About the Presbyterian Church (USA)
God comes to us in free and undeserved favor in the person of Jesus Christ that we might belong to God and serve Christ in the world. Following Jesus, Presbyterians are engaged in the world and in seeking thoughtful solutions to the challenges of our time.
Presbyterians affirm that God comes to us with grace and love in the person of Jesus Christ, who lived, died, and rose for us so that we might have eternal and abundant life in him. As Christ’s disciples, called to ministry in his name, we seek to continue his mission of teaching the truth, feeding the hungry, healing the broken, and welcoming strangers. God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, giving us the energy, intelligence, imagination, and love to be Christ’s faithful disciples in the world.
More than two million people call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) their spiritual home. Worshiping in 10,000 Presbyterian congregations throughout the United States, they engage the communities in which they live and serve with God’s love.
More information can be found at the PC (U.S.A.) website.
Blacksburg Presbyterian Church (BPC) was founded in 1832. That ends the chronology. What’s happened since?
The church has always been diverse and what its diversity has changed over the years. Presbyterians in Southwest Virginia were mostly Scotch Irish in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a sprinkling of people of Dutch or French ancestry. Another kind of diversity was involuntary. Several members and at least one pastor owned slaves, some of whom were required to attended worship—and sit in the gallery. That building still stands downtown, where the gallery can be seen above a bustling bar and tables full of restaurant patrons. In modern times, BPC’s diversity expanded. In 1961 the ruling elders affirmed that “all who come to worship God” be seated without discrimination and that “all who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord” be welcome as members, bold words in the South in the era of Civil Rights.
The little village of Blacksburg and its small Presbyterian church was transformed by the decision in 1872 to locate Virginia’s land grant college here. At the end of the century a new building was planned, and contributions came in from around the Synod to support the church attended by so many “boys” from the college. That argument was used again in 1955 for help with the present building. Since then the building has been updated twice at the congregation’s expense.
The church and town were affected profoundly again by the transformation of Virginia Polytechnic Institute into a comprehensive university in 1970. Through the changes BPC strove for a reasonable balance between nurturing church members and outreach to the community and the world. The church is now well-known for its strong pulpit ministry, theological rigor, variety of programs, and respected heritage of addressing human needs.
As our resident historian says so well, “The church has chosen not to be an entertainment church, even though members have a lot of good times together. It has chosen not to be an entrepreneurial church, even though its stewardship provides programs for the church, the community, and the world. Rather, BPC seeks to be a community of God’s people making use of heart, soul, and mind in the work of the Kingdom of God.”