Friday, June 16, 2006

Three hundred years of Presbyterianism celebrated in simultaneous meetings

The General Assemblies of three Presbyterian denominations are meeting in Birmingham at the same time, but in different halls. The General assemblies of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will share worship services, and exhibit hall, and a forum on our joint history. (Presbyterian News Service story here; statement of purpose for the concurrent meetings here)

These simultaneous meetings should have a special meaning to the Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum, that was founded in 1888 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1906 there was a congregation-by-congregation decision to merge the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Many Cumberland churches made the switch; the Cumberland church in Tarentum was one of them and was officially chartered by the Pittsburgh Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1914 with the name Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum.

There is some good historical information about the origins and history of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America at their joint historical site, and especially here.

This joint meeting is not part of any effort toward organic union of the three denominations, but is an exciting ecumenical opportunity to be together, to worship together, and to discover whether there are more opportunities to cooperate in accomplishing the Church's mission.

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