Philadelphia Presbyterian Church Time Capsule

Becky Griffin, chair of Philadelphia Presbyterian’s 250th Committee, puts a shovel full of dirt on top of the time capsule which the congregation plans to open in 2070, on the church’s 300th anniversary.
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MINT HILL, NC – Philadelphia Presbyterian, Mint Hill’s oldest church, hopes to make history again – 50 years from now. Just after the worship service on Sunday, congregation members buried a time capsule that they hope will be opened in 2070, three hundred years after the congregation first met in an arbor on Brief Road.

In honor of the church’s 250th anniversary, the congregation of Philadelphia Presbyterian gathered items for a time capsule that they buried last Sunday. They plan to dig it up in 2070, on their 300th anniversary. The green metal ring on top will help locate the box in 50 years, should the marker be moved or lost.

The sealed box contains memorabilia that will show future members what life was life was like in and around the COVID pandemic. Contents included a church hymnbook, a recipe book, letters from the congregation, several masks (both commercial and homemade), a few USB drives showing choirs and the congregation with masks on, photographs, newspaper articles detailing the pandemic, a church financial report, a pottery mug crafted by a church member, and more.

The box was buried in the roundabout in front of the old chapel, and organizers put a metal ring on the top in case the ground marker was lost and the container needed to be located with a metal detector – or whatever technology will be available in 50 years.

Organizers chose the 50-year mark in hopes that some of the people that contributed to the time capsule will be on hand to help dig it up.

Mint Hill Mayor Brad Simmons spoke at the event, recognizing the integral role of Philadelphia Presbyterian in Mint Hill’s history, both past and present.

Jennifer Fauser, a member of Philadelphia’s 250the Committee, takes the tape off of the adhesive to seal the time capsule. Once sealed, the box should be watertight, hopefully preserving the items inside for the next 50 years.

“Our town’s history is deeply connected to that of this church, dating back to when colonists first settled in the area in the 1700s and began meeting together for worship,” Simmons said.

“Philadelphia Presbyterian Church is truly a pillar in this community, and the heart of service you extended to our citizens is unmatched,” Simmons continued.  “With ministries reaching our youngest children, our seniors, and all of those in-between, this church meets the people of our town in need.”

Founded in 1770, the Presbyterian USA church was set to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2020, but COVID had other plans. Instead of a few months’ celebrations, the festivities stretched over a few years.

Organizers postponed the public 250th celebration until last summer and gave members an extra year to add items to the time capsule. Other 250th commemoration activities included a quilt with many members’ names embroidered on it made by some of the women of the church, a permanent photo display that lines the main hall in the Administration Building, and a bronze plaque that will soon be installed in Bain Elementary School recognizing the contributions of John Bain, the founder of the school and a church member in the late 1800s.

The historic church’s cemeteries hold graves dating back to the late 1770s, including the graves of several signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The church’s Historical Room holds the bell from the original Bain School, portraits of their pastors dating back to the early 1800s, old offering plates, hymn books and more. Philadelphia’s Chapel, established circa 1826, is one of the oldest church buildings still in use in Mecklenburg County.

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