York County Council of Churches seeking to regroup in 60th birthday year
Two visitors discuss decorations that caught their eyes at the Festival of Trees, one of the York County (Pa.) Council of Churches annual activities. (See additional York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News photograph below.) Also of interest: People of varying religious groups founded York County
, Two York County union churches vestiges of bygone era and Complete series of posts about First Moravian’s stained-glass windows.
York, Pa., Daily Record/Sunday News reporter Melissa Nann Burke explored the past, present and future of the York County Council of Churches in the piece: York County Council of Churches hopes to leave turmoil behind and rise again.
Part of Melissa’s thorough reporting – she’s one of the best religion reporters in the U.S. – brought forth a brief council history, as follows:
Decorations hang from Christmas trees at the York County Council of Churches Festival of Trees at the York County Heritage Trust in 2008.
Representatives of 54 congregations gathered on Nov. 29, 1951, at First Presbyterian Church of York to organize the York County Council of Churches.
Its founding mission was to be a “medium for uniting Protestantism for cooperative Christian service to York County.” The council grew out of organizations such as the Interchurch Federation, a Sabbath School Association, the York County Ministerial Association and other groups.
Headquarters opened on North Duke Street in 1952, and the council’s first project, a Passion play at the fairgrounds, drew 6,500 people that year. The organization later conducted regular, door-to-door censuses of county residents’ religious affiliations.
Early programs included religious education classes for public-school fifth-graders, ecumenical worship services, marriage preparation/counseling, an audio-visual library and a hospital chaplain visitations.
By 1961, the council had 141 members from 11 denominations and was joining with Catholics during Advent and Lent for initiatives such as “Keep Christ in Christmas” and to advocate a more religious observance of Good Friday.
The council — now with roughly 135 member congregations — has no affiliation with denominational bodies or state or national councils of churches.
It sponsors events including the annual Four Chaplains Prayer Breakfast, the CROP Walk to End Hunger, OPEN ministry for families affected by HIV/AIDS, an ecumenical service at the York Fair and the Festival of Trees fundraiser.
Also of interest:
– All God and York County posts from the start.
– Church’s story links up with U.S. religious history
– All York Town Square posts from the start. Then use “find” function on browser to search for keywords.
– Of course, you can always search for York Town Square posts on Google. For example, when you search for yorktownsquare and church, you get this.