About us? H’mm, now that’s an interesting phrase. Perhaps obvious, but no less profound, is the notion that such a phrase points to a story, and only ‘persons’ have the innate capacity to create a story. Some stories are personal; but they are about an individual. Others, while also personal, are collective; they are about a group, and so this group of believers has a story about how they came to be Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church (CRPC). Part of ‘about us’ is our history, which is both new and old, both personal and corporate.
OUR HISTORY (the beginnings)
From one perspective, yes, this is a new beginning, a new work of God. We began as a group bible study in 2013, and became a particular church within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in January of 2014. But in another sense, it is a continuation of lives intertwined by generations. Many of the families and individuals in this newly formed body of Christ have had their stories interwoven across the spectrum of time, both with those who left their respective churches to help form CRPC, as well as those who chose to remain. Some can identify family names associated with the First Wyoming United Presbyterian Church of Torrington, Wyoming, whose origins were in 1906!
While that still isn’t long by world history standards, for a small territory in the western frontier of the United States, whose statehood was as recent as 1890 – that is a very ‘long’ history! In September 1905 Rev. W.P. McNary, D.D. visited Torrington and informed the Home Missions board that the prospect of beginning a church was good. Dr. McNary came and undertook the mission project the first Sunday of April 1906. There were 18 Charter Members seven from other churches and five by profession of faith in Christ followed by baptism (now there’s a lesson in church growth – conversions!). They met in a couple different locations with their own chapel completed and dedicated on October 7, 1906. The Manse was completed in the summer of 1907. Then tragedy hit. On October 22, 1907 the church burned to the ground. Not to be deterred, they decided to rebuild, and to build bigger. The new church was completed on January 24, 1909 and had grown to 67 members. The church as it looks today can been seen to have had the roof changed from a slopping angle to an A-frame. Other than that its original architectural achievement remains sound.
In summary, a group of followers of Jesus left their respective congregations to form a new work in Goshen County, a work that has as its foundation the Apostolic Tradition now contained in written form in Holy Scripture. This was and remains the raison d’être (the reason for its existence) for the formation of this new local church in Goshen County called, Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church. After nearly two years of meeting as a bible study in various homes, the Senior Citizen Center, in Lingle, was obtained so we could meet the growing demand of interested folk who also saw this issue as one of biblical authority. A careful and thorough search was made to find a denomination that sufficiently upheld the authority of Scripture. With prayerful diligence and seeking wisdom from within and without, we voted to align ourselves with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC)
Like all stories, we have a beginning, and this is but a very short summary. Ours history also happens to be embedded within the debate on authority within Presbyterianism (you can see the long history for a fuller treatment). We did not ask for this conflict; rather, we found ourselves within it, and we are not unaware of potential dangers. However, in no uncertain terms, and with keen awareness and intentionality, we are not a reactionary movement. We are simply committed to the ongoing authority of the Apostolic tradition, i.e., Scripture. It is our desire to take the glorious message of Jesus Christ, in all its richness and diversity, and spread its news far and near. We will not be deterred in our God-given calling. There are plenty of pages to be written in this story. In the words of a contemporary song writer, “We’ve only just begun.” If you’re looking for a faithful group of believers who are pulsating with the prospect and energy of a new beginning in Goshen County concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ, then look no further; we warmly extend an invitation to join us. Your story is not finished either. We invite you to weave your story with ours!