The History of Prince George's Community Presbyterian Church
It was a cold day in January of 2000 and a group of curious enthusiastic people responded to an invitation from Reverend Dr. Edward P. Harding, Jr. in order to discuss a new church development project. The meeting was held in a classroom at Largo High School in Largo, Maryland. Some of the meeting participants were family and friends, others were strangers. We all came for many different reasons, but we all had one thing in common; we believed that Pastor Harding was an anointed Sheppard of God and we wanted to be sheep in his flock. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
That initial meeting was followed by numerous planning meetings in order to prepare for the New Church Development project affectionately known as Prince George's Community Church. Everyone involved was very excited about the project and everyone was more than willing to give 150% of both their time and talents. Unfortunately, Satan did not wait very long to rear his ugly head. In the midst of all of our plans and preparations, Pastor Harding discovered that a previous illness had progressed and he was in need of surgery. For a non-believer, the diagnosis was grim and possibly terminal; but for Pastor Harding, his family, friends and colleagues, this was just another opportunity to let God show-off in his life. The Prince George's Community Church Planning Committee embraced the beliefs of the Pastor and we proceeded to move forward making adjustments to our plans when necessary. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
Pastor Harding was going to have major surgery and his recovery time was going to be long and painful. This was just another challenge from the devil and yet another opportunity for the God we serve to bless us with a testimony. Since the Pastor was going to be out for an undetermined amount of time, the decision was made to move forward with PGCC Bible Study every Wednesday night, in lieu of Sunday services. We did not have a church home, but God worked it out and Christian Community Presbyterian Church, in Bowie Maryland rearranged their current planned activities and invited us into their church every Wednesday night. We were thankful that they too believed in God's plan and mission for PGCC. Our inaugural Bible Study occurred in April, 2000 and it was taught by Pastor Harding. There were approximately 50 people in attendance and 32 charter members joined PGCC. Rev. Greg Purnell was the Youth Pastor and Rev. Carolyn Byers was the Choir Director, the congregation was the choir. At this juncture, all involved in this new plan was anointed and God was creating the manuscript. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
Initially, PGCC Bible Study was preceded by dinner and family fellowship. Some of the Mother's of PGCC would drive all around the beltway to pick up dinner for Bible Study each week. Others would make numerous trips to SAM's Club in order to ensure that cold drinks and paper products were available. We never really knew how many people would show up, but in true PGCC fashion, we were ready to serve whoever stopped by. Each week the goal was to fill the body with food and the soul with a word from the Lord. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight."
Prior to Pastor Harding's surgery, PGCC participated in a 24 hour prayer vigil that consisted of both prayer and fasting. After the surgery, Karen Harding, the First Lady, would come to Bible Study and give the growing congregation updates on the Pastor's recovery. Week after week we Ate, we Cried and we Prayed. Pastor Harding coordinated with the best of the best and each week dynamic Ministers like Admiral Barry Black, Father Tallentino and Reverend Lois Anthony delivered a much needed Word from the Lord. Months had gone by and our Pastor was still recovering, members of the congregation experienced births, loss of loved ones, new jobs and loss of jobs. During those trying times, our faith in each other as a congregation continued to grow and our faith in the Lord remained steadfast, unmovable and unshaken. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
Ten Months later, Pastor Harding returned to PGCC and it was time to find a church home and implement PGCC Sunday Praise and Worship services. Originally our plan was to have Sunday Service in the cafeteria of Largo High School. That never came to fruition because it was not God's plan. We were a new church and God wanted us to be in a new school. Despite the numerous obstacles that Satan threw in our path, God designated Charles Herbert High School to be the home of a New Church Development Group called PGCC. We had our inaugural Sunday service on Palm Sunday in April, 2001. The facility had a capacity of 700 and PGCC had approximately 60 members. Once again, we did not know how many would come, but we were always ready with open arms and open hearts. We were "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
"Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen", Hebrews 11:1. In 2000 PGCC had Wednesday night Bible study accompanied by an organ and an awesome Choir Director. In 2006 PGCC is celebrating it's 5th year of Sunday Worship Service accompanied by a band, a Minister of Music, a Choir Director, an awesome Praise and Worship Team, an anointed Mass Choir and an inspiring Men's Choir. The congregation has grown to just under 300 members and we are actively evangelizing in our communities in order to continually grow our congregation. In 2001, PGCC had a Youth Ministry, a Music Ministry and a Finance Ministry. As the PGCC congregation grows, so do the needs of the congregation. PGCC responded to this call to action and over the past few years a number of Ministries have been developed. Praise God for the Men's Ministry, the Women's Ministry, the Revolution, the Couples Ministry, the Singles Ministry, the Daughters of Deborah and the Liturgical Dance Ministry, just to name a few. On an annual basis PGCC has hosted a church picnic, Youth Explosion, Men's Day and the Women's Spiritual Week to include a Rival and Prayer Breakfast. We have enjoyed Couples Retreats, a Men's Retreat, Daughters of Deborah Conferences and a Women's Retreat. Not to mention phenomenal Christmas and Easter Celebrations. Some may feel that we have done too much too fast, but we are "Walking by Faith Not by Sight".
In April of 2005, PGCC was blessed to move from New Church Development status to that of a full fledged church with all of the privileges and responsibilities of a church in the National Capital Presbytery. This was a ceremony and a moment to remember. Clergy from all over the Country flew in to speak or attend the celebration. Reverend Dr. Edward P. Harding, Jr. was installed as the Sr. Pastor of PGCC and a number of Elders and Deacons were also installed. There were outsiders who questioned whether PGCC would ever see this day. The road was hard and the challenges were not always easy, but we "Walk by Faith not by Sight".
You can not have a Testimony without a Test and PGCC continues to pass every Test with flying colors. We praise God for all that he has done in the life of our Church and all that he will continue to do. Our church is built on a foundation of Faith, Prayer and Fasting. One of the next chapters in our history book is to obtain a permanent church home. Thankfully, based on our past experiences we know that we have to Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH). We will wait on the Lord and we will continue to grow and do His Will as we strive to become a Five Star Church.
We are "Walking by Faith Not by Sight.
April 30, 2006.