New Providence Presbyterian Church – The Church Journey
December 22, 2020 – http://mynetzone.com/
I had the privilege to visit New Providence Presbyterian Church located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, New Providence Presbyterian church was founded in 1786 by Rev. Archibald Scott at Fort Craig. Since 1786 Two hundred and twenty years ago, the Reverend Archibald Scott, the pastor of a church in Augusta County, Virginia, followed friends and relations down what was known as “the great War Trail” to Craig’s Station in east Tennessee and established a church. Named New Providence, after the church in Virginia from which some of its early members came, the new congregation had no regular pastor until 1794 when Gideon Blackburn was installed. Early in his pastorate the first church building of New Providence was constructed and was “quite a large church, built of hewn logs,” according to a 1799 description. It stood at the corner of Broadway and Cates Streets. 
In 1812, Isaac Anderson, a young pastor from Knox County came to New Providence to replace Dr. Blackburn. In 1918, Dr. Anderson founded the Southern and Western Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, known today as Maryville College. Throughout their long history, the church and college have been closely associated. The third meeting house was under construction when the Civil War broke. New Providence did not prosper during the war. Its families were divided and scattered, and its financial resources were largely cut off.
When peace came in 1865, only 50 members remained of a congregation that had numbered 271 only ten years before. There was no regular pastor; there was not to be another until 1890. Despite its desolate situation, New Providence looked to a bright future. In 1886, upon turning its first century, the congregation-initiated plans for a new building. In 1892 the new sanctuary, on the old Maryville College campus at the corner of Broadway and College streets, was dedicated. In 1916, an annex was completed to accommodate the growing Sabbath school, the congregation having more than doubled in size in the 24 years since the preceding building program was finished. 
Following World War II, the sixth building program of New Providence Church was inaugurated to meet the needs of a membership almost doubled in 30 years. Dr. Thomas A. Graham, the congregation’s twelfth pastor, died before the building for which he had worked and prayed was completed. The first service in the sanctuary was held on Palm Sunday, 1953. Now into its third century, New Providence is a diverse congregation in thought and action. New Providence’s congregation is growing not only in terms of members and programs, but also in Spirit and in love. 
It was midday as I was driving to visit Grandview Baptist Church. The weather was partly sunny as the sun was peaking its head out from behind white puffy clouds. The sun’s appearance was magnified against the deep blue-sky that provided a splendid backdrop. I found myself hungry and decided to get something to eat before arriving at my destination. With the pandemic the only option was to get my food to go, which was fine as it would be more peaceful eating in the parking lot of the church during my visit. After contemplating my options, I stopped at a restaurant called Panda Express for some Chinese food.
After a quick stop to pick up my food I was back on the road. While driving a few minutes, I passed this church and knew I had to stop for a visit. Sometimes you see a church and you just have stop and take some time to appreciate it. After taking pictures and eating my lunch I thought back on all the churches I have visited this year and quickly realized from an architectural standpoint this stone church was at the top of my list of beautiful churches to visit.
While I was eating Chinese food in the parking lot of this church, I thought about our friends in China. Sadly, the churches in China are being tightly controlled by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) with many members being persecuted and forced into hiding. I am going to go off on a tangent here, but having awareness of what is happening around the world is imperative.
In China Christianity rapidly spread to cities in the 1980s and 1990s, as rural preachers followed migrant workers and Christianity became increasingly attractive to university students disillusioned by the Tiananmen Square massacre. By 2018, official statistics said there were 39 million Protestants in China. Scholars estimate that including house church worshipers pushes the real number to at least 80 million 
Now the government calls its campaign “Sinicization” a euphemism for turning faith into a tool for indoctrination in Chinese Communist Party ideology. The official five-year plan, issued in 2018, calls for inserting “patriotic education” and “socialist core values” into churches, revising the Bible and using church sermons to enforce party leadership and reject foreign influences.
Thus, as ideology and policy, ‘Sinicization’ lies behind recent raids on unregistered churches, the arrest and imprisonment of their pastors, and the destruction of churches and crosses in calculated interventions to remind Christians that the CCP will tolerate no ideological rivals. Please continue to pray for the churches around the world. 
Church Website: https://newprovidencepres.org/
Date Visited: 2020 December 5th.
Location: 703 W Broadway Ave, Maryville, TN
If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.
May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”- (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.
I know this was a long read and I want to thank everyone for following along on The Church Journey. Now that we are just a few days away from Christmas please remember the reason for this season, which is the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a blessed year in 2021.
May this find you well and happy, God Bless
PICTURE GALLERY: Inside pictures provided by the church website
- New Providence Presbyterian Church website, “ A Little History” (2020, December 21) Retrieved from https://newprovidencepres.org/a-little-history/
- Thomas Harvey, “The Sinicization of Religion in China” Retrieved from on December 17, 2020, https://www.lausanne.org/content/lga/2019-09/sinicization-religion-china