The ordination of a man with the last name of Oord provides many opportunities for word play. But the service for James Oord on January 7, 2016, at Community URC in Schererville, IN, truly was extraOordinary in some ways. Two of the participating pastors share a long and unique relationship with the Oord family, while the third is a well-known and dearly-loved minister who was influential in the foundation of the United Reformed Churches.
Dr. J. Mark Beach, Professor of Ministerial and Doctrinal Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary officiated the service and preached on 2 Timothy 2:1-13. Thirty years ago, in 1986, he preached on the same text for the ordination of Rev. Wybren Oord (the father of James) in Ireton, IA.
“Dr. Beach has become a very good friend and trusted mentor to me during my seminary years,” James relates. “Raylene and I have grown a lot thanks to Dr. and Mrs. Beach being involved in our lives. He’s also one of the most gifted preachers I know. What I appreciate most about Dr. Beach is his pastor’s heart, shown in the sort of advice he gives, the sort of sermons he preaches, and the sort of friend he is. His care and understanding make him the sort of pastor that I want to continue learning from in the coming years here in NW Indiana.”
Rev. Arthur Besteman, a seasoned minister whose name is familiar to many within the URC, gave the charge to the new pastor. He powerfully urged him to remain faithful and focused on two imperatives: Preach the Word! Love the church!
“Reflecting on 57 years of being an ordained pastor, he told me that as long as I proclaim the simple gospel of Jesus Christ the Savior of sinners in every sermon, I won’t have any regrets (about preaching anyway),” James says. “Rev. Besteman reminded me that we are unlovable, but that doesn’t stop Jesus from loving us. As pastors, we are called to love God’s people in sacrificial ways, and let them know we love them. Both the consistent preaching of the gospel and the undoubtable affection for everyone he meets have made Rev. Besteman a legendary figure in Western Michigan and also in the Oord household. It was an incredible honor to have him at my ordination, and anyone who was there (especially me) will not forget the wise and loving counsel he gave.”
The charge to the congregation was given by Justin Beach (Dr. Beach’s son), who has been called as Assistant Pastor to Ethos Presbyterian Church (PCA). Justin is a good friend of James and a former seminary classmate. He spoke from Hebrews 13, and urged the congregation to receive James and Raylene with joy so that all can grow together in the joy of the gospel.
“Justin and his wife, Bonnie, have been great friends to Raylene and me through seminary, and moving forward we’re excited to both be serving Jesus’ Church in the same neck of the woods,” James says. “His excitement about the gospel and his passion for reaching the lost inspire me.”
James adds, “It was very cool that two generations of Beaches and Oords went to seminary together. The Beaches really have an edge when it comes to ordaining Oords.”
A 2015 graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary, James received the call to Community URC on December 2 and accepted it on December 20, 2015. The congregation consists of 348 members in 127 families. Worship services are held on Sundays at 9:30 am and 5:00 pm in the church’s large facility at 8405 Alexander Street in Schererville.
The newly-ordained Rev. Oord reflects, “The ordination reminded me what a difficult and dangerous task pastoring God’s people and preaching the Word can be. But it also reminded me of the Savior who has promised to lead and guide me with grace, even in suffering, even in failure. Grace has led me safe thus far, and I know that the rest of my life and ministry will be marked not by my achievements or gifts but by the forgiveness and mercy shown even to me, a great sinner. That’s the gospel that it is my joy to proclaim, and that’s the gospel that Community is excited to share with those around us.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 12 & 13 of the February 3, 2016, issue of Christian Renewal.