The Osceola Sanctuary

By far, the most beautiful sanctuary I have had the opportunity in which to serve, was the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church Osceola, AR. It was my first church as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in American and as you can see from the photo below, it is quite beautiful.

If you look at the picture, the architecture actually tells you something about their beliefs when they built the building. You will see a split pulpit. This was typically done in churches that held a higher view of the LORD’s supper than most, and is quite popular in Anglican churches. In most Protestant churches, the pulpit is the middle of the sanctuary because the dominant view is that the word of God is to be exalted over all (why some pulpits are raised). They would put the table below the pulpit because the sacrament was never to be observed without the preaching of the word. Plus, there is also the belief that the preached word of God goes out to all, while the sacrament only goes out for those who are professing believers that have been baptized.

So, while I was there, I always wanted to have the pulpit moved to the center of the sanctuary, at the end of the aisle. I mentioned this to one of my elders at one point, and he reminded me that the pulpit from which I preached (on the right) was actually in the center of the room because there was a side set of pews on the right (not easily seen from this picture). That meant that I was actually preaching from the center of the room. I chuckled at that one because he had me and I never mentioned it again.

Sadly, we had to close this church (made up of the people) and sell the building. Everyone kept moving away and the town was dying off. So we felt God’s leading to close the church and go our separate ways. The good news is that I still keep in contact with many of the members. That was a special time for me, even though it was terribly difficult to close the church. I do rejoice that I had the opportunity to be the pastor there, from February 2001, to June 2004.

Sanctuary

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2 thoughts on “The Osceola Sanctuary

  1. Ah memories. I am still extremely thankful for our time there with you. And, by the way, I still get to preach in a split pulpit regularly (and it is not in the center of the sanctuary).

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