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What’s Happening in the CREC News and Events

CREC Expands with European Presbytery

At the August 2020 Ad Hoc Council meeting in Dallas, Texas, the CREC Council voted to form a new Presbytery consisting of churches mostly located in Eastern Europe, and also includes the Tokyo CREC Church.

Along with Japan, the new Hus Presbytery includes churches in Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria, and Hungary. We are pleased to see our European Churches form their own presbytery. Bogumil Jarmulak from Poznan, Poland serves as the Presiding Minister. Ben Zedek Smith in Tokyo, Japan, is the Pro Tempore Presiding Minister. May the Lord bless their work as the CREC grows worldwide.

From California to Texas

Rev. Garrett Craw will be moving to Austin, TX in January 2022 to plant a CREC church in the South Austin area. Rev. Craw planted Christ Church, Santa Clarita in 2006 and oversaw it as it became a thriving church in Los Angeles County.

Once a month evening worship services are slated to begin in South Austin in September 2021.

2021 CREC Council and Presbytery Meetings Announced

The 2021 Council and Presbytery Meetings will be held in Monroe, Louisiana October 25–28, 2021. Further details forthcoming.

Reformation Bible Institute Announced

Reformation Covenant Church of Oregon City, OR, has announced that they are starting a Bible Institute that will make a seminary-level education available to men and women that Reformed seminaries have not traditionally been able to reach.

The new Institute plans four study tracks: pastoral ministry, certified biblical counselor, discipleship, and dominion.

The Institute is currently looking to hire a director of admissions who will be responsible for leading the effort.

PM Letter to CREC Members

Aiming to promote peace and harmony during the coronavirus pandemic, the CREC presiding ministers have addressed a letter to the membership of the churches. Read the letter here (PDF download).

PM Hurt Addresses Open Letter to Governing Officials

CREC Presiding Minister Virgil Hurt, saying that “we believe the time is now at hand for our leaders to stand down from the extreme isolation efforts,” is calling upon government leaders to consider the effects of current policy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Read the entire letter here.

CREC Calls Good Friday a Day of Fasting and Prayer

Virgil Hurt, Presiding Minister of the CREC, along with the presiding ministers of the presbyteries, has joined with other churches in calling for a day of fasting and prayer:

Day of Fasting and Prayer

In this extraordinary time of pandemic, and all of the fallout related to the disease, including sickness and death, the suspension of worship services, and the loss of livelihoods, the CREC, along with many other denominations and churches around the world, has declared a day of fasting and prayer before God on Good Friday, 2020.

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord and seek His grace and mercy.

The CREC will begin the 24-hour fasting period Thursday evening, April 9, at 6pm and end the fast after Good Friday Services, Friday evening, April 10.

We invite our churches and members to join us for prayer and fasting for all or any part of this time. Check with your pastors for resources for prayer and fasting.

May the Lord grant us His grace and mercy, teach us His will in this time of humbling, restore us to His favor that He might bestow His blessing upon us, and strengthen and protect us as we serve Him in the future.

For the glory of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.

If you would like to have a better understanding regarding the practice of fasting, read these words from Samuel Miller (pdf download).

Most Recent on the Coronavirus…

Dear CREC Brothers and Sisters,

We trust the Lord is using this extraordinary time, and the fear that has accompanied it, as a means to draw men everywhere to Himself. While the fear of men who greatly fear death is understandable, we Christians should be shining examples of those who oppose death as an enemy but do not fear it. For us, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Let us not be caught up in the panic but be strong examples of Jesus to the world, the One who is the calm in the storm. Let us pray that God will grant us many opportunities to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all things. To God be the glory. Amen.

Economic Impact and Threat

There are at least two major aspects of this worldwide crisis to consider. One is the threat of the disease medically. The other is the damage to lives as jobs disappear. There are now places in the world where the shutdown is doing more damage than the virus.

