September 20 Today in OPC History

Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod


On September 20, 1973, three families met to discuss the prospect of a Reformed witness on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Throughout the next several months newspaper ads solicited encouraging feedback, and Wednesday evening meetings at the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music and Arts began on February 27, 1974, with 27 people in attendance at the first gathering. After approaching several Reformed denominations about their interest in establishing a church, the group determined on May 1 to affiliate with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Wendell L. Rockey, Jr., pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hamilton, Massachusetts, conducted the first Sunday evening worship service four days later.

Things continued to move quickly. On May 24, the work was established under the oversight of the Hamilton session, and on October 15, 1974, it was particularized as the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod. When the session of the Hamilton church released Pastor Rockey to preach at the church once a month, it came as no surprise that he eventually accepted a call to pastor the church, and he was installed on September 19, 1975. Because he signaled his intentions early, the Hamilton church was able to secure Ken Ironside as his successor within months of his departure.

Under Rockey’s leadership, the church purchased property in West Barnstable, and it conducted its first worship service in its new building on August 5, 1984. After he stepped down from the Cape Cod pulpit that year, the church has been pastored by David Robinson, Robert Rienstra, Walter Copeland, and Charles Wingard. Since 2006, James La Belle has faithfully served as pastor.

Picture: Wendell Rockey and Mark Holler



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