Shuck and Jive

Monday, June 25, 2007

1782 - 2007

This year First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton celebrates 225 years of ministry. We are going to kick off a year-long celebration of our anniversary on August 26th, Heritage Sunday. After worship that Sunday we will enjoy dinner on the grounds and have an as authentic as possible 19th century service. We have some sermons from Rev. Horace Atwater who served this congregation in the 1870s. All attendees are encouraged to come in 19th century dress and I will preach one of his sermons.

I am curious as to what a typical 1870s Presbyterian service might have been like. Any ideas? Has your congregation done something like this? What hymns were popular? Was there an order of service? Let me know if you have ideas or where to go for inspiration.


  1. John,

    I guess I should have taken the time to read your church's mission statement long before today. It certainly has given me a better understanding of how far astray you have led your flock.

    You actually state that it is your intention as a church to #1: disregard God's OT commands NOT TO SYNCRETISE with other religions the faith He handed to His children through the prophets and scribes; and #2: it is your intention to embrace worldly philosophies, culling and plumbing their depths for hidden "truths" to shore up your version of Christianity -- this in spite of the NT warning not to do so (Colossians 2:6-8).

    You also make the astounding statement that the "Divine Mystery" is in all of us, this in spite of the Bible's teaching that this is simply NOT TRUE (e.g. 1 John 2:23).

    You're celebrating an anniversary at your church, and plan to preach a sermon from the past. I'm hoping that as you weed your way through them you find out how far you have gone astray. I hope, too, that whatever you pick from the past will be instructive for you and your group since it will likely be much more orthodox and Bible-centered than your current mindset seems to be.

    You ask "Let me know if you have ideas or where to go for inspiration."

    May I suggest that yo try taking the Bible seriously for once, and find your inspiration there?

  2. We Methodist types have an advantage, seeing we have a liturgy.

    Presbyterians back 100 years ago would have done very plain worship. Sing only songs from the Psalter (hymns being evil, you know.)

    Actually, the denomination I was raised hasn't really changed much since then -- just plain, no frills, basic order of worship that is found in the Westminster/Book of Church order. Psalter.

    Let me know how it goes.

    And you sure have your share of detractors, don't you.

  3. Hi RevMommy,

    Yeah, we Presbys are a bit plain. Thanks for the comment and the thoughts!

    As far as my detractors are concerned...

    Bless their hearts. If they weren't for real I would have to invent them!