Happy 150th Birthday to FPC!
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
One hundred and fifty years ago today, when Durham was only a two-year-old dot on the map, Granville County native Dr. Richard D. Blacknall, a physician and druggist, along with ten others (seven transfers from other churches and three members of Orange Presbytery) organized what we now know as First Presbyterian Church.
I am not sure that our minds are able to imagine what that day might have been, not really, but we can give thanks for those who had a vision and a calling. Their vision was for a community of faith in this new town of Durham. Their calling was to bear witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result of this vision and calling, a community of faith formed on the corner of Roxboro and Main, where it has been and continues to thrive (even in a pandemic) for 150 years.
Though our season of celebration is a six-month season around this exact date, I cannot let the day pass without giving thanks to God for the vision and calling given to these eleven (and others not present) on this day so many years ago. I doubt they could have imagined what this community would mean for so many individuals and families, nor could they have imagined what this community would mean for Durham itself.
We have a chance this day to look back and give thanks, even as we look ahead with awe and wonder, leaning into what God’s call to us for the years and decades ahead might be.
If you have a moment today, I invite you to think back to that small but faithful gathering that set this church on its course for so many years to come. And I invite you to say a prayer of gratitude for God’s movement then and continued movement now.
Happy birthday, First Presbyterian Church.
Happy New Year, my friends.
With love and gratitude,