For the first time since 2009, the Free Presbyterian Church of Malvern, PA was the host for the Week of Prayer and regular meeting of the presbytery. Several of those who attended the meetings from October 7-11 could remember their experience as delegates to the 4th International Congress of Free Presbyterians that took place in the same church facility just over a year earlier. The intensive preparation that yielded so much blessing on that occasion left the church’s session and congregation ready to display their hospitality again to those who attended the Week of Prayer.
Dr. Stephen Pollock, the minister of the Malvern church since early 2017, led the congregation in its preparations to welcome the ministers, elders, and students, along with a visiting Baptist pastor, to the meetings in the beautiful church building. Beginning Monday evening, the attendees enjoyed the kind hospitality of the church through a series of meals in the lower level of the church building.
As the host minister, Dr. Pollock selected the speakers for each of the prayer sessions. Rev. David Mook addressed those who arrived in time to attend the Monday evening prayer session. The subsequent prayer sessions occurred Tuesday through Friday mornings at which Rev. Ian Goligher, moderator of the presbytery, Dr. Larry Saunders, Rev. Reggie Kimbro, and Rev. Stephen Hamilton brought messages from the Scriptures. There was a wonderful atmosphere in prayer that led to the conclusion that it was a very encouraging Week of Prayer.
Highlighting the meeting of the presbytery that Rev. Goligher convened on Tuesday afternoon was the report of the Examination Committee on two applications that the presbytery received. They were from men who sought admission to the care of the presbytery for preparation for the Free Presbyterian ministry. The presbytery heard both men preach during the Wednesday afternoon portion of the presbytery meeting. The presbytery approved the application of Mr. Logan Elder, a student at Geneva Reformed Seminary, admitting him to the presbytery’s care. The second applicant has present commitments that led the presbytery to defer acting on his application until the next meeting of the presbytery in May 2020.
The Seminary Committee reported the encouraging news that Dr. Mark Allison, the Seminary president, resumed some of his responsibilities at the outset of the 2019-20 academic year. While he still faces limitations, he is able to spend time with the students as he facilitates courses that he has taught previously and from which the video recorded lectures are available. The Committee also presented its outline of the academic program for the year, including the prospect that Dr. Alan Cairns will be able to teach at least two modules.
The Finance Committee presented its proposed budget for 2020, and the presbytery moved to adopt it. The Committee noted some encouraging developments in the funds that are available for the presbytery in the coming year. The Constitutional Documents Committee reported continuing progress toward final publication of the finished Book of Church Order.
On Wednesday evening, the presbytery members enjoyed a wonderful dinner with the congregation before the church’s regular mid-week service that included the preaching of Rev. Andrew Simpson, minister in Prince George. During the early part of that meeting, Rev. Goligher, the moderator of the presbytery, conveyed to the session and congregation the hearty thanks of the presbytery for all of the meals and other practical supports that the presbytery enjoyed during the week.
The presbytery adjourned on October 10 with the prospect of its 2020 meetings in Faith FPC of Greenville, SC from May 11-15 and in Calgary FPC in Alberta from October 5-9. After the adjournment, the attendees at the Week of Prayer traveled to the famous Shady Maple Smorgasbord where everyone enjoyed a sumptuous meal and wonderful fellowship.