Presbyterian Heritage Sunday has been set aside by the General Assembly of the PC(USA) as an annual day to celebrate, reflect upon, and learn more about the long and rich history of the Presbyterian movement in America. It falls on the Sunday closest to May 21, the date of the opening of the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1789.
The Presbyterian Historical Society supports Heritage Sunday by preparing bulletin inserts for use by congregations throughout the United States. 2013’s insert features communion tokens, a familiar feature of Presbyterian worship in past centuries. A day or more before a communion service, the pastor and elders questioned members of their congregation about their beliefs and behavior. Only those who showed adequate knowledge of the faith and were deemed to be living upright lives received tokens that allowed them to take communion. The use of tokens declined in the 19th century. In recent decades many churches have minted tokens as souvenirs for special celebrations and anniversary observances.
For more on Heritage Sunday and celebrating the Presbyterian legacy, visit the Presbyterian Historical Society.