January 8 Today in OPC History

Bridgeton, New Jersey


On January 8, 1939, Calvary Presbyterian Church of Bridgeton, New Jersey, dedicated its new church home. In a ceremony, Pastor Clifford Smith declared that the dedication was unto the task "of preaching and defending the everlasting gospel of redeeming grace through Jesus Christ." The dedicatory sermon was preached by the Rev. R. B. Kuiper of Westminster Seminary. The service was marked by the singing of a hymn written especially for this ceremony by Mrs. Mary Richman, a member of the church in her ninetieth year. At the evening service, Dr. Cornelius Van Til, also of Westminster Seminary, was the guest preacher. Capacity crowds attended both services.

The Presbyterian Guardian quoted Mr. Smith, "It was only six months ago that this congregation was ousted from its beautiful Gothic church, estimated to have been worth $75,000. Suit had been brought against them by the West Jersey Presbytery of the PCUSA and, after litigation that extended over a period of two years, the case was finally brought to its conclusion in a spectacular court battle in which the jury refused, for a considerable time, to bring in a directed verdict against the defendants. When the verdict against them had finally been secured, this congregation of 131 members left the building and my family and I moved from the manse. Services were continued for four months in the American Legion Hall, and there were unprecedented blessings even under the most difficult circumstances. Of the original group of members who had voted to leave the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. there was not one who was unwilling to leave the beautiful church in which they had so long worshiped. All of them and many friends from other denominations faithfully stood by their convictions and honored their Lord by refusing to put sentiment and family tradition ahead of their allegiance to the everlasting gospel.”

Picture: Clifford Smith



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