This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Going to church the Presbyterian way

(I thought it would be interesting to use Sundays to focus on Rensselaer's churches and to see how many Sundays I can go before I run out of material. Indiana is richly endowed with religious denominations, with influences from North and South, East and West. This is part of that series of posts.)

The First Presbyterian Church is located at 220 N Cullen, at the intersection of Cullen and Angelica. According to the Church Services Directory published in the Rensselaer Republican, the pastor is J. Gerald Egger. Worship services are Sunday morning at 9:30, and there are other meetings.
The Rensselear Prebyterian church is part of a larger denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Presbyterians trace their origins back to Calvin:
Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with the French lawyer John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him.

Portions of the Presbyterian church in the United States have separated from the main body, and some parts have reunited, several times. The greatest division occurred in 1861 during the American Civil War. The two branches created by that division were reunited in 1983 to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), currently the largest Presbyterian group in this country.

Some of the principles articulated by John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers.
There are many other interesting things on the denominational webpages, such as this:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ declare on the basis of A Common Calling and their adoption of A Formula of Agreement that they are in full communion with one another.
The religion map at Valparaiso shows that Presbyterianism is stronger to our east and to our west. More information on how the American denomination fits into world-wide Presbyterianism can be found on Wikipedia.

Of all the churches in Rensselaer, this is my favorite from an architectural standpoint. The building was built in Romanesque revival style in 1896. There is a church hall in the back that serves several purposes, including as a polling station when there are elections.


Anonymous said...

What's the obelisk next to the church for?

Dessert Survivor said...

"What's the obelisk next to the church for?"

It is for another post on another day.

Elle Weems said...

As you know, I've waymarked that obelisk. I discovered it on a Sunday that I was in Rensselaer. I had attended Mass at St. Augustine down the street and started walking around the area. Out of place elements add such charm to an area. You wonder what you're going to stumble upon next.

Sheila said...

I attended kindergarten in this church fellowship area in the 70's.