>Four-year vacancy ends for Burlington, WA URC

>After four years, the United Reformed Church in Burlington, WA, finally has a minister.

Rev. Mark Stewart, who served Covenant Reformed Church in Newton, NJ, for ten years, was installed on Friday, October 8, 2010, as the church’s new pastor.

Three local Reformed ministers participated in the installation service. Rev. Chris Gordon of Lynden URC led the service. Other participants were Rev. Peter Vosteen (Lynnwood OPC) and Rev. Gerald Rutgers (Hopewell Community Church of Lynden), both of whom have filled the church’s pulpit and provided pastoral care during its long vacancy. Rev. Rutgers preached the installation sermon.

“He used Haggai 1 as his text,” says Rev. Stewart, “and gave a stirring exhortation on the minister’s calling as well as the responsibility of the congregation.”

Approximately 150 people from the church as well as visitors from the Bellingham and Lynden URCs and the Mt. Vernon and Lynnwood OPCs attended the service.

Rev. Stewart and his wife, Christy, have four daughters, ranging in age from 5-14. While a moving service trucked their household possessions from New Jersey to Washington, the Stewart family spent four and a half weeks camping in a pop-up trailer while traveling down the east coast, through the southern states, and finally up the west coast on scenic Route 101.

Since their arrival on October 1, the family has been settling in and becoming acquainted with their new church family. Rev. Stewart explains that he is “just getting to know the congregation” and “finding the right voice to speak God’s unchanging Word into their experience right now.”

He adds that the congregation is much younger than his previous charge and he eagerly anticipates “ministering to the challenges that young families face.” He hopes to help foster closer relationships among the URCs in the Pacific Northwest, including increased interactions among youth groups.

“I will also be looking for ways to increase the exposure our church has here in the community,” he says.

Burlington URC has about 115 souls. It is the former Burlington Orthodox Christian Reformed Church and was one of the churches that came into the URCNA from the OCRC in an action by Synod Schererville 2007.

The above article appeared on pages 14-15 of the October 27/November 3, 2010 issue of Christian Renewal.

© Glenda Mathes, 2010

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