“This has not by any means been an ideal church, the perfect church is in heaven. Another history may have been written, whose tone would be adversely critical, in which the facts stated would be justifiably censurable because of folly or maliciousness. But every historian or biographer omits more than (s)he records, and wisely. Among the early settlers were men of military title, and they carried their belligerent propensities into church matters as well. Considering the number of such experiences, it is a wonder that the church ever survived. Bitter feelings engendered, and autocratic inquisitorial exercise of power, resulted in several divisions within this body. It is no small thing, to have been an organization, in which a thousand souls (or 3,000) have confessed their faith in Jesus Christ, and acknowledged his mastery, while half as many more having come from other churches have cast their lot in and found a religious home. We believe in God; we believe in his purpose for us in the future, and therefore we have abundant courage. We begin the second Century (now our third) under auspicious skies. Undoubtedly there will be dark periods; there have been many in the century(ies) past; hardships and sacrifices, doubtless will be required – they have been before – but with a mighty God, with faithful, loyal members, with a universal gospel invitation to proclaim, with daily grace from the God of all graces, and the covenant that as our days our strength shall be, we resolutely face the future, actuated by Christian faith, hope and courage.”
As described by Reinhold Niebuhr, the Church is continually struggling with its identity as part of, and yet apart from the Culture, recognizing that we have the same citizens, and are effected by the same influences. There have been times, when mores in the society and within the church were challenged. There have been eras when the church reacted defensively, avoiding and postponing major repairs as too costly, rather than boldly acting upon dreams. There have also been times when the church led the culture by taking risks others would not consider possible, and attempting to redeem persons who were lost. May future historians treat us with grace and kindness as the church continues to act in mission and service.
The Rev. Dr. Craig Lindsey is Pastor of The First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, New York, USA. A graduate of the College of Wooster, Ohio in Urban Planning and Community Development; Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, NY; and Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia with his Doctor of Ministry in The Gospel in A Postmodern Culture, his thesis work on Essentials Necessary for Congregational Redevelopment: Restoring Salt’s Savor. Rev. Lindsey is a member of the Sudan Mission network of the Presbyterian Church USA. He is also one of the Founding members of the Board of Directors and Secretary of the John Dau Foundation. Rev. Lindsey is married to Judy, and they are the parents of C. Michael who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY; and Nathan who is completing his PhD at UC Berkeley CA in the field of Magneto-tellurics.