We exhort you to engage your local, state, and national leaders to express your concerns about the damage done to individuals and families as they lose their livelihoods and continue in isolation. Exhort your officials to consider the damaging consequences of isolation and economic harm in all future decisions, and to return us all to work and full public worship as soon as possible.

Concerning Worship Services

We Recommend the Following Counsel to Churches:

  1. Under the current circumstances, follow the restrictions of the Governor in your state, or the President in your country, as to meeting size limits.

    It is now apparent to us, that some of our churches are either now, or soon, no longer going to follow governmental guidelines.

    If the government orders are too stringent and unreasonable in your area, we encourage you to petition your ruling authorities to loosen the requirements.

    If you choose to disregard these orders in order to exercise your freedom of religion, and U.S. Constitutional rights of speech and assembly, we exhort you to do so in a gracious and respectful manner.

    You should recognize that members of your churches will have a wide range of views on the prudence of publicly meeting or not, both because of their views of the actual dangers involved from the virus, as well as the prudence of obeying or disregarding government guidelines for meetings. Be patient with all.

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr has stated that standing up for liberty is one of his highest priorities. He has also stated that he will side with churches as they stand against restrictions that go too far. He has already done so. That is encouraging.

    For those of you in other countries, use wisdom and discretion based upon your Constitution, and the potential threat to your people that disregarding government guidelines may occasion.

    If you choose to disregard guidelines, do so with the health and well-being of your congregants and community in mind. We have already stated that their health and well-being includes their ability to provide for their families and participate in the public sphere, including public worship. If you disregard meeting guidelines, we encourage you to do so with as many local churches as possible, rather than as an individual church. We encourage you to seek legal counsel if you choose to openly disregard guidelines, especially if you anticipate conflict with local or state officials.
  2. Consider holding Drive In Services where possible. Many churches are now doing Drive In Services and have reported this to be well received by their congregants and an improvement from live-streamed or recorded services. This appears to fall within the parameters of acceptable church meetings by the government guidelines now in place in most locations.
  3. If not doing Drive In Services, consider continuing live-streamed or pre-recorded services.
  4. Outside services, not in vehicles, may soon be another option. As restrictions loosen, we encourage you to gather your people together in whatever ways are available and seem wise to you.
  5. As size restrictions loosen, hold worship services with as many people as you can. You may want to hold multiple services to fall within those guidelines. Until we are all the way back to regular normal worship together, continue to live stream your service as many of your congregants may still be unable or unwilling to participate in person.
  6. We support churches that choose to follow all government guidelines for as long as they are implemented.
  7. Communion
    a. If you are not able to gather, we support suspending the Supper until you are able to meet again.
    b. That said, some churches have practiced Communion in different creative ways. While we are concerned about the precedent some of these practices may set, we recognize these are abnormal times, and would encourage you to clarify that these are extraordinary measures for extraordinary times.
    c. During these extraordinary times, we caution against individual families doing Communion on their own. Individual families are not independent churches.

Grace and Peace,

The Presiding Ministers of the CREC

Virgil Hurt — Presiding Minister of Council
Steve Wilkins — Wycliffe Presbytery
Gregg Strawbridge — Augustine Presbytery
Rob Hadding — Athanasius Presbytery
Stuart Bryan — Knox Presbytery
Rob Davis — Tyndale Presbytery
Dave Hatcher — Anselm Presbytery

CREC Presiding Ministers Release Guideline Statement in Face of Coronavirus Outbreak

On March 16, 2020, the CREC Presiding Ministers released a statement to help guide churches through the present state of things with the spread of the coronavirus. The statement calls the churches to follow state and national guidelines, and also recommends live streaming services and notes that communion should only occur with elders present.

The statement was last updated April 26.

Read or download the updated document here.

CREC Triennial Council Meeting 2020

The Triennial Council Meeting is upcoming in September 2020. Information below.

