Seminary’s Faithful Steward Award is presented to Second Presbyterian Church of Louisville, Kentucky
Second Presbyterian Church of Louisville, Ky., is the 2005 recipient of the Faithful Steward Award
presented by Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The award, usually presented to an individual, is given periodically to recognize one who has been an example of generosity and dedication to the mission of Louisville Seminary through the faithfulness of their support and advocacy.
“Individuals and organizations express this stewardship as they invest in the training and preparation of men and women for the ministry of Jesus Christ. In the same way, congregations also have partnered with Louisville Seminary to provide much-needed theological education for future leaders in the church. In these relationships the future of the church is nurtured and the hope of God’s Kingdom is realized,” said Cathy Dawson, vice president for Seminary Relations.
The award, initiated in 2003, was presented to Second Presbyterian Church
during a Presidential Inauguration gathering on April 22. “It seemed fitting that the award would be presented to the congregation during the events of the inauguration of the Seminary’s eighth president, Dean K. Thompson,” said Dawson. “The historic ties between the church and the Seminary have helped to establish the school as a world class institution for theological education in the Reformed tradition.”
Second Presbyterian Church was established April 17, 1830, when 12 members of Louisville’s First Presbyterian Church organized a new congregation to serve the growing Ohio River community. By 1870, the growing congregation moved to its first location at Second and Broadway streets.* Through Sunday schools, offered throughout the city, Second Presbyterian Church launched at least seven additional congregations and the mission efforts of several agencies we know today as The Presbyterian Community Center (1898), Cabbage Patch Settlement House (1910), and Wayside Christian Mission (1957).
In 1893, the “Southern” Presbyterians founded Louisville Theological Seminary, a rival to the “Northern” seminary at Danville, Kentucky (founded in 1853). The Louisville seminary held classes in the Sunday school rooms of Second Presbyterian Church, and the church’s pastor, Dr. Charles Hemphill, taught Greek. Then, several years later in an unprecedented example of unity and agreement, the seminary merged with the northern school to become Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. By 1903, the united schools occupied their own facility at First and Broadway streets, donated by church member and then owner of The Courier Journal Walter Haldeman. For 80 years, until Reunion of the Presbyterian Church, the seminary was the only school of the denomination to be jointly supported by both the northern and the southern branches.
In the years since hosting seminarians in its classrooms, Second Presbyterian Church has supported the mission of theological education through its giving and advocacy in many ways.
The members of Second Presbyterian Church have encouraged more than a dozen persons called by God to ordained ministry to pursue a theological education at Louisville Seminary. They have also directly helped to nurture future pastors by working with more than 30 students in supervised field education positions within the congregation. And, Second Presbyterian Church has generously extended mission support for operating expenses, student aid, scholarship endowment, and the construction of the Laws Lodge Retreat and Conference Center, located on the Seminary campus.
One of the most enduring gifts of support came through commitments to establish a professorship in Christian education. This was in keeping with the church’s historic mission of teaching children arising from a concern for their daily needs and their faith development. The teaching chair was combined with a program for families and congregations that sought to nurture a life of faith in families. Second Presbyterian Church raised $1.2 million to fund the Second Presbyterian Church Professorship in Christian Education, currently occupied by Dr. J. Bradley Wigger, who also directs the Center for Congregations and Family Ministries.
“Louisville Seminary has pushed us to be faithful stewards,” said the church’s pastor, Dr. Stephens Lytch, as he accepted the award. “As a result, the professorship in Christian education is a Reformed witness of what it means to be faithful to families.”
The members of Second Presbyterian Church have not only provided the physical and financial resources needed to carry out Louisville Seminary’s mission of ‘equipping the saints for the work of ministry,’ but in addition have shared their considerable talents for leadership as adjunct faculty, volunteer fund raisers, and as trustees.
In 2003, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary celebrated 150 years of building up the body of Christ through outstanding theological education and preparation of leaders for ministry in the church. Second Presbyterian Church was a partner in that celebration as one of the school’s closest “friends” since its beginnings in downtown Louisville. This year, Second Presbyterian Church celebrates 175 years of “teaching and spreading the Gospel of Christ.” Side-by-side may these two institutions continue in the ministry of Jesus Christ for years to come.
*Second Presbyterian Church is currently located at 3701 Old Brownsboro Road, Louisville, Ky., where it has served the Louisville community since 1955.