One of the real highlights of our trip was our "swing" Sunday, which we spent at First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC. I was there to do a session of the Thornwell Lectures on "Kingdom Vision with Presbyterian Identity" and to preach the Sunday evening service.
A few things about that time:
1. FPC has to be one of the friendliest large churches which we have attended. During Sunday school, our kids made friends immediately and our five year old even got to ring the church bell (a really special memory; he wore the sticker that said he rang the church bell all day). After the Sunday evening service, the church hosts a wonderful dinner in Jackson Hall. My family all had people talking with them and caring about them. When we left the hotel Monday morning, my daughter cried because she didn't want to leave all her new friends at First Pres!
2. We were hosted so well by Duff James, assistant pastor for adult education. It was wonderful to get to know him a little bit; I hope that we will be able to develop a friendship over time. I was equally disappointed that we didn't get to hear Sinclair Ferguson (who was in Scotland) or Duff preach.
3. One interesting tidbit that I suspect few people know--on the pulpit chairs, there are wonderfully cross-stitched seat covers. And on those covers is the logo of Presbyterian Church, U.S. (the old southern Presbyterian church). I asked Duff if I was one of the few people who knew what that was; he suspected that to be the case!
4. I had forgotten it, since it had been 13 years since I last lived in South Carolina. Columbia in July is hot. Very, very hot. But it rained both Saturday and Sunday, which was desparately needed in that region.