Another Man Set Apart

Last Saturday it was great to be at the ordination and installation service of (now Rev.) Andy Young at Cheltenham Evangelical Presbyterian Church. I guess there were about 100 people present which included the congregation plus many from other EPCEW churches and some local church leaders.

I have only recently begun to know Andy, but I have been struck by his seriousness about the gospel, his desire to learn, his abilities as a preacher and his love for the Scriptures. (How many men do you know who want to get together with others to talk about the Scriptures in Hebrew!)

I found the ordination process quite moving. After the sermon was preached (by Ian Hamiton of Cambridge) and the ordination vows taken, Andy knelt on the floor while members of Presbytery laid hands on him and Richard Holst prayed. (This moment distinguishes presbyterians from independents and congregationalists since elders of the wider church set apart a man for the ministry to serve a local church.) The process of fifteen or more men reaching in, eager to lay hands on a young man who has been proven fit for ministry was certainly powerful. Chad van Dixhoorn then charged him to “be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1). Notably, Chad also instructed Andy to stand while he received the charge.

The ordination was tinged with sadness because this was the final time that Tim Horn, the founding minister of Cheltenham EPC, would address its members. He charged them to use their gifts for the sake of the kingdom and warmly commended Andy and his family to their care. Tim, an MTW missionary, and his family returns shortly to the US on extended furlough.

The sermon and charges are worth hearing. I don’t know if they were recorded. I will point them out if they are made available.

Another Man Set Apart

4 thoughts on “Another Man Set Apart

  1. Jonathan Hunt says:

    You were THERE?

    That’s a shame, I didn’t think that you were there because I thought (wrongly, obviously) that all ministers of EPCEW there would have been part of the commission. I had had half a mind to keep an eye out for you and say ‘hi’.

    I was sitting right at the front where the laying on of hands took place. I don’t think you are right to assert that
    “(This moment distinguishes presbyterians from independents and congregationalists since elders of the wider church set apart a man for the ministry to serve a local church.)”

    I have been to independent church ‘ordinations’ where many men (from different countries) have laid on hands.

    I had a quick chat with Andy. I was called by my own church last week which means that in Cheltenham now there are three young preachers in reformed churches, aged 28,29 and 31 – I’m the oldest. This is a good thing, I wonder if we can work together.

    I feel like an intellectual ant next to some of my brethren. Suffice to say I won’t be contributing to Hebrew discussions. It stretches my ability to say one coherent word in a greek discussion!!!!

    The ‘ordination’ was almost comical because of the sheer number of men pressing in!

    It was great to be there, and the three messages (sermon and sermonettes!) were a blessing and an inspiration.

    That said, I believe ordination itself to be the call of the church, and the laying on of hands to be merely symbolic and not requiring the attendance of other elders. My own setting apart will be part of a ‘normal’ Sunday service and the one existing elder in the church will lay on hands and pray. This is not only in line with my own convictions but also oddly in line with our church constitution which was both written and updated by men who were (are) presbyterians.

  2. Stephen says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    I’m sorry I missed you!

    I was part of the commission by virtue of the fact that I was present!

    I am interested in your comment about who gets to lay on hands. The fact that all presbyters get to lay hands is consistent with our general church polity. I confess I do not understand the rationale of an independent church having elders (or non-elders?) from elsewhere lay on hands. Perhaps you could explain. Of course we would see it as symbolic as you do, and would not question the call of someone who had not had hands laid on him at ordination.

    What’s the other reformed church in Cheltenham? I only know of yours and CEPC.

    I hope you can form a good relations with the other reformed men for the sake of the gospel.

  3. Jonathan Hunt says:

    The other is, which is the most ‘traditional’ of the three.

    I can’t explain the rationale of having loads of men lay on hands in an independent church – because I don’t agree with it – you are right, it is inconsistent. But it happens frequently. I haven’t seen an ‘ordination’ in which it does not happen. Mine will be the first!

    I believe that I know already that I will get on well with Andy.

  4. Stephen Johnston says:


    Thanks for your comments

    It was great to have so many brethren attend to encourage and rejoice with us. We reckoned it at approximately 180.

    A brother is making a DVD of the occasion which I will send to you but i will see if we can get the addresses onto our new church website podcast.

    Yours in Him
    Stephen Johnston

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