A century and a decade
BY Sarah smith
A tiny Park Rapids parish celebrated two milestones Sunday in a festival of joy attended by dignitaries of two religions.
Trinity Episcopal and Presbyterian Church marked a century of Episcopal affiliation, and a decade of combined worship with the Presbyterian Church.
The Rt. Rev. Brian Pryor, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Minnesota, even made light of the merger.
He said his colleagues speak with pride about Episcopal mergers with Lutheran churches.
“We’ve got 100 of those,” he said, whereas Trinity is one of two churches in the nations to successfully blend with a Presbyterian Church.
“Checkmate,” he laughed, describing it as a “monumental relationship,” while marveling “at what you’ve been able to do together.”
He praised the congregation for shedding the mindset that “we’ve always done it that way before” to one of accomplishment.
“Who are we?” he asked. “We are uniquely gifted. You have the gifts to change the world.”
In a bow to modern technology, Prior used a smart phone to read a prayer.
The Rev. Kimbrel Johnson, Moderator of the Presbytery of Northern Waters, also praised the parish.
“A group of people in Park Rapids started a church (a century ago) in a storefront,” she said, later moving into a church that used to be Lutheran.
“Then you started a partnership,” she praised.
Nine clergy from both churches attended.
Prior urged the congregation to move forward, just as his son would be after graduating recently from Shattuck-St. Mary’s boarding academy in Faribault.
“Just don’t move into the basement” and plan to stay forever, he cautioned with a wink.
The energized church served an elegant lunch and vowed to keep the momentum flowing.