Three pastors, all graduates of Mid-America Reformed Seminary, are bidding farewell to their initial congregations and taking up the ministerial mantle in second charges. Rev. Nick Alons (2006) has moved from the United Reformed Church of Prince Edward Island (PEI) to Lynwood URC in Lansing, IL. Rev. Steve Swets (2007) is moving from Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Abbotsford, BC, to Rehoboth URC in Hamilton, ON. And Rev. Matthew Nuiver (2004) will move from the URC of Wellsburg, IA, to Faith URC in West Olive, MI.
Nick and Allison Alons have four children, two boys and two girls, between the ages of one and eight. They received an offer on their home only three days after putting it on the market. The sale was finalized on December 1, and they immediately began heading to Chicagoland. His installation service at Lynwood URC was scheduled for December 13.
“Although PEI is a rural context and Lynwood more of a suburban context, both congregations strike me as being warm and inviting,” he says. “One major difference is that PEI is an island. The closest URC is some 13 hours away in Vermont. In Lynwood, there is a sister church about ten minutes away.”
He adds, “As far as differences between the congregations go, God’s people are God’s people, wherever they are gathered, so there are aspects of the ministry that stay the same no matter where you are serving. God’s people need to be loved and they need to hear the gospel.”
His last sermon at PEI was on 1 Corinthians 2:2, preaching Christ crucified. “In all my sermons and teaching on PEI, this was my aim, and that will be the same at Lynwood as well. I hope to preach the centrality of Christ in all things.”
Steve and Rachel Swets also have two sons and two daughters, theirs ranging from one to seven. The family plans to move between Christmas and New Years, with installation scheduled for January 15.
Wile Rehoboth’s congregation is quite a bit larger, both are located in an urban area but include rural members. Rev. Swets relates that both are well established with godly leadership.
“Rehoboth is in a unique position because it is located less than a mile away from Redeemer University and this affords an opportunity to reach out and show hospitality to college students,” Rev. Swets says. “Rehoboth also has hired a full-time director of outreach (Erik Hoeksema). I am excited to work alongside this non-ordained brother.”
In addition to those outreach efforts, he hopes to connect with the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, two of whose students attend Rehoboth. He also anticipates building relationships with the many NAPARC congregations in the area.
“Above all, I seek to remain faithful to the Lord’s call to shepherd the flock,” he says. “I am reminded that I stand in the need of grace, but this is exactly what the Lord provides. Also, with a wife and four young children, I seek to be balanced in my callings to God’s glory.”
Rev. Matthew and Lisa Nuiver have four daughters from four to eleven, and a set of twins (boy and girl) who will soon be a year. The family hopes to move during the last part of January, in time for their school-age children to begin the third quarter.
Not only will Timothy Christian School in Wellsburg lose the Nuiver students, but it also will lose Rev. Nuiver as its seventh and eighth grade Bible instructor.
“We are sad to leave, and yet excited for the new opportunities and possibilities that the Lord will bring us to in West Olive,” Rev. Nuiver says.
Although the two congregations have many differences, the Nuivers have spent more time considering their similarities. Both churches are full of people who love the Lord, seeking to be faithful and evangelistic.
“The ‘W’ will always be a part of who we are,” he says. “My hope is that the Lord will use my family and me powerfully in a new context by His grace, mercy, and love. That the saints in West Olive will not only embrace us, but that we can share in the work of the church with joy and thanksgiving for what Christ has done for us. My goal is that Jesus Christ is praised!”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 8 & 9 of the January 13, 2016, issue of Christian Renewal.