in-training, along with other interested church officers, are invited to attend this encouraging conference.  We encourage your local diaconate to budget your travel and the CDM will cover your room and board.  Dr. David Apple, author of "Not Just a Soup Kitchen," is scheduled to speak.  If you miss this summit, the next opportunity will not likely be until 2022!  


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)

Back Row (l to r): 
Chris Sudlow, Ron de Ru, Seth Long, John Voss, Jr., Al Zarek

Front Row (l to r): 
Ron Pearce, Lendall Smith, David Nakhla, Nathan Trice  
(Bob Wright, Jr. - not pictured)


  • President - Lendall Smith, retired OPC minister, 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


  • Ron de Ru - Deacon, Sovereign Grace OPC, Oak Harbor, WA
  • Seth Long - Elder, Neon Reformed OPC, Neon, KY
  • Chris Sudlow - Deacon, Bethel OPC, Wheaton, IL
  • Bob Wright, Jr. - OPC missionary deacon to Uganda
  • Al Zarek - Elder, The OPC of Franklin Square, Franklin Square, NY


  • David Nakhla, Administrator
  • Janet Birkmann, Administrative Assistant


  • Administration & Finance (Sudlow, Long, Voss)
  • Aid Request (Smith, Trice, Voss)
  • Disaster Response (Zarek, de Ru, Long, Voss)
  • Diaconal Training (Trice, Pearce, Sudlow)
  • Missionary Deacon (Trice, Smith, Wright)
  • 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 the distribution list are encouraged to email such a request to the Editor.