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Celebrating Heritage Sunday

May 17, 2012

From the Executive Director...

We encourage Presbyterian congregations to celebrate Heritage Sunday on May 20. Why is it important to celebrate your congregation’s heritage?

 

Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church (Abingdon, Va.), RG 428, Postcard collection.

 

A congregation is a community of faith that transcends time, place, and space. It is more than a physical structure; it represents a gathering of individuals--past, present, and future--who have become a covenant Christian community. The local congregation is a product of its own history, shaped by the faithfulness, actions, and commitments of its members over time.

It is important to remember that a congregation is a living, dynamic entity that is continually shaped by the stewardship of those who have been part of the community, past and present. Congregations are encouraged to celebrate Heritage Sunday to remember all of the individuals whose unique gifts have and continue to shape the life of the congregation, providing models of Christian service to imitate in the present as well as to guide us into the future.

A congregation’s story has many authors, and its chapters chronicle the challenges and faithfulness of members across time. Heritage Sunday provides an opportunity to reaffirm and remind those gathered in the local covenant community that their congregation is a collective witness to generations of faithfulness and servant ministry.

I Corinthians reminds us that there are many parts of the Body of Christ and that each member through its gifts contributes in its own special way. Each is necessary to the wholeness of the body and that when “one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.”

On Heritage Sunday, we rejoice and honor those whose service, both past and present, has strengthened and enriched the Body of Christ that is the local congregation. As ruling or teaching elders, deacons, Christian education teachers, administrators and others, the role of each is vital to a servant ministry.

The theme for this year’s Heritage Sunday is “Where History Lives: The Presbyterian Historical Society at 160.” As the national archives for the denomination, PHS has shared in collecting and preserving the heritage of so many local congregations for 160 years. Together we celebrate the history of Presbyterian congregations and the story of Presbyterians in the United States and aboard on Sunday, May 20.

The Presbyterian Historical Society provides resources for congregations to assist with planning their Heritage Sunday celebrations. For more information, please click here to visit our website.

Frederick J. Heuser, Ph.D.