“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Dear Friends –
If you read the 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews, you will find the phrase “by faith” repeated over and over again. This chapter is retelling the story of Genesis through the lens of faith. “By faith, Abel offered to God…” “By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death…” “By faith Noah…built an ark to save his household.” “By faith Abraham obeyed…” “By faith Moses was hidden by his parents…”
We are shaped by the faith of the people who go before us. We don’t always see what their faith looked like, but we do see the fruits of their faith. The history of Community Presbyterian Church includes incredibly faithful people. One such person is the Reverend Henry Willard, founding pastor.
According to our history, a Congregational church group depended upon circuit rider preachers “for its sermons until one Sunday afternoon in September, 1863, when the Rev. Henry Willard delivered a sermon at the Plainview schoolhouse. He was prevailed upon to come to Plainview to organize a church. The Plainview Congregational Church (which became Community Presbyterian Church in 1936) was organized on October 7, 1863 with 28 charter members. Reverend Willard remained with the church until 1885 and received 257 new members into the congregation during his pastorate.”
I would love the opportunity to go back in time to have a conversation with Reverend Willard and ask him about what he saw in Plainview that caused him to start a church. What faith he must have had! And I would also like to ask the people who heard him preach and decided to call Reverend Willard as their founding pastor. What faith they must have had!
Using the book of Hebrews for inspiration, we could say, “By faith, Henry Willard came to Plainview to begin a church.” By faith…
We could, of course, add to this story. “By faith, a church was built and dedicated in 1871.” “By faith, the Ladies Aid was formed in 1884 to provide support and fellowship.” “By faith, a church basement was added in 1955.” “By faith…”
What about you? How would you finish the sentence: “By faith…”
I am convinced that Plainview still needs Community Presbyterian Church and I believe that God is not done shaping and guiding us. Can you imagine what future generations will say about us?
This note was written on October 7th, 2020 – exactly 157 years after the founding of Community Presbyterian Church. Isn’t it amazing how the faith of those who have gone before us continues to be a blessing to us?