Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tour of old Charleston (part 1)

Last week I enjoyed an intensive class in Presbyterian Church History which included a tour of the oldest Presbyterian sites and stories in our nation.

Over the next few posts I'll cover some of the highlights of the class; this post will focus on one part of our tour of historic Charleston, South Carolina.

The oldest Presbyterian church building in the nation is on John's Island, part of the Charleston peninsula. The building dates from 1719 and is still in great shape and active use.
The layout of the sanctuary tells you a lot about the beliefs of the people that have worshipped there. You can't miss the raised pulpit in the center front of the room. There is no center aisle so that the congregation can center on the Word being read and preached. The elders of the church sit in the front pews on either side of the pulpit, symbolizing the safeguarding role the elders have over the preached Word.

Presbyterian worship, at its best, is simple, reverent, and Word-centered. When done right, it is also timeless, for our God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore.

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