Mt. Rose Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church
People often ask me when I’m going to run out of religious groups to write about in this column. The bottom line is that I don’t believe I’ll ever run out. When a person really looks around, down at an address level as opposed to a neighborhood or section level, there are hundreds of groups that offer different varieties of religious experience.
For example, I found the Mt. Rose Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church when I was looking for something else. Somebody once told me that some group does Sunday daybreak services up on Mt. Rose. I was looking around the internet for that group when I came across this one.
I’d never heard of the Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church, but when Hunter and I arrived Sunday morning for the 10:30 a.m. service, several people mentioned that I should look up the OPC home page to get a view of what “reformed” means. The Reformed OPC grew out of a change in the Presbyterian church in the 1930s. Basically, that church was moving toward more liberal principles, and some leaders wanted to reestablish the conservative values of the Presbyterian church. I’m cribbing this bit from the Roseville, Calif., OPC site because it says it pretty succinctly: “We believe that God perfectly reveals Himself and what we should believe and do in the Bible alone. We believe that we are sinners who deserve eternal punishment for our sin in hell, but we also believe God’s gracious promise that He gave Jesus to live in obedience for us and die as the only sacrifice to pay for our sin.”
The Mt. Rose congregation was formed some nine years ago. Services are held in the Masonic Lodge, Washoe No. 35, 601 W. Peckham Lane, where they’ve been held for about two years.
While I usually describe the atmosphere, describing the interior of the Masonic Lodge seems a little off the mark. Suffice it to say, the walls are covered with murals depicting Egyptian desert scenes, with a river, full moon, palm trees, buttes, mountains, dunes, trees and cities in tones of tans and browns, blues, purples and greens. Flanking the pulpit and a large banner—"The Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before him."—were a couple more esoteric Masonic symbols. The seating was a combination of wheeled, oxblood colored chairs and more stationary blue ones.
Pastor Andy Preston handled his own announcements that morning. There were two keyboardists playing the music with the congregation providing the vocals. The hymns were old school, nothing too rockin’ or contemporary. I got a strong feeling that’s a tenet of the Reformed Orthodox Presbyterian Church. They take their worship seriously, and were some of the trappings that I’ve become accustomed to—like an extended greeting among the attendees—was missing. On the other hand, a recitation of the Ten Commandments seemed a pretty logical addition to the service.
The scripture reading was from Deuteronomy 4:1-14, although Rev. Preston mainly focused on the end of the verses. The passage basically revolves around Moses reminding the Jews, before they entered the Promised Land, how God spoke to them and presented them with the Ten Commandments.
The pastor spoke with the voice of sincere authority, returning again and again to certain themes: God is dependable; salvation is found through Jesus Christ; God’s word is found in the Bible; God must be feared to be respected.
Near the end of his sermon, he said something that struck me as a pretty good summary of his points: “May God grant us grace to be content with his word. … My friends, may God give you great love for His word.”