Today in OPC History

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September 28

Doug and Betty Watson

Douglas Andrew Watson was a fourth-generation communicant member of Eastlake OPC, renamed Emmanuel OPC, in Wilmington, Delaware. His great-grandparents were charter members of the church back in 1896—long before the congregation came into the OPC in 1936. Betty Wallace’s mother and father were part of the first worship services held at the OPC of Franklin Square, outside New York City. Although both Doug and Betty grew up in Christian homes, they might never have met if it had not been for the French Creek Bible Conference. Doug was so young he needed special permission to attend the rustic Bible conference for his first year. Betty also came at an early age to be with her mother, who was a camp counselor. They met at camp in the 1950s and their love grew into marriage on this date in 1963. Both of their pastors—the Rev. John C. Hills, Jr., of Franklin Square and the Rev. Robert W. Eckardt of Wilmington—performed the wedding ceremony, which was fifty-four years ago today.

To help support their growing family, Doug worked in a bank and was instrumental in incorporating computers into their financial system. Doug graduated from the University of Delaware in Newark in 1971, then Westminster Theological Seminary in 1976. While Doug was completing his seminary training, he drove eighty miles south to Seaford, where he led a Bible study at the home of his sister, Gail Merrill. The Presbytery of Philadelphia ordained Doug as pastor of Covenant OPC in Seaford, Delaware, in 1978. After several key families made job transfers, the church closed in 1983. Doug was called to Calvary OPC in Ringoes, New Jersey, from 1984-1996. He then served as an evangelist for Living Hope OPC in Bloomfield, then Nutley, New Jersey, from 1996-2000. Over the years he has served as moderator of the 1995 General Assembly in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and was the first OPC staff accountant for the Committee on Coordination from 2000-2014. He also served as a teacher at Trinity OPC in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, from 2007-2012. Currently he works part-time in accounting at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina.

Over the years, Betty, who trained as a hair dresser, has excelled in hospitality and arts and crafts. They have been blessed with five children and twelve grandchildren (a thirteenth is on the way). One son lives in Canada and a daughter lives in New Zealand.

- 2017

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