Friday, December 9, 2011

Back Creek Presbyterian Church, Rowan County, NC

The next stop was a church down the road from Thyatira Presbyterian Church and which was also on the Rowan County tour, Back Creek Presbyterian Church.

Back Creek was founded by a group of disaffected Thyatira members in 1805 during a period called The Second Great Awakening. Many church revivals were held throughout the United States with the idea of "restoring" Christianity to its most pure and primitive form before the Second Coming of Christ. This included displays of dancing, shouting and screaming during these religious revivals and meetings. Presbyterians were not pleased with the type of evangelical zeal that these revivals engendered (there is a reason they're called "The Frozen Chosen") and that some of the Thyatira members were displaying.

So, 20-30 family members split off from the Thyatira congregation and established this church in 1805. This is the third sanctuary at this site with the first two being wood-framed buildings. This Greek Revival style sanctuary was finished in 1857.

The interior of the sanctuary has not changed in those 164 years. Like Thyatira, the upstairs gallery surrounds the sanctuary on three sides and was originally built for the slaves owned by local plantation owners. The upstairs pews are original, too, as are the massive front doors. The pews downstairs were replaced in 1978 when the ones that had been there were taken away for restoration, but deemed too fragile to restore and return.

And after 206 years this congregation is still separate from Thyatira. Thyatira belongs to Presbyterian Church (USA), one of our mainstream Protestant denominations, while Back Creek belongs to Presbyterian Church in America, an evangelical denomination.


frayedattheedge said...

A lovely elegant building. Over here, we too have various kinds of protestantism.

Anyes said...

Being born a catholic, it's always a bit confusing for me all the different branches of protestantism.

I love how much history I get to learn about, here with you.

Beautiful churches to boot :-)

Karen said...

Anne: My mother's side of the family were the Frozen Chosen Presbyterians, but they came from England. Dad's were Episcopalians and my grandmother never got over them re-writing the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

Anyes: Trust me, sometimes it gets very confusing for us Protestants, too.

I'm glad you're learning something on my trips. So am I!