Note: Registration Website will be available by the end of February, 2020

Dates

September 21-25, 2020

Location

Chicago, IL

Partial Schedule of Events

Monday Sept. 21 — Arrivals

6:00pm-Welcome Reception

8:00pm Plenary Address

Tuesday Sept. 22

8:00am Presbytery Meeting

1:00pm Missions Conference

Wednesday Sept. 23

8:00am Presbytery Meeting

2:00pm Council Session 1

7:00pm Worship Service

Thursday Sept. 24

8:00am Council Sessions 2 & 3

7:00pm Hospitality at Kou Residence

Friday, Sept. 25 — Departures

Covenant Bible Church History Conference

Covenant Bible Church of Chugiak, Alaska is hosting its 11th Annual History Conference November 2, 2019. Dr Christopher Schlect is the featured speaker. More information is available here.

Virgil Hurt Provides Encouraging Update

Virgil Hurt has provided the following update as he recovers from the heart attack he sustained on September 21:

On Friday, September 21, I had a heart attack accompanied by cardiac arrest (heart stoppage) at home. Chance of survival of that event is less than 10%. Katie was at home and found me collapsed a few seconds after I fell. Her subsequent panic was one of many things the Lord Jesus providentially used to save my life. She was unable to put in her phone code to call 911, so she ran outside screaming “help me Jesus!” And stopped a car in the road and asked them to phone 911. Our neighbor, John, heard her yells and was in the house doing chest compressions within 20-30 seconds after Katie’s yells, maybe 1-2 minutes after collapse? This saved my life. Another neighbor, Holly, was just then leaving town and was literally driving away when she heard and saw the commotion. She knew that another neighbor across the street, Ben, was an EMT (I still haven’t met Ben, this earthly savior of mine.) John and Ben saved my life and their chest compressions kept me from brain damage. There is a fire department three blocks from our house. They arrived within a few minutes. Our EMTs are a highly trained group and pride themselves at saving people at a much higher rate than the national average. They arrived and took over from John and Ben. (I am not totally clear on all the details). John and Ben had gotten a pulse back but when the EMTs loaded me in the ambulance, my heart arrested again. They had to shock it back to beating, but it arrested two more times on the way to the hospital, which is only 7 minutes away and is one of the top cardiac hospitals in Virginia. So my heart stopped four separate times. Survival chances at this point almost nil. To God be the glory.

At the hospital, they put me in a medically induced coma by inserting a rod in my leg that cooled my blood to a hypothermic state. This was for 48 hours. The purpose of this is to protect the brain from more extensive damage. During this time, no one knew if I would wake up or be seriously brain damaged if I did. I really can’t afford to give up any extra brain cells you know!

When they started to warm me on Sunday, I finally woke up. Death on Friday, resurrected on Sunday. What an honor to follow in the steps of Jesus.

I awoke and started telling stories and joking with the family. I don’t remember this but they took some video and it is pretty hilarious. I told about the time in high school in Twin Falls, Idaho, driving my mom’s brown Bomber down the road that goes from Shoshone Falls to Twin Falls. Is that Falls Ave? I got that old beater going 119 mph on that road. I think I was with Sean Hackett and Doug Clark. Do you guys remember that? We flew over some of the rises in the road and sparks flew as we bottomed out. I lived to tell that story, too!

The family was rejoicing until my nose started bleeding. You know you can bleed out from a nose bleed? I almost did. I lost about 1/2 my blood, 6 units, and this became the new threat. They took emergency measures to plug the flow hoping it would eventually clot and gave me a transfusion to replace the blood loss.

On Wednesday, still in Cardiac ICU, they removed the Foley from my nose that stopped the blood flow and it finally had stopped bleeding. I’ve had a couple small nose bleeds, just a few drops since then. One prayer request would be for no new nose bleeds.

On Thursday, they moved me out of ICU and sent me home Friday, almost exactly at the same time I had collapsed the previous Friday.

All of my children and their spouses were here and it was a special time. God has been very kind to Katie and me in the offspring department.

