Briarwood Presbyterian Church
|Briarwood Presbyterian Church|
|Location||2200 Briarwood Way Birmingham, Alabama 35243|
|Denomination||Presbyterian Church in America|
|Previous denomination||Presbyterian Church in the United States|
|Founded||September 25, 1960|
|Founder(s)||Frank M. Barker, Jr.|
|Senior pastor(s)||Harry L. Reeder III|
It was formed in 1960 by the Rev. Frank M. Barker, Jr. and has been a conservative evangelical Protestant congregation since its inception. Begun as a Bible study in 1955, it was the very first church to be organized in a then undeveloped, suburban area of Birmingham. . On September 25, 1960, the church was officially organized, and in 1972 the Briarwood Theological Seminary was chartered. Briarwood first sanctuary was erected in 1957. The first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America was held in Briarwood church building on December 4, 1973. The present sanctuary was completed in 1974; the fellowship hall was built in 1980. Central Presbyterian Church in Birmingham closed after 99 years of service in 1993. Many of its members joined Briarwood Presbyterian and helped to grow Briarwood an even bigger church. In 1988 the church moved to the Acton road property. In 1999, Barker retired after serving as the senior pastor for 40 years, and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Harry L. Reeder III, the current minister. Founded in a storefront, it later grew to have what was reported to be the largest church budget in Alabama, and opened a $32 million campus in 1988. In 2011 the expansion of youth project was begun. In 2013 the Children's Auditorium was completed, to allow more space to the growing children's ministries.
Originally a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (a predecessor to the present Presbyterian Church (USA)), Briarwood was among some 250 PCUS congregations that became charter members of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in December 1973; the organizational meeting was conducted in Briarwood's sanctuary. In addition to Briarwood, the Birmingham area is a strong pocket of influence for the PCA, with some 15 congregations located in Jefferson and Shelby counties.
Briarwood has a membership of approximately 4,100 and has been responsible for helping form ministries such as Campus Outreach, Birmingham Theological Seminary, and Young Business Leaders, as well as planting numerous churches around the world. In 2006, it was listed as being the 35th-most-influential non-catholic church in America by "The Church Report".
The church organized Briarwood Christian School in 1965. The school now has an enrollment of over 1,800 on two campuses and is recognized as being one of the foremost Christian schools in the world.
The Worship Center and church campus is located at I-459 and Acton Road.
In order to provide protection for over 1,000 students on two campuses at Briarwood Christian School, the church has requested the state government to allow it to set up its own police department, modeled after existing police departments within Alabama colleges and universities. This permission was granted by a law signed by Governer Ivey in June 2019.
Briarwood adheres to the historic Presbyterian confessions:
Briarwood is a founding congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.
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- Birmingham Theological Seminary
- Young Business Leaders
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- Greg Garrison (February 17, 2017). "Briarwood Presbyterian Church asks for its own police department". AL.com. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
- CNN, Jasmine Hyman and Brian Ries. "An Alabama megachurch will form its own police force after passage of controversial law". CNN. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
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