Our congregation was incorporated in 1888 by a group of Presbyterians primarily from Nova Scotia, but has since grown to be a multicultural group. The church initially met in Boston. Since the 1940s we have worshiped in Newton, at 75 Vernon Street, Newton MA 02458.
We have been part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (the PC(USA)) and its predecessor denominations since our incorporation in the 1800s. As part of the PC(USA), we are part of the “Reformed Tradition” or that stream of the Protestant church developed in the 1600s by John Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to learn more about the Presbyterian Church, please visit PC(USA).
The PC(USA) is governed by a constitution that is made up of two parts: the Book of Order and the Book of Confessions. The Book of Order details how each church and Councils within the denomination organize and connect with each other. The Book of Confessions is a collection of writings from various centuries that describe our reforming understanding and beliefs about God and the Church.
In 1967, the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, the predecessor denomination of the modern Presbyterian Church (USA), offered the Confession of 1967 to the world as its denominational standard of belief. The confession concentrated upon the need for the reconciliation of the world to God, and gave four areas of specific concern, the relationships between men and women, poverty, nuclear war, and the relationships between races. Fifty years later, that concern has not lessened. With the march on Charlottesville by white nationalists, the attack of Dylan Roof on a black prayer meeting in a Charleston church, and the rising rate of violence against persons of color charted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, our more recent times have proven the desperate need to be about the work of reconciliation between the races. In 2016, the Presbyterian Church (USA) adopted the Belhar Confession as a way to speak to this pressing need. It is in our Book of Confessions, and it summarizes what we believe about our need for racial reconciliation, through Christ’s power.
In January 2017, there was a split of the NPC congregation. Some members and the majority of the leadership could not accept the PC(USA)’s acceptance of the rights of LGBT members to be married in Christian marriages, and to serve in ordained roles in the church. The Presbytery of Boston appointed an Administrative Commission, which determined that those members wishing to stay in the PC(USA) were the true church, and should have the property. But other members, now called the Newton Covenant Church, sought to possess the building, and forced a long legal process to try to determine the legal ownership of the property. In February of 2018, the District Court ruled that Newton Presbyterian Church could return to the building, and on June 18, 2018, all legal claims were settled and Newton Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of Boston for the General Assembly, were established as the legal owners of the property.
While this split has been painful, and the leadership and membership of NPC still love and seek to continue to reconcile with the members of Newton Covenant Church, the leadership of NPC has decided to respond to God’s grace with a will to serve God and our neighbors. Today, the NPC is a growing congregation that is marked by its clear biblical teaching, its love of its Presbyterian heritage, and its social justice ministry that seeks to carry the love of Christ to all people.