I believe that God works all things together for good for those that love Him and are the called according to His purposes. This means my life or my death. I am thankful to be alive but was prepared to meet Jesus. Why? Because I am a good man? No, I am not, not in my own name, or in my flesh. I did not deserve to live nor do I deserve God’s favor. It is all grace. Because Jesus died on the cross for sinners, I can lay claim to His work by faith in Him with whom we have to do. Only on this basis can I come boldly into the throne room of God. When I come to the Father, in the name of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Father receives me as He would His own dear Son. That is what we mean when we pray, In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Furthermore, I believe that the Lord Jesus is the all powerful ruler of all things. We do not yet see all things in subjection to Him, but we do see Jesus, by faith, who is ascended to the right hand of the Father ruling over heaven and earth. One day, we will see all earthly institutions in subjection to Him because He is the Lord of the nations. (Psalm 2).

Do you have faith in Jesus? If you died today, would you be ready to confess your own unworthiness to meet Him, having confessed and repented of your sins and turned to the finished work of Jesus on the cross? Is your basis for making it to heaven, your goodness or His? You need to know the right answer to that question.

Please feel free to email me or call if you want to talk about faith in Jesus.

Thank you all for your concern and prayers. The Lord is gracious and kind, long-suffering, and quick to forgive sins. Put your trust fully in Him.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon You and give you peace. Amen.

We praise God for his protection and recovery to date, and continue to pray for full healing.

Pray for Virgil Hurt

Please pray together with us for Virgil Hurt, the CREC Presiding Minister of Council. He sustained a serious heart attack on Friday, September 21.

Virgil is pastor of Providence Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was elected Presiding Minister in 2017.

Update: Virgil regained consciousness on Sunday afternoon (September 23), and was in good spirits, although his short term memory was fuzzy. This site will be updated as we learn more regarding his current condition and long-term prognosis.

CREC Issues Statement on Sexuality

In the face of current trends and events, the CREC has issued a Statement on Sexuality.

The document was crafted by Presiding Minister Virgil Hurt with input from numerous CREC leaders. Its aim is to clarify the CREC’s position regarding matters such as LGBQ “identity.”

Two Decades for Nacodoches

Congratulations to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church of Nacogdoches, Texas, which celebrates its twentieth anniversary next month.

Grace Covenant will mark the anniversary on June 9, inducting Ben Alexander as an assistant pastor at the same time.

Covenant Bible Church Celebrates 60 Years of Ministry in Alaska

Covenant Bible Church of Chugiak, Alaska celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Among other celebrations, the church is hosting Anselm Presbytery’s proceedings in Anchorage this year, September 24–30.

Learn more about Covenant Bible Church’s history here.

Virgil Hurt Elected CREC Presiding Minister

Virgil Hurt, pastor of Providence Church in Lynchburg, Virginia since 2000, has been elected as the CREC’s new Presiding Minister of Council.

Hurt previously served as PM of Augustine Presbytery (2010–2012). He succeeds Douglas Wilson, who has served as CREC PM since 2014.

A native of Idaho, Hurt holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from Idaho State University, and received his ministerial training via Greyfriars Hall.

Virgil has been married to his lovely wife, Katie for 30 years. They have five grown children and one still in high school, as well as one grandchild.

CREC Presiding Ministers Review Committee Releases Report

The CREC Presiding Ministers Review Committee has completed and released its report assessing how Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho has handled two sexual abuse cases involving parishioners. The report offers commendations, correctives and recommendations. The full report may be viewed here.

Edit: A companion report for Trinity Church in Moscow, Idaho has been subsequently released. The Trinity version of the report may be viewed here.

The Committee’s work took place upon request of Christ Church. Read the initial announcement here.

CREC Churches in Poland Launch New Psalter

The CREC churches in Poland have published a new selection of 50 Psalms in Polish. The new Psalter premiered on Saturday, March 25.

The Psalter features Genevan tunes with new arrangements, paired to Polish texts. The churches look forward to completing the remaining 100 Psalms.

2017 CREC Triennial Council

The CREC’s Triennial Council will next meet November 13–16, 2017 in Miramar Beach, Florida. The context for the proceedings will be the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

CREC Pastors, register now for your Church to be involved.