Branson First Presbyterian celebrates Calvin’s 500th birthday

Of the 173 presbyteries in all 50 states, only one carries the name of John Calvin. Reason enough for the John Calvin Presbytery, which includes 27 counties of southwest Missouri and six counties in Southeast Kansas, to celebrate the 500th birthday of the Reformation leader, Sept. 12-14, 2009. Although the presbytery is headquartered in Springfield, all events will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Branson, 420 West Main Street, Branson. Hotel reservations can be made through the Branson Tourism Center, 1-800-268-4014.

The three-day celebration will begin at 9:30 am., Saturday, September 12, 2009, with an opening worship. The worship and plenary message about the significance of Calvin in today’s world will be presented by The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick. Dr. Kirkpatrick is the President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a Professor at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is the former Stated Clerk of the PCUSA.

The worship will be followed by workshops, including educational opportunities to learn about the Reformed Tradition, the history of the Reformation and John Calvin, and Presbyterianism. Workshop facilitators for Saturday will include: Smith Brookhart, Elder at First Presbyterian Church, Branson, and Reformation scholar; Rev. Dr. Stephany Graham, Associate for Leadership Development, PCUSA; The Rev. Carlos Malave, Associate Stated Clerk and Associate for Ecumenical Relations, PCUSA and The Rev. Rose Niles, Associate for Seminary Relations, PCUSA.

Preaching the morning of Sunday, Sept. 13, beginning with morning worship at 10:30 a.m, is the Interim Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Branson, The Rev. Dr. Munn Hinds. The Calvin Celebration Service will begin at 2:30 p.m. The Guest speaker for the afternoon celebration will be The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick.

Clergy are invited to robe and to process in the clergy procession at the 2:30 p.m. worship service. Choirs and choral representatives, including soloists, are invited to sing at the Choral Fest at 4:00 p.m., which will be followed by a dinner celebration for all.

Monday will be the Stated Meeting of John Calvin Presbytery, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with worship, followed by a special plenary session about the Reformation and John Calvin. The Rev. Dr. Stephany Graham, Associate for Leadership Development for the Presbyterian Church (USA) will be preaching during worship. The plenary speaker will be The Rev. Dr. Anna Case Winters, Professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois.

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