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Old Light in New York

01. November 2006

Columns, Congregation of the Month,


Lisbon RPC

Location:Lisbon, N.Y.

Presbytery:St. Lawrence

Organization:Sept. 23, 1840

Membership:32 communicant, 27 baptized

Pastor:Steven Rockhill


Our Beginning

The families of John Smith, William Coleman, and William Glass settled in Lisbon, N.Y., after emigrating from Ireland. These are familiar names in the Lisbon community, and they were the forefathers of the Lisbon RPC. In 1823, a “society” was formed in the home of John Smith.

Beginning in 1829, several ministers and licentiates came to preach and minister to the people in Lisbon. In 1830, a provisional session was organized to receive members and perform baptisms. The Rev. James Stewart of Argyle, N.Y., came to Lisbon in 1832 to organize the congregation by electing and ordaining elders. Unknown to the faithful in Lisbon at the time, however, was the fact that Rev. Stewart had been under suspension by the Northern Presbytery. This effectively nullified the organization of the congregation as well as the election and ordination of elders.

Rev. Stewart had been suspended related to his “publicly affirming a position that was contrary to church doctrine.” Rev. Stewart was a New Light advocate. Within a year after the denominational split (Old Light/New Light in 1833 ), a member of the Lisbon RPC received ...

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