ARP News Update

210th General Synod Opening Worship

Rev. Jeff Kingswood, Moderator of Synod, opened the 210th meeting of General Synod with a sermon from Colossians 1:15-20. “But in Christ, by the power of Christ, the church is powered as a new creation. I charge you in the week ahead to keep eyes on Jesus. Think not of reputation of agendas, goals or politics but think of the sufficiency, supremacy and the glory of the exalted Jesus,” Kingswood said.

0713Synod pgs Mod Kingswood thumbnail_DSC5308Retiring Moderator’s Address from Jeff Kingswood

It has been a blessing to visit, speak with, and work with the support staff of our denomination and to see the “behind the scenes” labours that they offer day in and day out, in order to make our denomination and its agencies run as smoothly as they do! Include them in your prayer.

There is much to be thankful for in our denomination. We may grow discouraged in our separate corners because we lose sight of the big picture. That is what being moderator has done for me. It has helped to keep me looking to the bigger picture – it has kept me looking to the biblical picture of the Bride of Christ.

And brothers and sisters I am convinced that until the bride of Christ embraces that as her identity, her calling, and her mission in this world, we will continue to be absorbed with petty party politics, turf wars, and perpetuating lifeless institutions. And to the world we will look like orphaned children squabbling over a meaningless inheritance. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ, when we use the means He has appointed in His Word for the governance of the Church and the furtherance of Her mission then we will begin to look like that glorious bride we were meant to be. Then the world will see and know that Jesus lives, reigns, rules and that the Church is not only His Bride for whom He died, but His army which He leads into battle! And then the world, the very gates of hell, will not be able to stand against her!

Moderator’s Challenge From Larry Littlejohn

0714 Littlejohn headshotMy challenge for the coming year is that we develop a greater understanding of God’s imprint on us both individually and corporately as His dearly loved children. God from the beginning of time has marked His own. He will at the end of time mark them once again as His own for all eternity.

What does Scripture tell us about His imprint? The first indication in Genesis 1:26 records God’s saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” God is Spirit so being made in His image must mean something more than the physical.

The basic, real, and invariable nature of God is love. The members of the godhead, perfect in their love for each other, had no need for mankind to complete them. Rather they created mankind as an expression of that love. Here was a creature made in their likeness with the capacity to know and love. Here was one who could glorify his creator and enjoy Him forever as no other.

We have all made vows that need to be paid along this path of genuine love. Let us be His hands of mercy. Let us be His word of hope. Let us be displays of true joy. Let us faithfully bear the imprint of His love as individuals, as families, and as churches. Let us faithfully make His imprint upon the world-at-large. That is my challenge.

ARP Women’s Ministries President, Sally Illman

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.47.35 PMIt is a pleasure to speak to you today about ARP Women’s Ministries. As your ministry, a ministry of Synod, we are overseen by the Synod Executive Committee. We are a little different in that we are not an agency.   We do have a structured board and each presbytery has a president or representative. Do you know the name of your presbytery’s president or representative? If you don’t, the next edition of the ARP Magazine will help you find her.

So, are we valuable to you and your churches?  Our vision statement is simple: “ARP Women’s Ministries is an organization which encourages and equips the community of ARP women to work together for God’s glory and purpose.”  That means that we exist to focus on two biblical mandates.

The first is equipping.  Certainly your women get fine teaching and preaching from your church worship services and studies.

One thing we do to help you is to work with CEM to suggest Reformed, theologically sound, useful books for women to study. Are you familiar with this next year’s selections, Opening up Titus by David Campbell, which is a study of the whole book of Titus, and A Woman’s High Calling – Ten Ways to Live Out God’s Plan for Your Life, by Elizabeth George, which is a topical study of Titus 2:3-5? Would it be useful your women? What are they reading now? Make no mistake, your women, whether organized or unorganized, are reading and studying something.

The second is connecting our ARP women.  We are connected in polity because we believe it is biblical.  That includes the women.  General Synod Committees include representatives from ARP Women’s Ministries, and the feedback I get is that they are valued highly by the Committees on which they serve.

