Live from Beaver Falls

Once again a significant chunk of time has elapsed since my last blog post here on URC Psalmody.  That’s not because my passion for psalm-singing has waned, nor because I think maintaining a blog is now a less desirable priority.  The past two weeks have been all hustle and bustle during the huge transition from homeschooling to college life.  And—that’s right—this post is coming to you live from the basement of Pearce Hall on campus at Geneva College in the quaint town of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

I spent the first full week in August accompanying a mission group composed of 28 people from Oak Glen United Reformed Church (located in a southeastern Chicago suburb), who spent a week on Long Island participating in reconstruction related to Hurricane Sandy.  Spending the entirety of eight days with a group of servant-hearted Christians from another part of the country—and serving as an amateur “tour guide” of sorts—was a remarkable and uplifting experience.  Below (or at this link) is a recording of our congregation plus the Oak Glen group singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” during our Sunday afternoon service.

Having seen the mission group safely off on their long trip back to Chicago, I was left with eight days in which to process all of my earthly belongings and determine which of them should accompany me to college.  Thankfully I had room for a decent selection of hymnals and all the resources I need to keep URC Psalmody up and running.  As I packed my Dordt College CD set, Genevans A Cappella album, and Synod 2012 recordings, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor soul who would have to be my roommate for the next year.

Two Sundays ago my parents and I began the first leg of our journey to Geneva, worshiping with our brothers and sisters at Zeltenreich Reformed Church (URC) in Lancaster County, PA.  There (purely by God’s providence) I met a fellow incoming freshman to Geneva, who now lives about three doors down from me in the same hallway.  So far I’ve met two other URC members among Geneva’s freshman class, and I can’t wait to find more.

The view from my dorm.

The view from my dorm.

After a visit to my grandparents in western Maryland, we finally arrived in Beaver Falls on August 20th.  Then began the solemn process of moving into my new “home” and saying goodbye to my ever-faithful parents.  Amid the frantic pace of the first few days at Geneva, it was a joy to discover that my roommate shares my love for music and the church.  Needless to say, God’s providential hand has been abundantly evident.

The college has also proven its excellence over and over again during the past week.  One of the most memorable moments for me was hearing some members of the college’s choir perform “The Lord’s My Shepherd” (Psalm 23) during opening ceremonies.  I joked that it was Friday night partying, Reformed Presbyterian style—but seriously, where else can one hear the psalms sung as part of a reverent ceremony invoking the Lord’s blessing and guidance on the coming academic year?

Then there was the singing at College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church, which I visited with many of my friends this past Sunday, and which will very likely become my church home for the next four years.  This congregation of perhaps two hundred members belted out the psalms a cappella with more gusto than I have heard from groups four times its size.  It also deserves to be said that many of the Reformed Presbyterians I have met thus far have been quite interested in the United Reformed Churches, our Psalter Hymnal, and the relations between our two bodies.  My sincere hope and prayer is that our ecumenical fellowship with our Scottish brethren will increase as time goes on, for it is an understatement to say that we have much in common.  (As an interesting side note, I discovered today that J. G. Vos, the son of renowned Reformed theologian Geerhardus Vos, taught Bible at Geneva from 1954 to 1973.)

My dorm room desk.

My dorm room desk.

And that brings us right up to the present moment.  Having just finished tonight’s load of homework, I’m ready to try to tackle another installment of our continuing Heidelberg Catechism series before turning in for the night.  I can’t make any promises that it will be published tomorrow, but even if the blog remains silent for a few more days, rest assured that all is well here in Beaver Falls, and the Lord is continuing to show himself as faithful as ever.



1 Response to “Live from Beaver Falls”

  1. 1 Doug Barnes August 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    So glad to hear that your first week at Geneva has been such a blessing, Michael. May your next four years be just as blessed. Also good to hear that there remains a URC contingent at Geneva. The school has drawn at least one current URC minister and one URC elder into the Reformed faith — probably more. May she remain ever-faithful.

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