On the 12th January, the Presbytery of the Alleghenies officially formed ‘River Valley Reformed’ as a particular congregation of the RPCNA and installed the officers of the church. Dr. David Whitla, RPTS Professor of Church History preached the sermon with Elder Herb McCracken and Pastor Titus Martin giving the charges. The whole service can be viewed at this link: https://fb.watch/q9HMOaWrdG/.

Since mid-April of last year, River Valley Reformed has used the facilities of Calvary Baptist Church in Monaca for worship and fellowship. As Calvary Baptist was sadly in decline, they decided to cancel their services at that time and join us in worship. The saints of both congregations have grown in mutual love for one another, and a significant number of the Calvary Baptist folks have entered fully into the life and fellowship of River Valley.

In July, the leadership of Calvary Baptist voted to permanently close its congregation and gift its property to River Valley. As a church that has served the community of Monaca for seventy years, this decision was heartbreaking for them. Yet, they were also glad to see a gospel-preaching church receive it on the other hand. Organising Pastor, Barry York said in a letter at that time “Pastorally, I am praying that the Lord will guide each member of Calvary Baptist into a new church family where you will be loved, shepherded, and able to continue to use your gifts for His kingdom.”

Paul Kuglar, who had been an elder in Calvary Baptist, along with several other members, stayed and fully integrated into the life of the River Valley Mission Church. Paul sent us his reflections upon seeing River Valley formally organised a few weeks ago:

Being a relatively new member of the River Valley Reformed Church, I was overwhelmed by the solemnity of the proceedings of the Organizational Service. As each speaker took their turn, I could not but be impressed with the sincerity and dignity of the men.

There was also humor generously mixed in without overshadowing the solemnity. To see men from across the presbytery standing in the front of the church alongside the newly installed officers of River Valley Reformed Church reminded me of the verse Hebrews 12:1. “Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

As I now look back on the evening, I find that I loved the dignity, solemnity, and humility, I witnessed. Not only from the men in front of the church who were actively participating but also from the people gathered to celebrate the organization of a new congregation.

I cannot help but to reflect on the words of the palmist as spoken of by Pastor David Witla, in his message on Psalm 122, titled “The Celestial Church”. 7  May peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces.” 8  For the sake of my brothers and my friends, I will now say, “May peace be within you.” 9  For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.”

Following the formalities of the evening was a great celebration of the creation of the newest congregation in the Presbytery of the Allegheny’s. The numerous and various finger foods (provided by Tania Thompson, College Hill RP) was only eclipsed by the beautiful fellowship!

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