Look, these are tough times for all churches, and that is just as true for us in the ARP.  We as women are as concerned as you are.  Consider your women, and their role in a connected body.  Consider all they do in your churches.  Consider how they, your families, and your entire church might benefit from your supporting them to be actively involved with women from other churches through ARP Women’s Ministries.  We need you, and for God’s glory, we think that you need us.


Follow along for more Synod updates through ARP News Update, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #synod2014 #210arpgs #arpmagazine

To read more about the Synod meeting, subscribe to the next issue of the ARP Magazine,


ARP News Update

Four Days Until Synod 2014!

If you have not registered for Synod, you can do so on Monday, June 9 from 2pm-5pm or Tuesday 9am-12pm in the Mike and Lib Patrick Conference Room.


Pre-Synod starts at 5:30pm in the Bonclarken Dining Hall on Monday, June 9. Dr. George Grant will speak to us about what it means to be the “Church Scattered” and being good news/gospel to the community. You can register for this on Monday from 2pm-5pm.

Psalm Singing

Make plans to attend the Annual Psalm Sing preceding the Opening Worship Service at Synod.  This event will be led again this year by Earl and Harriet Linderman and will begin at 1:45PM in the Youth Activities Building.  Join us in singing psalms of praise as you prepare for worship and Communion.  The Lindermans will also lead psalm singing on the front porch of the Bonclarken Hotel each morning during Synod before breakfast.  These gatherings will be held at 7AM.

Pastors’ Wives Fellowship

YES, WE ARE HAVING IT! All pastors’ wives are invited to attend the annual Pastors’ Wives Fellowship, Wednesday, June 11th 9AM – 11:30AM in the Jean White Room of Founders Hall at Bonclarken (during Synod)! Come for food, fellowship, encouragement and inspiration!

If you cannot make it to Synod, stay up-to-date with all the events through ARP News Update, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #arpmagazine #synod2014.

ARP News Update

Cain Appoints Committee to Search for Interim President

images-24Erskine College & Theological Seminary Board of Trustees Chairman William Cain informed trustees this morning that he has appointed an ad hoc committee “to search for an interim presidential candidate to bring to the Board for its consideration.”

The committee will be chaired by trustee Robert G. McDonald of Simpsonville. Trustees named to the committee are:

  • The Rev. William S. Cain, Louisville, Ga., Pastor, Louisville ARP Church
  • The Rev. Mark McDowell, Columbia, Assistant Minister, First Presbyterian Church
  • The Rev. Peter Waid, Spartanburg, Pastor, Spartanburg ARP Church
  • The Rev. Bert Welch, Lancaster, Senior Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church

Greg Haselden, Erskine’s senior vice president of finance and operations, will serve as advisor as needed or requested by the committee.

Cain asked the board and advisors to “pray for these trustees as they move ahead with this important task.”

ARP News Update

Erskine Trustees Move Forward Under New Leadership


images-25The Erskine College & Theological Seminary Board of Trustees transitioned to new leadership at its recent meetings May 29-30, with Vice Chairman and Chair-Elect Bill Cain of Louisville, Georgia, assuming his role as chairman a month earlier than the anticipated date of July 1.

Between the Thursday and Friday meetings, Chairman David Conner of Greenville, who was completing his second year in that role, informed the board of his resignation from the board effective immediately. According to the bylaws, Cain assumes the chairmanship until his elected term begins in July.

Conner stated in a letter sent to Cain and the other trustees Thursday evening that his personal and professional commitments would no longer allow him the time necessary to serve well. Conner also said he believed that “the Board and the Institution will benefit tremendously from [Cain’s] leadership as Chair beginning immediately rather than in July.”

Cain and several other trustees expressed their appreciation to Conner for his service to Erskine.

With a continued focus on long-term financial sustainability and the need to optimize revenue, the board met once again with representatives from the audit firm of CapinCrouse in a closed-door session on Thursday.

