History of the Work God began to answer numerous prayers in a concrete way in August of 2012, when a group of us first met to discuss the planting of a new, Reformed church in Cincinnati. God, in His Providence, put us in touch with other like-minded Christians in subsequent months. We held Bible studies, spread the word, and considered what it would mean to plant a URC congregation. Convinced that Christ was working, Zeltenreich Reformed Church (New Holland, PA) decided to plant this church in Cincinnati's Westside in July 2013, and we chose the name "Westside Reformed Church". Our minister and church planter, Zachary Wyse, was ordained in November 2013.
Three of our members, Ryan Lemmel (elder), Troy Ellens, and Ray Brinker (deacons) have been ordained to serve on the Council of ZRC. We are still a small church plant, though God has now grown us from 16 souls to 50. We preach through the Heidelberg Catechism in our Catechism Service, so our people are becoming familiar with our doctrine, and we study all the Three Forms of Unity when preparing for membership. Our pastor has also led us through 1 John, Ephesians, Mark, 1 Thessalonians, many of the Psalms, and much of Genesis in our other Lord's Day service.
Struggles/Challenges/Blessings in the work.
Establishing a Reformed church in an area that is unfamiliar with the Reformed tradition has its positives and negatives. On one hand, we don't need to worry about misconceptions, and people are interested to know what "Reformed" means. But, on the other hand, few people are familiar with our doctrinal distinctives and seeking out a Reformed church. On the whole, Cincinnati is heavily-churched, something especially true of the Westside. Our region is dominated by Roman Catholicism and denominations that descend from the Restoration/Stone-Campbell Movement. It is also littered with congregations that belong to Mainline denominations. As is common in these environments, there is an underlying respect for the Bible, but many self-professed Christians are ignorant of its most basic teachings and unaware that there are serious problems with many of the area churches.
Generally-speaking, those that have become part of WRC have been refreshed by our doctrine and worship. Our folks come from a variety of backgrounds, so it is natural that some of our doctrines have been strange or even difficult to receive, but a respect for Scripture, a love for the gospel, and a commitment to one another have been made our fledgling church a great joy to us all.