Aimee Byrd

Inside the word. Outside the box.

We the undersigned, as ministers, elders, and members of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), present and publish this open letter in order to express our deep concern with regard to many comments and posts which were published on the “Genevan Commons” Facebook group and which were recently made public. 

Our concerns include these:

  1. We are greatly concerned that members of our church, including Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, along with others, have been subjected to disparaging comments which are “corrupt,” “foolish talking,” and “coarse jesting” (Eph 4:29; 5:5). Such words are never acceptable, and certainly not from officers of the church.
  2. We are greatly concerned that officers of the church, who have sworn to be accountable to “their brethren in the Lord” (4th ministerial ordination vow), would attempt to hide behind a group that pledges itself to secrecy, as if “locker room talk” could somehow be exempted from the accountability of the church on the basis of an alleged right to privacy. Indeed, our Lord warns us that “whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Luk 12:3).
  3. We are greatly concerned about the overtly misogynistic tone of the critiques leveled at women authors, whom many Geneva Commons members have not honored as fellow image bearers (Gen 1:27), as fellow heirs of the grace of life (1 Pet 3:7), and as members of Christ’s body who are endowed with many glorious and useful gifts for the building up of the church (Eph 4:7). Rather than thoughtful critique, we are dismayed to find officers of the church deriding and mocking others. Such behavior is completely unacceptable towards our sisters in Christ. It is the opposite of love.
  4. The ninth commandment forbids “undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others” (WLC 145); therefore, we cannot remain silent after the public revelation of such unedifying words.

Such sins are an outrage and are extremely grievous in the sight of God. They bring shame and reproach on the church of Jesus Christ, and they encourage a culture of disrespect and derision in the very body which is to be known for its love (John 13:35). Rather than honoring women the way that Christ has honored his precious bride, these men have encouraged each other (and indirectly, the rest of the church and the world now that these words are made public) to disparage women.

To be clear, we the undersigned do not believe all members of the Geneva Commons group to be engaged in these sins, nor are we endorsing the books which they have attacked.

Neither does this letter constitute formal charges against those who have committed these sins. Rather, we hope that this letter will encourage those who have committed these sins to repent publicly and to seek reconciliation promptly with those whom they have wronged. A fraternal appeal must precede any judicial charges, with honest hope and sincere prayer that it will be heeded. We therefore appeal to these brothers, by the mercies of Christ, by his blood shed both for them, for us, and for those whom they have maligned, to listen, heed, and repent.

While this letter was composed quickly and only distributed for review to a short list of pastors and elders, we imagine others might be interested in having their name added. Any interested Orthodox Presbyterian officers should leave their name and title in the comments section to be added.

Mark Jenkins

Pastor, Providence Church, Madison, WI

John S. Shaw

Pastor, Presbytery of Philadelphia, Elkins Park, PA

Jeremiah Montgomery

Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC), Vandalia, OH

Richard Ellis

Pastor, Faith OPC, Elmer, NJ

Calvin D. Keller

Pastor, Harvest Presbyterian Church, Winston-Salem, NC

John W. Mahaffy

Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, Newberg, OR

Robert Arendale

Teacher, Presbytery of the Southwest, Houston, TX

Todd Bordow

Pastor, Cornerstone OPC, Houston, TX

Matthew Patton

Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC), Vandalia, OH

Jonathan Shishko

Pastor, Grace OPC, Columbus, OH

Al Tricarico

Pastor, Presbytery of Philadelphia, Willow Grove, PA

Francis VanDelden

Pastor, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Dave Myers

Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Karl Koops

Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

Jonathan Cruse

Pastor, Community Presbyterian Church, Kalamazoo, MI

Mike Shields

Elder, Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC), Mount Airy, NC

Danny Patterson
Pastor, Second Parish, OPC Portland, ME

Luke Fawcett
Deacon, Resurrection Presbyterian Church, Matthews, NC

David Welliver

Elder, Mission OPCSaint Paul, MN

Ken Golden

Pastor, Sovereign Grace OPCDavenport, IA

Steven R. Hake
Teaching Elder, New Hope Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland

John Livingston

Elder, Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Glenside, PA


Jonathan Holst

Pastor Westminster OPC, Hamden, CT

Matthew Barker

Pastor, Grace Reformed Church (OPC)

Zach Siggins 

Associate Pastor, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA

Tony Phelps

Pastor, Living Hope OPC, Allentown, PA

David King

Minister, presbytery of the Midwest

John M. Wise
Elder, New Hope OPC, Frederick, MD

John D. Van Meerbeke

Senior Pastor, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA (OPC)

Gabriel Nave 

RE, Harvest OPC, San Marcos, CA

Logan Murray
Ruling elder, Living Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC), Brunswick, ME

Soo Bin Lee
Elder, New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, MI

Cole Brumley

Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Medford, OR

Darryl A. Bradford Jr.
Elder, New City Fellowship (OPC), Grand Rapids, MI

Bruce G. Buchanan
Pastor, ChainOLakes OPC, Central Lake, MI

Chris Malamisuro 

Pastor, Good Shepherd OPC (Cincinnati)

Robb Leatherwood
Ruling Elder, Calvin Presbyterian Church (OPC), Phoenix, AZ

Rev. Andrew Moody
San Antonio Reformed Church (OPC)

Bradney Lopez

Pastor, Iglesia Presbiteriana Sola Escritura OPC, Arroyo, Puerto Rico

Ryan Cavanaugh
Pastor Mission Church (OPC) Merrillville, Indiana

Joel D. Fick 

Pastor, Redemption OPC, Gainesville, FL

Josh Vander Meulen
Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC, Grand Rapids, MI

Andrew Myers
Associate Pastor, Trinity Church (OPC), Hatboro PA

Geoffrey L. Willour
Pastor, Lake Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Mentor, Ohio

Richard L. Guido 

Ruling Elder, Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Huntsville, Alabama

Arthur J Fox

Pastor, Presbytery of Northern California

Brian Belh 

Pastor, Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Rockford, IL (OPC)

Adam P. Vedra
Elder, Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI

James Lim
Pastor, Faith Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, CA

Josh McKamy
Pastor, Covenant OPC, Chambersburg PA
(mission work of Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA)

Gregory C. Miller

Elder, New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, MI.

David Evert
Ruling Elder, Covenant OPC, LaGrange, GA

Chad Van Dixhoorn
Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

Everett A. Henes
Pastor, Hillsdale OPC

Michael Borg 

Pastor, Providence Presbyterian, Bradenton, FL (OPC)

C. Steven McDaniel, Jr.
Pastor, Providence OPC, Mantua, NJ

Matthew Stubbs
Ruling Elder, Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Huntsville, Alabama

Joshua A. Downs 

Ruling Elder, Redemption OPC, Gainesville, FL

John Hartley 

Pastor, Apple Valley OPC, Neenah, WI

Greg Hoadley 

Pastor, Redeemer OPC, Airdrie, AB, Canada

Josh McKamy
Pastor, Covenant OPC, Chambersburg PA
(mission work of Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA)

Mark Sallade 

Senior Pastor, Calvary OPC, Glenside, PA

Sam Logan

OPC Teaching Elder (Retired), Presbytery of New York and New England

Chuck Noren
Elder, Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Marietta, GA

Sean Gregg
Ruling Elder, Trinity OPC, Hatboro, PA

William M. Hobbs

Retired minister, OPC

Ronald L. Beabout
Evangelist in the Presbytery of Central Pennsylvania of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Pastor of Grace and Truth OPC, Mifflintown, PA.