Regarding the ongoing search for a president, Cain said the board “expressed its desire to hire an interim president to assist the school in stabilizing its financial foundation” and that he hoped to provide more specific information on next steps within the coming week.

The Board approved a motion from the Seminary Committee to have the Seminary faculty and administration review the Seminary’s admission policies regarding students’ personal faith commitments in light of the Seminary’s mission and bring recommendations to the August meeting of the Board.

An ad hoc committee established last year to study the issue of separating the college and seminary into two distinct institutional and legal entities also submitted its report to the board. The committee was established last year in response to the ARP Synod’s 2013 request. Previously, at the February board meeting, the ad hoc committee requested and the board authorized the creation of a chief operating officer position for the seminary.

The the ad hoc committee reported that due to financial constraints at Erskine and within the ARP denomination, wise stewardship led them to conclude that separation of the seminary from the college was not advised at this point. The report did carry several recommendations to address some of the issues raised by Synod concerning the seminary. These recommendations include:

  • Changes in hiring guidelines for new full-time permanent seminary faculty and senior seminary administrators that would require membership in the ARP or a denomination with which the ARP has a fraternal relationship; and establishing an ad hoc committee for the theological examination of such candidates;
  • The inclusion of the theological examination committee in the seminary tenure process;
  • An annual examination and reporting of institutional shared services to ensure the seminary receives adequate resources and support;
  • A request that the Erskine administration prepare and present by the October 2014 meeting of the trustees a three-year plan for restructuring the seminary leading to a balanced budget.

 The Erskine trustees will meet again August 14-15, 2014.

In addition to the items above, the board conducted the following business:

Thursday, May 29, 2014

  • The devotional time consisted of a time of scripture reading and prayer by members of the Board.
  • Trustees voted to confirm the following 2014-15 chair appointments for the standing committees:
    • Peter Waid, Seminary Committee
    • Andy Putnam, Advancement Committee
    • Tom Hellams, Student Services and Athletics Committee
    • Dixon Cunningham, Finance/Facilities Committee
    • Chad Reynolds, Academic Committee
    • Steve Suits, Committee on Trustees (elected by that committee’s members on Friday)
  • Dan Campbell and Nick Wallace, representatives of CapinCrouse, made a presentation on financial matters and discussed these matters with the Board.
  • Acting President Christie and members of the cabinet presented their reports.
  • The Board heard the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Seminary.

Friday, May 30, 2014

  • The Rev. Mark McDowell presented the opening devotional.
  • The resignation of Board Chair David Conner was announced by now Chairman Bill Cain.
  • The Board elected Bobby McDonald to serve as vice chair of the board; McDonald was vice chair-elect, slated to begin his term in July.
  • Acting President Dr. Brad Christie presented the president’s report.
  • Treasurer Greg Halselden presented the treasurer’s report.
  • On recommendation of the Finance Committee the Board approved:
    • Covering a projected $500,000 2013-14 operating budget deficit by using a line of credit;
    • Postponing a bond payment as allowed by agreement with the lender in the 2014-15 budget;
    • A request that the General Synod ask individual members of the ARP Church to financially support Erskine’s unrestricted annual fund.
  • On recommendation from the Seminary Committee, trustees approved a revision in the Seminary Commitments from “Erskine Theological Seminary is Ecumenical” to “Erskine Theological Seminary serves the whole church.”
  • On recommendation of the Advancement Committee, the board accepted a gift from Dr. Randy Ruble to fund the Ruble Servant Leadership Award, which was established several years ago by the Student Government Association to recognize student service leadership on the campus of Erskine College.
  • On recommendation of the Academic Committee urged the administration and faculty to investigate the integration of online learning as a component of academic life at Erskine.
  • Heard a report from Student Services/Athletics Committee on:
    • The success of Erskine athletic teams this year, including three conference championships with 11 of 15 teams posting winning records;
    • A successful year for RUF at Erskine;
    • A $9,000 renovation of “The Hangar”;
    • A proposed Statement on Human Sexuality which was held for review anticipating the ARP General Synod’s consideration of a statement on this issue.
  • Expressed gratitude to retiring Trustees Judy Boyd, Joey Donahue, Bev Hicks, David Johnston, Richard Taylor, and Dan Whitesides.
  • Heard a report from the Committee on Trustees and engaged in extended discussion of matters related to issues of communication, confidentiality, and personal relationships in order to ensure better, more effective board function in the future.

