About TPPC

Quilt made to commemerate the 100th aniversary of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church. Like the quilt that hangs in our sanctuary to commemorate our 100th anniversary, the congregation of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church reflects the diverse ethnic and cultural influences in today's urban community. We are African-, Hispanic-, Asian-, and European-American, Indian, African, Australian, and Russian. We are elderly people, adults, families, young couples and singles, youth, children, and babies. We are welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals through our More Light commitment. We are a congregation in the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), one of the congregations in the National Capital Presbytery.

The best way to experience the variety and warmth of our members is to attend a service on Sunday!

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Index

Who is TPPC's pastor?
Who worships at TPPC?
What type of community is Takoma Park?
Where is TPPC?
Are families welcome during worship at TPPC?
Who else uses the Church Buildings?
What is Session?
What are the Deacons?
Does TPPC have a Child Protective Covenant?
What was the TPPC Listening Campaign?
Has TPPC adopted the Charter for Compassion?
>What is TPPC's Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness?
Does TPPC have a stewardship policy?
What are TPPC's positions on ordination and marriage equality?

Who is TPPC's pastor?

Rev. Jim Reisner Rev. Jim Reisner will join Takoma Park Presbyterian Church as our new interim pastor on Oct. 2, 2017. Rev. Reisner hails from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, where he was pastor for 15 years. During his time there, the church opened its doors to immigrant neighbors from West Africa and eventually created partnerships with congregations in Tema, Ghana.

Prior to serving in Albany, Reisner was the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey from 1986 through 2002. He became known as one of the few Protestant pastors who would conduct funerals for people who died from AIDS. The church expanded its support to those suffering from the disease by providing space for a support group and later a Friday night worship service. Over time, as medical advances prolonged their lives, those suffering from the disease joined the congregation and became officers at First Presbyterian, revitalizing the life of the inner city church.

Reisner now lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with his wife and two teen-aged sons. The family relocated from Albany when his wife was offered a job with the Presbyterian Church USA Board of Pensions. Rev. Reisner said for years his wife had followed him and now it was his turn to follow her.

He graduated from Yale Divinity School and Williams College and is looking forward to serving as interim pastor at TPPC.

TPPC curently has three Parish Associates (the Rev. Eugene Olu Eastman, the Rev. John Seaman, and the Rev. Carolyn Tilley (PDF)).

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Who worships at TPPC?

There are approximately 200 members and friends of the congregation of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, of which approximately:

The congregation includes families and individuals originally from Canada, Cameroon, the Congo, El Salvador, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Trinidad.

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What type of community is Takoma Park?

Takoma Park is a small town, early suburb bordering Washington, DC. On the train line, and now the Metro system, Takoma Park started in the 1880s as a new railroad suburb. The Takoma Park Presbyterian Church is nearly as old as the community, starting in 1890 as part of a Union Chapel (site of current TPPC Education Building) along with Methodist and Episcopal congregations who moved on to new sites before the turn of the century. For more information on the history of Takoma Park, as well as information on public schols, colleges, government, the annual Takoma Park Folk and Jazz Festivals, the Takoma Park Farmers Market, and community organizations, visit the city's web site at www.cityoftakomapark.org.

While some things have changed, the words of the Pastor Nominating Committee in 1990 still ring true: “Takoma Park is populated by a diverse mix of people including artists, crafts people, writers, environmentalists, political activities, normal people, and various eccentrics. There is a small “downtown” and great civic spirit and pride. Takoma Park was one of the fist “nuclear-free” zones in the United States; there is an active recycling program; and there are three community festivals each year: a folk festival, a Fourth of July parade, and a street festival. Takoma Park is a somewhat eccentric, activist, and overall wonderful community.”

