Even Before RIPC was chartered… 

Listen to RIPC’s retired Child Care Director Kathy Spencer share the story of our church’s child care mission on NC’s First 2000 Days website!  www.first2000days.org/kathy-spencer


The History of God’s Faithfulness to RIPC:

A Story that Bears Repeating

Minute for Mission by Elder Dick Denton

(First presented on April 6, 1998)

Today I want to say something about Preparation and Praise. God has done the preparation and our job is to praise Him.  As I thought about the history of this congregation, I sort of realized how our story is like the story of Moses and the people he led. “Who, us? Why us?”

God said, “I want you to start a Presbyterian Church on Roanoke Island. I’ve already picked a location for you and had Presbytery purchase the land.  “But Lord, there aren’t enough Presbyterians on Roanoke Island to start a Church.” The Lord said, “Don’t worry about that. I’ve given you two or three Presbyterians, then I’ll throw in a couple of Catholics, two or three Baptists, a Quaker, maybe a couple of people from the United Church of Christ. Don’t worry, you’ll have enough people.  Look what Jesus did with twelve.”

And then we said, “Lord, we don’t have a preacher.” The Lord said, I’ll take care of that. Not only will I give you a top-notch preacher, but I’ll send you one with a wife who will serve as Director of Christian Education. She’ll do great work with the young people.”  And God sent us Tom Murphy and Mary Helen Goodloe – Murphy.

And we said, “Lord, we need a place to worship that we can call our own. We can’t keep meeting in funeral parlors and schools forever.”  And the Lord said, “I’ll get you a place that adjoins your existing property.”

And we said, “Lord, we want to provide a place where we can keep the children of teenage mothers so they can continue their education, but the laws of our area forbid this.”  And the Lord said, “This is wrong and I will appoint you to head the fight to get the law changed.”

And then we said, “Lord, we have outgrown our building and we want to build a sanctuary and expand your kingdom in this place.” And the Lord said, “It will be done.”

“But, Lord, we cannot afford a new building. We can’t even hire an architect.” The Lord said, I’ll send you an outstanding architect.”  And God sent us John White.

“But, Lord, we cannot afford a contractor.”  The Lord said, I’ll introduce one to your minister at a Presbytery meeting and he will bring a group of people here to build your building and not charge you a cent.”

And God sent us Tom Westfall, a contractor who became a minister.

“But, Lord,” we said, “we need some local people here with the knowledge to help them. We need carpenters, electricians, painters, and landscapers.”  Then the Lord said, “Look in your midst.”  And we already had Glen Sutherland, Tom Murphy, Tom Pearce, Ward Mosedale, Don Spencer, and Jeff Lewis.

“But, Lord, we have to have someone to help us raise money to buy building supplies and furniture.”  The Lord said, “I will send you a professional fund-raiser who has raised millions of dollars for churches.”  And God sent Bill Miller.

And we said, “Lord, what must we do now?”  And the Lord said, “Attend the fellowship dinner at Rebecca Lodge on Sunday, April 26. This will be your preparation.”

Praise God!

The rest of the story is history. That meeting was held and this small group of God’s people pledged enough to go through with our building project. The history of this church is full of one small miracle after another.

There were so many times this little group could have disbanded. In my mind, we were and are a part of God’s plan. What we call miracles are the working parts of God’s plan

Another story, like the one written in 1998, could be written today. More parts have been added to the plan and more names could be mentioned. The challenges continue to come and God continues to respond. With the retirement of Tom Murphy came strong leadership in Lori Pistor, who as Interim Pastor has led us through what could have been a frustrating time in the life of this church.

Out of the Mission Study came the decision to direct the Pastor Nominating Committee to search for a full-time minister and the congregation met the challenge to prepare for the call. Another challenge was to purchase a manse and God worked more miracles through the church.

Every one of you is here because you are in God’s plan for this church. It was not an accident. God wanted you and selected you to be here. I think God has great things planned for Roanoke Island Presbyterian Church. Let us keep that in mind first and foremost and continue to support God’s work through this church to the best of our ability.

And so the story continues….