Monday, January 13, 2020

Roaring 20's and PCC

We're having a party at SPPC on the 20th of this month, to celebrate 20/20 -- a vision plan the congregation adopted a couple of years ago. Now that 2020 is here, session thought we should celebrate.
The theme of the party is the 1920's. We'll have food and music and some old-time fun. 

We are all familiar with the term "roaring 20's" as it applies to secular life -- prohibition, votes for women, rum running, dancing -- but what about the era in the Presbyterian Church in Canada? Did we "roar" or whisper?

A little history here. Since the 1700's there had been reformed congregations in what is now Canada. Some were associated with the Church of Scotland, others with the French Huguenots, others with Dutch and German churches. On June 15, 1875 four major churches came together and formed the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The historic vote took place in Victoria Hall, Montreal.
Victoria Hall, Montreal

There were some dissenting congregations, but over the next several years, most joined the PCC denomination. Finally, in 1918 the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Montreal, the last major congregation affiliated with the Church of Scotland in Canada joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada. 
The denomination grew throughout the country and by the 1920's was the largest Christian denomination in English-speaking Canada.
Then came 1925 and church union. The "roaring" began.

Seventy percent of Presbyterian congregations joined with the Methodist Church, Canada, and the Congregationalist Church to form the United Church of Canada, on June 10, 1925. 

The remaining thirty percent were unconvinced by the doctrine of the new denomination. This group, consisting of those Presbyterian congregations, and a number of minority groups which opposed union into the United Church of Canada, met for prayer just before midnight in Knox Presbyterian Church (Toronto). Some 79 dissenting commissioners, and others equally concerned about the future of their church, had come to resume the General Assembly of the "continuing" Presbyterian Church that night. They were led by Rev. Dr. David George McQueen.
For over a decade these congregations used the term "Continuing Presbyterians" or "Non-Concurring Presbyterians." In 1939 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that these congregations had the legal right to the name Presbyterian Church in Canada.

Now it is 2020.  Are we ready to roar into the next decade? 

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