New Presbyterian church settles at interim location

The newly gathered congregation of Christ Reigns Presbyterian Church has found a temporary new place of worship as it seeks out a more permanent home.

Pastor Alan Morrison was looking to lead the church’s first service on Sept. 20 until he and other founding members were notified that they could not rent Middletown Presbyterian Church’s Cedar Creek chapel to hold services as per the Shenandoah Presbytery’s Book Of Order.

While on a hasty search for a new place of worship, Morrison and other founding members of the church spoke to those at Cedar Creek Primitive Baptist Church in Winchester – half a mile away from the chapel.

Congregations meet at Cedar Creek Primitive Baptist one Sunday afternoon a month, so Morrison knew Christ Reigns could also hold morning services in the building without conflict – though the two churches will need to sort out distribution of utility costs.

He said that in the mid-1900s, the Cedar Creek Primitive Baptist congregation met at Cedar Creek Presbyterian down the road for 10 years while their own building suffered structural problems. In Morrison’s words, the congregation “felt like they owed something to somebody.”

As a Primitive Baptist church, Cedar Creek’s place of worship is purposefully unadorned and without any musical instruments. Although Christ Reigns has brought in elements like a keyboard that they place out of sight when services end, Morrison said the simplistic nature of the building matches the style of a mid-1800s Presbyterian church.

“We have to be very respectful of their building in all that we do, but it’s just a blessing to have it,” he said.

Christ Reign’s first services there on Sept. 27 drew a turnout that was encouragingly larger than expected.

“I have had services where there were just two people there, and that is discouraging,” Morrison said. “The attitude of the people that came was very good, they were very up about this.”

Transitional Presbyter Roy Martin said Shenandoah Presbytery’s committee on relational ministry would deliberate on use of the chapel and present a recommendation at the Nov. 10 quarterly meeting, but Morrison said that those developments are irrelevant now. He and other members are still on the lookout for a permanent new home for their fledgling congregation.

“We’re open at this point and we feel that at the appropriate time, the appropriate location will come to us,” he said.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com