Jackie Maddox was ordained and installed as the first female Elder elected to serve for the class of 1983. Lulu Herndon Sherman was ordained as the first female Deacon. Roscoe Berry was the first African American to be installed as Elder.
In May, Deacon and Session members approved the plans of Eleanor Vasquez and Gene Berckman for a nursery school for the Orange community. They also reviewed proposed development plans for the church basement.
The annual statistical report showed 422 active members and church school enrollment of 116 pupils with 12 teachers. It also reported a total income of $99,094 and total expenditures of $96,558.
The weekend of October 30-November 1, revival services were led by Dr. Pickard. Oct 30 - Nov 1. Invitations to these evangelical services were placed in the local paper and on the radio.
The Youth Presbyterian Fellowship worked to complete the church basement as a youth center.
Building debt was reported at $120,800. Church officers expressed concern over declining church school and morning worship attendance.
In May, fifty church members traveled to Richmond for the 225th celebration anniversary of the formation of Presbytery (1755).
At a congregational meeting, the church voted to combine Deacons and Elders into one board with one group of church officers. But in November, Session voted NOT to proceed with a unified system of deacons and elders.
South Koran missionaries John and Virginia Somerville presented a program, reporting on their work. The Session voted to designate $2000 to missionary salary support program.
The International Missions Committee approved a one-year trial for “Multiply a Miracle.” This was a 2-cents-a-meal program to raise funds for the alleviation of hunger (July Session minutes reported $451.00 collected.)
That program continues through today as “5-Cents-a-Meal.” It continues to be collected on the last Sunday of the month and continues to feed families both locally and in the greater world.
In June, Rev. William Peters accepted a call to Hanover Presbyterian Church in Mechanicsville starting July 15, 1984.
The church accepted a gift of $3,000 in November for the establishment of a bell choir. Gladys Lax served as the director without compensation.
The Pulpit Nomination Committee’s unanimous selection - William W. Nickels from Norfolk Presbytery -- was recommended to the congregation. The congregation voted to extend the call to Rev. Nickels, which he accepted.
The Community Christmas candlelight dinner planned for mentally challenged citizens was held at OPC. It was served jointly by members of Orange Presbyterian Church and other local churches.
The Lutherans broke ground for their new sanctuary on Sept 27. They had been worshiping in OPC’s Fellowship Hall. The OPC choir participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.
A revised committee structure, which included combining Session and Deacons, was approved.
In November, the Love Outreach Food Pantry reported that 215 families (total 611 people) were served in October.
Session approved $10,000 for air-conditioning for the educational building.
Presbytery recognized OPC’s hunger program with an award in June.
A gift of stock in October to the church resulted in opening of the church’s account at Merrill Lynch. Those investments are still serving the church.
Elders reduced the church budget by $5,606 for 1989.
Orange Presbyterian Church became a member of the new Presbytery of the James.
The Session came to the congregation with a proposal to raise or borrow $300,000. This would purchase architectural plans and proceed with renovation work.
The first phase took down the old library, replaced the old flat roof with a hipped roof, and stabilized the old sanctuary. The congregation approved the proposal in May.
The church gave $1000 to Children’s Home of the Highlands.
The Session accepted a bid of $7,000 to remove the old library building. Work began August 1.
It was reported that possibly as many as 100 students would participate in the fall Sunday School session.
- Jennie Hill Robinson
OPC History Team