Takoma Park is also a diverse community, as are closely surrounding areas. There is a mix of single family homes and both high rise and garden apartment buildings. Both the city and the schools are racially diverse, and in the last two decades, a rising number of immigrants from Central America, south and southeast Asia, and Africa have come to call the area home. Takoma Park is also home to a large gay and lesbian community. Takoma Towers, a high rise a few blocks from the church, provides residential housing for the elderly including several church members. There are two colleges – Washington Adventist University, an Adventist school (Takoma Park was formerly the national headquarters for the Seventh Day Adventist Church) and the Takoma Park campus of Montgomery Community College. The main campus of the University of Maryland is located just 6 miles away in College Park. Other congregations in Takoma Park and neighboring Takoma, DC include Takoma Park Seventh Day Adventist, Sligo Seventh Day Adventist, Takoma Park Baptist, Trinity Episcopal, Grace United Methodist, Chinese Christian, Takoma Park Friends, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic, and a Jewish-Christian Interfaith community. The Seekers congregation of the Church of the Savior will be moving from downtown DC to Takoma next year.

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Where is TPPC?

Church Building of the Takoma Park Presbyterian ChurchThe church is located 3 blocks from the Takoma Metro (subway) stop, 3 blocks from downtown Takoma Park, and one long block from the Takoma Park Municipal Building, library, and two of the elementary schools. There are three buildings on the church property, which has street parking but no parking lot. The How to find TPPC page has more complete information.

A view of the sanctuary of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church The Sanctuary (finished in 1922) is built on the Geneva Plan, with a pulpit at the front (with choir area and organ behind) and oak pews. There are alcoves at either side to the rear (one of which is open and known as the Gathering Place), with balconies above (generally unused). Below the sanctuary is a large Assembly Room with a small stage, an adjacent kitchen, a classroom, the church library, and two restrooms.

A view of the Education Building from the courtyard. The Education Building (finished in 1950), connected physically to the Sanctuary), has three floors. The ground floor has classrooms used primarily by the Takoma Park Child Development Center, originally a project of the congregation and now a separate entity. The first floor contains a small chapel (with pews, electric organ, piano), a parlor, a large classroom with satellite rooms, and restrooms. The second floor has one very large classroom with satellite rooms (until recently rented out to an interfaith resource center but now returned to church use) and three classrooms.

A view of Fellowship Hall. The Fellowship Hall's (finished in 1962) ground floor holds the Church Office and Pastor's Study, a large room used by the Boy Scouts and rented out to other congregations and community groups on a regular basis, two rooms used by the Child Development Center. Above is a large gymnasium with a stage at one end and a kitchen and restrooms at the other.

A courtyard between the Sanctuary and the Fellowship Hall is used as a playground by the Child Development Center and the Sunday School.

The new gym fire alarm is installed

Our gym is available for rental for sports and recreational activities. For rentals, please contact the church office at 301 270 5550.

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Are families welcome during worship at TPPC?

TPPC welcomes families with infants and children to our worship services. The following are options for families:

A Nursery is available for infants through 3 years old, 9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. in the Teddy Bear Room on the lower level of the education building (our greeters/ushers will direct you there.) Your infant or small child is welcome to stay with you in worship. If the child becomes uncomfortable and needs care during the service, feel free to leave the sanctuary. There is a changing table and rocking chair in the room next to the rest room just outside the sanctuary.

All children are invited to come forward for the "Time with Children." Afterwards, children 4 to 8 years old are invited upstairs in the education building in the K-1 Sunday School room, for the Peace Club. If older children want to be helpers, they are welcome. Your infant or small child is welcome to stay with you in worship. Books to share with your children are in your pew.

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Who else uses the Church Buildings?

In addition to the Child Development Center, the Boy Scouts meet weekly on Thursdays. Five support groups (AA, NA, CODA, etc.) use rooms weekly. Tai Chi and Karate classes are taught on a weekly basis. A Suzuki violin class uses space on Saturdays, and from time to time organ and piano lessons are given in the sanctuary. The gym is rented out periodically by school and community groups, and the Assembly Room is used for a variety of family and community functions.

A form (PDF) with rates and policies for room rentals at the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church is available on this website for downloading. We ask that you contact the Church Office at 301-270-5550 or email office@takomaparkpc.org to formally schedule your space.

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What is Session?

Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, like all Presbyterian Churches, is governed by a Session, or an elected body of persons who are ordained to the office. These persons are also referred to as elders. The Greek word in the New Testament for elder is Presbytos. Thus, the name of the denomination reflects its method of governance.

According to the constitution of the denomination, the Session is responsible for the governance and mission of the church, along with the pastor. The Session is responsible for leading the church to be faithful to God's will as it exists in a particular time and place.

