Monday, September 6, 2010

NYTS president preaches at historic American Baptist congregation

Stelton Baptist Church
(MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY: MONDAY, SEPT. 6, 2010) – New York Theological Seminary President Dr. Dale Irvin preached at the Stelton Baptist Church, Edison Township, on Sunday, Sept. 5th. "This is a wonderful, historic congregation, which has continually operated since 1689, making it the second-oldest church in New Jersey and the tenth-oldest in the United States," Dr. Irvin said.

As well as holding historic significance to Dr. Irvin, Stelton also holds personal meaning to the NYTS president, who earned his Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and Doctorate from Union Theological Seminary, in Manhattan. Dr. Irvin was invited to preach at the church immediately following the retirement, on Aug. 31st, of the church's long-time pastor, the Rev. Kathleen Cardy-Tice, who attended NYTS during the 1980s. She was pastor at the church for 11 years, and is relocating to Minnesota in the wake of her retirement, to pursue a career in spiritual direction. "Kathleen Tice was and is a trailblazer in so many ways," Dr. Irvin said. "And this church has so much meaning to her."

Dr. Dale Irvin and Rev. Tamara Davis
Pastor Tice credited Dr. Irvin with being a motivating force behind her career in ministry. "Dr. Dale Irvin has meant so much to so many people in their journey into ministry," Pastor Tice said. "I have been blessed not only to have Dale as a professor in seminary, but as a friend in the years after." During the Sept. 5th service, it marked the first time after Pastor Tice's retirement that the church's new interim pastor, the Rev. Tamara Davis, presided over the congregation.

"It was a real honor to meet Dr. Irvin and to hear him preach," said Davis, who recently received her Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. "It's rare to get a chance to hear someone with Dr. Irvin's passion, experience and background in ministry."

Rev. Kathleen Cardy-Tice
Stelton was one of the first churches to form the Philadelphia Association, constituted in 1707. Subsequent to its founding, that association evolved into the American Baptist Churches-U.S.A. denomination. As a result, Stelton Baptist, while being an ABCNJ church, existed before its own denomination. Yet, in the more than three centuries of the church's history, Pastor Tice was the very first woman to preside over the congregation as its spiritual leader.

"It was a great honor for the congregation to get the opportunity to hear Dr. Irvin's sermon," said Charles Holt, a deacon at Stelton who sits on the Church Council. "At this time of change, someone of Dr. Irvin's stature coming to the church and preaching meant so much to everyone."

The Rev. Dr. Miles Austin is Stelton's moderator. He concluded, "Stelton holds a unique place in history, but it remains as it always has been – a house of God and home to a congregation seeking to grow closer to the Lord. It was very moving that Dr. Irvin would come here, at this moment in the congregation's sojourn, to share his words and faith with us."

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