On Friday, January 31, 2003, Rev. Paul T. Murphy was installed as associate Pastor of West Sayville Reformed Bible Church (URCNA). Rev. Murphy, along with his wife, Julie, and their children Shannon, Joshua, Joel, Peter,Abigail will have their membership at West Sayville. The installation was nicely attended with representatives from several URCNA churches (it was great to see Elder Peter Moen of Pompton Plains after 10 years!), at least one OPC minister, and many folks from churches under care of the Consistory of Messiah’s Congregation.
Rev. Murphy is charged with planting a Reformed church near Ground Zero in Manhattan. The church — called Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship (MeRF) — is under the oversight of Messiah’s Congregation in Brooklyn, NY. It meets on Lord’s Days at four o’clock in the afternoon.
The first worship service was February 2, 2003. More than 70 souls were in attendance. We expect the attendance to drop because several were attenders came as a “firsttime encouragement,” including Dr. Paul Szto of the Queens CRC, with his entourage, and Rev. Ken Klett of a PCA in New Jersey, with his large family (his wife was raised in the Netherlands Reformed Church, by the way).
Still, only the Lord knows: attendance just might increase. The work is being promoted in several ways. Our weekly radio show on WMCA (570 AM; 10pm Wednesdays) has resulted in many inquiries. And Murphy sermons are now posted at www.sermonaudio.com/ MeRF. If attendance goes up, people may just have to find a cozy spot on the floor of the lovely chapel. The meeting place was filled to capacity yesterday. We rent the sanctuary of the beautiful Seamen’s Church, 241 Water Street — just north of the Fulton Street Seaport (within sight of the site where the Twin Towers stood).
Please encourage all your Manhattan friends, relatives and acquaintances to visit this new Reformed work. You, too, are invited if you are visiting New York City. Note also the Thursday evening Bible studies (7pm) which meet at 323 E. 82nd Street (between 1st & 2nd Avenues; downstairs).
We truly praise God for a wonderful installation service and a powerful first worship service. I would especially like to thank the following brothers:
• The Officers and members of West Sayville for acting quickly and decisively. We are blessed to be able to partner with you in this outreach, and we praise God for your mission-minded hearts. Pastor Don Hoaglander has really risen to the occasion.
• The Consistory of Dutton URC for permitting Rev. Murphy to accept the call (he served Dutton for 13 years and it wasn’t easy letting him go!).
• Dr. N. Kloosterman for providing counsel to W. Sayville in structuring this missionary call. URCNA Church Order is a “work in progress,” and Dr. Kloosterman’s assistance in navigating it was invaluable.
• Dr. P.Y. DeJong for enthusiastically promoting this cooperative enterprise. Our first blessing from Dr. DeJong came years ago by way of his excellent commentary on the Belgic Confession, “The Church’s Witness to the World.” Our whole church studied it. He has blessed us most recently by helping us concretely witness to “the world” representatively gathered in NYC.
• Mr. Brian Harrington for his vision and missionary zeal.
• Messiah’s supporters, officers and staff for making it all happen.
PLEASE PRAY for this new work in New York, a work dedicated to the glory of God, and to the Reformed faith which best serves that glory on earth.
Rev. Steve Schlissel is the pastor of Messiah’s Congregation in Brooklyn, New York.