Pastor William Stell
William Stell graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in May 2016 and began serving as our pastor two months later. Before studying at Princeton, he lived and worked in the country of Jordan at a school for Deaf and Deaf-Blind children. Although his familial roots are Presbyterian, William was raised in a black Baptist church, and he has spent significant time in Methodist, Catholic, non-denominational, and other church traditions. We are grateful for the enthusiastic spirit and visionary leadership that he brings to our congregation!
Click on this link to read the article published in the September 2017 publication of the Bordentown Current
Honor the Past…and the Future
“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. Behold, I am about to do a new thing. It is already springing forth — do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
I know a retired minister who says that “We’ve never done it that way before” are the seven last words of any church.
If a congregation refuses to try new things and resists all attempts to make changes, then that congregation has entered its terminal decline. Our world is always changing, and churches must grapple with, respond to, and engage those changes — or else be whittled away with the bygone era to which they are clinging.
Of course, that doesn’t mean churches should simply throw out all of their customs and traditions, many of which have stood the test of time for very good reasons. In every generation, then, churches are confronted with this challenge: on the one hand, to remain rooted in the customs and traditions that have shaped them and that continue to bless them, and on the other hand, to remain open to the new things that God’s Spirit is about to do in their midst — new things that are “already springing forth.”
From what I have witnessed over the past year, our church navigates this challenge marvelously. On the one hand, we have preserved many norms and practices that have been beautiful and meaningful to multiple generations of our congregation. At the same time, though, we have not shied away from experimenting with new practices, exploring alternative norms, and stretching ourselves to imagine how God might be calling our church to grow and change in the years to come.
As we move into the future together, friends, let us continually seek God’s guidance on these matters, and let us dialogue with each other: How can we honor and cherish our past without lingering too long in it? How can we adapt to the future without forfeiting our history?
© 2016 First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church of Bordentown
420 Farnsworth Ave.
Bordentown, NJ 08505