March 7: Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church [org. 1993]

Nearly one-third of all PCA churches pre-date the 1973 formation of the PCA, and for most of those churches, we do not presently know their exact date of organization. Typically it is the newer churches where we have that information. But of those we do know the calendar date of the church’s organization, so here for this day, March 7th, we take this occasion to praise God for the following congregation, their pastor and staff, and their faithful labors in proclaiming the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ alone:

Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Millersville, Maryland, a member of the PCA”s Chesapeake Presbytery, was organized on March 7, 1993. Rev. Arch Van Devender planted this church, beginning his labors there in 1991, and he remains pastor there at Severn Run. And so on this occasion, we are pleased to reproduce from the Severn Run church’s web site:

A Brief History of the Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church

The Severn Run Evangelical Presbyterian Church began as a work of Jesus Christ using the combined efforts of the Mission To North America [MNA] committee of the Potomac Presbytery, and the Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It was originally conceived as an outreach to the Gambrills-Odenton-Millersville community which at the time [1990] was the fastest growing community in the State of Maryland.

A telephone call campaign (“It’s For You!”) was undertaken and successfully completed slightly under 20,000 calls to the local community to inquire if there was interest in a new local church. Many people responded positively and some 200 people ultimately came to our first service on 3 March 1991 from those contacted this way. Some of those are still with us.

Severn Run started out as a “mission church” in the PCA but became a full fledged church, on our second anniversary, March 7, 1993. Arch was called as the first official pastor and was ordained on the Fourth Anniversary of the church, March 5, 1995. After many years in temporary locations, God gave us our current home in Feb. 2000. It was the result of much labor and sacrifice on the part of the congregation and many friends from our sister churches in the area.

Throughout the years the church has earnestly endeavored to serve the Lord by being a place where people can find rest. Our motto, Rest Yourselves Under the Tree, refers to the hospitality offered to our Lord by His servant Abraham in Genesis 18:4. By exhibiting love to strangers, Abraham actually ministered to the Person of His Savior. In the same way Severn Run E.P. Church understands itself as being a community of believers where weary folks who are tired of traveling in a world that offers little hope or encouragement can be refreshed through the caring love shown by God’s people. Within this vision there are many and varied ministries through which the Lord reaches out His hands to those with whom we come in contact. Worship of our Sovereign God is understood as the deepest need for any person and as such is the cornerstone of the church’s hope for bearing fruit to the Kingdom of Christ.

So Severn Run E. P. Church continues to look forward to new ministries to our community and new ways that we can touch the lives of people to help spread the vision of our fellowship even further. We look back with grateful astonishment to what God has done through the history of our church. He has shown Himself faithful to us in all things, sustaining us when we were weak, encouraging us when we were timid, and providing for us when we were needy. He, and He alone, is the reason for our existence, and it is to Him that we look for all that we need in the coming years of our service. To Him, and to Him alone, be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever, world without end. Amen!

Does your church have an anniversary pending in the near future? The PCA Historical Center has some ideas on how your church can observe the occasion, to the glory of our Lord. Click here to read “Celebrating Your Church’s Anniversary.”


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