what our (reformation) past says about our (reforming) future

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Rebekah with John LaMotte

Yesterday (another positive and encouraging morning at WFPC) our church officially recognized Rev. John LaMotte as “Pastor Emeritus.”

The title pastor emeritus is an honorific, typically given to recognize a relationship with a former minister – now retired – that still says something important about the church today.

John LaMotte served as Wake Forest Presbyterian’s organizing pastor, back in the early 1990’s. He – along with his wife, Olivia – worked with the original core group of around 35 committed people, nurturing and guiding the young fellowship. By the time John LaMotte retired in 1996, WFPC it was a strong congregation of some 300 faithful members.

REFORMED: One reason we are so thrilled that John accepted this honor is the fact that his ministry laid such a strong foundation in terms of what it means to be a “reformed body of believers.”

The community of Wake Forest is blessed with many strong congregations, affiliated with a variety of denominations, all filled with good people who love God and follow Jesus. But WFPC is unique in that this church was established to offer the community a reformed understanding of our relationship with the Creator, and how ideas like “the sovereignty of God” shape our worship, our mission, and our witness to the light.

In inviting John LaMotte to preach yesterday, recognizing his ministry, and renewing the relationship, Wake Forest Presbyterian Church was also validating the foundational identity of our congregation as a unique reformed witness in this community.

John and Olivia with Rebekah
John and Olivia with Rebekah

The recognition of John and Olivia was meaningful, and it was great to have their daughters in attendance too; but it was John’s message from the pulpit that made the most impact, as he clearly outlined what it means to live the Gospel of Love in response to the sovereign initiatives of the God who is vitally alive in this place!

WHO WE ARE: We are not just any church! We are not just another cool place to be on Sunday mornings. We are not simply one more congregation that looks and sounds like any other community church and without reference to a greater body. We are Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, and we are committed to being that particular quality of presence in the community of Wake Forest.

Personally, I’m very grateful that this congregation has such deeply “gospel-referenced” roots, and I appreciate the strong statement our church made yesterday when we officially honored the way the foundation was laid.

But, the idea of being a “reformed body of believers” also means to continue reforming. Our core identity, as the church mission statement puts it, is to be “Rooted in Christ; Growing together in faith; Reaching out to others.”

WFPC: So, thankful for our roots, and knowing exactly who we are as witnesses to light, this branch of the church known as Wake Forest Presbyterian is moving into an exciting, God-ordained; Jesus-focused; Spirit-animated future.

  • God-ordained;
  • Jesus-focused;
  • Spirit-animated.

I’ll see you there – DEREK

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