Vince Patton gave this witness on October 30:
Good morning. Fourteen years ago I stepped into the sanctuary of Central Presbyterian Church at the suggestion of a colleague at the Presbyterian Center. During our conversation I remember my friend saying, “Well, if you’re looking for a church that truly practices what it preaches, then you should give Central a try.” The individual, who was not a member of Central, spoke admirably of this congregation’s commitment to justice and diversity and his enthusiasm inspired me to visit.
The sincerity and warmth of the congregation and its pastors and the memorable music in worship made an instant impression and to this day I couldn’t imagine worshiping in any other congregation on a regular basis.
I grew up in a racially and socioeconomically diverse congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, so being a part of a diverse worshiping community was very important to me. Making the decision to transfer my membership to Central and to take a place on this worshiping community’s quilt was a significant part of my faith journey.
My life and faith have been deeply enriched through my involvement in this congregation. I have been exposed to a number of important issues facing the church, rediscovered the power of the church to reach out to the marginalized, and witnessed the connectional church at its best through many of the ministries provided by this congregation. I continue to be inspired by the many leaders of all ages in this congregation and the depth of their commitment to living out their faith.
Stirring worship services, thought-provoking sermons, the mid-day prayer luncheon for those who often do not have enough food to eat, Christian educational opportunities to the cool children and youth and their teachers and parents (who are just as cool), the Friday night movie group, the church’s support of the PC(USA)’s four special offerings, and its support of mission co-workers are just a few of the ways that Central is making a tangible difference in all of our lives and in the lives of so many others in the community and in the world.
From being a sanctuary church in the 1980s to being a church on the forefront of the struggle for inclusion in church leadership to being a church that continues to speak to truth to power when many other churches have lost their voices, Central remains a beacon of hope for Christians who are committed to proclaiming God’s love for people of all conditions.
Please join me on the patchwork quilt of Central by demonstrating your commitment to the congregation’s mission in 2012 and beyond.