Christ United Reformed Church began in the summer of 2003 as a small midweek Bible study overseen by the Consistory (the elders and the minister) of Escondido United Reformed Church and led by Rev. Michael Brown, then an M.Div student in his final year of study at Westminster Seminary California. As God allowed this midweek study to grow numerically, Escondido URC undertook the challenging task of planting a URC congregation in Santee. Under their oversight, a steering committee was formed and evening worship services began on November 2, 2003. Pastor Brown began preaching through the Book of Ephesians. The charter families of the work chose the name “Christ United Reformed Church” as a constant reminder of the One who is proclaimed from all of Scripture (Luke 24.13-49).
Rev. Dr. W. Robert Godfrey
preaching at Christ URC.
In May of 2004, the Consistory of Escondido URC called the first morning worship service of Christ URC, along with catechism classes for children and adults. Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, president of Westminster Seminary California, preached a sermon on Matthew 28.18-20 titled, “Wanted: A Reformed Church.” Subsequently, Pastor Brown began preaching through the Book of Romans. In the following month, we were privileged to see many families join our church. On one Sunday in particular, Rev. Stephen Donovan of EURC performed seven baptisms!
In September of 2004, Pastor Brown was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the United Reformed Churches of North America and called by Escondido URC to pastor the Santee work. In May of 2005, Escondido URC purchased a church building in Santee so that Christ URC would have a permanent home in which to meet.
In the fall of 2005, Rev. Brown led ten men from our congregation through an officer training course in preparation for Christ URC to organize as a congregation within the URCNA. In the spring of 2006, recommendations for nominations were received from the congregation, and eventually nine qualified and willing men were placed before the congregation as nominees for elder and deacon. On September 10th, 2006, six of these men were elected by congregational vote to serve in the offices of elder and deacon.
On January 7, 2007, Rev. Brown was installed as the pastor of Christ URC, having accepted a call issued by this newly formed congregation.
On July 29, 2007, Rev. Dr. Michael Horton was installed as an associate pastor of Christ URC, while on loan to Westminster Seminary California to pursue his calling as a professor of theology.
Since Christ’s URC earliest days, the Lord has graciously added to our church. We are a congregation diverse in ethnicity, ecclesiastical background, and vocation, but like-minded in matters of faith and doctrine. We are united not by our personal opinions or political affiliations, not by consumer preferences or cultural practices, but by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Reformed faith we confess.
We exist in order to call sinners from guilt before God the Father, into our only comfort, the grace of God the Son, and to equip them for a life of gratitude by the means of grace in the power of God the Holy Spirit. In short, we exist in order to make disciples through the means Christ ordained: the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments.
Each Lord’s Day we gather in the morning and evening to meet with God and receive his good gifts from his open hand, and to respond with worship in reverence and awe. We do not gather to hear a message of self-improvement or tips for living. Rather, we gather to hear God’s law proclaimed, which exposes our sin and depravity, followed by the Gospel of Christ and him crucified, which is our only comfort. We gather to hear Christ proclaimed from all of Scripture, so that we might rightly understand the Word of God and see our place as pilgrims in this present evil age looking for the heavenly country which God has promised in the age to come.
We believe that through the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit renews our faith, and moves us to a life of gratitude, delighting in the will of God so that we do those good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.
Moreover, the Sacraments of baptism and communion are administered as ordained by our Lord to increase our faith and confirm God's covenant promises.
Finally, we are a congregation of fellow pilgrims, joined together as one body and family drawn "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Rev 7.9). As a pilgrim people making our journey together, we weep with one another in times of affliction, and rejoice with one another in times of happiness (Rom 12). We are in submission to the officers whom Christ has ordained (Heb 13.17), and accountable to them in matters of doctrine and life. As a church, we are not a lone-ranger congregation, but are accountable to a Classis (“fleet”) of churches and larger federation known as the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA), which is a member of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC).
We give glory to God for his continued blessing on this local congregation of his kingdom as we seek to be faithful in our Lord’s commission to make disciples of all nations.
Soli Deo Gloria!