After much prayer, many town hall discussions and a congregational meeting where 98% of our members voted to be dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) our fellowship is now officially ECO: Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. What does this mean for First Presbyterian Church, a congregation that has been a beacon of Christian truth and grace for over 100 years in Covina? It means the following: We will continue to be Presbyterian. We will continue to stand on the cry of the Reformation: Scripture Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone! We will continue to be A Christ-centered, Biblically based, Holy Spirit Empowered Fellowship.We will continue in our mission: To develop and nurture in all people a passion for God and a heart for the world. We will continue to invite in all the broken, sinful souls who need the mercy and grace of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. We will continue to humbly acknowledge that each member of our church is a broken, sinful soul, fully in need of the mercy and grace of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ (pastor included!). We will continue to open our doors and invite in people with any kind of struggle, pain and sin, we will continue to be a fellowship where everyone is welcome. We will continue to raise up disciples, feed the hungry, clothe the needy and care for one another. We will continue to be a local church in this community and seek to be faithful to The Great Commission: “Jesus said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) By God’s grace and His empowerment we will continue to proclaim His name until He returns for us.
I share the following that was printed in the Southeast Christian Church’s newsletter:
“Jesus. It’s a little name. A small word.
Say this little name in public, however, in a way other than an obscenity, and stand back and watch the fireworks.
This little name is like a tiny detonator that triggers a nuclear warhead.
You can say “God,” and you won’t get a squeak. You can say “Our Father/Mother in Heaven,” and few will flinch.
You can say “Great Spirit,” and people will nod in approval. You can say “Allah” and you will be deemed tolerant.
But say “Jesus” and just wait for the sonic boom.
So don’t say Jesus. Jesus is divisive, and now is a time for unity. Jesus defines sin so He must be intolerant, Jesus is exclusive, so His name amounts to hate speech.
Keep His name to yourself. Cloister it in your church. Lock it in your prayer closet. Close it between the covers of your Bible. But for God’s sake, don’t voice it in the public square! It’s immodest. It’s immoral. It’s unloving.
Only one problem: Jesus is God.
Only one problem: Jesus alone brings salvation.
Only one problem: All other gods are nothing.
So speak His name aloud.
Shout it from the mountain.
Whisper it in the dark.
Write it in the sky.
That’s not hate, it’s hope.”
Dear beloved fellowship —by our LORD’s incredible grace may we continue to be the church that Peter encourages in 1Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy!” We will continue to be a fellowship that proclaims and lifts high the living saving hope of our LORD, Jesus Christ.