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Today in OPC History

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January 14

Valdosta, Georgia

On January 14, 1975, the congregation of Westminster OPC in Valdosta, Georgia, voted to transfer its membership to the Presbyterian Church in America. Twenty-three years earlier the congregation had withdrawn from Presbyterian Church, US and had empowered the session "to take whatever steps are necessary to affiliate with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church."

John Galbraith and John Clelland, a commission of the Presbytery of Philadelphia representing the OPC, visited the congregation on March 28-30, 1953. Three weeks later on April 19, Westminster OPC applied to and was received by the Presbytery of Philadelphia as an official congregation of the OPC. The charter membership was seventy-two. Mr. Clelland accepted a call as the church's organizing pastor and would labor there until 1963.

At that time, there were only two OPC congregations in the South, Bethel OPC in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Westminster Church in Valdosta, and even then the two congregations were in different presbyteries as Bethel Church belonged to the Presbytery of New Jersey. In 1958, two more congregations, First Church, Maitland, Florida, and Sharon Church, Hialeah, Florida, joined with Bethel Church and Westminster Church to form the Presbytery of the South.

By 1975, the number of churches in the Presbytery of the South had grown to ten, but with only one other church in the state of Georgia, the congregation voted to leave the OPC because of what it felt would be increased fellowship opportunities in the PCA.

Picture: John Clelland

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