Ministry Staff

 
 
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Senior Pastor

Rev. Dr. James (Jay) Harvey

In May of 2005 EPC called Pastor Harvey to serve as Senior Pastor of EPC Newark. As of May 1, 2017 he has been at EPC for 12 years, making him the second longest serving pastor in our history.  As the Senior Pastor at EPC Pastor Harvey is the primary preaching pastor, the leader of the staff and the moderator of the Session (governing board of elders). Prior to serving at EPC, he was a campus minister at his alma mater, Princeton University (B.A. 1995, History and Russian Studies). Pastor Harvey completed his seminary education at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS (M.Div. 2002). He has done additional graduate coursework at Princeton Theological Seminary in Early Church History and New Testament Studies (2002-2004) and completed his D. Min from Erskine seminary in 2015.  His Doctor of Ministry project was on coaching and leadership development.

Pastor Harvey came to faith in Christ as a teenager in Columbia, SC.  He was blessed to fall into First Presbyterian Church in Columbia where he experienced the love of the body of Christ in a profound way.  He and Melody were married on December 20, 1996. In 1998 after spending four years in the business world doing management consulting and marketing work, Jay was called to vocational ministry. With a burden to spend more time in evangelism and teaching than the marketplace was affording him, Jay and Melody left a wonderful life in Charlotte, NC to attend seminary at Reformed Theological Seminary. After seminary, the Harveys went to Princeton, NJ with a view toward ministering to the University, first with Princeton Presbyterian Church and later with the Christian Union.  Jay was the first Ministry Fellow on staff with Christian Union and wrote some of their first Bible Courses.

Since 2005 Pastor Harvey has faithfully led EPC through a number of key transitions.  Known as a congregation in need of spiritual revitalization, we now regularly enfold new families and folks with little to no background in church.  At his first visit as a candidate to become our Senior Pastor, Jay emphasized his love for students and the potential that our church had to reach students.  After much prayer and a great commitment from our congregation, we are now the host church for Reformed University Fellowship (Rev. Nick Owens) and Reformed University Fellowship International (Rev. Rick Gray).

Vital to our spiritual health as a congregation is an emphasis on leading in and through prayer.  Our Sunday evening gathering is a less formal time of teaching and praise with an extended time of corporate prayer.  We also have a monthly gathering of elders with and exclusive focus on prayer.  Much of the spiritual fruit in our congregation can be traced to prayers offered at these gatherings.   

Pastor Harvey was attracted to EPC in part because of the congregation's robust commitment to international missions.  We had been a missions oriented congregation for many years, giving a substantial portion of gross receipts to mission work. Over the past twelve years, our missions ministry has expanded to include more local mission partnership with Sunday Breakfast Mission, Good Neighbors Home Repair, and several church plants.  We have added a summer sports camp ministry and concert series.

Our elders have purposed that EPC will be a congregation that ministers in word and deed to our community.  Our Christianity Explored ministry provides a clear space in the life of the church where the new folks we encounter can explore the Christian Faith in a safe environment where no questions are off limits.  Often, Pastor Harvey can be found leading a Christianity Explored class on Sunday morning before the worship service.   

EPC has embraced principles of Reformed Theology and worship since its founding.  Over the past twelve years we have seen greater definition and gospel centered application brought to these principles.  Our worship is joyful, using multiple genres of music, many instruments, and quite often unique arrangements prepared by our music director.  We are blessed at EP Church with many talented musicians, and the number seem to be growing.  Our Bell programs and after school Strings and Brass programs continue to attract students.  We also have a newly created Children's Choir.  

Pastor Harvey believes that preaching should be centered on Christ in such a way that believers are built up and those who are not familiar with the gospel hear it clearly.  When that happens, his heart sings for joy.  His own experience of Christ is shaped especially by his family's ongoing struggle with chronic illness.  Jay and Melody's son Jacob (15) has Cystic Fibrosis and is post-liver transplant with a number of significant complications.  Melody had a bout with RSD in 2010 that was treated by being induced into a coma in Monterrey, Mexico.  While the Harveys would not have chosen this path for themselves, they and others can see how God has upheld and taught them his love and grace through these trials.

Pastor Harvey has a heart for the broader church too.  While working in business, he served as a volunteer lobbyist and community educator for Justice Fellowship, the lobbying arm of Prison Fellowship.  Recently Jay taught a seminar at Cairn University's Church Leadership Conference on the Biblical basis for sentencing reform and what Biblical justice for victims of crimes can look like.  He is a past moderator of Heritage Presbytery, and a major contributor to the Presbytery's overture on racial reconciliation.  He has also been an advisor to those who seek the help of the church to address sexual abuse and domestic violence. 

