At the 79th General Assembly, the Rev. Ross W. Graham, general secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, was honored for his twenty-two years as general secretary. CHMCE president John Hilbelink read a resolution reviewing Ross’s service. The resolution was entered into the Minutes of the Assembly. A framed copy of the resolution was presented to Ross. A reception in his honor was held following the Assembly’s recess on Friday evening.
Ross was accompanied by his wife, Nikki, their children (Jennifer and Joseph Troutman, and David and Meadow Graham), and their grandchildren (Elizabeth, Anna, and Fisher).
Ross will be retiring from his service as general secretary on February 28, 2013. Here is the resolution:
To Ross W. Graham
In recognition of his faithful ministry as General Secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church 1990 – 2013
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s faithful ministry beginning in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, serving Westminster RPCES, Vincennes, Indiana 1972–1979, Faith RPCES, Charlotte, North Carolina 1979–1984, and continuing in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, serving as Regional Home Missionary in the Presbytery of New Jersey 1984–1990, the Intern Director for the Committee on Christian Education of the OPC 1987–1991, and as General Secretary of the Committee of Home Missions and Church Extension 1990–present, during which he served as Moderator of the 65th General Assembly in 1998, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s administrative skills in forging a strong working relationship between the Committee and the presbyteries, encouraging the presbyteries to take a more central role working in partnership with the Committee to reach out and establish new churches, and building a relationship of trust with the presbyteries for the purpose of establishing solidly Reformed and Presbyterian churches, through the ministry of the gospel.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s ministry to the churches through articles in New Horizons magazine on biblical principles of missions, which he later, with the encouragement of the Regional Home Missionaries and the Committee, published in the book, Planting an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, now in its second expanded edition and widely used both inside and outside the OPC as a helpful tool in starting new churches.
With gratitude to our Lord for the faithful support of Mr. Graham’s loving wife and helpmeet, Nicole, for her encouragement to him in his overall ministry, including many days and weekends during which he is away from home, for her care for him during his recovery from knee surgery, for the countless hours she spent helping in the production of Planting an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and for her love and care with Mr. Graham in raising godly children.
With gratitude to our Lord for his blessing of growth in the ministry of OPC home missions under the oversight of Mr. Graham and the Committee from 20 home mission fields in 1990 to 46 in 2011. It was during this time that the total number of churches and mission works in the OPC grew from 195 to 326, the total membership from 18,137 to 30,274, the number of ministers from 325 to 509, and the number of presbyteries from 12 to 17.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s establishing Readiness for Ministry in the OPC seminars on the campuses of Reformed and Presbyterian seminaries, and for arranging for three such conferences each year.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s personal and pastoral leadership with the members and staff of the Committee, and with other Worldwide Outreach staff members and workers in the OPC administrative offices. Mr. Graham worked with five Administrative Assistants, Jeanne Ridgway, Lisl Gaffin Tyson, Beverly Mariani, Vickie Swann, and Sean Gregg. During his first eight years he worked with Mr. William Vermeulen, Director of Evangelism and Church Development, and since 1999 Mr. Graham has worked with the Rev. Richard Gerber, the first Associate General Secretary for the Committee, which, while sharing many responsibilities with one another, has been an exemplary working relationship demonstrating mutual trust and confidence and benefiting the Committee and the whole church.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s pastoral care for those serving as church planters on the field along with their wives and children.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s ability to think strategically and long-term, keeping abreast of the changes and developments in the life of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, in overseeing the hiring of our first Associate General Secretary to help with the growing workload as the number of churches and presbyteries increased, in regularly taking time in meetings to encourage and lead the Committee to consider new avenues of ministry, such as, tracking the need for pastors in our churches and mission works, arranging a conference for ministers from both inside and outside the OPC to consider seeking a pastoral ministry in the OPC at a time when a significant number of churches were vacant, seeking ways for retiring ministers to continue in productive ministry, considering the ramifications of intentional church planting in urban areas, arranging conferences on ethnic church planting as such ministries were becoming a reality, and for his wisdom and leadership in organizing the Committee and the churches of the OPC to respond with mercy and love to the many people of God whose homes and lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and for the subsequent hiring of David Nakhla, who, with the Committee on Diaconal Ministries, will direct OPC disaster relief in the future.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s leadership in the yearly consultation with home mission leaders from the churches in the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council.
With gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham’s leadership in the program committees of Worldwide Outreach, for his steady encouragement of the production of promotional materials for WWO, and for taking his turn in promoting the yearly Thank Offering.
Therefore, we, the grateful members of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, resolve on this 8th day of June, 2012, to give thanks to the Lord for Ross W. Graham, his wife Nicole, and their family, and for our brother’s beloved influence in our own lives, and for his faithful service to the church of Jesus Christ.
We also resolve to encourage and support our brother and his family in every way possible, pledging ourselves and the resources God has graciously entrusted to us to minister to his support.
And we resolve with gratitude to treasure in our hearts and minds and in our Committee’s history the rich blessing the Lord has given to our denomination through our brother’s ministry, which has resulted in its significant growth spiritually, numerically, and organizationally, especially through the planting of a large number of new Orthodox Presbyterian churches.
This we resolve with gratitude to our Lord for Mr. Graham, whose humble service and faithful stewardship as General Secretary reflect well the scriptural exhortation, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2), and the words of the beloved hymn,
Father, I know that all my life is portioned out for me;
The changes that are sure to come, I do not fear to see:
I ask thee for a present mind, intent on pleasing thee.
(Anna L. Waring, 1850)