|My beautiful home church|
I still love visiting, lots of memories
All of this is just background info for those who know something about the history and theology of these different groups. I recall the transition into the PCA, for our church, was not a incredibly smooth one. The biggest problem seemed to be the ordination of women. When we were stand alone and/or part of the UPC our church would elect women as deacons. In the Presbyterian Church, you have the pastor or reverend or minister, and he is responsible for the spiritual care of the congregation. You then have the elders, who are elected by the membership every so many years. They meet once a month to discuss church matters, assist the pastor in his duties, help the congregation elect a new pastor if needed, etc... Elders are very respected in the church and community. Usually, once someone is elected an elder they are always considered an elder even if they are not currently serving on the board. They are the backbone of the church. You then have the deacons, who are also elected by the membership and serve for a term that lasts so many years, until the next election. They are responsible for handling the financial issues of the church. They work closely with the elders and handle more of the day to day dealings of the church. Except for the pastor, these positions are not paid positions, they are volunteer lay men and women who sacrifice their time and talent for the good of the entire church. All of the above people would be elected and then we would have a special Sunday morning service where there would be a laying on of hands and prayers, what is called an ordination (what Catholics might see as a consecration), of these people to their duties. When our church joined the PCA, they had a rule against the ordination of women. This created problems because our church did ordinate women, and it tended to be that women served as deacons. My own mother had been ordained as a deacon at one point. The PCA always had men serving as pastors, elders, and deacons and had a separate role for women as deaconesses, who were also elected but not ordained. Many felt this regulated women to second class citizens in the church and felt like a slap in the face to the women who had faithfully served as deacons in the past and present and had done a wonderful job. After much debating the church finally voted to join the PCA, which it is a member of to this day. For those of you who grew up in more liturgical churches the idea of everything being put up for a vote can seem odd. It means that the majority rules and the authority in the church rests with the membership and those that they elect. This is how the Presbyterian church operates, and of course like all democracies the decisions made can be good or bad, depending on the will and goals of the people doing the voting. All members are asked to be informed, seriously consider the issues and to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance before casting their vote. In this way the congregation asks the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and protect the church from error.
When I was born my family did not regularly attend a church. My mom had been raised in the above church (since it was right down the street from her home and she lived next door to the pastor and his family). My dad had been raised a Southern Baptist, his uncle in fact was a preacher from the next small town over (he was also a coal miner, the church was small and couldn't afford his salary so he did both). Mom and dad were married in the Presbyterian church by my dad's uncle (who would later marry me and my husband in that same church)! The Presbyterian church practices infant baptisms but look at it more as a dedication and not something that is necessary for salvation. The Baptist church does not practice infant baptisms but it is regarded much more seriously because they believe it is required for salvation. My parents decided to not have me baptized as an infant and wait until I joined the church, as in the Baptist tradition. The infant baptism issue is something that my husband and I continue to discuss and disagree on to this day. I did a separate post about infant baptism here.
|Mt. Tabor, the junior girls' cabin at church camp|
When I was in grade school I went to stay with a friend in another town because they were having their annual festival and the carnival rides were there. Her church also happened to be doing VBS that same week so I went along with her and had an experience there that would change my worldview. More on that in my next entry...
Conversion Story - Part 2
* I am writing on things as I saw or remember as a child and young adult in the way I perceived them, I'm sure there was more going on than I remember or wrote about here on my blog.