During his tenure Pastor Harvey has worked with our leaders to develop new staff positions.  In 2007 the church hired Mrs. Deborah Freer as the first paid Children's Ministry Director.  The development of this position has been a key ingredient in our ability to enfold young families.  In the fall of 2016, Pastor Harvey worked with our leaders to develop a new staff counselor position occupied by Mrs. Erin Owens, MA.  This new ministry has been a great blessing to our congregation and robust support to our pastoral ministry.  The ministry employs a unique funding model to enable those who need assistance to obtain it without loss of dignity or hardship. 

Pastor Harvey has written a number of articles.  He is currently working on a study guide for the Song of Solomon for Crossway Publishers.  Last Fall he became an adjunct faculty member at Cairn University Divinity School where he taught two courses--Pastoral Leadership and Systematic Theology. 

Jay and Melody have four children ages 18, 15, 11 and 9 and live in Newark.

 
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Assistant Pastor

Rev. Anthony Gorsuch

Anthony and Remley joined us in September 2017.  Originally from Montana, they made the trip to the East Coast so that Anthony could serve EPC's youth ministry and work in evangelism and assimilation. Anthony has an M.Div. in Missions from Reformed Theological Seminary.  

 
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Music Director

Dr. Higo Rodrigues

Higo and his family joined the EP family December 2016.

Higo's natural inclination to music has led him to, as far back as he can remember, be active in the music ministries of the churches he's been a member. With the initial intention of supporting his father’s ministry (a Baptist minister in Paraíba, Brazil), Higo has been involved with the musical life of his father's church and, afterward, with every church he's connected. After completing his musical studies Higo and his wife Ira gladly accepted their positions at Evangelical Presbyterian.

Higo met his 'suitable helper,' Ira, while they both were undergrad student at a Seminary in Brazil (Church Music). After completing their undergrad degrees, Higo and Ira received scholarships to study in the US. They have both completed their doctoral degrees from the University of Kentucky - Higo with a PhD in Music Theory, and Ira with a DMA in Voice Performance.

Before moving to Newark, DE, they lived in Springfield, KY, where both served at Springfield Presbyterian Church (Springfield, KY).

Higo and his wife have two children.

 
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Children's Ministry Director

Debbie Freer

Debbie was born and raised in Wilmington, DE.  She has been blessed with wonderful Christian parents and has attended EP since she was 2 years old.  Debbie attended K-12 at Wilmington Christian School.  She graduated from Gordon College in 1994, as an AJ Gordon Scholar, with a B.S. in Music Education.  She earned double certification in both elementary and secondary education.  Her instrumental emphasis was in both piano and voice.  Debbie has had a vast array of experience and leadership from an early age.  Her experience began as a church accompanist at 12 years old, Junior High & HS accompanist, and HS band director while in High School.  After college, Debbie moved to NH to continue teaching at the Jesse Remington School of Fine Arts.  In addition to her 26 years of teaching experience in private lessons, ensembles, and group lessons, Debbie has been a College Librarian, Student Conductor, Soloist at Park Street Church in Boston, organizer of a community music camp in MA, and librarian at the Tanglewood Music Festival with the BSO.

In NH, Debbie met her husband, Kevin.  They moved back to DE in 1996.  Debbie started working part time at EP leading VBS, pianist for the evening service, music ensemble leader, and nursery director.  She came on full time as the Director of Children’s Ministry and Children’s Music in August 2008.  She has had the privilege of leading VBS for 20 years and has seen the children’s department grow to now include two summer camps, a vibrant SS, Junior Church, a Youth Music Ensembles Program which includes two hand bell choirs, two music & chime classes, a Foundry String Ensemble, a Foundry Brass Ensemble, a Cello Quartet, and a spectrum of special and community events.  Debbie’s excitement and enthusiasm for the kids at EP is hard to miss.  Debbie and Kevin have 3 boys, Micah, Samuel, and Seth.

 
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Counselor

Erin Owens

Erin Owens holds a Masters in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Bachelor in Liberal Arts from Indiana University. After graduating Westminster she served as a counseling intern in 2014-2015 at CCEF (Christian Counseling Educational Foundation). She serves as a Recitation Instructor for CCEF’s Online School of Biblical Counseling.  Over the years she has served in various churches, para-church ministries working with children, youth, college students, and women's ministries. She married her dear husband Nick in 2007 and they have a son.  When Erin is not busy being a wife and mom, she enjoys serving alongside her husband who is the RUF campus minister at the University of Delaware.

 
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Secretary

Dot Griffin


Session

Rev. James L. Harvey III, Moderator
Rev. Joshua M. Knott
Bill Zinkand, Clerk
Bob Almond, Assistant Clerk
Patrick Barnett
Dwight Derby
Dennis Dietrich
Todd Metzler
David Rose
Paul Veenema
Bill Vinson
Brian Warshaw
Guy Webster


Board of Deacons

Scott Cherry, Chairman
Norm Marks, Vice Chairman
Ben Mallary, Secretary
David Brearly
Ed Coggin
Robert George
Don Gray
Jared Guckenberger
Roger Jamieson
Don Jones
Dean Nairn
Isaac Trudeau
Stephen Turner
David Visser