Born in Faith. Rooted in Grace. Living into Hope: The First Presbytery in a New Nation

As a part of our 300th Anniversary, the Presbytery of Philadelphia produced a short film to reach back into our shared history and mobilize us for present and future witness. Check out how some of our leadership interpret what it means to be first, to include reflections from The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and First African Presbyterian Church.

Consider viewing the short-film as a part of a Bible Study, Sunday School class, or youth ministry to spark. Then use the discussion questions below to generate faithful conversations and formative possibilities in and through your church or related ministry. Click here for a PDF of the Discussion Guide.

  1. Consider the tagline of the Presbytery of Philadelphia’s 300th Anniversary, “Born of Faith. Rooted in Grace. Living into Hope.” How did such faith, grace, and hope shape the particular mission, ministry, and activism of the early Presbyterians mentioned in this film?
  2. The public witness of the earliest Presbyterians led them to be viewed by those in power as social and religious revolutionaries, agents of change in both church and society. In what ways do you see this spirit of agency and public witness still at work in the church today? Where and how do you believe the church may be called to revitalize and embody this spirit in a new way?
  3. Our heritage can be a vital tool for imagining how we as disciples of Jesus Christ are called to bear witness to the gospel in this time and place.
    • What do you know about the relevant social issues and unique challenges your founders faced as they sought to be chartered as a congregation?
    • How does this history shape your sense of mission and engagement with your local community
    • What are the present challenges locally and globally your congregation already engages and/or may be called to engage?
    • Aware that there is no singular roadmap for present and future ministry, what resources, collaborations, leadership, etc. might be needed as you seek to engage new and faithful ministry in the days ahead?
  4. Suggested Exercise: Using three index cards, write “Born of Faith,” “Rooted in Grace,” and “Living into Hope” on separate cards. On the reverse side of each card list how each of these phrases pertains to the past, present, and future witness of your congregation and/or ministry.