Tim Herndon

Pastor, Providence Presbyterian (OPC), West Lebanon, NH

David J. Gregg

Ruling elder, Calvary OPC, Middletown, PA

Peter Lee
Professor of Old Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary
Presbytery of Mid-Atlantic

Michael Haan
Elder (inactive)
Harvest OPC
Wyoming, MI

Aijalon Church
Associate Pastor, Covenant OPC, Sinking Spring, PA

John Muether
Ruling Elder, Reformation OPC, Oviedo, FL

Mark Graham
Ruling Elder (Covenant OPC, Grove City, PA)
Fellow, Greystone Theological Institute

Russell Hamilton
Senior Pastor, Pilgrim Church, Bangor, Maine

Dave Sarafolean

Pastor, Christ Covenant Church, Midland, Michigan

Kim Dang
Senior Pastor, Houston, TX

Lynne Hunter

Ruling Elder Harvest OPC, currently serving as a Deacon at Harvest OPC, Wyoming Michigan

Dean Ter Haar

Ruling Elder, Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI

Brandon Wilkins
Pastor, Christ Covenant OPC, Crystal Lake, IL

Russell Hamilton
Presbytery of New York & New England
Pastor of Pilgrim OPC in Bangor, Maine

Mike Kearney

Pastor, Covenant OPC, Cedar Falls, IA

Shane Bennett
Pastor, Reformation OPC, Grand Rapids, MI

Dale Bekkering 

Ruling Elder Harvest OPC in Grand Rapids MI

Bryan Dage
Pastor, Emmanuel OPC, Meaford, Ontario

Nathan Strom
Pastor, Bethel OPC, Oostburg, WI

Steven Johnson
Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church – Medford, OR

Dave Werner
Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC – Grand Rapids, MI

Josiah Stockwell

Ruling elder Pilgrim OPC, Bangor, ME

Andrew Barshinger

Pastor, Faith OPC, Elmer NJ

Michael Chism

Ruling elder, Bonita OPC, Bonita, CA

Darren Thole

Pastor Providence OPC, Madison/Huntsville, AL

Matthew Cotta

Minister, Pasadena OPC

Jeffrey C. Waddington
Pastor, Faith OPC Fawn Grove, PA

Jeffrey M. Scott

Pastor, Covenant Grace OPC, Roseburg, OR

128 thoughts on “An Open Letter from Concerned Ministers and Elders in the OPC

  1. Danny Patterson says:

    Danny Patterson
    Pastor, Second Parish, OPC Portland, ME

    Like

  2. janetlynnem says:

    I’m thankful to read this. I hope repentance is forthcoming from those who wronged you and Rachel, Aimee.

    Like

  3. Well said and well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura says:

    Very encouraging open letter

    Like

  5. Fawcett 1 says:

    Luke Fawcett
    Deacon, Resurrection Presbyterian Church, Matthews, NC

    Like

  6. Valerie Hobbs says:

    For a few years, I was a fellow of Greystone and the Associate Director of the Lydia Center. I resigned my positions at Greystone in part because of the associations I saw forming. At that time and since then, I have communicated my concerns to the president and other members of Greystone about some of the men in Genevan Commons. Now that the nature of Genevan Commons has come further into the light, I call on the Board of Greystone to denounce publicly the hateful comments in Genevan Commons. I know that my former colleagues at Greystone, including the president, have done much to stand with and support women. I implore my former colleagues to reject publicly the behaviour of Genevan Commons’ members, which is the antithesis of Greystone’s ethos, the ideals they claim to hold.

    I am also a former member of the OPC. I am so thankful to see the names of men I know on this letter. I hope other OPC officers will sign this letter.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Heather Wiley says:

    We are very encouraged by this. Many others continue to denounce the despicable behavior. I pray it will continue to bring to light all the darkness.

    Like

  8. Jonathan Holst says:

    Pastor Westminster OPC, Hamden, CT. I add my name to this. Any further comments that I could leave have already been directly passed on a regular author at G.C.

    Like

  9. Doug Serven says:

    Rev. Doug Serven
    City Presbyterian Church (PCA)
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Like

  10. Matthew Barker says:

    Matthew Barker, Pastor, Grace Reformed Church (OPC)

    Like

  11. As pastor of Living Hope OPC in Allentown PA, I would like to add my name to this open letter – Pastor Tony Phelps.

    Like

  12. pastor tony phelps says:

    As pastor of Living Hope OPC in Allentown, PA, I’d like to request that my name be added to this open letter.

