Celebrating their forty-fifth wedding anniversary today, John and Sipkje (Sylvia) Mahaffy first met at Dordt College in Iowa. John is the eldest child of Francis and Arlena Mahaffy, Orthodox Presbyterian missionaries who labored for 23 years in Eritrea, Africa. Sylvia was six when her family emigrated from the Netherlands to Alberta, Canada. Their courtship began during John’s senior year and continued by correspondence when he went to Westminster Theological Seminary during Sylvia’s last two years at Dordt.
They decided to marry while John was helping with the mission work in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Sylvia was teaching in a Christian school in British Columbia. After their 1970 wedding in Canada, they rode a Greyhound bus down to Tulsa and stepped out into 105 degrees. John was ordained in October 1970 and served as pastor of Grace OPC in Tulsa for seven years.
In 1977, John was called to be pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC in Newberg, Oregon, where he has served for 37 years. On Christmas Eve in 1995, the church held their first worship service in their new building. The small congregation bought the property and built the church on a “pay-as-you-go” basis in three years.
John has served the whole OPC as the assistant clerk of the General Assembly for 15 years and previously as the stated clerk of the Presbytery of the Northwest for more than nine years. With a love for missions from his childhood, John has been a member of the Committee on Foreign Missions for 34 years. The Mahaffys are thankful for the Lord’s faithfulness over the years, giving them six children, 17 grandchildren, a wonderful congregation, and each other.