For Stacy Watson, of the Cedarbrook section of East Mount Airy, the Cedar Park Presbyterian Church is a second home. While growing up she was an avid participant in the Northwest Youth Association camp at the church located at 7740 Limekiln Pike. Before embarking on a medical career, she ran worked at the pre-school at the site.
So, when Cedar Park held its 95th anniversary gala May 19, she was among those seated at table number five. The event was held at the Flourtown Country Club. The main ballroom was filled as former, current and future church members fathered.
“This is the church where I grew up,” Watson said. “This is just an emotional evening as I see so many I have not seen in years. I started going to the church when I was 9-years-old and my family moved to 79th Avenue. My two sons were baptized here and my son, Corey, who is now 25, was the baby Jesus during the Christmas play at the church when he was just six months old.”
Even though Watson still lives in the church’s membership territory, her work schedule often precludes getting to Sunday worship services. She has a three-day work schedule at Einstein Medical Center where she works three 12-hour shifts from Friday to Sunday.
“That means unless I’m on vacation I can’t go to church, so one of the nurses who come regularly, Vivie Willis, keeps me informed. When she told me about this I knew I had to be here,” Watson said.
“When churches get involved in social action we don’t need to do a need assessment,” said the Rev. Dr. Curtis A. Jones in his keynote address to Cedar Park. “Instead we need to do an asset inventory…to build on our strengths. This is what will take Cedar Park through the next 95 years.”
The gala was segmented into the past, the present and the future. Elder Sandra Burney introduced Lillian Clarke, who served as mistress of ceremony. The Rev. Dr. Carroll D. Jenkins delivered the invocation and Elder Margaret Turner welcomed the full house.
“I’ve been a member of this church for 40 years,” Turner told the Tribune during dinner. “I am a member of the committee. We are so pleased with the beautiful turn out. I just got the opportunity to see so many I have not seen in a long time. It’s a good thing.”
The past memories were delivered by Deacon Henrietta Motley as well as former pastors including Rev. Thomas Crenshaw. It was noted that the original church started under an apple tree and then moved to Limekiln Pike and Williams Avenue in 1917 before the building moved to its current site.
The present segment featured the music of gospel violinist Katherine Burton and jazz vocalist Barbara Walker. Elder Eugene Campher listed all the church’s current ministries. The final segment featured Cedar Park scoutmaster Rodney Keitt on vocals before Jenkins outlined the future vision for the congregation. The Cedar Park Praise Dancers performed and the concluding song was “This Little Light of Mine.”