On January 1, 2018, FPCH will become grace ridge church. While we will still be an ECO Presbyterian Church with a 9:00am and an 11:00am service, some changes will take place at both locations.  The Board of Elders invites you to watch this video as they describe the long and prayerful process which led to these changes.   We pray that you will share our excitement as we seek to honor God and move forward with joy!

                                      click here for video…

Questions & Answers

1. We grew as FPCH, so why are we changing?
We did grow in numbers and also in Spiritual maturity. However, in most cases, we simply “reshuffled the deck.” We have added Christians from either those who were discontent with their churches or Christians who had moved into the area. None of the changes will thwart this growth, but we are calling all believers to mobilize as we strive to reach the unchurched, as well.
2. Why change the name?
The identity of our church has changed and the vision of the church has changed. We want to be a people that take the Grace of God to everyone in Wayne County.  As such we are grace ridge church, a member of the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. We are still Presbyterians, and our current facilities are in Honesdale, but we believe that God may be calling us to move beyond Honesdale. We are excited to be a church whose name is not tied to one town, but to all of Wayne County.

3. Why Grace Ridge?
As you can imagine, it was hard to decide on a name.  We felt it needed to reflect our identity as defined by our mission and vision statements.  We wanted it to be simple.  It had to be about GRACE!  Once we narrowed down the options, we checked online to see how many other churches/organizations had the same names.  Grace is a pretty common part of church names, but Grace Ridge Church is relatively uncommon.  The name is a perfect fit:

Who are we? a Church of sinners, given a gift we don’t deserve (Grace)
Where are we? all of Wayne County (Ridge)
What are we? a body of believers, followers of Christ (Church)
4. What is the Biblical basis for the name change?
It was very important to our Board that the church name reflected our new identity.  Throughout the Scriptures there are numerous accounts of name changes, and all are aligned with Covenant.  Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul.  We are beginning a new chapter in the life of our church.  It’s a chapter that will be characterized by a renewed commitment to carry out the Great Commission “to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  God is on the move, and we are excited to see where He takes Grace Ridge Church!
5. Isn’t this change disrespectful to our forefathers?
Actually, we believe staying as we have always been is disrespecting our forefathers.  When we stop and read the first clerk’s book and then on through the years, we discover that our forefathers were about making Christ known and making disciples for Christ!  That is truly the desire of the elders.
6. Have we forgotten the downtrodden of Honesdale?
No!  We are making these changes to reach the downtrodden in Honesdale.  We are not seeing the downtrodden of Honesdale come to know Christ through attending our 10th Street campus.  We can continue in the same way, but history tells us it doesn’t work!  It is time to try something new!
7. Why not ask for input from the congregation?
Asking for input from over 300 people is simply not feasible, nor is it wise.  There are sure to be hurt feelings and heated discussions.  Additionally, we are Presbyterians and as such, we rely on the prayerful wisdom and discernment of our elders.  We were prayerful and spent many months on this very important decision.  We did research, weighed the pros and cons and did our very best to come up with just the right name.
8. Why did the session keep these changes a secret?
We were carefully listening for God’s direction, and it wasn’t until this fall that we actually prayerfully decided on a name that fits our identity.  It was our intention to ensure that everything was in place (such as a logo, a web address,…) before announcing it to the congregation.  As you may recall, a name change was mentioned at the vision meetings held in early fall.  These changes have been a long time in the works, but when information is not disseminated correctly, we have misinformation and fear.  Do you serve a cake that isn’t quite baked to your family or do you wait for it to be completely baked?
9. Why did we move the staff offices to the VC?
Even before we moved the offices to the VC, the only ministries happening on 10th Street were the choir, bell choir, Sunday worship, Abraham House, morning Wednesday Bible Study, and Women’s Fellowship. The preponderance of day to day ministries are at the VC.  As you can imagine, a great deal of time and gas was used as staff members traveled between the two places several times daily.  There was also a redundancy of effort, having two secretaries doing the same job.  Additionally, the change reduced utilities drastically.
10. Why did pastor’s family move?
People had walked into our pastor’s house numerous times when his wife and children were there!  One man came off the street, walked into the bathroom, used it and left, while his wife and young children were present.  He was making plans to buy a house outside of town.  According to his contract, we could have paid him an additional $18,000 a year for housing or renovate a house at Woodside.  This decision is best for the church.
11. Why rent out the manse? (and not to a Christian organization)
Though no Christian organizations wanted to rent the manse, we are happy with our tenants!  We are hoping that a Christian organization will rent the chapel in the near future!
12. Why not use the chapel again as a hub of activity?
The Vineyard Center has naturally become the hub, probably because over 40 families bring their children there each day, and there is ample space for meetings and parking.  It is family friendly, with a gym, a playground and a youth room. However, the chapel is still available for activities and events.
We pray that as you read through these answers you will realize that we do not approach change lightly nor do we implement change just for the sake of change!  We have been prayerfully seeking God’s Will, and we are excited to see Him working through all the ups and downs of ministry challenges!  We ask for your prayers as we continue to discern the future of Grace Ridge Church.
The Board of Elders
Annette Jurkowski
Jean Dewar
Fred Stanton
Steve Carmody
Helen Ward
Bob Bryden
Patti Howell
Harvey Swendsen