The following article by Glenda Mathes appears in the April 6, 2011, issue of Christian Renewal.
When William C. Godfrey was ordained on February 27, 2011, at Grace United Reformed Church in Torrance, CA, it was very nearly a family affair.
While Rev. Gregory Bero (Grace URC’s pastor) presided over the ordination service, William’s father, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey (President of Westminster Seminary California), delivered the sermon and his brother, Rev. Robert M. Godfrey (pastor at Visalia URC in Visalia, CA), also participated in the morning worship service.
Dr. Godfrey preached from Psalm 40 on “A New Song for a New Minister.” The service concluded with Rev. William Godfrey administering the Lord’s Supper. Members of the Godfrey family, friends, and elders from the Escondido URC joined the Grace congregation for a luncheon following the service. That afternoon Dr. Godfrey gave a lecture on the “Historical Background of the Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort.”
The newly ordained Rev. William Godfrey joins Rev. Bero as a second Minister of the Word on staff at Grace URC. The two pastors will share the responsibilities of preaching, catechizing, visitation and evangelism in the congregation of 45 members and 24 children.
“William will be a valuable addition to our staff and to me personally,” says Rev. Bero. “His knowledge and skill with handling the Word will be of great benefit to our congregation. His understanding and wisdom in practical and church matters will be beneficial to the Consistory. In addition, he is fine young man who is well-loved by our congregation. We look forward to many years of William serving as Minister of the Word at Grace United Reformed Church.”
Rev. William Godfrey is a 2010 graduate from Westminster Seminary California who sustained his candidacy exam at the June, 2010, meeting of Classis Southwest. During July and August, he served as pulpit supply for Zion URC in Ripon, CA.
“It was my second summer in Ripon, as I was also there in the summer of 2009,” he says. “It was a great joy to be reunited with the saints there for those months and to rejoice with them in the call and subsequent arrival of Rev. Efflandt and his family.”
While in Ripon, Grace URC contacted him regarding his interest to provide pulpit supply with the possibility of it becoming a full-time position. He began exhorting at Grace on the first Sunday in September.
“After getting to know one another over a few months and after much thought and prayer,” says Rev. Godfrey, it became apparent to Christ’s church and to me that He was calling me to serve this congregation.”
Rev. Godfrey relates that it has been “a great privilege” to get to know Rev. Bero, who he says is “a fine example of what a pastor should be in the way he feeds, loves, cares for, and protects the sheep. It wasn’t long before I realized what a great opportunity it would be for me to learn from him what it is to be a faithful pastor.”
“We are kindred spirits in many ways, perhaps because we are both half-Hungarian, which my father as a good church historian assures me must be a first in the history of the URC.” he humorously relates. “The only real point of contention between us is the fact that he is a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, and I am a committed San Diego Padres fan, but we Calvinists know that no one is perfect, right?”
Rev. Godfrey’s hope is to fulfill his calling as described in God’s Word and summarized in the URCNA ordination form.
“I pray that God would grant me the strength of His Spirit to preach the Gospel of His Kingdom, faithfully administer the sacraments, devote myself to prayer, and assist the elders to shepherd the people of God in the Christian life,” he says. “All this so that the church will be gathered, nourished, and strengthened for faith, love, and Christian service for our good and for our God’s glory.”