This Day in Presbyterian History:
What a Novel Idea!
This contributor has been involved in several church plants himself as well as participating in Presbytery church planting efforts in the Presbyterian Church in America. So when a mission church, or for that matter, an organized church begins anew in a new building, there can be no better beginning service than that of a prayer meeting. And yet that is exactly what happened in West Chester, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1956. Moving into a new structure for their smaller congregation, the first service was a prayer meeting.
And to be sure, united prayer before the Sovereign God was needed for that Pennsylvania congregation. For that very same year, the national denomination of the Bible Presbyterian Church had a sizeable schism which could very easily have weakened what God’s Spirit had already been accomplished in this city and church. But God was faithful in giving wisdom to the congregation, enabling them to stay independent of the whole issue for a while.
The church had begun in 1938 as a core group of faithful and committed Christians left the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. over the apostasy in that once great church. Beginning with just a nucleus of Christians, they were able to begin a church role of thirteen members, with help from pulpit supplies from Faith Theological Seminary. They began as the Independent Church of West Chester. One year later, they affiliated with the Bible Presbyterian Church. Faithful pastors proclaimed the whole counsel of God and the church grew. Evangelistic outreach was begun in the town, and people began to respond to the gospel.
Eventually, they affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which became the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Since 1982, they became a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Their allegiance to the Bible as God’s Word, inspired, inerrant, and infallible, remains the same since they began as a local church of Jesus Christ.
Words to live by: There is a slogan which American business have often used, sometimes even painted on the shell of a building, which said, “Build it, and they will come.” That probably isn’t always the case, so it is more of a hope than anything else. But in the framework of God’s church, with the faithful proclamation of the Scriptures, the everlasting gospel, coupled with the sovereign God, it is true, as this local church in West Chester Pennsylvania has experienced in the almost 75 years of its witness. Praise God for faithful churches, true to the faith once delivered unto the saints.
Through the Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 24 – 26
Through the Standards: Lawful and unlawful subjects of prayer
WLC 184 — “For what things are we to pray?
A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare of the church, our own or others, good; but not for anything that is unlawful.”