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Turning 175

11. August 2009

Columns, Congregation of the Month,


Southfield RPC

Location:Southfield, Mich.

Presbytery:Great Lakes–Gulf


Membership: 40 communicant; 25 baptized

Pastor:James Faris (17th pastor)

The Southfield, Mich., RPC was founded with 18 communicant members in 1834 by the Western Presbytery. Sixty-five-year-old pioneer and founding elder David Stewart, from the White Lake, N.Y., RPC, led and organized the people who traveled to form the congregation. It became the first church in Southfield since Jesus gave the Great Commission.

Land at that time sold for $1.25 per acre for the privilege of clearing the forests nearly 20 miles from Detroit. Small groups known as societies were formed to facilitate the body life of the church for many years. The present church building was built in 1861 by Joseph Torrence, who completed the work in failing health but was taken to glory before he could worship in it. Over the years, the church has sent a number of sons into pastoral ministry along with missionaries to Cyprus, China, and Australia. The Denison, Kan., RPC was formed in large measure by the migration of Southfield’s pastor, J.S.T. Milligan, and a number of church members in 1871.

Southfield has transformed from a rural township to a bustling city of 75,000 people through the growth of the automotive industry in the last century. Interstate 696 runs near the church building, ...

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