One Sunday -- Oct. 23, 2011. Four congregations.
The Opequon Presbyterian Church, Winchester, Va., celebrates its 275th anniversary.
The New Providence Presbyterian Church, Maryville, Tenn., marks its 225th.
The St. James Presbyterian Church, Charleston, SC, rejoices in 145 years of ministry.
And Brambleton Presbyterian Church, Brambleton, Va., is chartered as a new congregation in the PC(USA).
These are just four congregations out of the more than 10,000 that make up the denomination. Yet, as we approach Reformation Sunday, they are the living embodiment of our affirmation, "The church reformed, always to be reformed according to the Word of God" in the power of the Spirit.
Opequon, New Providence, and St. James give witness to congregational ministry that has continued even as the larger church has struggled over issues like slavery, women's ordination, divorce, essential tenets, and sexuality. There are many metaphorical battlefields in our denominational history; in Opequon's case, there's an actual battlefield -- Union and Confederate troops fought the battles of First and Second Kernstown on church land. These three congregations, despite either actual or metaphorical battlefields that surrounding them, continue to carry out, in the words of the Form of Government, "the mission of God in its particular context." (G-1.01)
Brambleton gives witness to our ongoing proclamation of the Gospel into the 21st century. Many have labeled our culture and society as "post-Christian." Don't tell that to those who are now part of the faith community called Brambleton -- including three babies baptized on Sunday.
One Sunday. Four congregations. What else happened in our congregations last Sunday?