Over 200 people attended the organizational service for Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship at the Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, NY, on Friday, January 13, 2012. Attendees came for North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New Jersey, as well as New York to celebrate the congregation’s organization as a United Reformed Church and installation of its office bearers.
“It is very humbling to look back and see what the Lord has done,” says Rev. Paul T. Murphy. “We began with one other person besides myself. The Lord has grown a church of 100, raised up officers, instilled a desire to plant other churches, granted us many weddings and newborns. We are 90% first generation Christians committed to impacting NYC with the gospel and the Reformed faith.”
At the January 13 service, Rev. Murphy was installed as Messiah’s Minister of the Word. Samuel Perez and Danny Bernard were installed as elders, and Alfredo Rodriguez as deacon.
Rev. Andrew Eenigenburg, West Sayville Reformed Bible Church (URCNA), NY, gave the charge to the elders and deacon. Rev. Richard Kuiken, Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church (URCNA), NJ, presented the charge to the minister.
Elder Bruce Style, West Sayville Reformed Bible Church, read the Form of Subscription. Rev. Bill Boekestein, Covenant United Reformed Church in Carbondale, PA, gave the charge to the congregation. Rev. Stephen Arrick, Zeltenreich Reformed Church in New Holland, PA, offered prayer for Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship. Rev. Steve Schlissel, Messiah’s Covenant Community Church in Brooklyn, NY, preached the sermon. Rev. Murphy pronounced the closing benediction.
Rev. Murphy sees the organization of this church plant as the springboard for additional church plants. He also views it as establishing the church’s credibility.
“This provides the necessary platform for us to begin to consider seriously the planting of other churches in the metropolitan area,” he says. “We currently have two potential core groups and are prayerfully discussing what the Lord would have us do.” He adds, “It also establishes us as more than a plant. That lends stability and credibility to us as a church in this town where pastors and plants often come and go.”
Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in New York City, meeting at the Seaman’s Center in the vicinity of Ground Zero. Due to increased growth, the group has been meeting in a temporary location at the Ecole Internationale School at 111 East 22nd St. in Gramercy Park. The church is searching for a more permanent location, considering either renting the facilities of a Seventh Day Adventist church or leasing space in an office building.
About 80-100 people gather for Sunday worship at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Members of the group also meet on Thursday for Bible study and assist with ministry at a downtown New York hospital, where Rev. Murphy volunteers as a chaplain.
While busy with these current ministries, the church looks to the future and plans for it.
Although the church’s school closed some years ago due to lack of funding for its teachers, an educational effort is again under consideration due to the increased number of children being born in the congregation.
As chair of the Church Planting Committee of Classis East, Rev. Murphy relates that Classis has mandated planting five churches: “With 50% of the population of theUSin our Classis, we see this as a providential opportunity and challenge for the Reformed faith.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 14 of the February 8, 2012, issue of Christian Renewal.