The appointment of Sylvester Larned as evangelist to New Orleans:
On the 15th of July, 1817, Mr. Larned was licensed and ordained by the Presbytery of New York. This ordination was clearly to the office of evangelist, which he was in the fullest sense of the word. … [Later] we find the young evangelist, after a brief visit to his native home, leaving on the 26th of September, and journeying alone to the field where he was to gather the laurels of an unfading reputation, and then to sanctify it by an early death. He reached his destination, after innumerable delays, on the 22nd of January, 1818.
As an evangelist, he organized services of worship and served communion:
There are no records from which to learn the spiritual growth of the church during this early period, except that in one of his letters, Mr. Larned speaks of a communion s^son, about the middle of July, 1820, in which there were forty-two at the table of the Lord, part of whom were, however, Methodists. Mr. Larned’s labors were those exclusively of an evangelist; and his brief life was spent in gathering a congregation and building a house of worship. There is no record of his having organized a church according to our ecclesiastical canons, by the election and ordination of ruling elders; and he himself was never installed into the pastoral relation by ecclesiastical authority.
Larned passed away on his 24th birthday, apparently during an epidemic of yellow fever. He ministered in New Orleans, but never organized a congregation nor was installed as a pastor.
After three more years of ministry by Presbyterian appointees to New Orleans, a church was organized:
The first notice of the organization of this church, as a spiritual body, is in the record of a meeting held for this purpose on the 23rd of November, 1823. Prior to this, the labors of Mr. Lamed, extending over a period of two years and seven months, from January 22, 1818, to August 31, 1820; and those of Mr. Clapp over a period of one year and nine months, from March, 1822, to November, 1823, were simply evangelistic. A congregation had been gathered, a house of worship built, the word and sacraments administered, and the materials collected for the spiritual church in the admission of persons to sealing ordinances, all in the exercise of that power which the Scriptures and our Presbyterian Standards assign to the evangelist. The time had now arrived for gathering up the results of these labors in a permanent and organized form.
The church had 24 members and four ruling elders:
These [members], twenty-four in all, were formed into a church, by the adoption of the Presbyterian Standards in doctrine, government, discipline,- and worship, and by a petition to the Presbytery of Mississippi, to be enrolled among the churches under its care, with the style and title of The First Presbyterian Church in the City and Parish of New Orleans.’ The organization was completed by the election on the same evening of four persons to be ruling elders, viz: William Ross, Moses Cox, James Robinson and Robert H. McNair, who were accordingly ordained and installed on the following Sabbath, November 30, 1823.
– The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, p.174-178.
Photo by Banner of Truth
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