After 24 years of service as an active Board member, Ruling Elder Mr. John Van Voorhis has graciously joined Dr. George W. Knight III and Pastor Randy Riddle as an Emeritus Trustee. Mr. Van Voorhis has been one of the Seminary’s strongest proponents for many years, serving on the Board since 1994 in several capacities. He has served as both Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board for over two decades. He has also consistently and sacrificially served on the Administrative Committee of the Board, which is responsible for recommending strategy and personnel-related decisions to the Board as a whole.
Mr. Van Voorhis is the first graduate of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s Master of Ministry for Ruling Elders (MMRE) program, and he currently serves on the Session of Covenant Community Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Taylors, SC. However, his history of Presbyterian churchmanship and involvement in Christian education goes back 57 years, to 1961.
In 1961, Mr. John Van Voorhis took vows and was ordained as a Ruling Elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church at Knox OPC, and immediately went to his first General Assembly. That year, Professor John Murray served as Moderator of the Assembly. Within ten years, Mr. and Mrs. Van Voorhis were involved as one of four founding families in the formation of Covenant Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Burtonsville, MD. He served as an elder in the Burtonsville congregation from 1968 to 1970, before moving first to Charlotte, NC, and then to Philadelphia, PA. In both Charlotte and Philadelphia, Mr. Van Voorhis served as a Ruling Elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPC-ES). From 1970-1973, he served on the Session of Faith Church in Charlotte, and from 1973-1980, he served on the Session at Christ Church in Oreland (outside of Philadelphia).
During the Van Voorhis’s time in Philadelphia, Mr. Van Voorhis served as Vice Moderator of the Philadelphia Presbytery for two years, Moderator for two years, Chairman of the Permanent Judicial Commission, active member of the Board of National Presbyterian Missions, and member of several synodical committees. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Philadelphia-Montgomery (Phil-Mont) Christian Academy in suburban Philadelphia, and as a member of the Board for The Presbyterian Guardian.
From 1983 to 2005, Mr. Van Voorhis served as a Ruling Elder at the Second Presbyterian Church (PCA) of Greenville, SC. In that time, he served twice as Moderator of Calvary Presbytery and from 1996 to 2000 as an active member of the Standing Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church in America’s General Assembly.
In 2006, Mr. and Mrs. Van Voorhis were involved as one of the founding families of Covenant Community Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Taylors, SC, where he currently serves as a Ruling Elder. Reflecting on his vast and varied experienced as a Presbyterian churchman, Mr. Van Voorhis testifies, “I have found, to no one’s surprise, that no denomination is perfect, but it has been a great joy to serve in Christ’s Kingdom for 57 years as an elder, and for 25 years on the Board of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.”
When asked for a statement of reflection on his time of service to the Seminary, Mr. Van Voorhis warmly recalled,
“It has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me to sit under the instruction of Dr. Morton Smith and other good men, and then to become a part of a Board which has been fully committed to the Reformed faith since Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary had its onset. As I leave my active participation on the Board, I am greatly encouraged by the godliness and quality of my fellow Board members, in whose hands I feel confident of God’s continued blessing in future years.”
In honor of Mr. Van Voorhis’s many years of service to the Seminary, the Board of Trustees voted to establish the John & Mildred Van Voorhis Endowed Scholarship to fund full-tuition need-based scholarships for full-time resident Divinity students. Details about the endowment and scholarship are forthcoming, and additional announcements will be made in coming weeks. Ω