On September 17, 2021 Stephen Mulder was ordained and installed as Associate Pastor of Stillwater Reformed Presbyterian Church (Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA). The steps that led up to that moment reflect God’s  care for the Stillwater RPC. It is not uncommon for RP churches to have members who travel sizable  distances to remain faithful to their RP vows of church membership. Currently about a third of the  Stillwater RPC travel an hour or more to Stillwater each week from the OK City area. A few years ago,  the SRPC realized this group of people could become the core of an RP church in OK City with  opportunities for ministry there and beyond. From that time, deliberate steps took this idea from the  concept stage to informal Bible studies, Psalm singing gatherings, fellowship meals, community service  projects, and prayer meetings.  

By 2019 monthly public worship services were being held in the chapel of a Christian school on the north side of OK City. A variety of preachers from the denomination were invited to preach, some of whom  became candidates for the pastoral call to be church planter.  

The next step was to find a church planting pastor for OK City church planting. This seemed like an  insurmountable hurdle because of the obvious shortage of men for the ministry in North America. But  God in his perfect timing intervened. On April 18, 2021 the Stillwater RPC gathered for a congregational  meeting to call Stephen Mulder as Associate Pastor for Church Planting in OK City. He was elected and  quickly informed the congregation of his intent to accept. He and his wife, Grace, moved to Oklahoma  City on June 22nd. Midwest Presbytery sustained Stephen in his ordination exams on July 16th

The ordination and installation service on September 17th was not unlike other such services. Prior to the service the congregation, provided a meal for all the local members and visitors, some of whom traveled from a distance. The service was actually a constituted meeting of the court of the Midwest Presbytery, so there were some elements of the service that seemed like a business meeting. Those who presided  were actually members of a commission drawn up for the purpose of ordaining and installing Stephen  Mulder. However, other elements of the service felt like a worship service. The list of Psalms sung  included Psalm 84B, 86B, and 126B, with precenting provided by Jessie Forthun. Elder Dave Carroll read  the steps that led to Stephen being called. Elder Jeff Spitler then read the edict of ordination and  installation for the final time. Moderator Bruce Parnell asked members of the Stillwater RPC to indicate  their adherence to the pastoral call of Mr. Stephen Mulder by standing, and asked Mr. Mulder to  indicate his adherence to his acceptance of the call. Mr. Mulder then came forward to answer the  prescribed Queries for Ordination and Installation, as asked by the Clerk of the Commission, Elder Alan  Noell. A sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. C. J. Williams, Professor of Old Testament Studies at  Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA, and father-in-law to Stephen. The  sermon was entitled “Regulative Principles of Ministry” and was based on 1 Timothy 4:12-16. All Mid West Presbytery elders present came forward. Rev. Gary McNamee of Grace Reformed Church (RPCNA  Mission Church, Columbia, MO) offered the prayer of ministerial ordination and installation as Mr.  Mulder knelt, and the elders laid their hands upon him. Rev. Romesh Prakashpalan of Dallas RPC  charged the congregation from 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. A charge was given to Rev. Mulder by the  Moderator from 2 Timothy 4:1-2. The court was adjourned with prayer by newly ordained and installed  Pastor Stephen Mulder, who then pronounced the benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. A reception for  the Mulders was provided by the Stillwater RPC.

As one who has lived in Stillwater, OK since 1985, it is stunning to reflect on what God has done here. In  1986 Midwest Presbytery was approach to consider a church planting endeavor in Stillwater. A  committee was formed to explore the idea which led to a commission. Then monthly visits by a pastor  from the Midwest Presbytery commenced in which Lord’s Day evening preaching took place in a private  home. Meanwhile much prayer and community involvement in a variety of outreach activities took  place. Finally, a church planting pastor, Rev. Bruce Parnell, was called in 1990 and a particular  congregation was established, which is still active to this day. That alone is a reason for praising God.  However, an effort was made to plant a church in Enid, OK. For a period of years that was a dream  fulfilled until Enid’s RP Church closed in 2017. It remains to be seen if God will bless the efforts that  would lead to a particularization of a congregation in OK City, but God has now blessed the congregation with the ordination of a church planting pastor who has settled in the metro area and begun fruitful  work with that end in mind. And the people of the Stillwater RPC are grateful. To God be all the glory.

Thanks to Liz Noell for putting together this article. Liz is a retired home school mom to 4 adult children, wife to Alan, grandmother to 2 one year old boys, and a community volunteer. In 1986 she became part of the core group that helped to plant the RP church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. That church became an organized congregation in 1990.

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