It started from a conversation with a Covenant Seminary student. The student called me and wanted to know if the PCA was open to other styles of worship outside of the usual Presbyterian form. This second year African American seminary student felt that he had been too quick to "write off" the PCA because of pre-conceived ideas about Presbyterian worship style. I invited him to visit us at New City Fellowship in Chattanooga to experience a cross-cultural worship form that was atypical of the PCA.
A week later he called back and asked if he could bring other African American students who were also interested in seeing a different side of the PCA. I was excited to hear that there were other black students interested in investigating the PCA. I offered to pay for a rental van to transport the students from St. Louis to Chattanooga in order to spend a weekend with us at New City Fellowship. When I told Randy Nabors, the pastor of New City, about the weekend he immediately agreed that our church could host the event and suggested that we invite African American students from other seminaries.
What started off as a casual weekend visit with one seminary student turned into an African American seminary student weekend with ten students attending from Covenant in St. Louis and Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson and Atlanta. It was an exciting time of fellowship for all the students as well as an exposure to a cross-cultural worship experience at New City.
The weekend started off with a Saturday night cookout at the Pastor Randy's house, continued the next day with a Sunday School hour in which the vision and ministry of New City was presented, followed by Sunday morning worship, a Sunday afternoon discussion of life and ministry in the PCA and a Sunday evening worship service. We ended our time together with dinner at a local burger joint amidst non-stop conversation and excitement about New City and the African American experience in the PCA.
There was so much excitement about the weekend that it was suggested that we do it again next year. We'll see you in Jackson Labor Day 2012!