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Harold Leonard Dorman: Spokesman for Almighty God

Gregory E. Reynolds

Harold Leonard Dorman was born in Hamden, Connecticut, on July 4, 1917.[1] He first joined the Orthodox Presbyterian Church as a member in June 1938 at age twenty-one. The church was Westminster OPC in Hamden, Connecticut. After thirty-eight months in the army he went to Calvin College, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in 1950. Better yet, Harold met Marjorie VanDerWeele at Calvin, and they were married on September 2, 1950. They have four grown children: Gerald, Ronald, Laurel (Trundy), and Leonard.[2]

Harold Dorman
July 4, 1917–Dec. 27, 2017
Harold Dorman, July 4, 1917–December 27, 2017

In the fall of 1950 Harold attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he received his bachelor of divinity (BD) in 1953. He studied under professors Edward J. Young and Meredith G. Kline in Old Testament, Ned B. Stonehouse and John H. Skilton in New Testament, John Murray in systematic theology, Paul Woolley in church history, Cornelius Van Til in apologetics, and R. B. Kuiper and Edmund P. Clowney in practical theology. To support himself Harold worked as a handyman for most of the professors; he even helped Dr. Kline build his house.[3]

He began preaching in the Cornville Orthodox Presbyterian church in 1954 and was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of New York and New England as pastor of Skowhegan Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Skowhegan (formerly Cornville), Maine on April 10, 1958, where he served as pastor until 2014.

That congregation had been received as a particular congregation in 1941. They met in the Union Church in Cornville, Maine, built in 1850. The church was heated by a wood stove, just right for those hearty New Englanders. After two pastors, Harold Dorman became stated supply in 1954. He was paid the handsome sum of $8.00 a month. He supplemented his income with “odd jobs such as carpentry, cabinet making, plumbing, heating, and electric wiring. He also served for six years as treasurer and thirteen years as overseer of the poor for the Town of Cornville.”[4] Pastor Dorman was also a chaplain for the Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan since 1972.[5]

Wedding, Sept. 2, 1950
Wedding, Sept. 2, 1950

On May 8, 1977, the first worship service in a new building in Skowhegan was held. It had been a laundromat. Pastor Dorman reflected, “The congregation is fully committed to the preaching and teaching of the Reformed Faith. Their trust for the future and present rests solely in the sovereign God of grace. Their desire is to live, witness, and worship for the glory of our triune God.”[6] He preached for sixty years to the same congregation in two locations.

Harold remembered Professor Murray visiting to help with the work of preaching and evangelism. “Professor Murray impressed me very much with his sincerity.”[7] Pastor Dorman was a dead-earnest preacher of God’s Word.

When I interviewed Harold in 2010 for Ordained Servant, the article was titled “Harold Leonard Dorman: Spokesman for Almighty God.”[8] That nicely sums up his ministry in Maine. When asked what advice he had for young men entering the ministry, he said: “I would tell them to study as much as you can for each sermon, because the more you know the better it is. Because you’re God’s spokesman, and that’s a tremendous responsibility—to be a spokesman for Almighty God.”[9]

Harold Dorman was a living exemplar of the ordinary, faithful ministry of the Word of God. Such persistent, enterprising labor is rare today. I remember as a student coming under care in the Presbytery of New York and New England in 1978 that Harold was always in the front row at presbytery meetings. He was always hard of hearing, and he was interested in what was going on. He didn’t want to miss a thing. He loved his Lord and his Lord’s church. I was impressed with his down-to-earth, quiet faithfulness.

On his last visit to presbytery in Bangor, he was asked what was most important for younger ministers. He said, “to preach the Word.” Sounds ordinary, but God does extraordinary things through the ordinary means of grace and his ordinary servants. The apostle Paul saw his ministry in the same light: “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). Pastor Dorman took seriously the words of Paul to Timothy: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4:2).

In the end I am certain that Harold would want all that he was able to accomplish as a Christian and as a minister to be attributed to the goodness and grace of his Lord. We will miss him.

Endnotes

[1] Gregory E. Reynolds, “Harold Leonard Dorman: Spokesman for Almighty God, an Interview” Ordained Servant 20 (2011): 29–34.

[2] Ibid., 29.

[3] Ibid., 30.

[4] The Orthodox Presbyterian Church: 1936–1986, Charles G. Dennison, ed. (Philadelphia: Committee for the Historian, 1986), 166.

[5] Reynolds, “Harold Leonard Dorman,” 32.

[6] The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 167.

[7] Reynolds, “Harold Leonard Dorman,” 31, 33.

[8] Ibid., 29–34.

[9] Ibid., 33.

Gregory E. Reynolds serves as the pastor emeritus of Amoskeag Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Manchester, New Hampshire, and is the editor of Ordained Servant. Ordained Servant Online, December 2018.

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