    Thank you,

    Pastor Tony Phelps

    Like

  13. Zach Siggins says:

    Thank you to those officers who wrote this! I’d like to sign.

    Zach Siggins
    Associate Pastor, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA

    Like

  14. John Livingston says:

    John Livingston, Elder, Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Glenside, PA

    Like

  15. Steven Hake says:

    Steven R. Hake
    Teacher, New Hope Presbyterian Church, Frederick, Maryland

    Like

  16. Add me please. Matthew E. Cotta, Minister, Pasadena OPC.

    Like

  17. John Van Meerbeke says:

    So grateful for this letter, and deeply troubled by the words and deeds of men who necessitated it. Light exposes the darkness.

    Like

  18. Everett A. Henes says:

    Everett A. Henes, Pastor, Hillsdale OPC, Hillsdale, Michigan

    Like

  19. John Van Meerbeke says:

    [to my previous comment please add my endorsement signature:

    John D. Van Meerbeke
    Senior Pastor
    Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA (OPC)

    Like

  20. Andrew Moody says:

    Please add my signature.

    Rev. Andrew Moody
    San Antonio Reformed Church (OPC)

    Like

  21. ethan hunt says:

    This is a start, but the situation with Geneva Commons is likely much more serious. Those in it who are sexually verbally assaulting other women from a secret group are living a secret life, a life of deceit, which shows no repentance, and perhaps no regeneration. Those who talk with such ease about sexual subjects are likely involved in much more of it in other places. Do their wives know of their involvement with this? If not, again, more secrecy and deceit. This deceitfulness is disqualification from office, even with repentance and reconciliation. All involved should resign their positions immediately.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. jakewasdin says:

    Thankful for this letter as a former OPC member, and also a former Geneva Commons group member who was appalled at the rhetoric and attacks towards you and others. I think I was removed from the group for trying to defend you.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Robb Leatherwood says:

    Please add my endorsement:

    Robb Leatherwood
    Ruling Elder, Calvin Presbyterian Church (OPC), Phoenix, AZ

    Like

  24. Chris Malamisuro says:

    Thank you brothers for the letter. I agree wholeheartedly with your concerns.
    Chris Malamisuro
    Pastor, Good Shepherd OPC (Cincinnati)

    Like

  25. BGB says:

    Bruce G. Buchanan
    Pastor, ChainOLakes OPC, Central Lake, MI

    Like

  26. Darryl A Bradford Jr. says:

    Please add my endorsement:

    Darryl A. Bradford Jr.
    Elder, New City Fellowship (OPC), Grand Rapids, MI

    Like

  27. This is an excellent response. In my formal capacity as Rev. Dr. D. Thomas Owsley (Retired), I would sign this letter too!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. cole brumley says:

    As an elder in the OPC, I whole heartedly endorse this letter
    Cole Brumley
    Elder
    Trinity Presbyterian Church, Medford, OR

    Like

  29. Soo Bin Lee says:

    Thankful for this letter. Praying for repentance and reconciliation.

    You can add my signature endorsement.

    Soo Bin Lee
    Elder
    New City Fellowship
    Grand Rapids, MI

    Like

  30. Logan Murray says:

    Please add my endorsement signature:

    Logan Murray
    Ruling elder
    Living Hope Presbyterian Church (OPC)
    Brunswick, ME

    Like

  31. Gabriel M Nave says:

    Brothers, Thank you for taking the time to write this and having the courage to post it. I wholeheartedly concur.

    Gabriel Nave, RE, Harvest OPC, San Marcos, CA

    Like

  32. John M Wise says:

    John M. Wise
    Elder, New Hope OPC
    Frederick, MD

    Like

  33. Natalie says:

    Wow this grieves me. Have these elders & pastors forgotten that the very LAST step in discipline is to publicly denounce the guilty party to the rest of the church? They have skipped a few steps! We are all sinners-we do not publicly excommunicate all sinners. We go to them and offer the mercy of Christ and the ministry of reconciliation. Skipping straight to the step of excommunication is one of the most unloving, worldly things that I’ve seen in my (admittedly short) time in the church.

