Wearing the gold Moderator’s medallion, and carrying the Moderator’s staff, Dr. Steve Suits approached the podium to address delegates for the last time as Moderator. “Getting to know so many of you during my term as Moderator has given me great joy, encouragement and edification,” said the medical doctor and ruling elder at First Presbyterian, Columbia.
“You see, it was getting beyond the limitations of a man-designed gathering of the elect – to witnessing the real lives of the elect in the places where they served that I found you, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Thank you from the depth of my soul!
The retiring Moderator acknowledged that Luke’s description of the church in Acts 2:42 was what he felt a church should look like. “I noticed the church in Jerusalem was a church of commitment. They didn’t give lip service to the teaching ministry, their fellowship, or their prayers, but devoted themselves to their church life.”
This committed group of believers was also devoted to the apostles’ teaching, he said. “As I have worshipped with many of you this past year, I’ve heard the apostles’ teaching from your pulpits – and I thank God for that. Let’s continue to place servants in our pulpits who know the Scriptures and can preach them, so we too can be described as a Church devoted to the apostles’ teaching.”
Dr. Suits continued with Luke’s description of the devotion of the early church to fellowship, including the breaking of bread. This was a deep fellowship characterized by taking care of one another’s needs. “While traveling among you, I have been blessed to fellowship with you – from shedding tears over a family tragedy to happily playing with a pastor’s children in their home.”
Again, just as the early church was also a praying church, Suits pointed out how he had been blessed to pray with so many members of the denomination – at a Presbytery gathering, one-on-one with a brother who was retiring from the ministry, with a family gathered around the table for devotions, or in his car on the way to a meeting. “Your prayers have sustained me. Thank you for allowing me to participate in your heavenly communications.”
In closing, Suits wanted delegates to know that the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well among the ARPC. “Just as none of us is perfect and complete, this side of the eschaton, neither are our congregations, presbyteries, or our Synod as a whole all that we ought to be.
“But the ‘already’ of Christ’s justification and the Spirit’s sanctification are taking us toward the ‘not yet’ of that perfection as the Bride of Christ. Thank you for enriching my sanctification by giving me the blessing of serving you and serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”