For many of us the Presbytery of Philadelphia is not much more than a name of some kind of organization that relates to us somehow, someway. Well, you’d get a C- on a quiz but if that’s all you know, let me educate you today.
Founded in 1717, the Presbytery of Philadelphia is the oldest Presbyterian corporate entity in the United States and home to some of the oldest Presbyterian churches in our nation. Our story is deeply rooted in both American and Presbyterian history, illustrating faithfulness and courage throughout our 300-year heritage.
From 1946 until 2011, the Presbytery of Philadelphia was housed in a downtown historical building at the corner of 22nd and Locust. The Presbytery of Philadelphia, after a period of prayer and discernment, sold the long-time office to build a new building in the middle of the historic Mt. Airy neighborhood. I chaired the committee who oversaw the move. This intentional relocation of the Presbytery office has enhanced our ability to serve congregational leadership and host gatherings that empower our churches throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.
There are some 130 churches in the presbytery. Thompson Memorial has been a member of the presbytery since our founding in 1811.
This year marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. We are the oldest presbytery in the United States. I am personally grateful for this presbytery. Using the geographic boundaries of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, I can tell my life’s story. I was born in Chester and raised in Media. I was baptized at the Wallingford Presbyterian Church, beneath the Rose Window that was dedicated to my grandmother. My grandfather, Elder Howard Spencer held the font that day. When I was ten years old, my parents moved to the Media Presbyterian Church, which I still consider my home church. There I met Jesus Christ through a newly hired Youth Minister. Through the faithful sharing of the truth and love of Jesus Christ, I came to a place of trusting faith in Jesus Christ as a sophomore at Penncrest High School. Within weeks of my conversion I felt a calling to the ministry. After college, I came under care of the session of the Media church and later our presbytery. I traveled all the way to southern California to attend Fuller Theological Seminary and then traveled all the way back to Delaware County to accept my first call as the first Associate Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church of Manoa, where I served for six wonderful years. It was at Kirkwood Camp that I met my wife, Leslie. She was a member of the Woodland Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia, where we were married in 1994. In 1995, I accepted the call to become the Pastor of the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church. For nearly twenty-years, it has been my honor to serve you. My two sons, Miles and Sam have only known this church. You are a part of their family.
You are invited to a 300th birthday celebration for the Presbytery of Philadelphia. What should you bring to the party? I have good news: you only need to bring yourself. The party happens on Saturday, October 7th at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church at 10:00 a.m. It will be a barn-burner of a worship service with a large combined choir, a message from Dr. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary and the Lord’s Supper. If you would like to carpool, there is a signup sheet on the Table of Well Wishing or call the church office.
300th Celebration: October 7, 2017 Worship Event
Our culminating worship celebration will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2017 beginning at 10:00 am
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2800 West Cheltenham Ave.