    Like

    1. Matthew Barker says:

      Hi Natalie, I think a quick clarification is order. No one has been excommunicated. What has happened is Jesus has revealed sinful behavior in a very public way – just like he promises to do. Our response to the Lord’s work of this public exposure is now a public call for them to repent in real, tangible, obvious ways: with words and deeds. This is actually the mercy of Christ to them: He’s exposed their sins and he’s amplifying his call to them to turn from wickedness and live. It’s also the mercy of Christ to those they’ve been verbally abusing because it’s at least started the process of defending them.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Graham Veale says:

      Hi Natalie,
      This letter condemns behaviour. It asks the Church to address bad behaviour.
      There is nothing unbiblical about it.

      Graham

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Natalie says:

        Thank you Graham & Matthew, I very much appreciate your response.

        We have recently joined the OPC and I have been a member of Genevan Commons for years. I have not seen ungodly behavior from any of the elders or ministers in there. I have seen Shane Anderson ask repeatedly for people to report any comments to him so that repentance can occur. I have seen people publicly reach out and ask for reconciliation & have received no response. I urge you to contact the pastors allegedly involved directly, for the sake of the church. Today I spent some time reading the OPC book of church order and am completely at a loss as to how it’s okay to publicly condemn people as guilty before a trial. I would love some direction as to where that is, so my mind can rest. Thank you.

        Like

    3. Open sin calls for a public response.

      This is not excommunication. It’s not similar to excommunication.

      Like

  34. ajdmyers says:

    Andrew Myers
    Associate Pastor, Trinity Church (OPC), Hatboro PA

    Like

  35. Josh Vander Meulen says:

    Josh Vander Meulen
    Ruling Elder, New City Fellowship OPC, Grand Rapids, MI

    Like

  36. Joel Fick says:

    I concur. Please add my name – Pastor Joel D. Fick, Redemption OPC, Gainesville, FL.

    Like

  37. Ryan Cavanaugh says:

    Please add my signature to the letter

    Ryan Cavanaugh
    Pastor Mission Church (OPC) Merrillville, Indiana

    Like

  38. Cath says:

    Very thankful for this clear evidence of kind, decent and courageous men in the OPC.

    Like

  39. James T Lim says:

    I don’t know if my earlier signature was recorded. I would like to add my endorsement of the open letter as an OPC minister.

    James Lim
    Pastor, Faith Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, CA

    Like

  40. Adam Vedra says:

    Please add my name to this letter.
    Adam P. Vedra
    Elder @ Harvest OPC, Wyoming, MI

    Like

  41. Brian Belh says:

    Please add my name to this letter:
    Brian Belh, Pastor, Providence Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Rockford, IL (OPC)

    Like

  42. Arthur J Fox says:

    Please add my name to this document. I am a ministerial member of the Presbytery of Northern California

    Like

  43. Richard L. Guido says:

    Richard L. Guido, Ruling Elder, Providence Presbyterian Church (OPC), Huntsville, Alabama

    Like

  44. Geoffrey L. Willour says:

    Please add my endorsement signature:

    Geoffrey L. Willour
    Pastor, Lake Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    Mentor, Ohio

    Like

  45. Russ Gaippe says:

    So glad to read this And see the many names that have endorsed it.

    Like

  46. Josh McKamy says:

    Sad to learn of the circumstances necessitating this letter, but thankful to see it. Please add my endorsement.

    Josh McKamy
    Pastor, Covenant OPC, Chambersburg PA
    (mission work of Living Hope Presbyterian Church, Gettysburg, PA)

    Like

  47. gregcmill says:

    Gregory C. Miller, Elder, New City Fellowship, Grand Rapids, MI.

    Please add my name. I support this letter.

    Like

  48. spiritwaterblood says:

    Why is it so difficult to be specific with what was actually said and how it was not just debatable or misguided but sinful? The letter comes across as saying that some women had their feelings hurt. Maybe it was more serious than this, but how would we know, since apparently not a single one of all the men who wrote and signed this letter suggested to the others that specificity is required when rebuking sin?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: