By Rev. Dr. Milton Winter
those churches thats spelled with a P
happened again! Our church with its befuddling name has
again been confused with some of our stalwart believers
who share a superficially similar moniker.
I was at the
Rotary Club meeting, when one of the brothers greeted me
by saying, Well, I see you are going to have
Prayer, Praise, and Preaching come January!
us, I said, looking at him blankly thinking
to myself that surely he knew perfectly well that it
would be impossible to bestir us Presbyterians out of our
hard-earned winter somnolence, the preacher first and
foremost of all. (Now that Im 50, I take that
long winters nap from The Night
Before Christmas very seriously, almost as a
was not easily dissuaded. He said, Im sure
the signs around the square have your name on them.
Well, I know mostly whats up with my flock; but I
suppose it would not be impossible for them to organize
something like this on their own. I ate my lunch and
resolved to check into the matter.
the nearsighted or the nonplussed, let me clear things
up: It is the First Pentecostal Church here in Holly
Springs that is having its Winter Conference January 6
and 7, at 7:30 p.m. And indeed, their placards around the
square do promise Prayer, Praise, and
Preaching! May God bless their effort.
friend is not the first to confuse Presbyterian and
Pentecostal. Indeed in the Nashville suburb of Franklin,
Tenn., the local chamber of commerce helpfully printed up
a church directory for new residents. The only trouble
was that they switched the headings of the Presbyterian
and Pentecostal churches!
Will Berger and Sally Hughes who are co-pastors there
hope that this is the reason that several first-time
visitors have gotten up and left right in the middle of
two names seem initially similar. Both derive from the
Greek language of the New Testament. Both are
multi-syllabic and both begin with a P. But the styles of
worship in the two churches are quite different.
Pentecostals generally see the Spirits presence and
action in terms of spontaneous and emotive behavior; we,
on the other hand, believe the Spirit is manifested
through rigorous self-restraint and carefully cultivated
order. In other words, to a first-time observer,
Pentecostals will likely seem exuberant; and
must be among Gods happiest people; we, on the
other hand, can be as sedate as a funeral parlor.
Librarians love us. We never have to be shushed!
But as my
great-grandmother used to say, the reason there were so
many religions was that God created so many different
kinds of people.
part, wed never make correct spelling of our name a
condition of membership. In fact, the registrar at Auburn
University once reported that hed seen Presbyterian
spelled seventeen different ways on one set of enrollment
now, our treasurer received a bill from the Piggly-Wiggly
store, and noticed that the person who had charged the
items was a faithful adherent of Christ Episcopal Church
in this community. Guessing that the stores
bookkeeper had made a mistake, our treasurer phoned over
there to see if his hunch was correct. It was, and the
bookkeeper exclaimed, Oh Im sorry; I
wasnt thinking. But I just knew that lady goes to
one of our churches that is spelled with a P!
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