Denomination – PCUSA
The Presbyterian Church of Chestertown is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) – the oldest and largest of the Presbyterian denominations in the United States. The Presbyterian Church traces its roots back to the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Europe, specifically to the “Reformed” tradition inspired by John Calvin. Ultimately, however, Presbyterianism is an heir of the ancient apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ; sharing the faith and creeds of the “Holy Catholic Church.”
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a national church with congregations in every state. It was brought to this country in the colonial period by Puritans from England and Presbyterians from Scotland and Ireland. Through the centuries adherents from every nation have been welcomed and the church values the inclusive witness to God’s grace without regard to race, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.
Presbyterianism emphasizes the responsibility of each individual for his or her own faith, guided by scripture and the church’s creeds. It is a “connectional church” in which decisions are made democratically through a series of representative governing bodies: the Session (a local congregation) Presbytery and Synod (regional) and the General Assembly (national).
Throughout our lives, the church ministers to our needs. We are baptized in the church, nurtured by its’ teaching, and find fulfillment in service to its’ mission. If the church has been the center of one’s life, then it is fitting that one closes the circle by having one’s remains interred as near as possible to the place of worship. The Garden is a place for those who love this church and have a sense of closeness to it, which they would like to preserve even after death.
The Garden provides a planned space of beauty and serenity:
• for the use of church members, corporately and individually.
• for meditation and prayer,
• and for the disposition of the cremated remains of loved ones.
Access to The Garden is from the Sanctuary, the Fellowship Hall, or driveway at the rear of the church. Please contact the church office for more detailed information.
History of PCC
Presbyterianism in America began on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the 17th century with settlers from Scotland and Ireland. This long tradition of Presbyterianism continued in Kent County when a small group of people met on a back porch in 1985 to share dreams of a Presbyterian Church in Chestertown. The first worship services were conducted in the Masonic Hall on High Street.
The congregation was formally organized by New Castle Presbytery the following year with 85 charter members and the Rev. George Clayman as organizing pastor. Clayman was succeeded by the Rev. Earl Brooks as the first installed pastor. After his retirement, he was succeeded by the Rev. Sara Holben who served the church from 2000 to the summer of 2018. The Rev Caitlan Gartland has been Associate Pastor since 2015. An active “Pastor Nominating Committee” is now at work and it is anticipated that the congregation will elect a new pastor early in 2020.
The present sanctuary on Gateway Drive was built in the early 1990s as a multi-purpose room, classrooms and offices. The gorgeous sanctuary was completed in 2007.
In 30 years the congregation has grown to over 300 members, a professional and support staff of seven, and a full program of worship, education, music, mission, ministry with children and youth, fellowship, and pastoral care.