March 21 Today in OPC History

Calvary Presbyterian Church, Willow Grove, PA


On this day in 1949, Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, was removed from the rolls of the Presbytery of Philadelphia by its own request. With its 460 members, Calvary Church had been the largest congregation in the OPC representing six percent of the denomination's membership. The church had started in 1936 when the Rev. Robert Strong led over 200 individuals out of the PCUSA. J. Gresham Machen preached on the Lord's Day of October 25, 1936, in welcoming the congregation into the newly formed church. Rev. Strong was active in the church both serving as General Secretary of the Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension and as Moderator of the Eighth (1941) General Assembly. Tensions, however, developed between the leadership of Calvary Church and others in the Presbytery of Philadelphia in the controversy that arose surrounding the theological positions of Gordon Clark. After Clark left the OPC for the United Presbyterian Church in October 1948, Calvary Church initiated the process of leaving. After fifteen years of independency, the congregation in 1964 joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and is currently a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Picture: Calvary Presbyterian Church building in the 1940s.