ARP News Update

Group Silly_webOver 500 are registered!

See who’s going to World Focus! Are you on the list? Registration is extended through Friday

ARP Women’s Ministries Oasis

ARP Women’s Ministries invites all women attending General Synod to Oasis on Wednesday, June 11 at 2pm in Synodical Hall, as we seek to renew our minds about relationships with the truth of God found in the book of Proverbs. Child care is provided. Come and consider God’s message, share your thoughts with others in discussion, and grow friendships with Christian sisters in the ARP Church. Sharon Carr is the featured speaker.


ARP News Update

A Time of Prayer for Synod

Last year there was an informal call to prayer before the meeting of the General Synod. The Lord blessed us by answering our prayers. As we approach the Synod of 2014, again there is a grassroots effort by many to have a day of prayer for the denomination and especially the meeting of Synod.

This Friday, May 23, there will be five prayer groups meeting around the denomination:

Bartow, FL – Bartow ARP Church, 11:00AM
Greenville, SC – The ARP Center, 11:00AM 
Columbia, SC – Smith Chapel, 1st Presbyterian Church 7:00AM
Flat Rock, NC – Bonclarken Campground, 7:00AM
Charlotte, NC – A Building/Chapel, RTS-Charlotte 10:00AM

We would invite everyone who is close enough to attend one of these meetings to come and join brothers for prayer. For those at some distance from these sites, we would encourage you to pray where you are on this day.

Rev. Kyle E. Sims
First ARP Church
Lancaster, South Carolina

ARP News Update

News From Erskine College

images-25Dear Erskine Community:
Earlier this week, the Presidential Search Committee was informed that the candidate it had planned to present to the Board of Trustees at the May meeting had withdrawn from the search process. This is disappointing news to share with you; however, I am extremely grateful to the committee for their tremendous and admirable work over the past year. The Presidential Search Committee has been disbanded and a new committee will be appointed to begin a new search for Erskine’s sixteenth president.

I now reach out to the entire Erskine community for a season of prayer: (1) for the Board of Trustees, that its membership would be granted wisdom to assess and respond to financial and relationship issues and to achieve consensus on how best to achieve Erskine’s mission; (2) for the administration, faculty, staff, and students, that they would, in all things, delight in their unique opportunity to serve and further God’s kingdom at Erskine; (3) for the alumni, that they would engage with and support Erskine and her mission in ways that will transform the life and effectiveness of the institution; and (4) for all of us, that we would receive a complete transformation of the very motives of our hearts and become more aware of and grateful for God’s grace, sovereignty, and providence.

David Conner
Erskine Board of Trustees

Are you Registered for World Focus?

See Who’s Coming to World Focus! There are over 400 people registered. There is something for all ages! This is one conference you don’t want to miss.

Update on A Day of Prayer for Synod

Join others throughout the denomination for a time of prayer.

There are now several locations that will be hosting prayer times. We are continuing to work on a prayer meeting in Virginia and possibly the Memphis area.

Bartow, Florida – Bartow ARP 11am Rob Patrick 

Charlotte, NC – RTS-Charlotte 10am Lee Shelnutt & Kyle E. Sims

Columbia, SC – First Presbyterian 7am David H. Lauten

Greenville, SC – ARP Center 11am Leland Beaudrot

Bonclarken – Campground Pavilion 7am Eric Lockamy

Submitted by Kyle E. Sims

Pre-Synod Conference

scattered2Be sure to register for the Pre-Synod conference. Dr. George Grant will speak to us about what it means to be the “Church Scattered” and being good news/gospel to the community. You can register on the ARP Church website