To contact the Session of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, either send a letter to the Stated Clerk of the Session care of the church, or email session@takomaparkpc.org.

A PDF file with email addresses for TPPC church committees is available from this website. Sending an email to one of these email addresses will connect you to a committee member who has chosen to be a contact for that committee.

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What are the Deacons?

The mission of the Board of Deacons of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church is to be a channel of God's strength, love, and energy by:

  1. Caring for the church community through
  2. Encouraging others in the church to share the good news of the gospel with each other and to be channels for the power of God to forgive and heal by loving and supporting each other, as well as persons in need outside of the church. Some of these activities could include:

In the words of John Calvin:

We are all so united in Christ that as we are dependent on one head, we also grow together into one body, being joined and knit together as are the limbs of a body. We are made truly one since we live together in one faith, hope, and love, and in the same spirit of God.

Note that the Deacons organized an "End of Life" series at TPPC. Some resources from that class are available from our website: a personal information sheet that can help our church office contact your loved ones in case of an emergency, and a planning sheet for funeral arrangements.

To contact the Board of Deacons of the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, either send a letter to the Deacons care of the church, or email deacons@takomaparkpc.org.

To make a special prayer request, send an email to prayers@takomaparkpc.org.

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Does TPPC have a Child Protective Covenant?

Since 1997, the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church has had a child protective covenant. At the November 2004 meeting of the TPPC Session, a revision to this covenant was approved. All employees and volunteers who work with children and youth in our church must sign and abide by this covenant.

The Child Protective Covenenat (PDF) can be accessed from this website.

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What was the TPPC Listening Campaign?

TPPC has conducted a Listening Campaign to deepen ties of community and friendship while deepening our faith and determining how we will walk together in mission for the coming years. The campaign occured from February to May, 2011, with a different topic for discussion each month culminating with a new list of mission priorities for the church.

A summary of what we learned from the campaign appears below.

We as a church community yearn to:

Be shaped and changed by God
Engage our children and youth in church life
Address inequalities in our local and global communities
Care for our environment
Deepen our connections to each other

More information on what was done during the listening campaign can be found on this website.

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Has TPPC adopted the Charter for Compassion?

TPPC was an early adoper of the Charter for Compassion. Our congregation sent the international Charter for Compassion to our denomination's General Assembly, and the General Assembly voted to become the first "mainline denomination" to sign on to the Charter.

A YouTube video on the charter is available. For more information, access the article on the Charter in TPPC News.

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What is TPPC's Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness?

A Resolution of Committed Racial Mindfulness was adopted by our Session at its May meeting. The resolution grew out of discussions by a small group of TPPC members and friends who have been meeting to discuss how our church can respond to pervasive racism in our country. Our concerns were sparked by recent killings of African American men by law enforcement officers in Ferguson, New York, Cleveland, Baltimore, and elsewhere. These matters reflect how deeply white privilege and racial prejudice is embedded in our society and communities.

To read the resolution, access 2015-05_TPPC_Resolution_of_Committed_Racial_Mindfulness.pdf (PDF)

The resolution commits our church to undertake a program of "committed racial mindfulness" to raise our knowledge and understanding about racism and its effects, heighten our commitment and capability to oppose racism, and make us more effective messengers of conscientious racial mindfulness in our communities. The centerpiece of the Resolution is a commitment to develop and implement a program for training in committed racial mindfulness. The program would start by training leaders in our congregation and other churches, and then widen to include other members of our congregation, other congregations, and community groups.

For more information, access the Peace Page or the CRM Information page.

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Does TPPC have a stewardship policy?

TPPC has a newly designed stewardship plan, which you can access from this website (PDF).

Called "Encouraging a Generous People", the plan lays out TPPC's policy for financial giving to the church and the church's missions outside the congregation.

What are TPPC's positions on ordination and marriage equality?

At Takoma Park Presbyterian Church we are working to welcome all in our community of faith, including our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered members. To this end, we have become a "More Light" congregation, one which not only includes members of all sexual orientations, but also ordains them to be deacons, elders and pastors.

TPPC's Session voted to adopt a new More Light Statement (PDF) to reflect our current position on ordination, marriage equality, and other issues.

For more information, access TPPC's More Light page.

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