Listening when the Voice speaks As a boy, my grandfather was taught to memorize...
Growing and serving together
The two years I’ve been a part of ECO have been amongst the most exhilarating and challenging of my life and ministry. For the first time since my ordination in 1982, I find myself in a place where I look forward with eager anticipation, to each upcoming presbytery meeting. Who would have believed it?!
By way of introduction, I am the proud husband of my loving wife, Kathy, who in addition to being a lead deacon at our church, is a freelance editor and an all-around fun person with whom to share life. Our 17-year-old twins, Jhony and Natalia, were born three weeks before our wedding — which is not as shocking as it sounds since they were seven years old before we met and adopted them, along with their little sister Angela (then five, now 16), from Colombia!
Our church, like our family, is bicultural with about half of our members being first-generation immigrants from Latin America. Being a bilingual church is an incredible blessing and it challenges many of our presuppositions about what it means to be the family of God. We all learn from one another’s cultural presuppositions, and we regularly have to make allowances for our very different senses of time! Despite our differences, through our unity in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we continue to grow and serve together in love and mission.
Looking forward to what’s ahead
The Presbytery of the Northeast covers eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, eastern New York, and all of New England. At the moment, all of our churches are clustered south of the Pennsylvania/New York border, but that’s likely to change soon as we add new members to our ECO family. Our 12 dynamic churches range in membership from a several dozen members to several hundred. I like to think of us as “small but mighty.” We are already moving toward planting a new church, as well as nurturing several candidates toward ordination as pastors. Even though we’ve only had two official meetings, our gatherings already feel like family reunions! We are deeply committed to being a presbytery made up of fellow servants; encouraging and holding one another accountable to Spirit-driven, outwardly focused, transformational ministry.
Historically, each of the first two Great Awakenings in the United States began in the Northeast, before spreading to the rest of the nation. Perhaps this is because the spiritual darkness in the Northeast has been greater, leading the saints to pray harder, and the Spirit to shine brighter in response. People often describe Northeasterners as cold and hard (like our winters). Perhaps this makes the warm glow of the Spirit burning in the hearts of God’s people more appealing. Whatever the reason, we pray that God will bring a third Great Awakening to our region and to our nation to the glory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Maranatha – the Lord is coming!
Jeff Wildrick has served as the Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen, New Jersey for the past 14 years. He earned an M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982, followed by a D.Min. in 1985. He lives with his wife, Kathy; their children Jhony, Natalia, and Angela; two cats, one dog, and an ever-changing parade of foster dogs.