In the midst of life, we live in death...

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A father of our presbytery has fallen. Pastor Petros Roukas, who served as senior pastor of Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, took his own life leaving behind hundreds of souls who looked to him as their shepherd, his fellow elders of Ohio Valley Presbytery (PCA); and most sadly, his wife and their two children.

Meeting just now in our fall stated meeting, Ohio Valley Presbytery adopted the following memorial. Please note, particularly, the words in the final paragraph concerning the sin of suicide and the hope, even in the face of this sin, that we have in the blood of Jesus Christ. (For those struggling for a biblical understanding of suicide, I commend these two sermons by the early nineteenth century Princeton Seminary professor and presbyterian pastor, Samuel Miller.)

Memorial for Pastor Petros Roukas
Ohio Valley Presbytery

The teaching elders, ruling elders, and churches of Ohio Valley Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America are saddened by the death of our friend and brother Petros Roukas on September 22, 2004. We intercede before the throne of grace for God's comfort and strength for his wife Jan and children Nicholas and Elizabeth and for his parents Konstantine and Evangelia Roukas in Greece. We also pray for the congregation of Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky where he was serving at the time of his death as well as the previous congregations he served - Westminster PCA in Muncie, Indiana and Calvary PCA in Bricktown, New Jersey.

Petros was born in Greece in 1953 and received a Bachelors of Religious Education at Reformed Bible College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and a Masters of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained in 1978 by the Midwest Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. He served faithfully at Calvary PCA from 1978-1984; Westminster PCA from 1984-1999; and Tates Creek PCA from 1999-2004. His pastoral ministry was marked by effective preaching and teaching of the gospel, helpful application of the gospel in pastoral counseling settings, strengthening the shepherding ministry of ruling elders, building community in the congregation, and leading numerous cross--cultural mission teams--especially to Jamaica and Mexico.

Throughout his twenty years in Ohio Valley Presbytery of the PCA (previously part of Great Lakes Presbytery) he served on numerous committees. Especially noteworthy was his long term service on the Shepherding Committee where he helped numerous pastors and congregations look to Christ for both the purity and unity of the church.

While the tragic events surrounding his death at his own hand were certainly related to his long struggle with depression--they were also what Petros himself called "sinful and inexcusable." While Petros' grip on the truths of the gospel he preached and ministered so faithfully grew weak in his final actions, we are confident that God did not lose His grip on Petros. We hold that Paul's words in Romans 8 that "if Christ is for us, who can be against us" and "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" apply to God's adopted children--even when they are the very ones who are against themselves. As elders of Ohio Valley Presbytery--may God give us the grace to go to Jesus as we are weary and heavy burdened and may God also give us the grace to not only minister to others but to receive ministry from one another as well.

(Memorial gifts, including financial support for Mrs. Roukas, may be sent to Tates Creek Presbyterian Church at 3900 Rapid Run Drive, Lexington, KY 40515.)