WHAT ABOUT OUR DENOMINATION?
A Church With a MissionWhat is a Presbyterian? What is the Presbyterian Church?
The Presbyterian Church History The Sacraments
Pastors of Community Church
A Church With A Mission
Community Church of Howey-in-the-Hills began in 1920, five years before the incorporation of the town itself. The church has progressed through the leadership of many pastors and a variety of locations in town. Such as tents that were used to house prospective buyers for Mr. Howey's grove property (tent city), the schoolhouse site that later became the site of the Howey Academy Chapel, to its present location at Palmetto and Palm Avenue (Highway 19).
Ten worshipers started meeting in homes in 1920, moved to a dilapidated school house at the south end of town, and in 1949, with the financial help of the Yoder brothers, built the present sanctuary, which carries their name on the cornerstone. On February 12, 1928 with 27 charter members, it became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (once known as the Northern Church), and was incorporated on February 3, 1937
Community Church is a Christian church. Our primary mission is to carry the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Howey-in-the-Hills, and the community at large. Many attend our church from other neighboring towns and communities. We are a member of the Presbytery of Central Florida, and subscribe to its constitution and the basic tenets of the Reformed faith.
Our membership is growing steadily with many more active "friends of the church", who regularly attend. Common to most areas of Florida, our attendance significantly increases during the winter months. Presbyterians by affiliation, our church seeks to live out its name and is welcoming to all Christian faiths. Members and friends of the Church represent many different religious backgrounds, and all are welcome to gather with us for worship and participate in the various programs and special events.
A Presbyterian :
In the N. T. " Presbuteros" means elder, and refers to the democratic custom of choosing leaders and advisors from among the wisest members of the church.
Presbyterians are a group of Protestants whose church is founded on the concepts of democratic rule under the Word of God.
The Presbyterian denomination is a form of Christianity democratically organized to embrace the faith common to all Christians.
All that is required to be a Presbyterian is to:
-- Confess the Christian faith
2 -- Trust in Christ as our Savior
3 -- Promise to follow Christ and Christ's example for living
4 -- Commit oneself to attend church and to become involved in the work.
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What is the Presbyterian Church?
It is a representative democracy by elders elected from and by the congregation. Authority resides with these elders and is exercised in the appointed governing body known as the Session. The Session oversees the day- to-day work of the church and supervises deacons (those elected to conduct the temporal and charitable ministry of the church) and trustees (in some churches) who manage financial, legal, and property affairs of the church.0
The overall church structure is made up of (4) governing bodies:
1 - The Session or local governing body -- composed of ordained ministers of the Word and Elders, all elected by the congregation.
2 - The Presbytery -- composed of Elders and Ministers from congregations who oversee several churches.
3 - The Synod -- representatives elected from each Presbytery to oversee several Presbyteries.
4 - The General Assembly -- the national governing body made up of equal numbers of laypeople and clergy chosen by Presbyterians.
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The Presbyterian Church's
Rich and Exciting History
The earliest Christian church consisted of Jews in the first century who had known Jesus and heard his teachings. It gradually grew and spread from the Middle East to other parts of the world, though not without controversy and hardship among its supporters.
During the 4th century, after more than 300 years of persecution under various Roman emperors, the church became established as a political as well as a spiritual power under the Emperor Constantine. Theological and political disagreements, however, served to widen the rift between members of the eastern (Greek-speaking) and western (Latin-speaking) branches of the church. Eventually the western portions of Europe, came under the religious and political authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Eastern Europe and parts of Asia came under the authority of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
In western Europe, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church remained largely unquestioned until the Renaissance in the 15th century. The invention of the printing press in Germany around 1440 made it possible for common people to have access to printed materials including the Bible. This, in turn, enabled many to discover religious thinkers who had begun to question the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. One such figure, Martin Luther, a German priest and professor, started the movement known as the Protestant Reformation when he posted a list of 95 grievances against the Roman Catholic Church on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. Some 20 years later, a French/Swiss theologian, John Calvin, further refined the reformers' new way of thinking about the nature of God and God's relationship with humanity in what came to be known as Reformed theology. John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, took Calvin's teachings back to Scotland. Other Reformed communities developed in England, Holland and France. The Presbyterian church traces its ancestry back primarily to Scotland and England.
Presbyterians have featured prominently in United States history. The Rev. Francis Makemie, who arrived in the U.S. from Ireland in 1683, helped to organize the first American Presbytery at Philadelphia in 1706. In 1726, the Rev. William Tennent founded a ministerial 'log college' in Pennsylvania. Twenty years later, the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) was established. Other Presbyterian ministers, such as the Rev. Jonathan Edwards and the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, were driving forces in the so-called "Great Awakening," a revivalist movement in the early 18th century. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, the Rev. John Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and the president of Princeton University from 1768-1793.
The Presbyterian church in the United States has split and parts have reunited several times. Currently the largest group is the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has its national offices in Louisville, Ky. It was formed in 1983 as a result of reunion between the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS), the so-called "southern branch," and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA), the so-called "northern branch." Other Presbyterian churches in the United States include: the Presbyterian Church in America, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
The Early Christian Church
The Presbyterian Church, like all Christian Churches, traces its roots back to the early church in Jerusalem.
Many people consider modern Presbyterianism to be a rebirth of the early church of the new testament.
The Protestant Reformation moved forward in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
Luther fought against the pretensions of authority by the Pope and called for direct authority from God.
John Calvin, called the father of Presbyterianism, converted to Protestantism in 1553. He interpreted the Bible as the revelation of God, emphasizing theology, worship. education, thrift, ethical behavior, and representative government for his followers. From his home city, Geneva. Calvin's ideas spread throughout Europe.
The Scottish Protestant John Knox fled persecution in his homeland and studied with Calvin in Geneva.
He returned in 1559 and established Presbyterianism in Scotland.
In England. the Westminster Assembly of 151 Presbyterians worked steadily between 1643 and 1649 to write the doctrinal guides.
Presbyterians now recognize these as some of their basic texts.
Presbyterians escaped persecution in Europe and settled in America. There were so many Presbyterians in America
that some British people called the American Revolution the "Presbyterian Revolt." At least 14 signers of the Declaration
of Independence were Presbyterians (including clergyman John Witherspoon who was a clergyman).
The American Revolution
"The British Are Coming"
Presbyterians in the U.S.
The first presbytery in America was established in Philadelphia in 1706.
During the 1800's, disagreement over slavery and evangelism broke the church into northern and southern branches.
The two branches reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The passing of Amendment 10A has resulted in continuing disagreement among its church members
causing many churches worldwide to unite with other Presbyterian denominations.
What About The Sacraments?
Presbyterians recognize two sacraments as described in the Bible.
This Sacrament unites us with Jesus Christ and makes us members of God's family, the Church.
Baptism is an initiation into the church community as ordered by Christ.
It is a public confession; a statement of faith made in the presence of others.
Baptism does not guarantee access to heaven. Un-baptized people are not denied salvation.
Baptism can be performed in another church.
There is no need to be re-baptized in a Presbyterian church unless the previous baptism was not done in the name of the Triune God.
THE LORD'S SUPPER
(Holy Communion) -- is a time to renew faith and strengthen participants for the duties and privileges of Christian service.
In Communion, the bread and wine represent the sacrificial body and blood of Christ and recall the last meal shared with the Apostles.
Together they symbolize the New Covenant between God and of all people.
The Last Supper, by Valentin de Boulogne (1592-1632)
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