What's in a name?

Presbyterian ‘kirks’ everywhere are called to celebrate John Knox’s legacy on 500th birthday of Scottish reformer

October 17, 2014

Graphic rendering of John Knox

John Knox. —(Public domain photo)

LOUISVILLE

Kirk in the Hills. Kirk of Kildaire. What’s in a name?

Plenty, it would seem, for Presbyterians.

“Although the names of these churches — and the familiar strains of bagpipes — are reminders of the key role Scottish Presbyterianism has played in shaping the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” said the Rev. Barry Ensign-George, associate for theology in the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Theology and Worship, “central to Scottish Presbyterianism is John Knox, the fiery Reformation-era leader of the Protestant church in Scotland.”

Because 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of Knox’s birth, the 221st General Assembly (2014) designated October as the John Knox memorial month, encouraging all PC(USA) congregations to celebrate the faithful witness of John Knox on Reformation Sunday, Oct. 26.

Reformation Sunday is traditionally observed on the Sunday before Reformation Day, Oct. 31, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg.

Toward that end, the office of Theology and Worship has created a John Knox 500 website, with a wealth of resources, including a liturgy written by Knox, which can be used either on Reformation Sunday or any Sunday of the Christian year. Additional information — including bulletin inserts — can be found on the Presbyterian Historical Society website.

“John Knox’s legacy is multi-faceted,” said Ensign-George. “It includes a fierce allegiance to the reformation of the church to greater faithfulness and a deep commitment to the sovereignty of God that opposes any others who would claim god-like powers.”

Other crucial elements of Knox’s legacy are the PC(USA)’s enduring commitment to the equal standing of ministers and elders in leadership and the practice of fervent prayer as a means of intimacy with God and as a guide in faithfulness.

Knox’s legacy of prayer will be lived out at the Presbyterian Center here Oct. 27-29 as 25 leaders from the National Council of Korean Presbyterian Churches (NCKPC)  — together with leaders of the non-geographical Korean American PC(USA) presbyteries — gather to pray for the PC(USA), its congregations, other Korean congregations, and those who serve at the denominational level.

“As these leaders visit the various ministry areas of the Presbyterian Mission Agency to say hello and pray for and with us,” said the Rev. Sun Bai Kim, associate for Korean ministries in Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries, “I hope we may welcome their visit and join the prayer in Spirit.”

  1. if john knox saw what the PCUSA has become , he would demand that they never use his name, or dare to use the name kirk again.

    by charles

    November 3, 2014